10 Ways to Find Motivation

Image result for writing motivation

Last week I went on vacation and my writing slump felt like it was coming to an end. Then I realized that maybe I hadn’t been paying enough attention to myself. Maybe I was neglecting what my body and mind needs. Suddenly, the school year was over and I was on a beach without a care in the world, enjoying the breeze, listening to my son’s laughter, my husband next to me, and inspiration hit. Sometimes we just need to take a breather and life becomes manageable yet again.

Continue reading “10 Ways to Find Motivation”


Confessions of a Mom, Teacher, and Writer

This year was supposed to be my YEAR of WRITING, but something happened. Life.

The truth is that I let life overwhelm me for a bit.

So in an attempt to help me put every worry in it’s place and remember what is really important in our short lives…here are my confessions:

Continue reading “Confessions of a Mom, Teacher, and Writer”

Free Copy!!


Did you miss your chance to win a free copy of The Girl Who Saw Words?

Never fear… I scored you one! Hurry!

Free Copy


Happy Reading!! Please leave a review! I would love to hear your thoughts!!

(If the link doesn’t work anymore, leave me a comment please and I will fix it.)

Welcome 2017! The Year of Writing




This new year is a year to feel positive, to be determined, to work intentionally, and to live life to the fullest. Where did all that come from? Well…

The past few months of 2016 have been hard for me.

  1. Towards the end of 2016, I felt like I had lost my way when it comes to writing. I had gotten some negative feedback about some work I had submitted and received more rejections. I have had rejections in the past…many. That is the life many writers have in hopes that one day someone will say “YES!” I am fine with that. I am fine with working to improve myself; in fact, that is how I feel everyone should be no matter what career you are in. As a writer, as a teacher, as a mother, there is always room to grow and learn. It was just too much to take at once with everything else.
  2. I was struggling with my special education caseload this school year. It has taken me half a school year to truly undimages-2erstand my students with autism, to make that connection with them, to understand how best to help them learn because each person with autism is completely different than the last. Finally, though, I am able to laugh with them, make jokes with them, take pride in their work, miss them when they are gone, and they are becoming more and more successful in their school work.
  3. I have also been struggling with TRYING to be positive about my mother’s condition. I don’t  speak of it often actually. I don’t want people to feel sorry for her or us; I don’t need that. I don’t know what I need, but pity is not it. Perhaps just understanding.  It has taken me a long time to even say: My mother has Alzheimer’s. It is a weird condition where if you haven’t experienced it, then you might not quite grasp what happens. Unfortunately, I have been through it as a child helping my mother and trying to keep her happy as she dealt with her father going though Alzheimer’s. So when she was diagnosed, it was hard to admit. It was hard to believe. It was even harder to see.


I tried to tell myself to be positive, yet over the holidays..she didn’t make her key lime pie. It sounds strange to say. It sounds trivial. However, to me, it was a breaking point. It had been her tradition for decades. She never missed a holiday without making her pie. It sent me the message that I can’t pretend to be positive any longer. She isn’t the same mother who is overly dramatic (in a good, giddy way), who loves shopping and feels every fabric in the whole damn store (it used to irritate me, now I miss it), who laughs so loud that you can hear her from across a large room or even a large restaurant. She is the same loving mother, but she is different. She isn’t as bubbly, can’t recognize who I am in a picture, doesn’t call like she used to, can’t drive by herself, and cannot tell you much of what she has done in the past day or week.  I think I miss her laugh the most though.



After spending the holidays with my mother, I realized that I can MAKE myself be positive or I can BE positive….about everything:

  • I can miss my mother’s old ways or I can celebrate the mother I had and enjoy the mother she still is. I will not waste our time together feeling sad about something we cannot change…I will not waste our time together.
  • I can raise awareness and help others in any way I can find who have Alzheimers and/or family members of those with Alzheimers.
  • I can be upset about reviews or rejections or I can continue to write for me. I can remember my love for writing and take it from there.
  • I can work as hard as I can as a special education teacher and find ways to help all my students be as successful as they can be.

Somehow, everything feels better so far 2017. I CAN do this. I am laughing more, talking to my mother more, and my creativity is coming back. This will be THE year…THE year of positivity, THE year of appreciating what I have (not what I have lost or might lose or what I don’t have), AND THE YEAR OF WRITING!!


I am taking part in a writing/photo challenge on Instagram and am loving seeing everyone’s feeds! (Please follow along and join me! @inawritingday)


Are you taking part of a challenge? Comment and let me know!! Or comment and let me know how your 2017 is going! I would love to hear! 🙂




Book Launch Party



I tend to write in different genres. I love writing all things horror, short stories with surprise endings, but I also LOVE writing young adult and children’s books. I wish I could write lovely romantic stories, but it just doesn’t call my name.

