Monthly Archives: January 2012

‘Keepsake Box’

I wonder how many of you have
a secret stash of treasure . . .

Keepsake Box

Image by rjg329 via Flickr

Over the years, I have stored my treasures in many different types of containers, but I’ve always called it my ‘Keepsake Box’.  They have ranged, depending on the stage of my life, from a large,  plastic bread bin in my teens, to slightly more sophisticated boxes as I grew older, that may, or may not, once have housed expensive gifts.  My latest, sitting here in front of me, is a cerise pink square box that previously held a perfume set.  The lid will no longer close, so maybe it’s time to start looking for another replacement – or maybe, for a change, I could just have two!

Stored within my Keepsake Boxes are memories, precious to me; of people, places and things that are, or were, important in my life.

Not expensive jewels – just MY Secret Treasures!

›  A dried rose from a bouquet received on my 21st birthday
›  A blood donor card from my first donation in 1984
›  Letters from friends living in London in 1987
›  My children’s hospital wrist bands with their time and date of birth
›  Mass Cards from loved ones who have passed on
›  Concert tickets from my favourites; David Bowie, Echo & The Bunnymen,
    The Teardrop Explodes,  The Smiths . . . 
›  Ticket stubs from the Eiffel Tour, the Anne Frank Museum, the Reichstag,
    the Empire State Building in 2001 . . .

Take a peek inside your ‘Keepsake Box’ and share its treasure trove – I’m waiting, with baited breath . . .

‘Escape’ on


For a little taste of Dublin in the ’80’s, check out my short thriller, ‘Escape‘, which received an honorary mention and has just been published on

Read Five Stop Stories on your Kindle

You’ll find lots more short stories to keep you entertained including ‘Mirage‘ by Valerie Sirr.

Why not enter one of their short story competitions?  Check it out details here.


Write ‘What You Know’ or ‘What You Love’

It is hard to know, for sure, which works best . . .

I have attended numerous creative writing classes and workshops over the years, all of them offering valuable advice.  But there has always been two conflicting pieces of advice, from well-known, established writers, which still cause me confusion.  Some writers feel that you should only –



while other writers feel you should only –


Thankfully, I have done well with both.  But I do find it weird, firstly that I have ever written a poignant short story and secondly that it won first prize!  This obviously came about, sub-consciously, from the Write What You Know rule of thumb as, although most of it was fiction, elements of my childhood memories also emerged.  I remember being in an exceptionally good mood the evening I wrote it – and I knew it was totally unlike anything else I had ever written.  Weirder still when I NEVER, intentionally, read sad stories or watch sad movies.  But, I really liked this one, and thankfully, so did the judges . . .

Having said that, I feel that my heart definitely lies on the side of Write What You Love – which, for me, would have to be psychological thrillers!  Even though this is not necessarily the area that I would, personally, know the most about.  I devour thrillers and my latest rule, to read only one-book-at-a-time, has me reading a fascinating book on forensics.  Maybe not the best bed-time read, with pen-in-hand, as I take notes for my latest crime scene!  But I am delighted that, by writing what I love, one of my thriller short stories was recently given an honorary mention and is due to be published very soon.

I would be very interested in your views and comments, as either a writer or a reader, as to which you think works best for you and why . . .

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