July 15, 2012

Travis Archer

This Texan is the "he" in hero. The oldest of four brothers, he has spent too many years protecting his land and his family the only way he knew how. No one comes in, no one goes out. He's used to running the show, leading by example, and solving any problem that penetrates their reclusive, secluded existence with his wits or his Winchester, whichever is most effective. When Meredith Hayes, the courageous young girl he once rescued, comes to warn them of a threat against their land, an accident leaves her reputation in shreds. Travis comes to her rescue once again. But what Travis doesn't know, and Meredith comes to understand, is Travis is the one in need of rescue, from the burden of his past and the fears of the future. How Travis comes to terms with the wound in his past and rises to be a better protector of his family by learning to trust more than his rifle is what earned him a Fiction Hero Feature slot.

From Short Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer:

     Travis slid his brown wool vest over the scratchy cotton shirt, wincing as the stiff material pressed against his back. He did up the buttons and grabbed his hat, catching a glimpse of himself in the mirror as he turned for the door.
     Meredith wasn't getting much of a prize in their arrangement. Travis frowned at his razor-nicked face and saddle-bum clothes and thought about how pretty she'd looked stepping out of his room with her hair done up and her eyes glowing shyly at him. Seeing her only in a shapeless sleeping gown the last couple of days, he'd nearly forgotten what nice curves she had. The faded dress she wore with its snug bodice and trim waist brought all those memories rushing back.
     Meredith Hayes was a fine specimen of a woman. And sometime later today, she was going to be his.
     A rogue with a devilish grin stared back at him from the mirror. Travis winked at his reflection, settled his hat into place, and fought the urge to whistle as he headed outside to tend his chores.

Excerpt used with permission. All rights reserved.

Gallant Score: Travis earns himself a three. One for marrying to save a damaged reputation. The second because marriages are typically followed by honeymoons and the way Travis handles his and Meredith's is a great part of the story. It would be a spoiler to tell you why he deserves that third one, but for those who already know Travis Archer, it involves an ink pen.

Wounded Score: Travis carries the blame and the burden of a promise made at fifteen that's hurt him more than he knows. That pain has defined him so long he doesn't even know it's not supposed to be that way. :-/

Softie Score: The tough exterior isn't a facade. Travis Archer's determination to keep his promise to protect his brothers and their land at all costs have taken a toll on his softer side, and Meredith is in for some rough and tumble scrapes and misunderstandings because of it. Occasionally the bit that's in there comes out, especially when Meredith first meets him but that's all I can say without giving away one of the best parts. =)

Stupid Strikes: Again, I find this runs in correlation to the wounded score, and Travis earns this one for a pretty hurtful statement he makes in an argument and of course, for drawing straws to see whose going to marry Meredith! An incident with their locked gate almost earned him another one, but he takes that so hard himself I teared up a little feeling his regret in the moments that followed that I couldn't give him the second one.

Swoon Score: Travis Archer starts with an automatic orange head because he's a Karen Witemeyer hero and Karen Witemeyer knows how to write a great hero. He gets a second orange head because he's a Texan, I'm partial to the name Travis, and he looks absolutely fantastic on his cover. I can't decide if I like the vest or those pants more... so I won't! That third orange head is well-earned at a rock down by the creek you'll want to take your time reading through and for the way that for all his gruffness and swagger (see excerpt above, hehe), his moments of vulnerability and tender care for Meredith and family will endear him to you way more than his name and his clothes.

About Travis Archer's novel (Released June 1, 2012):

Four brothers. Four Straws. One Bride.

No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a long-standing debt compels her to take the risk.
Years of constant vigilance harden a man. Yet when Travis Archer comes across a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can't bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt prompt him to attempt to rescue her once again.

Despite the fact that Travis is no longer the gallant youth Meredith once dreamed about, she vows to stand by his side. But will love ever be hers? Or will Travis always see her as merely a short-straw bride?

Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Christianbook.com

About Travis Archer's author:

Two-time RITA® Finalist and winner of the coveted HOLT Medallion, CBA bestselling author, Karen Witemeyer, writes historical romance fiction for Bethany House, believing that the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. Karen makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at: www.karenwitemeyer.com.

