Sunday, December 20, 2009

Interview with William G. Bentrim, Children’s Author

I had the privilege of interviewing William G. Bentrim, a wonderful children’s author from bucolic Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Bill and I became friends through our interaction as children’s authors on GoodReads. He has been kind enough to let me interview him for my blog and will also be interviewing me.

Bill has written several children’s books, first for his grandchildren, and now for all children. His books, I Like to Whine, Daddy Goes on a Trip, Mommy’s Black Eye, and The Adventures of Hardy Belch, can be found on, Doylestown Bookshop, his website and someday soon practically any bookstore.

But now on to the interview.

BJS: Tell us a little about yourself.

WGB: It has been suggested that I am a hyperactive adult. That is certainly possible. I have a tendency to jump in with both feet whenever I tackle a project. I am retired. I had a computer networking company for 25 years and sold it. Prior to working with computers I had owned and operated a convenience store. My first real career was as a teacher and guidance counselor. I have had an exciting eclectic life that would not have been possible without the support of an absolutely wonderful wife and family. I am besotted with my grandchildren and love spending time with them. Golf and bridge are my primary recreations at this stage since my knees no longer tolerate volleyball or basketball. All in all I am one deliriously happy soul.

BJS: What is your latest published work?

WGB: “The Adventures of Hardy Belch” is my latest work. The Adventures of Hardy Belch chronicle the exciting and unbelievable adventures of a normal 12 year old boy and his 240 pound telepathic dog. Hardy and Tiny (his best friend and dog) find themselves in many predicaments but as a team and best friends they always end up helping others. Combining mystery and humor each story is written to entertain, and highlight the value of friendship, planning and selfless actions.

BJS: Why did you write this book?

WGB: My eldest grandson was getting too old for my picture books. I wanted to write a chapter book that would be appealing to pre-teens. I can’t seem to get away from trying to sneak in moral lessons though.

BJS: Where do you get your ideas from?

WGB: I am so full of ideas that I often feel my head is going to explode. In the computer business, it took my brother and my wife to keep me grounded and profitable. I have so many ideas I despair of ever getting them all in print but I am trying.

BJS: What are you working on right now?

WGB: “The Further Adventures of Hardy Belch” and “What About Me?,” which addresses the feelings of abandonment that well siblings often feel when there is a seriously ill sibling.

BJS: What advice can you share with other writers?

WGB: Write, write some more and then sit down and write more. You will only get better if you write more and get feedback from those who read it. Don’t be afraid to self publish and don’t feel like you must find a “publisher.” If you do great, if you don’t and want in print, do it yourself. My books are selling and I have done it without a publisher.

BJS: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

WGB: Life is grand and writing is a hoot. When I had a delightful 7-year-old come up to me and tell me “Mr. Bentrim, I loved your book,” it gave me a sense of fulfillment that is difficult to describe. If one child is moved or helped by one of my books I am a success in my mind. Rachel, with her kind comment, allowed me to feel like I am really an author.

BJS: Thank you, Bill.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Review of I Like to Whine

To whine or not to whine. This book helps solve the problem. A whining child will drive any parent a little bit nuts. But, let’s face it, we all whine to some extent. This book shows how annoying whining can be but in a very funny way. The author shows various whining scenarios with different animals. Some examples are quite common like refusing to eat, share toys, or clean his/her room. A wise owl explains the result of the animals’ actions or non-actions. Each case gets across the point but makes it funny and light-hearted. And, both the child and parent will see how annoying and unproductive it is when someone constantly whines. The illustrations are great. This book will teach a lesson while making both the child and parent laugh. I highly recommend I Like to Whine (!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Goodreads Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to Meghan Finley, Meredith Walsky, and Joy Gotmer! Out of 847 entries to the Goodreads Giveawy, these three are the lucky winners of a copy of A Surprise for Grandmother Rabbit. Congratulations, Meghan, Meredith, and Joy!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Book Reading and Signing

I'll be reading A Surprise for Grandmother Rabbit at the Children's Hour at Barnes and Noble in the Princeton MarketFair on Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at 10:30 a.m. Hope to see you.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Surprise for Grandmother Rabbit is now on Etsy

You can now purchase a personally inscribed and autographed copy of A Surprise for Grandmother Rabbit on Etsy. Go to:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Interview with Simon Rose, Author

I had the privilege of interviewing Simon Rose, a very successful Canadian children’s author. I “met” Simon when I joined Children’s Authors and Illustrators on Facebook. He’s the founder of this group and has been kind enough to let me interview him for my blog.Simon has written many novels for young people, some of which are The Doomsday Mask, The Heretic's Tomb, The Emerald Curse, The Clone Conspiracy, The Sorcerer's Letterbox, and The Alchemist's Portrait. He's also a contributing author to The Complete Guide to Writing Science Fiction: Volume One. But now, on to the interview . . .

