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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Welcome, Travis Erwin!

I love Twitter. If you know me at all, you know this about me. One of the reasons I love Twitter so much is that I have met so many interesting people through the site. Point in case: author Travis Erwin!
Originally, I just thought Travis was a fun, and funny, guy who liked to talk books, family life and regular-Joe stuff. He's down to earth and easy to chat with. Then I saw him tweeting about his next book coming out and realized that this 6ft 5in Texan with a manly beard and kickass cowboy boots writes Women's Fiction.
Pretty much awesome.
Now WF isn't all he writes, but I think it's so cool that Travis has ventured into a genre primarily made up of female authors. And more power to him. After all, haven't we (female authors) been pretty vocal about how we want equal recognition to our male counterparts in primarily male genres such as Science Fiction or Thrillers? Except not many men seem to want to break into Women's Fiction, it seems. Travis is one of the only brave (crazy?) ones!
I haven't gotten a chance to read his newest release (out on Kindle now, soon in print) Twisted Roads, but it sounds a lot like what I've come to expect from Travis: heart, humor and Texas heat.

Please welcome Travis Erwin to Lady Scribes:

Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Sound advice in theory, but the writer in my sure hates to begin any piece with a cliché.
And let’s face it we’ve all been guilt of judging books, people, cars, and a ton of other things by their covers.  It’s hard not to.  No, it’s not right or fair, but neither is life.  We trudge on.
My novel Twisted Roads is set in the small town of Grand, Texas. The kind of town where nothing is forgotten and few things are ever forgiven. Where books and everything else are judged by their covers.
I first began writing this tale thirteen years ago. It began with a what if … What if a man sacrificed everything to love a woman … a woman he couldn’t have.
Now the Texas storyteller in me quickly realized this woman’s story was more interesting than the man’s because she could have him or anything else in this town she wanted. However, the things she truly wanted wouldn’t look good in the eyes of the town and this woman became enslaved by her own image.
The final draft looks nothing like that original manuscript though the principals of the story remain.
Here’s the funny thing. I nearly sold that original manuscript to a big New York house. My very first completed novel captured the interest of a real live New York editor without me ever sending a single query letter.
And yes that story has to do with image.
I’d just finished the original draft when I made plans to attend a writing conference.  I noticed a pre-conference workshop where you could submit a sample of your book and if selected have it critiqued by a New York editor. I sent my sample. I was picked. 
Now I had no idea what kind of story I’d written. I’d simply set out to tell a tale and I’d done it. This editor, she had no idea who had written each piece as we submitted anonymously. Twenty five pages plus a synopsis.
So the workshop begins and she announces the name of my book first and asks the author to stand up and read from the beginning. As I stood this powerful editor shot me the strangest of looks and I barely got a paragraph read before she said, “Wait, stop. Stop right there.”
Now I assumed I was about to get trashed for a crummy beginning or some other writing craft memorandum that I had no knowledge of. But then she smiled and said, “I can’t believe a man wrote this. In my twenty five years of editing romance and women’s fiction I’ve only seen a handful of stories with this kind of emotional impact written by a man. And they were all gay men.”
The crowd laughed and the editor said, “But something tells me you are not gay.”
The crowd laughed again and the editor chuckled and said, “I love the idea of a big scrapping man with a bushy beard and a Texas twang writing women’s fiction, so please keep reading.”
In that moment I surprised her, and she surprised me. Because until then I had no idea I was writing women’s fiction. I didn’t even know what women’s fiction was. I began researching and discovered some of my favorite books and authors were considered Women’s Fiction. To me they were, and are, simply good character driven stories full of heart and real emotion. I never knew a man wasn’t supposed to stumble into that domain.
That editor carried my book back to New York and for nearly a year we worked together to improve it as it really was rough. Then she pitched the book to her superiors and the marketing team said, “A big hairy Texan who writes Women’s Fiction? We don’t think that will work. “
Devastated at the time, I put the book aside and began a new novel.
Here we are better than a decade later. With several rounds of rewrites and what would have been my debut novel is once again my debut novel. I did publish a humorous coming-of-age memoir back in 2011 titled THE FEEDSTORE CHRONICLES, but beneath this rugged covering my writing soul is that of a Women’s Fiction author.
Yes, I get confused for a Harley riding motorcycle man far more often than I do as the author of emotionally charged stories but what’s a guy to do? It’s not just books that get judged by their covers.