Now for the Fiction Hero Feature Exclusive from the author not found in the novel:

Travis named his horse Bexar in keeping with the Alamo tradition his mother started. We all know that he and his brothers were named for heroes from the Alamo, but you might not know that Bexar is the name of the Alamo's location. San Antonio de Bexar was the name of the settlement that was home to the Alamo at the time of the revolution. Today we know the city as San Antonio, but the county it resides in is still called Bexar.

NOTE: Nancy Kimball is a descendant of Gregorio Esparza, a defender of the Alamo. She is very proud of this part of her heritage. =)

Now for the giveaways:

We are giving away one print copy of Travis Archer's novel Short Straw Bride to a randomly chosen commenter. If your comment contains an Alamo or Battle of the Alamo fact previously unmentioned in this post, you will get two entries in the drawing for Short Straw Bride that closes at midnight central time on July 30th.

And because anyone who calls themselves a Karen Witemeyer fan already owns this book and likely her others as well, you can tell us Travis already has a home on your shelf or e-reader and be entered for a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card, winner's choice. BUT, so that I believe you, LOL, you have to tell me the name of a character that isn't Travis or Meredith, and once that character is named in the comments, you have to pick someone else.

<This isn't complicated, but it will take a touch more synapses firing than usual so make me proud!>
As always, if you aren't a blog follower, leave me your e-mail address in an anti-spammer format like travisarcher (at) awesomehero dotcom so that I can notify you if your name is drawn.


  1. Crockett!!!

    I loved this book!!! If I win it, I want to read it AGAIN! (I read one from the library). Personally, I think Travis Archer deserves even MORE orange heads... but you did give him plenty. ;) SUCH a lovely book!!!!!

    1. Dawn you're first AGAIN, LOL. Love it. So I enter you in the right thing, tell me if you want your name in the novel hat or in the gift card hat. And tell me where you would have given him more orange heads, (because I would love to know this.) I'm guessing swoon score, or maybe wounded?
      Question: Have you read any of Karen's other novels?

  2. I have loved (and own) everything Karen Witemeyer has written, and she's quickly become a favorite writer. Short-Straw bride is so much fun, and Travis AND his brothers are swoon worthy. I also enjoyed the character of Seth Winston. What a cantankerous but lovable old grouch. I cheered when Meredith took him on!

    Thank you for sharing the extra little insights into the naming of Travis' horse, Bexar. My sister and I were able to visit the Alamo last fall on a trip down to San Antonio. I loved touring that history-rich building and grounds. The river walk was a lot of fun, too. I would like to see it again sometime when we aren't as pressed for time, but only if we can avoid Austin's rush-hour traffic. Why DO they call it traffic when it ceases to move? :)

    1. Clari, me too! Another of Karen's heroes is coming to the blog soon, but which one is a secret, hehe. And the FHF Exclusive has quickly become one of my favorite parts of putting the hero feature together because they come directly from the author and aren't found anywhere in the novel. I have no clue on the traffic for you. It's a good question. You are in the drawing for the gift card.

  3. Nancy, I'm really enjoying your Fiction Hero Feature. This is so much fun. And I loved the excerpt you posted. I'm liking Travis already. :) I do own all of the other books that Karen has written, but haven't gotten my hands on this one yet. Thanks for the opportunity to enter.


    1. Thank you, Angi! I think so too. A benefit for the blog-readers is I've actually read the novel and then work with the author to obtain permissions to showcase an excerpt I feel captures the hero's character best (in a spoiler-free moment).
      Travis is fantastic. He had tough acts to follow with Levi, Gideon and J.T., but he holds his own as a Witemeyer hero. =)
      You are in the drawing for Short Straw Bride.

  4. LOVED IT!

    And Jim's name isn't really Jim.

    So how's that?! :D

  5. Haha, it's perfect. You're in for the gift card. =)

  6. I have Karen's first three book, and loved all of them, but to my shame I have not purchased this one yet=( I do look forward to reading it, just have cut back on my book buying recently.


