The Lost Mine Trail, the third book in the Big Bend Country Mysteries series, is now available on Amazon in paperback or as an ebook: No Virus, No Politics, Just Murder.

It's a complex tale of crime and retribution. New characters appear, but many favorites return too: Clayton Shoot and Claire Harp, of course, Velma Furcron, Lee Perciak, the Nixons, and Gretchyn Whyrl. Alonso Rangel & Fiona Tusk-Rangel are...


The next live poetry gathering in Big Bend Country is Covid-delayed until February 2022. But you don't have to wait until then to enjoy the distinctive style of music, story-telling, and poetry that attracts so many loyal fans. The Lone Star Cowboy Poetry folks are organizing a virtual gathering for us all to enjoy. For more information, you can go...

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Think Clayton Shoot is far-fetched as a name for a fictional sheriff? Think again. In fall 2020, the write-in candidate for Sheriff of Brewster County was one Will Drawe. Only in Texas.

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Cowboy poets returned to Alpine, Texas, on February 21-22, 2020. While the gathering had a new name and management, the tradition of singing songs and reciting poetry of the American West continued, drawing an enthusiastic crowd—and more young people than ever before. Such gatherings occur annually all around the country, though the 2021 gathering had to be canceled because of COVID.

Such an event also plays a big part in the third...


I've told this story a number of times to friends. In December 2018, as I was closing in on the final chapters of The South Rim Trail, my nine-month old schnauzer pups—left alone in the house—tore apart the sole copy of my detailed outline for the book.

Of course, any author of mysteries needs tight control over who is doing what to whom when. So I'd prepared a scene-by-scene description for my story using the...


Early copies of The South Rim Trail shipped with an error on the spine. New books now come with the correct spelling. Many eyes missed the seemingly obvious gaffe, mine included, of course.


Look closely at the selfie that accompanies my Facebook posts or Amazon reviews (as JRAlpine) and you'll see this painting in the background. It plays a huge role in The South Rim Trail. Of course, you'll have to read the novel to learn all the details.

Terlingua Townhouse is a work in a style called plein air, and if you don't know what that means, that's yet another reason to read the novel. And if you do...


Copyediting can be every bit as tough as composing. When I wrote textbooks, my manuscripts went through at least two or (more often) three levels of professional review to get every detail right—and even then errors slipped through.

I don't have that luxury now. Just one copyeditor and so many reviews of the manuscript on my own that I know parts of it almost by heart. And there's he rub. Very soon, I'm reading what I think...


With theThe South Rim Trail now available, I made a list of places or sites in Big Bend Country mentioned in the book. Authors often take liberties with locales and geography, but part of the fun for readers of series like the Big Bend Country Mysteries is recognizing familiar places or discovering new ones. Let me know if there are any West Texas spots I should take my characters to in future books.


Just finished the important task of synching the upcoming book in the Big Bend Mysteries series The South Rim Trail with the first book in the series The Window Trail. I made dozens of small changes in the latest manuscript to be certain the community introduced in the first book jibes with the one in the second. For example, one character had changed eye color (fixed).

I also revisited sites in Big Bend country to be...


Mystery writer J.A. Jance pays attention to the cars her characters own. In Kiss of the Bees, it matters when a new tribal attorney on an Arizona reservation pulls up in a Saab 9000 rather than a Chevy or Ford pickup. Everyone notices.

So characters living in Far West Texas can’t drive just anything either.

With the nearest supercharger 100 miles away, Teslas are rare as Ferraris—though I’ve seen both out here recently....


J J Rusz discusses The Window Trail and The South Rim Trail in an interview with Charlotte Canion for Indie Beacon Radio (February 12, 2019 from Alpine, Texas). Rusz explains his experiences as an author, his process of writing, and the ideas behind the Big Bend Country Mystery series. (30.27 minutes / 12 February 2019)

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