Fifth Annual Contest Results!

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Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

And drumroll, please. Here are the names of the winners of the Fifth Annual Shalom Blog Magic Contest. The contest this time was a repeat of the very first one: describe three actions or ideas that have most improved your magic.

The first-place winner was Dennis Mayne. Dennis’s entertaining entry described a trio of intriguing, uncommonly referenced mindsets and preparations that help him get ready  as a working street performer. Dennis chose The Vernon Touch as his prize.

David Kaplan was the second-place winner. David spoke of the wisdom he acquired along the way to becoming a part-time professional, and what it took him to get to the next level. He chose Blomberg Laboratories as his prize.

Third place went to John Allen. John talked about some of the realizations he came to when trying to integrate his magic interests with the rest of his life, and what helped to make that transition less bumpy. He chose Maximum Entertainment as his prize.

And finally Honorable Mention to Rick Benstock for his iconoclastic advice for amateurs.

Thanks again to all who entered. It’s always a treat for me to read what you have to say.  Sometime next week, everyone who participated will receive a pdf compilation of all the entries that were sent in.

 

 

Contest Update

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Photo by Ingo Joseph on Pexels.com

 

I came home after four days of being away and The Horror, The Horror!

Whole shelves of my magic items were completely empty.

“Stop, thief!” I cried. “Someone’s stolen my very best magic books, DVDs and tricks.”

Just then my wife appeared. “Jack, stop having a cow. Everything’s all right. You’re having a magic contest, right?”

“Uh, yes,” I said confused.

“Well, I know how much you respect the readers of your blog, so I put the best stuff aside for your contest.”

“But, but, but…” I stuttered. “That’s my favorite…best…”

“No complaining. I’ve got your prize grab bag set up for you. And who knows there may be even more to come. Now tell everyone to enter soon, timeliness counts and the contest is ending soon. And make sure you tell them that they can find out all the details here:

https://jackshalom.net/2019/09/29/the-fifth-annual-shalom-blog-magic-contest/

Anyone can enter. See, I’ve done you a great favor.”

I nodded half giddy, as I went through the list. Bye, bye, favorite magic items, it’s been good to know ye.

The contest magic prize grab bag includes:

Books

Milo & Roger
The Vernon Touch
Blomberg Laboratories
The Collected Almanac

John Luka’s L.I.N.T
Korem Without Limits

Tricks and DVDs

Charlie Justice’s Prohibition
Sanders’ Tagged
Jon Allen’s The Vanishing
Duvivier’s Magic Vol 3
Striving’s Sight Unseen Case
Scott Alexander’s The Needles
Peter Eggink’s Phantom

with more to come!

Enter now at https://jackshalom.net/2019/09/29/the-fifth-annual-shalom-blog-magic-contest/

***The Fifth Annual Shalom Blog Magic Contest***

gold coloured human statue

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

It’s a magic contest.

Yes, it’s that time of the year again, and I have to admit I never thought I’d be seeing yet another year of this. But it’s always been a lot of fun for all involved, and it gives me a chance to connect with magic fans directly.

I thought since this is now the fifth year, I’m going to repeat the theme of the very first contest. Here it is:

Explain three actions or ideas that you think were the most helpful in the improvement of your magic or mentalism. Your explanations don’t have to be profound, although profound is fine, too. But if you just want to talk about how your little pinky sticking out this way instead of that way made everything a lot better, that’s okay, too.

You don’t need to be a professional or anything like that, hobbyists are welcome to participate as well. And feel free to participate again, even if you were a past winner, as long as you were not a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place winner last year. And if you contributed to that very first contest, you’re still welcome to participate, but please don’t submit the same entry, let’s see how you’ve changed over the years.

No criteria for winning here other than what strikes me as interesting and useful.  Details and specifics are key. Extra points for humor and entertainment value. It would be especially helpful if you could analyze why the actions or ideas were important to you.

And wonderful prizes, as always, will be awarded:

First prize is first choice from the grab bag of magic books and DVDs I’ve put together; second prize is second choice from the grab bag, and third prize, in a pleasingly parallel harmonic consecutive manner, is third choice from the grab bag. The items in the grab bag are all commercial books or DVDs, at least one of which, I guarantee, you will be happy to have.

And, as always, in the spirit of everyone being a winner, I’ll ask all entrants to allow me to make up a pdf file which includes their entry. This pdf will NOT BE SOLD, but will be distributed to everyone who entered.