    1. Patty, no shame! Sometimes before I check out at Barnes & Noble and frown to myself and go... I can get all these books... but then I might not have lights to read them by in two weeks. :-p
      You are in the drawing and props to you for being self-regulating. Besides, there's just SO MANY opportunities to win them. FHF will NEVER tell you about a great hero and not give you a chance to win his book. I think that's just mean. =)

  7. Hi there, Nancy!
    Its Ganise. I like this post and the BOOK!! (it was awesome!) and I'd like to be entered in the giveaway for a gift card, please. Name of a character?

    Thanks Nancy, have a beautiful day!

    ganise_4life (at) hotmail (dot) com

    1. Well hello fellow friend of Seekerville! You are in the drawing for the gift card. And how cute was Neill?
      "I'll do it."
      "Do what?"
      "Marry up with her."

      Short Straw Bride is an entire hero buffet. :-p

    The following characters have been taken/used.
    Crockett Archer
    Seth Winston
    "Not Jim" Archer ;-)
    Neill Archer

    There's still plenty of characters in there, including the Archer's dog, Meredith's family & friends, a lunch-pail stealing bully turned lawman, and Meredith's horse.

  9. I've already got the book, so don't enter me. BUT! I've yet to read it, how sad is that? I have to finish 2 others because I'd already started them, but as soon as it came in the mail, it superseded all the rest.

    There's a Cassandra on p. 313 :)

    But, I found this review interesting, and torturous, I want to read it now! :) Must. Fulfill. Obligations.

    rmjagears AT gmail DOT com

    1. Melissa, not sad. I understand the intricate workings of a TBR pile and with incoming hero nominations, mine looks more like a big horse race because "first" is always changing. Karen Witemeyer and Cliff Graham are the only two authors right now who never even make it in the pile. They are must reads the moment they arrive and actually, I've bought one of Cliff's novels in print and then thirty minutes later in e-book because I couldn't wait. :-p

      There's nothing like reviewing just the hero. Not only has it made blogging a true pleasure for me for the first time, but its resonating with readers/followers better than I envisioned.

      We'll take Cassandra and enter you for the gift card.

  10. I loved this book and can't wait to hear more about Karen's next book! I really enjoyed Myra. She was tough and funny and always looking out for Meredith.


    1. Liz, that makes two of us. I think I caught a whiff of the title of the next one on the Fans of Karen Witemeyer facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fans-of-Karen-Witemeyer/208983132465320

      And I really liked Myra's character too. Older women teaching the younger ones is BIBLICAL. ;-)You are entered in the giftcard drawing.

    2. Fairly certain her next one is another Archer brother!!! She said she was getting to do a sequel but I wasn't entirely clear on if it was the next book or not. /dancin/

    3. I'm having such fun reading these comments. Thanks for all the great feedeback. Loving this format, Nancy.

      Carol - My next release is called Stealing the Preacher and it will be Crockett's story, so yes, it will be the next book. (June 2013) I'm hoping to do a little something with Neill, too, but that's still up in the air for now.

    4. Karen, thank you for stopping by!

      There you have it, BREAKING NEWS here on FHF!!!
      Crockett Archer in Stealing the Preacher coming June 2013.
      Also announced today at ACFW, Karen Witemeyer's TO WIN HER HEART is a finalist in the Long Historical Romance 2012 Carol Awards. Congrats Karen!

      In the spirit of celebrating I will go ahead and reveal NOW that To Win Her Heart's hero, Levi Grant, is the 08/15/2012 Featured Hero. This was set up well before today, which FURTHER goes to show that I know a great hero when I read one, hehe. ;-)

  11. Man, I've been seeing this novel make the blogging rounds and keep trying to win it! This story sounds like a lot of fun, and I just love the cover! I'm a follower, so sign me up!!!

    Best wishes on the continued success of your writing career, Karen!

    1. Hi Emily! You are in the drawing for the copy of Short Straw Bride. Thanks for stopping in and best wishes in the drawing.

  12. I LOVE Karen's novels...and I look forward to reading this one...have read so many fabulous reviews...especially yours, Nancy :)

    Alamo....in Texas, right?

