Message From The Author

Author's Message

In this, the second book in my Lone Star Legends series, readers are once again transported back to the year 1888 and Eagle Pass, Texas, where wild mavericks run free on the prairie and Longhorns graze contentedly along the verdant banks of the Rio Grande.

At least…they’re free and content until rustlers, bandits and Apache raiding parties slip into the peaceful valleys….

It was a time of change, when motorcars and motorcycles were the new-fangled gadgets that had the men in the barber shop buzzing, while women whispered their wishes of owning electric-powered sewing machines and telephones as they served pot luck dinners in the church basement.

Locomotives chugged into town, putting an end to annual cattle drives, and the hard-hit ranchers struggled with “progress” as weevils and tornadoes destroyed fields of feed. Anthrax felled livestock, forcing them to let hundreds of acres go fallow until the deadly disease ran its course. Strange illnesses steamed into town on the steel wheels of the train, stealing life and calm and peace of mind.

Thanks to pluck and backbone and dint of their own hard-working ethics, these courageous men and women endured—and survived. And because of their drive and determination to succeed despite all odds, they built a legacy that lives on, even today.

Their strength of character, mind, and body inspired this series, set on the untamed grasslands of Texas. They inspired some of television’s earliest and most popular shows, and I was one of thousands of children whose weekends didn’t feel complete without a hefty dose of rootin’ tootin’ ridin’ shootin’ Saturday morning Westerns, starring characters who rescued damsels in distress, and whose best friends had names like Trigger and Silver, Topper and Champion. I fell in love with cowboys, and I fell in love with horses, too.

Now, anyone who knows me can tell you that I’m hardly a horsewoman. As proof, they might tell you the story of honeymooning me, astride an elderly steed whose cataracts didn’t stop him from dashing between trees planted so closely that I wondered if my new husband would remember the “for better or worse” part of his vow after I’d been fitted for knee-to-shoe prostheses.

Once the old guy tired of his game, he delivered me safely to the barn. Afterward, I made it my business to learn as much as I could about the beautiful beasts. Lesson One: They not only recognize greenhorns when they see them, but delight in taunting those dumb enough to climb into their saddles. I learned my lesson well, and although this greenhorn hasn’t been riding since, I will always appreciate the intelligence, grace and magnificence of this creature called “horse.”

It seems only natural that so many of my novels feature the heroic men in plaid shirts and blue jeans and the loyal mounts without whom they couldn’t save the day.

Maverick Heart is no exception. I’ve heard from readers who told me they could taste the grit of the dry Texas wind. They admired Levee’s pluck for the pluck that inspired her to drive the chuck wagon on the Neville’s last cattle drive, and rooted for every one of those rugged wranglers…and outlaw Black Jack Ketchum…inspired by gratitude when Levee patched up one of his men, joined the Nevilles’ fight against those thievin’ rustlers.

“It was the perfect story,” one fan-friend wrote. “I laughed, I cried, I worried and I cheered.”

“It’s refreshing to know,” wrote a woman from San Antonio, “that I can escape to a time and a way of life that my ancestors lived, just by picking up a book by Loree Lough.”

A lady in Burlington, NY said, “Your stories never fail to take me on flights of fancy.”

And a man in Salem, OR wrote, “I’ve read every Zane Grey novel ever written, and yours are right up there when it comes to the excitement of a good old-fashioned Western.”

Yes, my love affair with The Old West inspired me to write about that incredible period from American history, but it’s those dozens of letters that arrive in my mailbox every week that keeps me writing them, and it’s those letters that will keep me at it until they pry the keyboard from my cold, dead hands!

Happy reading, y’all!
- ‪Jean Johnston‬

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