Send your entries please to jshalom@worldshare.net

Make sure to put the word CONTEST in the subject line

Deadline Sunday, November 3, 11:59 PM.  In case of a tie, earlier entries get preference.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Fourth Annual Contest Results!

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Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

 

A big thanks to everyone who participated in the contest. It was really enjoyable reading the entries. The assignment was to elucidate what you considered the three greatest tricks in Our Magic.

At first, I wasn’t exactly sure what my criteria was going to be in judging the entries, but as I was reading them, it soon became clear that the best ones were the ones whose descriptions were so compelling that they made me say to myself, “Hey, that’s a trick that I want to go out and perform right now.”

The first-prize winner was Sean-Dylan Riedweg whose entry described exactly why he thought each of the three tricks he nominated were winners, and he also provided meticulous citations for each effect. Sean-Dylan chose Semi-Automatic Card Tricks Vol III by Steve Beam as his prize.

The second-prize winner was Abe Carnow. Abe made a very strong case for a trick which most of us have in our drawers, but disdain to use during performance. Sometimes we forget how good some of the most common ideas in magic are. He  chose Stewart James: The First Fifty Years as his prize. We advise Mr. Carnow to get into good physical shape with a few bench presses before attempting to lift that weighty tome.

Third Prize went to Steven Go. Steven also advocated for a trick that most would consider very commonplace, but Steven provided a very wonderful description of the effect of the trick on his young daughter. He really brought to life what a special moment was created between the two of them because of that trick. He chose the DVD Time is Money by Asi Wind as his prize.

And finally Honorable Mention to Steven Bryant for his incredible poetic entry, which was part of an even larger Magic Castle New Year’s magical poetic ode.

Thanks again to all who entered. Sometime next week, everyone who participated will receive a pdf compilation of all the entries that were sent in.

Okay, rest up and if there’s enough demand, we’ll do this again next year.

 

***The Fourth Annual Shalom Blog Magic Contest***

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Yes, it’s time once again for this blog’s annual World Famous Magic Contest (“World Famous,” as in my local restaurant’s “Sam’s World-Famous pastrami-on-rye sandwich, one trip to the salad bar only, please”).

So here is the challenge this year:

Last year at a magic Convention I overheard the tail end of a conversation where a well-respected famous magician was saying to his companions, “Well, that’s because that’s the Greatest Trick in Magic…” I kept on eavesdropping, but I never heard just what that earth-shaking Greatest Trick in Magic was.

So your mission, Jim and Cinnamon, if you should choose to accept it, is to tell us what the three greatest tricks are in magic. But please don’t just list them. You must explain why you consider each trick a great one. Extra points for coherence, unexpectedness, humor, and persuasiveness.

And wonderful prizes, as always, will be awarded:

First prize is first choice from the terrific grab bag of wonderful magic books, tricks, and DVDs I’ve put together; second prize is second choice from the grab bag; and third prize, in a parallel, numerically pleasing manner, is third choice from the grab bag. The items in the grab bag are all commercial books, tricks, or DVDs, at least one of which, I guarantee, you will be very happy to own.

And in the spirit of everyone being a winner, I’ll also ask all entrants to allow me to make up a pdf file which includes their entry. This pdf will not be sold, but will be offered only as a free download to all those who enter.

Send your entries please to jshalom@worldshare.net

Make sure to put the word CONTEST in the subject line

Deadline Wednesday, Oct 31, 11:59 PM.

All are eligible except those who have won 1st, 2nd, or 3rd prize in the previous two years.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Third Annual Contest Results!

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Thanks to everybody who participated in the contest. I had an enjoyable time reading the entries. There were some really great stories told. Here are the three winners:

First Prize goes to Daniel Doyle for his hilarious story about a chimp gone ape, complete with the requisite bite in the ass. It’s a classic. Maybe if you see him in person someday he’ll tell you about it. He chose as his prize a copy of Marlo Without Tears by Jon Racherbaumer.

Second Prize goes to Alfred Dowaliby who told a wonderful magician-in-trouble story. While Alfred was working aboard a cruise ship, fortune played a dirty trick—but instinct took over, and he emerged a hero. Extra points for a side portrait of his boss, Bill Malone. He chose as his prize Volume 5 of Richard Osterlind’s Mind Mysteries DVD.

Third Prize goes to Gallagher Hayes who told a touching and philosophical story of a misunderstanding that led him to the wrong place at the wrong time; but he still had the unstinting support of his beloved wife. He chose as his prize a copy of The Magic of Milt Kort by Stephen Minch.

