Memory Lane with Lorraine Heath

It’s such a treat to be back here in my old stomping grounds, visiting with the fillies again. I’ve missed you, ladies, and am thrilled to see your blog and your westerns thriving.

I’m still writing the English-set novels but am excited that my earlier Texas-set novels which have been out of print for years now will soon be available (November 9) in electronic format through AvonBooks. With their re-release, I’ve been taking some treks down Memory Lane.

Sweet Lullaby holds a special place in my heart because it was my first book to sell. One night when I was working on it, my husband glanced over my shoulder and saw my hero’s name. “Jake?” he asked. “Couldn’t you come up with a better name than Jake?” All I could do was look at him and say, “Jake is his name.” How do you explain to a non-writer that characters have their own names and you can’t change them willy-nilly? It was quite satisfying the afternoon when I called him at work to let him know that Jake’s story sold. Jake put me on my career path and several years later, when we bought a house, my husband surprised me with a plaque that hangs on our patio. It simply says, “The House that Jake Built.”

Jake gave me my start in this wonderful, wacky, crazy world that we call publishing. Jesse followed Jake. Then Clay, Houston, Dallas, and Austin. I always think of my stories as belonging to the heroes. It’s their journey to redemption and love.

When I began writing Texas-set stories, I wanted to provide as realistic a flavor of Texas as I could. To that end, in Sweet Lullaby, I included a jousting tournament. The pageantry of medieval England became popular in Texas following the Civil War. The tournaments were usually held during Fourth of July picnics or other holidays. The local residents would gather as the young men transformed into knights.

These tournaments were highly anticipated and the young men would not only practice for weeks before the event took place, but they also had special costumes that they wore. Black shirts and trousers were trimmed in silver while plumes decorated broad brimmed hats. In Plano, Texas, it is reported that the men also wore a long sash of colored ribbon with a large rosette positioned where the sash crossed.

In West Texas, the young men would assume a different name such as “Morning Star” or “Black Warrior.” In the Dallas area, the participants represented their location and were announced as “Knight of Plano” or “Knight of Spring Creek.”

The track that the horses ran would vary in length from one hundred to three hundred yards. Five posts were positioned along the length of the course. Each post held a ring that dangled from a crossbar.

The spectators would gather along the track. An announcer would yell, “Knight of Plano! Ready! Ride!” and the first contestant would gallop his horse the length of the track and attempt to catch the ring using his long, spiked steel lance. Each challenger rode the length of the track three times and the one who gathered the most rings was proclaimed the Plumed or Champion Knight. He chose a lady to be his queen for the remainder of the festivities, which often included a ball or a square dance.

The British are credited with bringing this tradition with them when they came to settle in Texas. Ivanhoe was also a popular book at the time and fired many a young man’s imagination.

[Sources: Christmas in Texas by Elizabeth Silverthorne, copyrighted 1990; Plano, Texas, the Early Years compiled by the Friends of the Plano Public Library, copyrighted 1985.]

I still love reading books on the history of Texas. Texas is such a large and diverse state. I love the tough and gritty cowboy. And I love the fillies! Thank you, ladies, for having me visit today.

Anyone who comments today will be entered into a drawing for a $20 gift card from Amazon, B&N, or Borders—winner’s choice.  AND three lucky winners will receive a copy of the western anthology My Heroes Have Always been Cowboys.

Happy Trails!

Lorraine

Avon Books is rereleasing all six of Lorraine’s Texas-set historicals! Visit Lorraine’s website, www.LorraineHeath.com, to see the new covers of her westerns, coming November 9, 2010, as well as all of her latest releases from AvonRomance.

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39 thoughts on “Memory Lane with Lorraine Heath”

  1. I’ve not read any of your westerns, but I do enjoy your English-set novels. I will look forward to reading your westerns.

  2. Wow. I never would have thought of jousting and Texas. I am from Maryland where jousting in the state sport but am fascinated about all those rough and ready cowboys getting into the sport!

    Looking forward to reading your books.

    Peace, Julie

  3. Hi Lorraine! Welcome back to P&P! Your westerns are among the first romances I ever read. It was love at first read and it still is. Cute story about your husband and your hero’s name. Jake works for me! So do Clay, Austin, Houston and Dallas.

  4. Lorraine,thanks for coming back again,welcome!Great post,I love a western theme,love your books,keep up the great work!

  5. I’m relatively new to your work. I hadn’t realized that these types of tournaments were /are popular in the USA. They do not have them in Wisconsin.

    I’m definitely going to look for your earlier stories with the English heroes. Do you have ties to England? I didn’t know that their were a lot of English settlers in Texas. I thought they mostly settled in New England. Fascinating!

    The only time I saw a competition with rings and men on horses was in the movie Man From Snowy River!

  6. I like Texas also.(Have a daughter that lives there now). Love the western heroes. Thanks for a great giveaway.

  7. Lorraine, I’ve read only a few of your westerns, having mainly red your English historicals. That’s great that some of your older books are being reissued.

  8. This interesting post was a great introduction to your writing which sounds fascinating. The Western aspect appeals to me gretly an these books are delightful. thanks.