BJS: Simon, please tell us a little about your books.

My books are in the science fiction and fantasy genre for middle grades, around ages eight to twelve. You can see full details of each of them, including excerpts and synopses (and you can even listen to recordings of my readings) at the Books page on my website.

The Alchemist's Portrait is a time-travel story, in which Matthew journeys through the centuries using magical paintings, which act as doorways into the past, in order to save the world from the clutches of an evil alchemist. The Sorcerer's Letterbox, another time-travel tale, is based on the famous mystery of the Princes in the Tower about Edward V and his brother Richard, Duke of York, who were supposedly murdered on the orders of Richard III in 1483. The Clone Conspiracy is a science fiction thriller involving clandestine laboratories and secret experiments, while The Emerald Curse, based on my own reading of comic books while growing up, concerns Sam's adventures in a bizarre, and at times deadly, superhero universe. The Heretic's Tomb is set in the medieval period once again, this time during the Black Death in 1349. My latest novel, The Doomsday Mask, was published in the spring. It's once again for ages 8–12 and in the science fiction and fantasy genre. It's a fast-paced adventure about ancient civilizations, mysterious artifacts, and shadowy secret societies.

BJS: As a new author, I’m totally impressed with anyone who has such a long list of published books. How long have you been writing and how did you get started?

SR: One of the best things about writing for kids is that I can write about the kinds of things that fascinated me when I was young. Stories can be very imaginative if they are for children, which makes writing them so much fun. And, of course, in science fiction or fantasy, more or less anything you can imagine is possible, as you craft stories involving ancient mysteries, the unexplained, the paranormal, science fiction, time travel, parallel universes, alternate realities, weird and wonderful characters, and a multitude of "what if" scenarios. Once I had children of my own, I came into contact with children's books again for the first time in many years. Picture books initially, of course, but then early chapter books and novels. When I decided to try my hand at writing novels and stories, I found myself drawn to the types of things I used to read as a child. I read lots of science fiction, as well as fantasy writers and ghost stories while growing up. I also read a tremendous number of comic books, in which the stories took me across the universe, into strange dimensions, into the land of the Norse gods or had me swinging from the New York rooftops. At high school, I studied a lot of history and have retained my interest in the subject up to the present day. I also read voraciously on ancient civilizations, mysteries, the supernatural, and the unexplained.

BJS: From reading Children’s Authors and Illustrators and from snooping around your blog and website, I’ve noticed you do a fair amount of teaching and that you offer seminars. Can you tell us a little about that?

Yes, I offer a wide range of presentations, workshops, and author-in-residence programs for schools and libraries. I cover such topics as where ideas come from, story structure, editing and revision, character development, time-travel stories, history, and research. You can learn more about them on my website and I offer study guides for all the books. I also conduct virtual author visits via video using the Skype network, and you can get some idea of how it works from my videos on YouTube.

I also offer workshops for adults, both in person and online, as well as online workshops for children, which are proving very popular. I did a lot of work in summer camps this year, some of which you can learn about on my website. In addition, here in Calgary I work as a writing instructor with home school children, the local school board's continuing education program, and the University. I am also an instructor with the National Writing for Children Centre and will be presenting at schools libraries in the UK as part of the Off the Shelf Festival of Writing and Reading this fall.

What are you working on now?

SR: I have another completed novel on a paranormal theme, which I am seeking a home for, if there are any interested editors and publishers reading this. I'm working on a number of editing projects for other writers, have numerous projects of my own for future novels, and I am collaborating on several picture books with a local illustrator. In addition to novel writing, I offer copywriting services for business, such as editorial content for websites. I have a few of those types of projects, as well as upcoming articles for magazines and online publications on a wide variety of topics, such as the articles written for Dark Roasted Blend on a bewildering variety of incredible and fantastic topics You can search for my articles on the Dark Roasted Blend home page. I'm also involved in a large local event this month called the Calgary Children's Book Fair and Conference.