Thanks again to all who entered. Sometime next week, everyone who participated will receive a pdf compilation of all the stories that were sent in

See you next year?

The Funnel: David Roth

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Though David Roth first introduced his coin magic showpieces some forty years ago, they are still fresher, more original, and more creative than just about anything seen since in coin magic. Here he performs one of my favorites, the inexplicable Funnel effect.

And…we’re nearing last call for my third annual Contest. It’s a fun contest, with lots of prizes, and should not take you much time to complete. You can’t win it if you’re not in it, and everybody who enters gets a free prize.  Click on the link for details.

Thanks to YouTuber SpaghettiMagic

Back To The Future: Pit Hartling

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Pit Hartling has amusing presentations for card magic, along with some of the most clever methods. His book In Order to Amaze should delight most card workers. Here is a fairly recent performance from The Magic Castle.

More Pit Hartling at Pit Hartling

And…time is running out to enter a dead easy contest. Magicians and hobbyists, spend a little time today to get in your entries. Read the details here.

The Third Annual Shalom Blog Magic Contest

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Yes, it’s time once again for this blog’s annual magic contest.

So here is the challenge this year:

Tell your favorite true story about performing magic. It can be about you or someone else. That’s it. If it’s about someone else, it should not be a well-known story, but inside gossip is always welcome.  It can be profound, funny, embarrassing, but it must be entertaining and well told. You don’t need to be a professional or anything like that, hobbyists are welcome to participate as well. And you’re on your honor to tell only true stories.

First prize is first choice from the terrific grab bag of magic books and DVDs I’ve put together; second prize is second choice from the grab bag; and third prize, in a parallel, numerically pleasing manner, is third choice from the grab bag. The items in the grab bag are all commercial books or DVDs, at least one of which, I guarantee, you will be very happy to have.

And in the spirit of everyone being a winner, I’ll ask all entrants to allow me to make up a pdf file which includes their entry. This pdf will NOT BE SOLD, but will be offered only as a free download to all those who entered.

Send your entries please to jshalom@worldshare.net

Make sure to put the word CONTEST in the subject line

Deadline Monday,  Oct 31, 11:59 PM.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Magic Contest #2 Results!

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Thanks very much to all who entered the contest. The challenge was to provide a script for a magic effect old or new which would be entertaining, original, and usable. It was a pleasure going through the entries, and picking the winners:

Here they are:

FIRST PRIZE: John Macnab for his script for a simple Coins Across and Vanish routine. It is a quiet, intimate routine, perfect for a closing coda in an act. He chose Joshua Quinn’s book Paralies for his prize.

SECOND PRIZE: Jon Shaw for his absolutely wild take on “Out of This World.” It involves lacy pink underwear…and that’s just Jon’s costume (seriously!). He chose the two DVD volumes of John Bannon’s Move Zero as his prize.

THIRD PRIZE: Ed Rhodes for his humorous script for a three rope routine. The routine is a great example of what Gerry Deutsch calls “Perverse Magic,” and it has lots of opportunities for comedy. He chose Jim Steinmeyer’s Further Impuzzibilities.

HONORABLE MENTION to Brian Douglas for his “Vintage Travel Agency” script, a multiple prediction effect. Brian’s routine takes some warhorses of magic and weaves them into a thematically consistent and entertaining “Confabulation”-like routine. Moreover, Brian submitted his script in the form of a 15-page illustrated comic book, storyboard-ing the entire routine. Amazing, Brian!

I admired many of the other routines as well, and all participants will receive a pdf compilation of all the routines submitted.

By the way, I was looking at the pdf from last year’s contest again, and wow, I have to say—it is really worth re-reading if you haven’t done so lately.

Thanks again, all, and rest up now for next year’s contest.

The Second Annual Shalom Blog Magic Contest

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I had so much fun last year running a magic contest, and got such a nice response, that I thought I’d run another one this year.

So here is the challenge this year: provide an original script for your favorite magic presentation. The script should not include method, unless it’s your method to reveal. Let’s assume that we know the method if the trick is a classic; if the method is yours, however, then you should include the method; if the effect is someone else’s commercial effect, please do not include the method, but provide a link to a video or description of the effect, so that we can see how your presentation has improved the standard presentation.

You don’t need to be a professional or anything like that, hobbyists are welcome to participate as well.

Your entry will be judged on the effectiveness, originality, and usability of the presentation. Feel free to provide a video if that helps your explanation, but your entry will be judged ultimately on your presentation script. While your entry should not reveal method unless it’s your method to reveal, you should have all the beats to account for method Details and specifics are key.

