Friday, December 30, 2016

My Bookish January: #boutofbooks

This pre-Monday post is brought to you by, well, me.
Over the last 24 hours I have been informed that there are two (yes, TWO!) readathons heading our way on the bookish internet this January. In all actuality, there are probably more than that (because the internet is vast and huge), but this short post is to encourage you to stay tuned for the first readathon: Bout of Books!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 2nd and runs through Sunday, January 8th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 18 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

P.S. I have no idea why that girl has a thermometer (or whatever it is) in her mouth. #confusion

January 2-8, I will be posting my progress to the following platforms:

Instagram: @emdrake1
Twitter: @RealEmilyMorgan
Litsy: @emilymorgan
I won't be posting the updates on this blog, as this will be saved for my random buffet posts on Mondays. Stay tuned after the 8th for information on the 24in48 Readathon at the end of January!

For this Readathon, I have decided to take on two audiobooks for my commutes, and one whole series for my hard reading (other than my daily Bible reading...going through the whole Bible in 2017!).

1. Finish Moby Dick by Herman Melville (finally)
2. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Books: I've decided to try and tackle the whole Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket before the Netflix series airs mid-month. 
1. The Bad Beginning
2. The Reptile Room
3. The Wide Window
4. The Miserable Mill
5. The Austere Academy
6. The Ersatz Elevator
7. The Vile Village
8. The Hostile Hospital
9. The Carnivorous Carnival
10. The Slippery Slope
11. The Grim Grotto
12. The Penultimate Peril
13. The End

So click the link under the picture, sign up, and join me! And feel free to email me with ideas, feedback, or comments at

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Best Books I Read in 2016

Each December after Christmas, I set a reading goal for myself for the following year. I am proud to say I just passed my 2016 goal on my lunch break this afternoon, finishing my 25th book of the year, despite the business of several job changes and life change in general. My goal for 2016 was to complete 24 books. I am still hoping to get one more in before midnight chimes on Saturday!

Several of you have asked me, how do you get so much reading in? Do you have life? Is your job hard?
I get reading done just like I binge Netflix shows, or go see several movies a month. It's my past time, my leisure. I don't read more than an hour on most days, unless it's an audiobook in my car during my daily commute. I work at a law firm, so my job is busy. I have a social life and I do interact with humans. Just to is possible. 😊
I digress...a good friend of mine is the pioneer of a book club I was in this fall. The club focuses on reading books that challenge your views and beliefs and encourage you to see the world in a different way. A few of my picks from this list are from that club. This great friend recently posted her top seven books of 2016, and I decided to join her with my very own list. Two of my books are actually series, so I grouped those into one. Here it is: the list of the best six books I read in 2016!

6. Live Love Lead by Brian Houston

I chose this book, written by Hillsong pastor Brian Houston, because of what it taught me about my faith and God's plans for my life. I don't follow much of Hillsong or other large churches like it, but this book is written with a personal flare. It feels like Houston is having an actual conversation with you, and he encourages his readers with scriptural truths and relatable stories about the great plans God has for His children. This helped me to see how much God loves me, that my dreams have been placed in me by God Himself, and His unique plan for my life and my voice.

5. The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara

This travel diary, written by the well-known Chilean communist who worked with Castro, challenged my own conservative political beliefs, all while enchanting me with beautiful prose and travel writing. As he treks with his best friend across South America on a motorcycle, he sees the continent and its people, and you watch his political beliefs form. It is a very interesting challenge for those who want to see the world through a different lens.

4. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

This Nigerian novel based on true events of the Ebo people group during the time of English colonization. It was extremely eye opening concerning the effects of missionaries and colonization in a society.

3. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Because this is the first time I have read all the way through the series and now I'm obsessed.

2. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

I listened to this amazing novel on audio. A black labor and delivery nurse is taken out of the care of a baby with white supremacist parents. The story follows three viewpoints: the nurse, the white supremacist, and the defense attorney who is defending the nurse's case. It is a wonderful and eye opening tale on race relations and our culture today. I couldn't stop listening!

1. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin and Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

This duo is without a doubt the best thing I have read in a long time. A young adult novel set about a young woman who escaped a concentration camp in World War II. After the Axis powers win the war, she goes on a journey to try to kill Hitler as a part of the Resistance. This series is riveting, and I would recommend it to anyone. READ IT NOW.

There it is! The best books I have read in 2016. I am so excited to see what 2017 has for me!

Happy reading!

The Life Buffet: Coming January 2017

Most of you are probably reading this because you follow me on Instagram, you’re friends with me on Facebook, or you’re friends with my parents. Maybe you’re here because you are a fan of my writing (in which case, you probably fall into one of the above categories). 

 For several years, I have tried and failed to keep up a blog, much less to acquire readers. From the time I started this blog in 2009, I have struggled with what kind of writing I want to put out. I was advised to pick a blog theme and stick to it, so I could gather more readers. But, should I do life advice? Devotionals? Travel diaries? Poetry? Short stories? Recipes? Are my opinions even good enough to be out there? Instead, I have mulled ideas over and over again in my head, withholding opinions and general life advice with the explicit fear that people will *gasp* judge me, or, even worse, not read at all. Oh, the horror!

 As a writer of fiction, writing about real life things and running the risk of getting criticized scares me to death. However, at the risk of sounding prideful, I think I have some pretty great thoughts and ideas, and I think I’m not the only one scared to jump up and shout them from the rooftops. Hey, I hear you. Your voice matters, and you’re not alone. 

 In the weeks, months, and years that follow, I am deciding to try my best to brighten up your days and your intergalactic web communication with a little bit of a life buffet. That’s right, some of everything. 
Starting January 2nd, 2017, I’ll be posting every Monday with a new topic from my buffet. My goal is to brighten up the increasing negativity that is our internet today. Even if you don’t need it, I know I do. 

