Thursday, March 8, 2012

Shady Neighbors Takes Off

Ghetto children in Portland, Oregon, learning to read actual books

    Shady Neighbors, the fascinating novel by author Thom Powell, has taken off. This is the first book ever to combine the subjects of bigfoot and baseball, and reveal through an engaging story many of the hidden truths to the bigfoot phenomenon that have been collected over three decades of intensive field research. Shady Neighbors has been re-edited and greatly improved in response to reader feedback. Five star reviews are the norm and reader feedback is overwhelmingly positive. Requests for speaking engagements are numerous. Appearances by author Thom Powell are scheduled in Oregon for Portland,  Coos Bay, Library (April 15th), Richland, WA, and Gresham, Ore (in the Fall.). Radio interviews have been constant, the next one being Jeffrey Pritchett's  Paranormal Examiner show on April 9th.
     The Shady Neighbors saga began in 1996 when Ray Crowe published in his newsletter a sighting report out of Yacolt, Washington. In that issue of The Track Record, veteran field man and former Little League coach Larry Lund described an unusual sasquatch encounter back in 1979, in which a reddish brown sasquatch came out of the nearby forest and strode onto a baseball diamond during a game! It was broad daylight! The sun shone brightly, reflecting richly on the chestnut-colored coat of hair. The small crowd of spectating parents stared in stunned disbelief.  Someone called out to the creature and it fled. Later another sighting occurred near the field's concession stand.
     The very idea that a sasquatch would have any interest in the venerable American game of baseball, and even a Little League game, no less, was an idea that author Thom Powell knew right away would be a fantastic plot element for a novel. Over the next couple years, Powell worked on a manuscript.  Yet, as any aspiring novelist knows, there was still a huge amount of work to do if the rough manuscript was ever going to become a completed novel. The project stalled along the way and  the manuscript gathered dust on a shelf for over two years before Powell shared it with fellow author and sasquatch devotee, Joe Beelart.  Even in its rough form, Joe loved the story and encouraged Thom to see the project through to publication.  Shortly thereafter, Powell was enlisted to give a  bigfoot talk at a record store in Eugene, Oregon, with two other authors, Autumn Williams and her mom, Sali Sheppard.  Afterward, the trio of authors were discussing future projects and Sali offered her editing help to reinvigorate the stalled Shady Neighbors project. With brutal efficiency, Sali sharpened and improved Powell's slightly disjointed literary style. The Shady Neighbors novel was now vastly improved and the project was up on the front burner.
      After this complete rewrite, the real work began: proof reading for errors and inconsistencies, of which there were thousands.  Anyone who has ever tried to proof-read their own work knows how one's mind does not allow them to see minor mistakes when the same text has already been read multiple times.  Joe Beelart came to the rescue. He helped enlist numerous sasquatch experts and volunteer editors like Toby Johnson, musician Tom Yamarone, screenwriter Christopher Munch, author and writing teacher Kirk Sigurdsen, baseball coach Randy Schimmel, artist Karen Van Horn, librarian Lynn Strathman, artist Alicia Bateman, author Dmitri Bayanov, two very literate middle school students Iris Parshley, and Kendra Autumn, and especially Sarah Ross, the writing teacher in the classroom next door.  A cover was designed by graphic artist Guy Edwards, and with that the vastly-improved Shady Neighbors novel was ready for a beta-test on  Feedback from  initial reviewers was very positive indeed, though one main criticism surfaced again and again: the book still had numerous typographical errors that were as elusive to author Thom Powell's scrutinizing eye as 'Bigfoot' himself.
       An experienced proof-reader was desperately needed, and in answer to his prayers,  along came a keen-eyed angel and experienced copy editor from San Diego named Molly Hart Lebherz. Molly carefully combed the tome, finally ferreting out over a hundred typographical errors.  This latest batch of corrections were eventually processed and a new, perfect edition of Shady Neighbors was now ready to roll off the Amazon presses.
      Author Thom Powell will be forever grateful to the entire team of celebrity editors who generously donated so much of their valuable time to this project.  The reading public is now invited to enjoy the fruits of so many people's literary labor. Truth be told, there is  no big money to be made in the publishing of this kind of niche literature that speaks to the bigfoot phenomenon.   Rather, the motivation for undertaking such a huge project came from a desire to create an entertaining story that also revealed some profound hidden truths.  These are truths that emerged over three decades of researching the bigfoot phenomenon.
      It all started with a bigfoot sighting on the baseball diamond.  That report led author Thom Powell to the revelation that baseball was indeed the perfect metaphor for the whole bigfoot phenomenon, for, like the bigfoot phenomenon, baseball appears at first to be a simple, almost silly game. Yet, the hidden complexities of both subjects, once revealed, become as enormous as they are profound.
     As Mickey Mantle once said, "When I first went pro, I couldn't believe how much I didn't know about a game I'd been playing all my life."  Mickey Mantle could just as well be talking about the sasquatch mystery and Shady Neighbors will show you why.
     Copies of Shady Neighbors can be obtained through, or you can order a signed copy directly from author Thom Powell by clicking here.