The Frog Blog

J.R. Sparlin discusses things

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Court Wizard Reviewed in Renaissance Magazine!

The Court Wizard received a very lovely review in Issue 108 of Renaissance Magazine! This is a magazine available at Barnes and Noble and other brick-and-mortar stores, so it's very exciting. 

Here's an excerpt from the review by Jessica Titterington: "Overall, Winnifred's tale has all the hallmarks of a fun coming-of-age adventure story. She's refreshingly less a damsel in distress and more an emerging leader as she grows up. I'd recommend "The Court Wizard" to any pre-teen interested in medieval fantasy novels."

Friday, February 3, 2017

The New Colossus

"The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus (inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty)
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Photo credit Elcobbola

Sunday, January 29, 2017


The Book of Sir Thomas More by William Shakespeare, Act II, Scene 4:

You’ll put down strangers, 
Kill them, cut their throats, possess their houses, 
And lead the majesty of law in lyam
To slip him like a hound; alas, alas, say now the King, 
As he is clement if th’offender mourn, 
Should so much come too short of your great trespass 
As but to banish you: whither would you go? 
What country, by the nature of your error, 
Should give you harbour? Go you to France or Flanders, 
To any German province, Spain or Portugal, 
Nay, anywhere that not adheres to England, 
Why, you must needs be strangers, would you be pleas’d 
To find a nation of such barbarous temper 
That breaking out in hideous violence 
Would not afford you an abode on earth. 
Whet their detested knives against your throats, 
Spurn you like dogs, and like as if that God 
Owed not nor made not you, not that the elements 
Were not all appropriate to your comforts, 
But charter’d unto them? What would you think 
To be us’d thus? This is the strangers’ case 
And this your mountainish inhumanity.  

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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Friday, October 21, 2016

KidLlitCon 2016

Last weekend, I attended #KidLitCon 2016. This is an annual conference held in a different city each year, and this year it happened to be in Wichita. I had the fun of seeing The Court Wizard on a table for sale with other books at a conference for the first time. =)  I also met some very nice writers, bloggers, and librarians who accepted me into their group and made me feel at home in my own city.  #KidLitCon16

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

"Murder on Mykonos" Published in FICTION on the WEB!

My short story, "Murder on Mykonos," was published on May 27 in FICTION on the WEB! This is a free, online, British magazine. As the title implies, this story is a murder mystery. Editor Charlie Fish gave it this description:

Ginny is asked by her wealthy former roommate to accompany her characterful family on a yacht trip to Mykonos; by J.R. Sparlin.

If you'd like to read it, here's the link: "Murder on Mykonos" in FICTION on the WEB

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Tribute to David Letterman

My husband Derek and me, just after we attended a taping of
The Late Show with David Letterman last February

It has been one year today since the last airing of The Late Show with David Letterman. I wrote this letter to Dave shortly before his retirement. I doubt he had time to read it, but I am including it here to commemorate a great show and a big part of my life.

Dear Dave,

I started watching your show in 1983 with my dad. I was nine years old. (Apparently my mother did not know about this.) We had lots of fun watching the show together and wrote Top Ten lists and Viewer Mail letters, which we never mailed. Our favorite was:

            Dear Dave,

It was my ambition to write for you when I grew up. And I am a writer, although not a well-known one.

I think that because I have watched the show all my life, it has had a profound effect on my personality and sense of humor, and therefore on my writing. There are of course many influences in a person’s life. But if I am sarcastic and funny, with a finely honed sense of the absurd, it is, in part, because of you. I love how you take all the weird little things people do and make them funny. One of my favorite pieces from the show is “How Many Mice Can Fit in a Dunkin Doughnuts?”

In more recent years, my husband and I have visited New York a number of times, and have always made it a point to walk or ride past the theater. It has always been a big part, for me, of the magic that is New York City. We were able to go inside and attend two tapings of the show, which were amazing and magical, and I will never forget it.

And so I have watched the show through the triumphs and tragedies of my life. Just about a year ago, six hours after having major surgery, my nurses were startled to find me sitting up in bed, eating roast beef, watching Dave.

Thank you for the happiness, diversion, and sheer malicious glee you have given me and my family. I am very, very sad the show is ending, but I wish you great happiness in your retirement. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself now at 10:30 every night. Perhaps I will actually get to bed earlier.

Not likely.

Jennifer Sparlin
Wichita, KS