My latest book, The Girl Who Saw Words, is about a girl who has Synesthesia. If you aren’t familiar with that term, it simply means when two or more senses are sort of combined. There are many types of Synesthesia and I never knew I was a synesthete until I was thirty years old. No one tells you on a daily basis (or really ever) how they experience the world. I experience Ticker Tape Synesthesia where I “see” the words I say and the words I hear. If too many people are talking at the same time, there are too many words for me to read and I cannot understand what is being said. If I go to a busy restaurant that is too loud, again I cannot hear. I don’t tell people the long story of what synesthesia is..I just simply say I have “old lady ears.” They nod their heads in understanding. No need to explain more. Some people love to hear about the truth; others don’t trust anything that sounds abnormal. However, to me, not seeing words sounds abnormal. How do other people understand the words that people say if you cannot see them?

My point is that I used to NEVER tell anyone. Then I had my son. I realized that if he saw the world I do, I wouldn’t want him to be ashamed. I would want him to be proud of it. My children’s book was born. I needed for him, and for everyone, to feel proud of who they are..no matter how different they may or may not be.

On that note…let me say there are MANY cool things happening this week!!

  1. Book Launch Party with SCBWI! Join me in this book celebration!! I am beyond excited about this!!
  2. An Amazon Giveaway just started!! It won’t last long so enter for your chance to win a copy of The Girl Who Saw Words!
  3. I am getting ready for NaNoWriMo! Want to be my writing buddy as I try (yet again) to write a complete novel during the month of November? Find me on the NaNoWriMo site:  jwtaylor1



Someone Else’s Love Story


So far this summer, I have read one full young adult trilogy (The Internment Chronicles), two books in a young adult series (Red Queen Series) and impatiently waiting for the third, am currently reading Six of Crows (young adult yet again), and I also read the book pictured above (Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson). It is the only book that I have read this summer that isn’t classified as “Young Adult”. My summers are full of having fun with my son so I usually pick books that I can easily read, plus Young Adult has it all: action, love, romance, supernatural, etc, etc.

I am a special education teacher so during the school year, depending on IEP meetiimgres-1.jpgngs, other caseload and class responsibilities, I might not have time to read for myself. Summer is when I do that. At the end of the last school year (which means just this past May), a friend at work said “You have to read this book!” I don’t usually read romance or drama so the book isn’t one I would pick just from the cover. I just don’t enjoy them. She went on about how one of the characters has Aspergers, yet that is not what the book is focused on. Sure, they mention it here and there, but it isn’t the main focus. This got me intrigued. I still didn’t read it until mid Summer, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down.

As a teacher, I absolutely just adore how the author popped in the Autistic characteristics and work that psychologists do to help those on the Autistic Spectrum. She even included a children’s book that has been helpful in those cases as well. She did this in such a way that it made the characters more lovable and easier to relate to.

As a mother and as a lover of books, this one is a definite read. I do not want to give more details because for me, going in blind was the best. I was so pleasantly surprised by this story and it immediately grabbed my attention from the beginning. Trust me. It is nothing like you think. Just read the first two chapters and you will be hooked. ❤


“The Student”

Last summer, I started my first flash fiction challenge. I only made it through the first two challenges out of four. That is alright though. The fun of making myself write in areas that I am not the most familiar is good for me. It challenged me and that is the point of the challenge…at least for me. To top it off, the judges give you feedback of how the writing could have been better and what they liked about it.  🙂


In the Flash Fiction Challenge, by NYC MIDNIGHT, the writer is given a specific genre, the setting, and an object that must appear in the story. The first challenge I had last year was historical fiction. Ouch! That is not at all my style whatsoever. This year, my first challenge was in the spy genre, in a classroom setting, with a scalpel present somewhere in the story. Yes! Now we are talking!! I received the details of this challenge while still on vacation so the whole ride back home consisted of me thinking of ideas.


While my son slept, I tried to write and there were a few conversations with my husband that caused him to look at me quite oddly.

“Can a nutcracker break your bones?” 

“Would there be a more painful way to break fingers?”

“A scalpel is really sharp right?”

I don’t know how the judges will like my story. I love it, but I wish I could have made it longer, but the rules are  the rules. It is a flash fiction challenge, of course, which means your story cannot be more than 1,000 words.

I see many things that I should’ve done differently; however, the challenge only gives you 48 hours to submit your writing. If you have kids or have other things going on, then you know you don’t really have 48 hours…maybe 5! haha!


Here is the story I submitted. Please feel free to leave positive feedback or positive criticism. I am all ears. Enjoy! ❤


As the teacher took attendance, she paused very briefly when she read his name. Only he noticed the pause. They locked eyes for no more than two seconds, but it was enough to see the fear in her eyes. It was enough to see that he had to do his job quick and accurate.

He took a deep breath and blew it out slowly as he looked around the room. This method always helped slow down the world for him. His coworkers always call it his “gift”, but he just considers it good training. He took another breath and the classroom seemed to move in slow motion. As the teacher took attendance, each student gave a monotone response, except for one… there was one student that seemed to be sitting too proper; there was one student that seemed to be paying too much attention; there was one student that could be THE student he has been searching for. Finally.

