Author Archives: jkostakis

About jkostakis

Author of Paranormal Detective Mystery series and inspirational books.

Writer’s block.

Feels good to be back. I’ve had a few distractions. I moved to Cleveland in June.

I’m all settled in and ready to write again. I just tweaked the script to Streaming Sarah. I joined a few amazing writers groups here in Cleveland and this weekend I will make some edits based on feedback from the group.

I’m happy to say my writer’s block is over!

That’s Cooper wanting me to play with him instead of write.

Writer's Block - Cooper

Taking my life purpose one day at a time.

I received an email from a friend when I sent her my revised poem/mission statement about second chances.

She said she wondered if she were completing her mission or is she was squandering her life. I have thought the same thing. Am I honoring my second chance or wasting it? I decided to measure my goal of honoring here for a reason I needed a check in to track my progress. What better way than an end of day meditation/reflection?

It’s a great practice to have gratitude. As I end the day, I can note the things I am grateful for. During that reflection, I can have a check-in. Did I do anything that day to honor here for a reason? It doesn’t have to be a grand or dramatic gesture or act. Did I smile at a homeless person? Giving them a dollar doesn’t change their circumstances, but a smile and a dollar may let them feel seen, cared about even for a brief second. Was I less reactive when a co-worker, friend or family member didn’t see it my way? Was I open and supportive when someone reached out to me? Did I make someone’s day better in any way? If yes to any of these questions, then I didn’t squander that day.

I think in this world of negative messages, and self doubt a gratitude check-in and reminder that you had successes that day is a great way to hit the pillow. One day at a time as they say.

second chance v2 poem image jhk



Anonymous gifts start arriving at the doorstep

This week’s short story:

Topic: Anonymous gifts start arriving at the doorstep

You must include the following in your story: Teenager, screen door, camouflage wrinkle, birch, dive, harmony, pick-up, rifle, sticker

I opened the screen door to grab the morning paper. The neighbors 15-year-old was playing Army with his younger brother Sam who was in full camouflage hiding behind my birch tree. Sam propped his rifle  tight against his shoulder and aimed it directly at his brother’s head.

It was sweet of Tommy to be playing with his younger brother. At his age, I figured he would be practicing pick-up lines on some cute teenager.

I sat on the porch swing to watch them, and my foot kicked a small box. This was the third one this week. The other two were centered right in front of the door. I almost missed this one. Valentine’s Day was a few days away. I felt foolish thinking anyone would be crushing on me. I touched the wrinkle’s on my face and sighed. My heart took a dive. Someone was playing a trick on me.

After my husband died a few years ago, I kept to myself. I had not entertained the idea of dating again until the gifts started arriving. Each box had a “be my valentine” sticker on the package. This one had a cute kitten cuddling a box of chocolates and a card that said Always and Forever from your …  the rest of the card had images cut out from a magazine. It looked like a puzzle. The first image was a child the second was an image of a neighborhood then a piece of candy and the last picture was similar to the front of the card, a kitten holding a heart-shaped box of candy.

Child+hood+sweet+heart.  My childhood sweetheart? I sat up straight and looked around. Was Paul back in town after all these years? I could feel my heart beating against my chest.

“Paul?” I yelled.

Paul stepped out from behind a large oak tree holding a bouquet of flowers. His eyes sparkled, and his smile was just as dazzling. I miss my husband every day, but Paul and I had this fantastic harmony. I dropped the box and ran towards him. I was ready to love again.

A good reason to be afraid of the dark.

This week’s short story topic: A Good Reason to Be afraid of the Dark


  • Killer whale
  • Depraved
  • Janitor
  • Bargain
  • Dye
  • Fool
  • Heap
  • Kick
  • Praise
  • Quilt


I felt like a fool cowered under my quilt like a scared five-year-old. Only I wasn’t five anymore; I was thirty-five. There was no bargain with mom to leave the lights on; no canned response from mom praising me at what a big girl I was and that I didn’t need the night light.

I took a deep breath. Mom was right, there was no need to check for monsters under the bed, I was tired, and my imagination was on overdrive. A dim light filled the room from the street lamp across the street. The objects in my room took on an eerie shape.  The heap of laundry looked like a baby killer whale; my white t-shirts formed the white underbelly of the Orca. The white pants I dyed black due to a ketchup stain formed the top of the Orca.  Then I heard it again, the heavy breathing from underneath the bed. I kicked off the covers and ran out of the house. I raced over to my neighbor’s house and pounded on the door.

“Someone is in my house, let me in,” I screamed.

She opened the door, pulled me in, and locked the door.

“We need to call the police,” she said. Her eyes were wide with fear.

“I heard heavy breathing underneath my bed. I’m not sure if I imagined it.”

“We are in danger,” she said, “There is a depraved janitor on the loose and he killed his entire family. It was on the evening news.”

She reached for the phone.

“Do you have a gun?” I asked.

“Upstairs in the nightstand.”

I took the steps two at a time. It turns out I had a good reason to be afraid of the dark after all.