The Frog Blog

J.R. Sparlin discusses things

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


I finally have the new Kindle edition ready!  I must say this was a challenge, as I am not what you would call computer-savvy.  It's available on Amazon, along with its print counterpart.  Now I'll start working on Nook . . .

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Sea at Mughain Republished!

Well, I got annoyed with The Sea at Mughain being out of print.  It was still selling copies here and there so I thought . . . why not?  I self-published it, under the imprint Dragon Central Publishing, with very minor changes to the text.  It is now available in print from Amazon, and I am working on Kindle and Nook editions, which should be ready at some point.  Here’s the new cover!

Cover photograph copyright Pierre Leclerc/Shutterstock.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sea Change

I am sad to announce that I have decided to take The Sea at Mughain out of print at this time.  I am very grateful to all of you who have supported the book, and I hope to have it published again at some point, either on its own or in a collection of my other stories.  In the meantime, the remaining print copies will be available for sale at Hero Complex Games and Entertainment in Wichita, KS.

If anyone would like to offer me a film deal for a million dollars, just let me know . . .

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Timeless Trouble

Unfortunately, Pugalicious Press, which published my short story "The Angel of the Bastille" in Timeless: An Anthology of Young Adult Romance, is going out of business.  The anthology seems to still be available for Kindle and Nook, but I'm not sure for how long!

Here's one more look at the beautiful cover!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Castle Dunseverick

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, here is a poem from my young-adult novella, The Sea at Mughain (Sam’s Dot Publishing, 2010).  It’s set in ancient Ireland.

Castle Dunseverick

Now are the sounds of battle stilled
And a still green path
Leads to the broken tower
Overlooking the sea.
Look to the north, Dunseverick
Ancient seat of kings.

Where is the hall at the end of the day
And the king feasting?
Where is the fire to warm a guest
At travel’s end?
Where is the song that cheered the king
Before the darkness of night falls
The waves crash forever
But the hall is no more.

Before the broken tower
The kings of Dal Riata
Looked out to sea
And plotted conquest.
But now
A smooth, green, secret turf
Hides the place of the hall
The laughter of kings is in the waves
The song of the hall is in the wind
Caressing the broken tower.

Here’s a picture of Dunseverick as it is today.  (Photo credit Wikepedia; sorry, former students.)


The Sea at Mughain is available in print or Kindle from Amazon; as an e-book for many formats, including Nook, on Smashwords; and in print at Hero Complex Games and Entertainment in Wichita, Kansas.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  And, as David Letterman said, “What better way to honor Ireland’s greatest saint than by sitting on a curb vomiting into a green plastic hat.”


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanks to the Kansas SCBWI

Several months ago, I posted the news that I had won the inaugural 2012 Clare Vanderpool Work of Promise Scholarship, awarded by the Kansas chapter of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators.  I was very excited about the award, and looked forward to attending the KS SCBWI conference in October.

Things do not always go as we plan or wish.  We have had an ongoing family emergency for several months.  The day before the conference the situation worsened, and by the next day became alarming.  I emailed Colleen Ryckert Cook, the KS SCBWI regional advisor, and told her I could not attend.  She sent me a kind and gracious email telling me I could keep the award I was so proud of, even though I could not make it to the conference.

The next day, the emergency situation deepened into what I most feared and we suffered an incalculable loss, but I was here at home where I was needed and where I wanted to be.

Thank you to Colleen and the KS SCBWI for giving me a little light in a dark and terrible time.  


Monday, August 13, 2012

The Frog Blog Interview with Gayle C. Krause

Today we have a very special post – the first FROG BLOG INTERVIEW with Gayle C. Krause!  Gayle is one of my fellow Timeless authors, and her story, “The Storyteller’s Daughter,” kicks off the collection.  It’s a great story with an exciting plot and an exotic locale. 

AND, I’m giving away a free e-copy of the book!  

