We plan to publish a box of micro-stories with the theme “Mothers & Grandmothers” on May 1, 2019 as part of our Amazon Alexa app “My Box of Chocolates.”
Stories should be between 200 – 275 words.
Submission Deadline: April 8, 2019
The My Box of Chocolates Voice App
Our Amazon Alexa app “My Box of Chocolates” features 12 chocolates with matching stories each month. Every assortment has one or more general themes. For example, the Valentine’s Day assortment was released on February 1st and contains 12 stories related to romance and relationships. Each story generally fits into one of three categories:
Tickle the Funny Bone – Humor
Tug at the Heart Strings – Sentimental / Emotional
Out of This World – Fantasy or Other-Worldly
Each story is paired with a virtual chocolate that represents the story. Our artist designs the candies prior to box publication. The candy helps the listener visualize the story and also acts as a mechanism for requesting the story. For example, a listener can request the Valentine’s Day story about a magician by saying “get me the Chocolate Bunny.”
We use synthesized “robot voices” to narrate all the stories. We have created 4 fictional “chocolatiers” to match the 4 voices we currently use. We’ve given each chocolatier a distinct personality and backstory. We can potentially add new chocolatiers as needed.
Summary – In her 50’s, married, no kids, always looking for humor in everyday situations.
Coco is seasoned, both in chocolate-making and in life. She has several successful shops. Coco remained single for many years and experienced the ups and downs of both the pre- and post-internet dating scene. She met the man of her dreams when he walked into her chocolate shop one day. Coco has a talent for conjuring humorous treats out of everyday ingredients.
Summary – In his 30’s, single, no kids, no permanent girlfriend, always looking for his next date, actually a pretty nice guy, good at seeing the funny side of most situations.
Brandon owns his own chocolate shop and has won awards for his signature candies. His view of dating and romance is like his take on chocolates: variety is the spice of life. Brandon’s stories are often about personal experiences he’s had during his various romantic adventures. He also likes retelling stories he’s overheard in his shop.
Summary – In her 20’s, single, no kids, no permanent boyfriend
Opal is from the UK and now resides in the U.S. She’s in her twenties and loves adventure. She’s already won awards for her chocolates and is making a name for herself in the competitive world of gourmet chocolate making. Rather than tie herself to a shop, she does special orders, weddings, and other events. Her job brings her into contact with a steady stream of interesting people and situations.
Summary – In his 50’s, married, grown children and grandkids.
Archie, a native of the UK, now resides in the U.S. and runs his own gourmet chocolate shop. Archie often over-indulgences in his own chocolates. He’s a sentimental type and enjoys a good love story, along with a good laugh. He relishes stories told to him by the customers in his shop.
The following two stories provide samples of the types of stories we are seeking for our Mother’s Day box. (Please excuse extra punctuation inserted to help “robots”).
Coco Story (Told as if it happened to Coco – using 1st person)
Category: Tickle the Funny Bone
Chocolate: Town Car Praline
My mother is in her 90’s, and until recently, she still drove. She lives in the sunshine state, where people keep their licenses until, well, after their cremation has been completed. I tried talking her into giving up the car. But she had me convinced, people over a certain age make the best drivers. Without those raging hormones that rattle the rest of us, old folks are steadier at the wheel. I’ve seen it for myself. My mother refuses to drive over 35 miles an hour. Even on the freeway. She cruises along with zen-like focus, oblivious to the horns and flying expletives behind her. Last summer my youngest nephew, Jimmy, was training to get his driver’s permit. None of us had time to practice his driving with him–except for my mother. Jimmy was forced to cruise through town, sitting behind the wheel of a 1998 Buick Town Car, his grandmother riding shotgun. He prayed none of his friends would recognize him. I guess things must have worked out, because Jimmy has his license. Last week, I needed a ride, and he offered to drive. I couldn’t help but notice how calmly and carefully he drove, with his satellite radio tuned to the station for Big Band music, and golden oldies. Maybe senior citizens, ought to be driving instructors. Who knows? We may be on to something.
Opal Story – (Told as if it happened to Opal’s acquaintance – using 3rd person)
Chocolate: Dancing Shoes Bonbon
Category: Tug at the Heart Strings
Whitney’s mother was always poised. Even in her eighties, she’d still depart for the grocery store with a dramatic sweep of her hair, like Katherine Hepburn. Wearing her dancing shoes, she’d do a two step towards the door and sometimes add a little spin for flair. In those moments, Whitney pictured her mother in her father’s arms, twirling and sliding across the dance floor, for all the world like Ginger Rogers with her Fred Astaire. One day, her mother’s feet began to swell, and the dance shoes wouldn’t fit any longer. Soon after, her mom’s vision went bad, and she had to give up driving. They moved her things into a residence for older adults, and left the dancing shoes behind. Now Whitney keeps an old polaroid photo in her glove compartment. It shows her mother and father, dressed in their finest evening-wear, holding up a dance trophy with happy, shy grins. She looks at it as she sits in the parking lot of the residence; before she gets out of the car to visit her mother. Then she steps onto the pavement, and flips back her hair. Every once in a while, she adds a little spin for flair, and looks up into the clouds, to give her dad a wink.
Writing micro-stories is a great way to polish your craft and get ideas for longer pieces. Authors whose stories are selected for inclusion in the Mother’s Day chocolate box will be featured on the Tellables website and in social media promotions.