Cake Wrecks…Literary Style

If you’ve been paying attention, you may have heard that gal-pal Sandra Bunino and I have a holiday blog serial that starts in a few days and runs every weekday until Christmas eve. Hold on…I’ll quickly refresh your memory:

Dec Bunino_Shaw SecondChanceLayoverWhen the mother of all snowstorms strands journalist Charli Tierney in the Chicago airport, her boss gives her a fluff assignment to kill time–investigate the Meet-And-Go dot com social network for airport travelers. Imagine her surprise when her connection is also one of her brother’s old friends…and the boy she crushed on for years as a teen.

Cal Wheaton is no less shocked. Of all the fish in the sea, or lonely travelers in Terminal B, his O’Hare Meet-And-Go connection is Charli. The snarky little sister he fondly remembers has grown into a very desirable woman. And this time there’s no protective big brother around to keep him in line.

Reconnected, the embers of Charli and Cal’s decade-old attraction are quickly fanned into a night of hot passion. But when a ghost from Cal’s past drives a wedge between them, will the layover lovers realize in time that blame and guilt are baggage best left behind?

Part of the collaborative process included the graphic arts, such as the cover above. Sandra and I scoured the stock photo sites for a man and woman we both liked and then she procured the photos. I played with the images using my sophomoric Photoshop skills to make the cover you see above and other promo art.

Since Twitter private messaging was our preferred communication method (you need to read her post about our process that included a few pitiful attempts to Skype), 140 characters presented the strong possibility of miscommunication.

You may have seen the website called Cake Wrecks devoted to such miscommunications and other baking disasters. Here’s an example:


Cover photo from “Cake Wrecks — When Professional Cakes Go Hilariously Wrong”
Available for purchase at Amazon and other booksellers.

One weekend, we were discussing graphic art and promo, trying to come up with an early visual that resulted in these #fail attempts:


While messaging, we patted ourselves on the back over how much we loved our story and how much we hoped readers would enjoy it too, especially since it would be free.

We’d also been talking about the text in the graphic, which you can see went through several variations. Sandra had just written how well sex and free went together, like peanut butter and jelly. I shrugged and thought, “Worth a try. She’s the marketing guru. I trust her judgment.”

So I made a new visual. When I messaged and linked to the image in our shared Dropbox folder (great for collaborating and beta reads, by the way), I explained how I worried “free” and “sex” together might sound a little whorish—we didn’t want to over-promise, if you get my drift—and that was why I changed it slightly. This resulted:

BTSCakeWreckSandra immediately sent back an “LMAO” (laughing my ass off) message saying she didn’t mean for me to make a poster of it. She was just commenting on what readers liked. I laughed so hard I had tears running out of my eyes.

Promo Wrecks was born!

But seriously now, the serial begins November 28th. You can read it on my blog or on Sandra’s. I’ll also be posting a weekly digest on Smashwords you can download in a wide variety of formats for those who prefer to read on an e-reader. It’ll just be in arrears, and while all your friends will be chatting about it at the water-cooler, you’ll have to run away so you don’t overhear any spoilers. Just saying. Convenience has its price.

Sandra and I both are super-stoked and are looking forward to sharing our fun holiday love story with you.