BJS: I’m exhausted just listening to you but I’m also inspired. Any advice for aspiring children’s writers like me and so many others out there?

Writing is in some ways the easy part. It can be a very long process not only to write a book, but also to get it published. A book is a marathon measured in years rather than weeks or months. Don’t be afraid to revise and revise over and over again. Most authors go through many revisions before their work reaches its final format. Remember, too, that your book will never be to everyone’s taste, so don’t be discouraged. A firm belief in your own success is often what’s necessary. After all, if you don’t believe in your book, how can you expect other people to? Read as much as you can and write as often as you can. Keep an ideas file, even if it’s only a name, title, sentence, or an entire outline for a novel. You never know when you might get another piece of the puzzle, perhaps years later. You also mustn’t forget the marketing. You may produce the greatest book ever written. However, no one else is going to see it if your book doesn’t become known to potential readers. Be visible as an author. Do as many readings, signings, and personal appearances as you can. Get your name out there and hopefully the rest will follow. Especially for newly published authors, books don’t sell themselves and need a lot of help. You can read some of my tips and advice for writers at Ezine Articles. I also belong to a number of writing organizations and am the Assistant Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators in Western Canada.

Thank you for your time and all the great tips. Where can readers find out more about your books?

SR: Autographed copies of my books are always available from me directly, but they are also available at all the usual places such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other places online — and details can be found for each book on my website. You can also easily order any of the novels from your local bookstore if they don't have copies on the shelf. You can stay up-to-date with me and my work by visiting my website and blog, connecting as a friend on Facebook, joining Children's Authors and Illustrators on Facebook or my own groups for each of the novels or following me Twitter.

Thank you again.

Book Signing in Boston

Another book-signing event in Boston. Roslindale, a small village within Boston, is celebrating Open Studios this weekend and I've been asked to sign my books at Village Books on Saturday, November 7th beginning at 11:00 a.m. If you live in the Boston area, please stop by to visit. And, I'm sure you'll enjoy Open Studios, which is celebrated throughout Roslindale all weekend. Village Books is located at 751 South Street (Phone # 617-325-1994). I hope to see you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Back to Reality

I've been gone for awhile - off on a trip to Boston and then a nice long vacation in Arizona. Both were great fun! Arizona was a hiking trip mainly in the Grand Canyon and the Sedona area. Both are beautiful and I'm ready to go back again. But first - back to reality for awhile.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Two more book readings and signings have been scheduled! One at Borders in Princeton, NJ and one at Village Books in Roslindale, MA! See my event listing on the left for details of all my book signings. Thanks again for all the great support!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

One Stormy Day by James McCullough

A friend recently had a new children's book published that I've reviewed. It's One Stormy Day by James McCullough. It's a great story done in rhyme! Ben and Sarah try to come up with ideas of what to do on a rainy Saturday. Mom and Dad try to help with a few ideas, but Ben and Sarah prefer their own idea. Imagination creates a fun-filled day with a story of pirates and treasures. This book is lots of fun to read and the illustrations are colorful and very well done.
Check it out at:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Book Giveaway

Just For You and Me has reviewed A Surprise for Grandmother Rabbit. They are also giving away a free copy. Check it out at:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Good news! Bad News!

Well, let’s start with the bad news. When my book, A Surprise for Grandmother Rabbit was released in June, the eLIVE audio version was also supposed to be available at the same time. Unbeknownst to me (or to my publisher apparently), the reader had finished it but never uploaded it. Well, the reader is no longer employed at Tate Publishers. When we realized what had happened, the publisher assigned another reader to record the audio.

The good news is that the new reader, Josh Kilbourne, did a great job and the audio is now officially available. So, for any of you who have purchased the book, you may download a free copy of the audio version by following the eLIVE instructions inside the back cover.

I apologize for this delay in the audio but hope you and the children for whom you purchased the book enjoy Josh’s take on Skipper’s adventures. Again, I’d like to thank you all for supporting me in this venture.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Thank you!

A Surprise for Grandmother Rabbit was released on June 9th! The eLIVE portion of the book is also available. The book is now available through Borders, Barnes & Noble,, and other bookstores and online booksellers.

Special thanks to everyone who has, and continues to, support me through this interesting, but wonderful experience! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!