A member of SCBWI, YALITCHAT and THE POETS’ GARAGE, Gayle C. Krause is a published children’s author. Rock Star Santa (Scholastic 2008) has sold over 138,000 copies to date. Her work is in Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul 2, Meanderings; An Anthology of Poetic Verse (Diversion Press) and soon will appear in And the Crowd Goes Wild -A Global Gathering of Sports Poems (Friesens Press) coming this month.  Please visit her website at and her blog at

Here, Gayle and I discuss her writing in general and “The Storyteller’s Daughter” in particular.  

Q:  What made you want to be a writer?

A: I’ve been writing all my life, first poems about broken hearts in high school (don’t we all do that? J), then a poignant one when my grandfather died suddenly.

As an educator, who trained prospective teachers, Children’s Literature was my favorite unit to teach. I was a ‘do what I do,’ not ‘do what I say’ teacher, and every assignment I gave the students I did, too. Consequently, I wrote children’s plays starring my high school students and my Pre-K children, which they performed for the children’s parents. These plays were a perfect segue into picture books. 

And of course, I was, and still am an avid reader. I love fantasy and historical fiction and when I read the call for the YA Timeless anthology I knew I had to combine my two favorite genres. I came up with a historical fantasy for my selection.

Q:  "The Storyteller's Daughter" is set long ago in the Middle East.  How did you become interested in this locale and its stories?  How did you get the idea for this story?  What kind of research did you do?

One of the parties I developed for my nursery school was “An Arabian Nights” party. We turned the classroom into a nomad tent, took the legs off the children’s tables and sat around on pillows on the floor. I taught the high school students to prepare Middle Eastern food and to sew harem costumes, so essentially ‘The Storyteller’s Daughter’ was living in my head since that party.

Another factor is that a few years ago I participated in National Geographic’s Deep Ancestry Study and my familial information came back that my mother’s long-ago ancestors traveled across Northern Africa, through the desert and across the Mediterranean Sea to land in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and the southern hills of Georgia.

As soon as I found this out I thought about writing a Middle Eastern fantasy about one of my female ancestors and “The Storyteller’s Daughter” was born. (Though I’m really not related to Scheherazade, or maybe I am, with all those stories in my head J)

Q:  What wonderful parties those must have been!  Your classes were lucky.  =)

In "The Storyteller's Daughter" you use wonderful similes.  They always reference and strengthen the world of the story.  Is this a "writing gift" you've always had, or did you have to develop this skill?

A: It’s a by-product of my teaching days. When I explained a concept to my students I always gave them examples to help them understand what I was saying. I guess the similies serve the same purpose in my writing, especially in cases of words the young reader may not be familiar with.

Q:  Why did you decide to submit this story to Pugalicious Press for Timeless?

A: As I said above, the concept was in my head for a while and the specifications of a YA historical romance short story coaxed it out.

Q:  What are your current projects?  Are you working on anything new?  Anything being published soon?

A: Currently, I have two projects in different stages:

            1.      A YA sexy historical set in the early 1700’s in the Caribbean. (first revision)

            2.      A YA contemporary romance with thriller and light paranormal elements (ready to sub     to agents.)

Q:  Those sound fantastic!  What advice do you have for teen writers, or other writers just starting out? 

 A: My main advice is when a character whispers in your ear… “LISTEN.” And once you start writing… “FINISH” what you start.

Q:  If you were a frog, what kind of frog would you be?

A: Ha! That’s easy…….The Frog Prince, of course.

Thanks Gayle, and we look forward to hearing about all your future endeavors!  And now – the giveaway!

Leave a comment on this post by Sunday August 19 by midnight, and you’ll be entered into the drawing.  The winner gets a free e-copy of Timeless in Kindle, Nook, or PDF.

Love stories that transcend time. From a thousand years ago to the unknown future, Timeless will show how love is timeless. This anthology of love stories contains "The Storyteller's Daughter" by Gayle C. Krause, "And The Nightingale Sang" by Kip Wilson, "A Light Of Victory" by Jennifer Carson, "The Angel Of The Bastille" by J.R. Sparlin, "Stella's Hero" by Kristine Carlson Asselin & Ansha Kotyk, "In This Moment" by D. E. Atwood, and "It Lies Beneath" by Magda Knight.

Timeless: An Anthology of Young Adult Romance is available for Kindle, Nook, and other e-formats.