A tarnished name and a bitter heart.

That's all Angela Ross took when she fled Texas fifteen
years ago as a teenager. Now, she's back to take care of
her grandmother’s estate. But in a town like Grand, where
reputation means much more than the truth, some sins are
never forgotten much less forgiven.
Shelly Sampson has worked hard to cultivate her image as
reigning queen of Grand, but long kept secrets mean her
crown is precarious at best. And nothing could knock her
tiara off faster than a chill wind from the past ... Like the
return of Angela Ross.

Left with nothing but an old house and painful memories,
Angela soon takes a job at the local tavern owned by Lucas
Cahill hoping to earn enough to leave this town behind for
good. Lucas still holds the same flame for Shelly Sampson
that he had in high school and though she welcomes his
attention, he can’t understand why she won’t leave her rocky
marriage behind to finally give them a chance at happiness.

Once Angela, Shelly’s old arch rival, enters the picture as
Lucas’ new employee, Shelly’s desperation to keep her life and
secrets intact starts a chain reaction whose outcome no one in
Grand could have ever predicted.

Thank you so much for dropping by Lady Scribes and sharing your new release with us, Travis! I look forward to reading it, myself. 

If any of our readers would like to catch up with Travis online, he can be found on

Twitter @traviserwin, his blog Bacon, Beer & Books or his Amazon Author Page. His novel Twisted Roads can be found on Amazon right now, and will be coming out in print from TAG Publishing LLC on June 1st, 2013.


  1. Hey Travis!

    Thanks for stopping by Lady Scribes!

    It is so very hard not to judge a book by it's cover, isn't it? But the best books are the ones that surprise you, that make you step back because you didn't expect THAT (whatever THAT is). Sounds like that's what you did with that editor. Very cool!!

    TWISTED ROADS sounds great! Good luck with your release!!

  2. Welcome to Lady Scribes, Travis!

    Hey, a writer has to write where his/her heart leads! Best of luck with Twisted Roads!

  3. Thanks for the warm welcome Ava and Deb. And a great big THANK YOU to Olivia for the invite to Lady Scribes.

  4. Hi Travis! Welcome to Lady Scribes. As a fellow Texan, I say howdy. LOL Congratulations on your new release. Do you have plans for any follow ups to Twisted Roads?

    1. Hi Lily , or should I say Howdy? Yes I do. I began writing women's fiction and it is still my favorite genre. I am currently working on another Texas set novel of women's fiction about a women who is convinced and rightfully so I might add that sex is ruining her life. It's sort of a dark comedy and I have several completed women's fiction novels that I hope will one day find a home. i also have ideas for two stories based on the characters of TWISTED ROADS. So many ideas so little time. If I have my way I will stick to women's fiction but sometimes another story screams so loud I have no choice but to write it and I do like humor as well even beyond humorous women's fiction. How's that for a long winded Texas yes?

    2. Ha! I love it. Sounds like we'll be following your career for years to come. :)

  5. Welcome to Lady Scribes, Travis! I love that you've gone against perceptions to write what was in you (even if you didn't knowingly go against them--I'm all for challenging, well, everything. :D). The blurb sounds fantastic. Congrats on your new release!

    1. Thank you Andris. I tend to think the best discoveries are accidental so while my love and appreciation for the genre was unintentional, I like to think it means I was meant to write these kinds of stories.