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

    1. KarenK, thanks for that. I do my best. =)

      But if you want that second entry into the drawing for Short Straw Bride you've got to do a little better than that. First because that info is in the feature and second because your fact is really a question, hehe. :-p
      I even put the link to the Alamo's webpage there for you. Now go embrace the history in historical and come back with something juicy, like how long the siege was or something. =D

    2. Hi Nance, Did you know Gregorio Esparza's son Enrique Esparza is buried only two miles from where Grandpa and Grandma Torres lived in Southton, Texas? There is a fact...

      Also, when Grandpa Esparza's estate went up for sale, a more
      than 100 year old framed picture of a beautiful flamingo was
      sold at a flea market in Corpus Christi, Texas. The person
      who bought it tore open the back of the picture and found an
      authentic Alamo document hidden behind it!!! Who knew????
      This made the front page of the Corpus Christi newspaper.

      Love, Mom

    3. I did know that, Mom! But its cool that my blog readers know why the Alamo is so important to our family. It's always a good day when you drop by my blog. =) Love you too!

  13. I keep hearing such great things about this book and would love to get my hands on it! And isn't the cover lovely???? Loved your review and the orange heads....UNIQUE!

    sherrinda (at) gmail (dot) com

    1. Well the word on the street is legit Sherrinda, the novel is very good but the hero is even better. It's why he's here. You are in the drawing for Short Straw Bride and welcome to FHF. =)

  14. Very unique review... I really liked it. I have read most of Karen's books, but not this one. Please drop my name in the giveaway.

    The Alamo originally Was a home for missionaries and their Indian converts, and remained so for almost 70 years.

    Does that earn me a 2nd entry? :)


    1. Anna W, welcome, and you bet it does! Two entries into the drawing for the copy of Short Straw Bride. What I'll probably be forever calling the "hero buffet" now. :-p

  15. Would love to read "Short Straw Bride". Thanks for the opportunity!


  16. Gwendolyn, welcome to FHF. You're in the drawing for Short Straw Bride.

  17. Karen Witemeyer is my favorite author! I have her first 3, read them and Loved them! Can't wait to get Short-Straw Bride.

    Davey Crockett was killed at the Alamo.

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy! God Bless!
    Abigail Richmond

    1. Hey Abigail, you just answered my question about whether or not to do the drawing sooner. Thanks for that! Two weeks can seem like an impossibly long time but I think we'll stick with it for now. I liked your fact. Not that Mr. Crockett was killed of course, but it made me laugh because I was like, well... that's true. =) You have double entries into the drawing happening next week and stick around. We have another Witemeyer hero coming in August, and of course WELCOME to FHF!

  18. I have tried to comment several times with no luck...but well try again...because I really want to win a paperback copy of 'Short-Straw Bride' by writer Karen Witemeyer...I have shared on facebook and twitter.......babyruthmac16@yahoo.com

    1. eyeballlucy, don't worry, we got you in the drawing for the print copy. The drawing is TOMORROW!!! =)

  19. WINNERS!!!

    The print copy of Short Straw Bride goes to Abigail R!
    The $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card goes to Carol Moncado!

    Thank you for playing everyone! Our next hero in less than 24 hours...

    Let me know if you like seeing the random generators or not. I personally like the forced transparency that I got everyone's entries correct and it is a true "random" drawing. But if I'm that #2 person, I'm also like, ARGH!!!

    List Randomizer (Print Copy)

    There were 12 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

    Abigail R
    Abigail R
    Anna W
    Anna W
    Dawn Crandall
    Emily R

    Timestamp: 2012-07-31 05:21:01 UTC

    List Randomizer (Gift Card)

    There were 5 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

    Carol Moncado
    Melissa Jagears
    Clari Dees
    Liz R

    Timestamp: 2012-07-31 05:26:57 UTC

  20. I LOVE her writing, and I LOVED this book. I can't wait to read about the other brothers. I've read all of her books, and can't wait for the next.

    1. Me too! I am a huge Karen Witemeyer fan. It's funny how I discovered her work. She guest blogged in Seekerville with a fan-fiction opportunity so I bought her new release (at the time) just to be able to participate. And I LOVED IT!
      And she made me a fan for life.
      Even before I won the fan-fiction challenge, hehe.