Yes, another book is on the way. The Roosevelt Cottage, the fifth Big Bend Country Mystery, is about 90% complete. But it's been interrupted by my textbook publisher wanting a tenth edition of Everything's An Argument, which I co-author with Stanford University professor, Andrea Lunsford. I think The Roosevelt Cottage will benefit from the pause, giving me some distance on what I've written so far.

Those of...


Here's the cover of The Mule Ears, fourth book in the Big Bend Country Mystery series. The striking image shot at Big Bend National Park is by Mark Cunningham, an avid photographer recently featured in Big Bend Literary Magazine.


As I've explained in earlier versions of this posting, I hoped that The Mule Ears would appear by late fall, 2022. But I held it back while I sketched out the plot for the fifth book in the Big Bend Country Mystery series—tentatively entitled The Roosevelt Cottage—tweakingThe Mule Ears to lead neatly into that climactic story.

Then I fell off my mountain bike. Surgery was required, slowing me down yet more....


The Lost Mine Trail, the third book in the Big Bend Country Mysteries series, is 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...


I'm happy to report that the Lone Star Cowboy Poetry Gathering returned in person in February 2022 after a pandemic layoff. Once again in Alpine, hearty live crowds enjoyed the distinctive style of authentic cowboy poetry, music, and story-telling. And kudos to the organization (I'm a Partner member) for keeping that spirit alive with a virtual gathering in 2021. 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.


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...