  6. Travis,
    I think that big New York publisher is going to be kicking themselves for passing up on your book. It sounds amazing! I'm so glad you could join us today at Lady Scribes, and thanks for sharing your story about how you ventured into writing women's fiction without even knowing it. Personally, I think that can be the best way to go. When you aren't focused on writing to a specific market, you're just concentrating on writing a good story with well-developed characters. :)

    1. Hi Samantha. If I'm honest it was a good thing. The novel is so much better now than it would have been then. Though I'm not going to lie their marketing power would sure be nice. But thankfully I have a made a few great friends in the writing community and in social media and they are helping me spread the word. I'm honored that the gang here at Lady Scribes is part of that.

  7. Travis,

    Welcome to Lady Scribes! I love your story. How awesome. And I love that you're not a tool, like another male women's fiction writer I've heard of ;) I can't wait to read your book -- Twisted Roads sounds awesome. Best of luck with the release, and be sure to come back and visit us again!

    1. Jerrica, I have been lurking for a while having discovered y'all via Olivia so I certainly will visit often. Lots of great and insightful writing here. Blogs used to be a huge part of my day, but time seems trickier these days. Thanks so much for the kind words.

  8. Welcome to Lady Scribes, Travis! I'll never forget my first RWA conference, when I was sitting at a table during a luncheon with a man and his wife. When he introduced himself, he said, "Hi! I'm Dan writing as Danielle so-and-so." I was shocked, but in a 'That is SO AWESOME' sort of way. I love to think that there are men out there who follow their writer's heart where ever it leads - and women too!

    The human condition is the human condition, so as far as I'm concerned we are all just writing for people :)

    Best of luck on your book!

    1. Erin you are so right. Its a shame labels get in the way sometimes. I haven't been to an RWA conventions in years and I was an awestruck newbie when I went last. I need to make another one.

    2. "The human condition is the human condition." Great point, Erin! Besides, we all write the male point of view in our stories and no one gets out of sorts about it.

    3. I had that exact thought about the male point of view, Samantha :)

  9. Welcome to Lady Scribes, Travis! Your blurb sounds wonderful, and your road to becoming a women's fiction writer is just as interesting! I just encountered another man who writes romance, and I was impressed by the depth of emotion in his writing. I look forward to reading TWISTED ROADS.

    1. Thank you Julie. I hope you find the book as interesting. Love and emotion are what drives us so any writer that can capture those elements is a book I will read so I'd love to check out this guy if you care to share his name.

  10. Yay, Travis! I'm so glad you could stop by and make us part of your day. Thank you for sharing your story, and I just downloaded my copy of Twisted Roads. I plan to get some reading done on our drive to FL tomorrow! :)

    1. You are awesome Olivia! Well except for that whole, salad eating healthy cooking thing, but don;t worry I won't hold that against you. Matter of fact if you ever come out Texas way I'll grill you and yours up a fine steak and serve all the beer y'all can drink.

  11. Welcome Travis!

    I love your cover and blurb. Honestly, I don't care what someone's gender is when they write a good book. Why: Because Good Book. heh.

    In any case, I'm very happy for you and wish you lots and lots of success!

    1. Thanks Marquita. I was really pleased with how this cover came out and that my publisher liked the concept.

  12. Welcome Travis! Cute cover. And Kudos to sticking to what you love and telling this story. Marquita couldn't have said it better. Good Book? Who cares what the gender of the author is. Can't wait to read it!

  13. Appreciate that Tes. That's always been my philosophy but I have heard a few wisecracks for reading a romance novel in the maintenance shop at work. I just laugh and say, "Wait until I get even by making you the inadequate lover in my next book."

    That shuts'em up.

  14. You know y'all have enough great reads listed in the sidebar that I will have stuff to read well into next year.

  15. I LOVE it! Not only the draw of your work that sounds absolutely intriguing...but that, as Olivia says, you're writing women's fiction! I know you say you've gotten a ribbing before for writing romance, however, I believe that doesn't necessarily have everything to do with you being a male. I have also dealt with the comments and the jokes...when in actuality, if you get down to it, I believe the bulk of us are in fact reading romance! ; )