He took notes throughout class, but not about the history lesson the teacher was trying to teach; he took notes about the student. He had to try to blend in so while other students took notes, he wrote down all the things that made this one person suspicious:

Posture too military and formal. He keeps checking his watch approximately every six minutes. Slightly tanner than others in this cold, rainy state. Bulge in left sock (could be a hidden weapon). Keeps touching his right lower pants pocket (could be another weapon). Student name appears to be “Jonze”.

     The bell was still ringing while the teacher was talking. She quickly dismissed the students for the day. As she walked out with them, she looked at him for one second and slowly nodded. He knew this was his chance. He was the last one in the room. He took out his phone from his pocket and dialed.

“It’s Johnson. I think I have found him. Can do. I will…”

Just then the suspicious student walked in the classroom. It was just the two of them in the empty classroom.

“The train derailed,” he said in a calm, slow, and quiet voice to the person on the phone.

“Hello Agent Thorp. Or shall I say Jonze?” Slowly, he set the phone down and looked up at the student. He then deliberately rose up so that his height would give him an edge.

Thorp didn’t say a word. He quickly reached behind his back, and shot at him. Three darts were fired. Only one reached their target, unfortunately for Johnson. He immediately became dizzy and the world went black.

He woke to find himself handcuffed to a classroom desk. There was no escape. Worse yet, Thorp was talking nonsensical about his “bag of tricks”.

He had researched his target, Angel Thorp, for years before finding him disguised as a student in public high school. He knows that this seemingly innocent looking teenager is actually a twenty-something spy and murderer-for-hire. Thorp’s idea of a “bag of tricks” is definitely not anything Johnson wants to find out about. He breathed in and breathed out slowly hoping to clear his mind and find a way out. It was useless. He had failed and he would surely die if some miracle doesn’t happen.

Laughter brings him out of his thoughts. He looks to his right and saw Thorp opening up a black bag. From deep inside he brought out two small objects. A nutcracker and a scalpel. He looked at Johnson and quickly whispered nine words.

“I only need two to get the job done.”

Fear struck through Johnson, but he knew he must not show it. Thorp picked up the nutcracker first.

“My boss wants me to do away with you quickly. You know, to just get the job over with, but me? I want you to pay…as slowly as possible. My job will be done and I will never have to worry about you following me again nor getting in my way. Oh how I will enjoy this.”

He walked up to Johnson and took his hand. Before I use this nutcracker to break every one of your fingers, I will give you one chance. One chance to tell me all the names in your agency. Just one chance.

Johnson just looked at him and spit in his face.

Thorp didn’t say anything. He wiped the spit from his cheek and without warning, took the nutcracker to Johnson’s pinkie. Johnson winced, but tried not to scream. He would not give Thorp the pleasure of that. Within five minutes, every finger on Johnson’s right hand, his writing hand, were completely broken.

Thorp walked over to his “bag of tricks” with a sigh and picked up the scalpel. He looked at Johnson and smiled.

“Nutcrackers bore me so. But not this,” he said as he let the scalpel shine in the fluorescent lights. He started to walk over to Johnson. He took his head in his hands and smiled once again.

“Where to start? Where to start?” Thorp mumbled as he brought the scalpel closer and closer to Johnson’s left eye. Just as the blade was breaking through the skin and blood was spilling on the linoleum floor, shots were fired through the classroom windows. Thorp dropped to the ground. Agents in all black rushed through the now open windows.

“Agent Johnson! Are you ok? Are you alright?” the first man in black yelled as he fell through the window.

“I am fine. Just get me the hell out of here and take Thorp in before he can do anymore damage. That little fuck got me good. Now it is our turn to get his secrets out.”

Thorp was carried out on a gurney. The shots that penetrated him in the stomach and leg were only sedatives. He would be awake shortly, but he would be in a cell awaiting interrogation.

Johnson sighed as he left the classroom.

“I am getting too old for this undercover shit.”




Real or not…

I prefer to hold a book in my hands.  A real book. Maybe that is because I am 40 years old and grew up without the choice of a “real” book or an electronic version. I grew up in a rural county  without a computer in the house and where we could not have cable television even if we had wanted it. I didn’t have Nintendo or any of the “cool” videogame systems. I did have the Atari and that was plenty for me.

What is my point? Well..my point is that I prefer a hard copy of a book, but if you like the electronic version…

then run to amazon right now. The ebook version of Stories After Dark is FREE TODAY!!!



This book is one of my favorites. I LOVE short stories and flash fiction; I love an open ending where you are left wondering and stewing in your own mind; I love dark and creepy stories. So if you love these things too then this is the book for you. It is a quick, but dark read. I truly hope you enjoy it!

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