  9. I’ve read some of the older books. I love reading cowboy books. Jake is one of my fave names. Although I’ve seen it in a lot of western historicals, I like it from watching Sixteen Candles. One of the main characters name is Jake Ryan. Very sweet about the plaque. I’m glad they are releasing these into ebooks. I’ll have to get a few of them.

  10. I am so glad that I have some your westerns on my keeper shelf. Have enjoyed them. I made sure we had your books at our library and they are popular.
    How very interesting. I knew Maryland had jousting tournaments, it is the state sport, but certainly had no idea that it was such a big thing in Texas.
    Thank you for such an interesting post.

  11. I love all your books. I have read your westerns and just finished Passions of a Wicked Earl. I am looking forward to reading Pleasures of a Notorious Gentleman (November) and Waking Up With a Duke. I am sorry I will have to wait so long for that one. Thanks again for the pleasure of reading your books.

  12. Hi Lorraine,
    Wow, I didn’t realize they had jousting tournaments in Texas either. I enjoyed reading your post and look forward to reading your books.
    Love the name Jake!

  13. Hello, Lorraine! I am a great fan of yours and quite delighted to see you here at Petticoats & Pistols : ) You are a terrific storyteller! I am collecting your work, mixing newer reads with older releases. I read a wide variety of genres, and you write so very well in them all : ) Historical Western Romance is my favorite–how great that your earlier Western titles are being reissued for a new market! My favorite book of yours so far is “Surrender to the Devil”–the wonderful, wonderful love story of Frannie and Sterling!

  14. Hi Lorraine. I love your books. I did not know that they had jousting tournaments in Texas. What a fascinating historical event. 🙂

  15. I have been a fan for a long time. I like the way you write and have recommened you to my reading buddies.
    Interesting information about the jousting.
    Go Texas Rangers!

  16. Those tournaments sound like a lot of fun. If there were any close by where I live in California I would go see them. Would love to read one of your books.

  17. I have read a couple of your books, but not any of your westerns. I would love to read one of your westerns. I have been hooked on westerns for quite some time. I love mes some cowboys that is for sure!

  18. I remember reading some of Lorraine’s Texas set books many years ago, and while my memory is spotty on them I do remember they were pretty emotional and intense and I did enjoy them a lot.

  19. Hello, Ms. Lorraine,

    Welcome to the Junction! I recently found some
    of your Texas books and I’ve begun reading these
    older editions. I just finished The Ladies’ Man
    and will be moving on to your Texas Trilogy.(It
    is a 3-in-1 hardback copy.) I’m a native Texan
    who loves to read books set in my state. I’m going
    to continue my search for more of the older copies, but will also look forward to the re-releases that will be available soon.

    Pat Cochran

  20. I am in love with the cover of My Heroes Have Always been Cowboys… oh boy what a cowboy! Have to look for the books listed above… thanks for sharing! 😀

  21. your husband is awesome!
    i love that plaque!
    course…i love the name jake too 🙂

    oh my goodnes–i love the idea of the jousting!!
    combining two types of men that make me woozy…cowboys and knights
    sigh
    what a thrill to be chosen as queen for a day 🙂

  22. I am new to your work as well, hard to believe. I just read “A Matter of Temptation”, loved it! And you have done westerns? Hee-HAAA! Cannot wait to check those out as well! So glad you have such a full back-list for me to check out!

  23. I am a huge reader of all kinds of books. I started as a child reading historicals & loving western settings in particular. Over the years, I think I became burned out & mostly read other genres. I found your book Sweet Lullaby & my love of western romances has renewed my love of reading. I then was on a mission to find all your westerns & have gotten many of them. I just finished Always to Remember and loved it too.

    Now I need to build more bookshelves, because I won’t let these go!

    Thank you for so many happy hours!!

  24. I never knew about the jousting in Texas either. I could have sworn I had read some of your westerns but somehow I missed them. It’s something I need to look into 🙂 And how sweet of your husband! Jake is a great name lol.

  25. Congrats on the new release, Lorraine. I’m a fan of your historicals set in England, but haven’t yet read any of your westerns.

  26. All of your historicals are great and any Western is dear to my heart. They are so real and wonderful. Congratulations and best wishes.

  27. Your historicals set in England are something I enjoy so I know that Westerns especially in Texas will be a pleasure to read.

  28. Hi Lorraine and welcome back to the Junction! Sorry I’m late popping in–darn that day job. 🙂

    You know how much I love Houston–I’m so glad more readers will have a chance to meet him.

    Ladies, if you haven’t read Lorraine’s westerns, don’t miss them. TEXAS DESTINY, Houston’s story, is on my “never-ever-going-to-part-with-this-book” shelf. Talk about a wounded hero. I think I need to re-read him this weekend.

  29. Thanks, Tracy, for inviting me. And no problem with the late popping in. I’m getting back here much later than I’d planned. Had several items today that had to get back to those who needed them.

    I’m so glad that you all found the jousting in Texas interesting. I was fascinated by it when I found it. Included a jousting scene in Sweet Lullaby. I love reading documents from the 1800’s.

    It’s just so wonderful to see all of here.

  30. I enjoy reading your stories. I like to also read about Texas…it has some of the similar History of the state of Arizona where I grew up. I like reading anything about the Old West.

  31. Hi, Lorraine,

    It’s great to see you here! I’m a big fan of your books, especially the westerns, and I enjoyed your blog. 🙂

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