It always amazes me how, when, and where new story ideas come from. In the case of my soon-to-be released, Manicotti Kisses, the story inspiration just blows me away.
First, here’s the cover.
Now, granted the cover is cute, but if you’re asking, “Does the title, the old-fashioned typewriter, and the script written on the typewriter paper have anything to do with the story, the answer is unequivocally, “YES!”
And, here’s the story OF the story.
This last weekend, Saturday, I wasn’t feeling well. My shoulder (from recent surgery) was hurting so badly that I couldn’t function. Consequently, I was lying in bed almost the entire day with my heating pad applied, while my precious husband was serving me hand-and-foot. He brought cold drinks in to me. He supplied pain medication, and of course, he hung over me, stroking my head, my afflicted arm, and telling me that he hated that I was hurting so much and wished that he could do something of value to help me.
And, help me, he did. Later in the day when he returned home from completing the week’s grocery-shopping, he came into the bedroom after putting the groceries away, to tell me he bought me something special to eat, whenever I got hungry. Since I was already hungry, I told him, I’d love it. It was in a styrofoam cup, filled with dry soup mix, and cram-packed with noodles. (I still don’t understand how the manufacturer gets that many noodles in the cup.) After heating water, pouring it in the mix and allowing it to sit for a few minutes, he brought it in to me. He had placed the cup of soup with its abundance of noodles on a large dinner plate as both a spill buffer, and to make it easier for me to place it on the bed, since my arm hurt too much to hold it.
Still in pain, but looking forward to the soup, I began digging into the styrofoam cup’s depths, and with my fork I pulled out a huge “glomp” of noodles, which I stuffed in my mouth. “Yummy” does not even begin to describe the taste. I’m convinced each “Mmmmm” was heard echoing throughout the house.
Unfortunately, the satisfying taste-evaluating sounds from my lips turned to one gigantic and heart-rending scream as I somehow managed to spill the entire rest of the contents over onto my pillow, sheets, blanket, feather-bed, and worst of all… my left shoulder.
Once the searing pain of heat left my shoulder (fortunately, NOT the one recovering from surgery), I jumped from the bed, and had no choice but to strip the bed down, including the mattress pad, only after I scraped a multitude of noodles from its surface.
As I was moaning and groaning at my fate of a burnt shoulder, wet bed linens and pillows, and not getting to finish the “feast,” a thought ignited my brain. PASTA!
“PASTA???” you ask, unsure what my rattled brain was thinking. Yes… PASTA! My favorite pasta in the whole world is manicotti. (Remember the name of the book cover above?!)
It was like a bolt of lightning. All somehow jumbled up in my head was a story plot that just exploded into clarity. And, it included: manicotti, an old antique typewriter, and a marriage proposal gone terribly, terribly wrong.
Now, I know this is probably an unfair place to conclude. But, I will say this. This story is a novelette. It is even shorter than a novella. The whole plot takes place in one “memorable” evening. There isn’t a huge amount of background nor plot setup. It’s just simple and straight forward. And, UNBELIEVABLE!
Just one more bit of information that affects the story.
My husband and I are members of a very, very large church, ministering to multi-thousands of congregants. Not important of itself. But, it’s important to make my point here.
I’ve been a Sunday school teacher in this church to high schoolers since 1985, as well as small Bible group leaders to the same age group. Since that time, there have been gazillions of weddings of those “kids,” almost all of which my husband and I have been invited to, and attended many of them. Consequently I am in a position to be able to tell proposal-, bridal shower-, and wedding horror stories that would shock all but the bravest readers.
I decided (in that moment of clarity I spoke of above) that I should incorporate bits and pieces of any and all proposal stories I’ve been a party to. (And, I’ll even throw in a bit of my own imagination.)
This will be completed quickly, and I hope my readers’ appetites have been whetted.
I think the release of this story will be soon enough that you can safely hold your breath until it happens.
Or… maybe not!