Keith Birdsong and I have been friends for 20 years. We met back at SoonerCon back in 1991. A lot of people know him as "the" Star Trek artist. He's done paintings of William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and tons of other movie and television related materials, including Star Wars and Quantum Leap. He's done covers for Dean Koontz and R. A. Salvatore, and games like Shadowrun.
A few years ago, he designed Shelby and Spike, two of the Pond Pals characters he's featured here. He wanted to do a children's book, but that market is incredibly tough. We wrote it, got it together, and really didn't know what to do with it next because neither of us had worked in that market so much.
Then along came Kindle/CreateSpace at Amazon, which is officially the Wild West for writers willing to risk their time on ventures.
This is a no-brainer. Keith has got this whimsical side that he doesn't often get to let out, but now we can, and there's more kid/parent friendly stuff coming.
At the moment, POND PALS has been released on the Kindle. Since the images couldn't be rendered in color on that one, we put it up in black and white, and they look pretty sharp.
The book has also been uploaded to the Nook in color and we're waiting for it to go live, so we'll be announcing that soon.
We've also uploaded it in color to Amazon for a paperback edition in color and we're waiting for it to go live. As soon as it does, I'll let you know.
The book is written using the Dolce Word List, the list of words used in public and private school systems. My son Chandler, whose incredibly bright, wanted to learn to read at an early age. At that time, the old Jack and Jill readers became available at Walmart. I bought those and we began teaching him from that. He was able to read by the time he went to kindergarten.
Keith and I wanted to offer the same kind of learning experience with these books, as well as some interesting and fun characters that aren't anywhere close to Jack and Jill. The Pond Pals live in a world Keith created, and there are a lot of adventures awaiting young readers and their parents.