 Feel free to comment or send me feedback on topics you’d want to hear about via my Facebook, my Instagram @realemilymorgan, or my email:

Happy 2017! May the new year unearth Dust-Covered Treasures.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Salem Apocalypse

The church bells chimed.
            A cold Salem breeze gusted and chilled her to the bone. She stirred and reached for the afghan to pull closer to her. But it wasn’t there. Confused, she opened her eyes. Her mouth dropped open to gasp, but no sound came out.
            How did I get out here? She wondered. Fifteen-year-old Grace Parris glanced around the dark cemetery. She didn’t remember wandering out here.
            Mama and Papa will be so worried once they find I’m missing. She hid her face. What would the townspeople think if they found me, the minister’s daughter, in the cemetery? I must get home.
            She picked up the pace and moved forward. Suddenly, her face hit the dirt. A greyed and dirty hand gripped her ankle. She felt the warmness of fresh blood on her knees where she fell.
            Horrified, her eyes followed the dirt-crusted fingers to its source…the freshly covered grave.
            Muffled groans and screams came from the ground below her. Grace twisted and thrashed, but the hand’s grip tightened around her ankle. She frantically grabbed everything in sight…threads of grass, small twigs, but nothing could pull her out of the hand’s grasp. She opened her mouth to scream, but nothing came out.
            Finally, Grace kicked with all of her might, and the hand released her. She struggled to her feet and picked up her feet to run, but to her horror, hands raised from fresh graves all across this new section of the cemetery. One by one, the hands dug their way out of the soil and turned into bodies.
            Grace turned and looked toward where she had fallen. A woman stood taller than her, her blonde hair caked with mud, her neck popped out of place. Grace suddenly recognized the face looming in front of her. It was Goody Proctor, her sister’s former employer.
            Grace’s sister, Abigail Williams, changed her name to her mother’s maiden name to disconnect herself from the Parris family. Abi didn’t like role of being a minister’s daughter, so she became a maid in the Proctor household. The head of the house, John Proctor, fell in love with her and had an affair. When Goody Proctor found out, she was promptly fired. Abi was infuriated to be separated from Mr. Proctor, especially when he began to show that his feelings for her had disintegrated as he realized the extent of his adultery, which he asked her to keep silent. Even Grace’s parents didn’t know, but Abi had confided in Grace. To illuminate her love for Mr. Proctor and to get Elizabeth Proctor out of the way, Abi accused Goody Proctor of witchcraft.
            Witchcraft was nothing to be taken lightly these days. Things had advanced when the year turned to 1690, but a slave girl, Tituba, had invoked fear in all of Grace’s peers. Frequently, the girls would dance in the woods and sell themselves to the devil as Tituba stirred a pot of mysterious substance. Grace cared about her reputation as the minister’s daughter, and did not concern herself with those things. Ever since their encounter with the devil, the girls have been accusing everyone of witchcraft. As of this morning, there were 20 condemned to trail. The trials were early tomorrow morning.
            Why is Goody Proctor in the cemetery? And why is her neck disjointed?
            Slowly, the accused women rose all across the graveyard…every one of them with a disjointed neck and mud-caked hair.
            Lightning cracked. “Grace Parris,” Elizabeth Proctor breathed heavily, “Your family will pay for what they have done.” Her voice cracked, and she let out an eerie howl. The other women followed in her footsteps, and slowly, they marched toward the church.
            “Wait!” Grace panicked, “Wait! What are you going to do?” She stumbled over a new headstone and fell. Rain poured from the sky. Another lightning bolt split the sky, illuminating the army of women rising out of their graves and marching toward her church and her home.
            Raspy voices called out, “The Parris family must pay!”
            Grace tried in vain to pull herself to her feet, but pain shot through her legs. Desperately, she tried to pull herself up and support herself on one of the tombstones. As she supported herself on the grave only marked “witch,” she realized it was too late. The innocent accused witches were no longer innocent. Their corpses entered into houses, killing every living thing. The women thirsted for blood, sucking the life out of every home.
            Goody Proctor personally tore into Abigail’s room and made her watch as her town was torn apart. Blood trickled down Abi’s face where Goody Proctor’s crusted fingernails dug into her scalp. Revenge flamed in Elizabeth’s eyes. The injured Grace cried out in horror.
            Bodies lay in trembling pools all over the streets of Salem. Streams of blood flowed onto the roads like a river. Grace’s friends and family gasped for their last breaths. As the last member of Salem died, Goody Proctor crushed Abi’s skull with a terrifying shriek of laughter. The women set the town on fire and stood in the bloodstained streets to watch it burn.
            Grace realized the reality…she was next. As the town of Salem burned, the women turned in unison and marched toward her. The roaring of the flames faded, and all she could hear was her racing heartbeat. Goody Proctor’s hands soon gripped Grace’s neck, “Your family must pay.” Grace closed her eyes to block out the desolation of her home, and she heard a bloodcurdling scream.
            Opening her eyes, she realized the scream was her own.
            She sat upright in her bed. Sweat soaked her sheets and her nightgown.
            Oh, it was only a dream. She sighed in relief, and got out of her bed. I must warn Papa that those women are innocent! They don’t deserve to die.
            Grace ran downstairs to find her family sitting down to lunch.
            The trials had already occurred. She ran to the window and saw the cemetery across the street with twenty fresh graves.
            It was too late.
            “What is it, darling?” Reverend Parris looked forlorn. Executions always saddened him, even when it was necessary.
            Grace couldn’t bear to tell her father what she had dreamed. After all, it was only a dream! He did not need any more grief today.
            That night, the Parris family settled into their beds.
            The church bells chimed.

            As the cold wind howled, a greyed, dirty hand emerged from the freshly covered grave.