First prize is first choice from the terrific grab bag of magic books and DVDs I’ve put together; second prize is second choice from the grab bag; and third prize, in a parallel, numerically pleasing manner, is third choice from the grab bag. The items in the grab bag are all commercial books or DVDs, at least one of which, I guarantee, you will be very happy to have.

And in the spirit of everyone being a winner, I’ll ask all entrants to allow me to make up a pdf file which includes their entry. This pdf will NOT BE SOLD, but will be offered only as a free download to all those who entered.

Send your entries please to jshalom@worldshare.net

Make sure to put the word CONTEST in the subject line

Deadline Monday,  Oct 31, 11:59 PM.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Magic Contest Results!

A few weeks ago I proposed a contest (you can read about it here), and to my surprise people actually entered it, just like in the old cereal box-top days. Anyway, the contest was really just an excuse to hear people’s thoughts and drum up a little interest, but actually, it was quite a pleasant (if exhausting) experience. The premise of the contest was this: write about three things that changed or improved your magic…

The entries covered an eclectic and diverse range of ideas, and it was ridiculously hard to choose the winners. After much cogitation, I reached a decision and here are the names of the winners:

First Prize: Joe McKay of Durham City, England. He chose Worlds Beyond by Paul Curry from the magic grab bag for his prize.

Second Prize: Danny Doyle of Missouri and parts South. From the magic grab bag he chose The Lost Works of Bro. John Hamman DVDs

Third Prize: David Jelinek of Ye Olde Upper East Side in New York City. He chose Harry Lorayne’s Deck-Sterity.

And really, Honorable Mention to everyone else who entered! My choices were necessarily the ideas that, selfishly, would improve my own magic. But there were lots of great ideas that could benefit many. Everyone who entered will be sent today a pdf compilation of all the entries. I think this is the best prize of all.

Some readers expressed profound sorrow, regret, mental anguish, and weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth over not getting their entries in on time; so in the spirit of something or other, I have the following proposition: Go back and check the contest rules, submit an entry, and I’ll put you in the next edition of the pdf. You’ll be on the email list to get a copy of the new compilation whenever I bring it out again. You won’t be eligible this time for the other prizes, but you’ll enjoy the pdf. You’re on your honor to submit something that you’ve spent some time thinking about, and that you think could be valuable for others, not just something dashed off. Of course, those who already entered will get a copy of the new edition as well.

Here’s a bonus for readers of this blog: The following is just the first part of Joe McKay’s winning entry:

MAKE ROOM IN YOUR REPERTOIRE FOR AT LEAST ONE TRUE MIRACLE

Most magicians perform tricks and not miracles.

What is the difference? Well, the real miracles in magic often taken quite a bit more preparation.

For example you may have to plan the miracle a few days in advance.

Or perhaps the miracle doesn’t even take much preparation. But in these cases, it may not work every time. So some other effect will need to be ready as an “out”.

Or perhaps the miracle cannot be performed all the time, but only when the conditions are just right.

Attempting miracles does have drawbacks. But they are not drawbacks that should bother the 99% of magicians who do not perform professionally. Since you have total control over your performing conditions.

And even for those who do perform professionally—it is worth it for that special occasion. I remember reading about Ricky Jay making a named card appear inside a wine bottle at a dinner party when asked to do “something special” for an unimpressed guest. He also once made a giant block of ice appear when discussing his obsession with the magic of Malini with a newspaper journalist who was equally fascinated by the work of Malini. That trick reduced the woman to tears.

‪I often wonder why magicians are so lazy? For some reason, most magicians are just too lazy to tear up a dollar bill and post it to a friend abroad in order to do attempt a miracle. (See The Jerx).

‪Magicians are often more concerned with the practicalities of the method than with the effect that will be created in the spectator’s mind. As such, whenever a trick requires a bit too much “work” they shy away from it in order to find a trick which is easier, simpler or more fun to perform, even if it means performing a trick that is not as strong.

‪This is a trap many magicians fall into. I will mention some more “miracles” so as to give some pointers to those rare effects scattered through the magic literature that attempt something truly miraculous.

Some examples of effects I like would be an impossibly clean bill divination that Oliver Meech published. It is an adaptation of the legendary “bill in cash register” scam. When the stars are aligned, you can walk up to somebody, ask them to pull out a five-dollar bill, and tell them the serial number without ever coming close to the bill.

Or take a trick like “Angel Cake” by Paul Harris. You take a five-dollar bill off a spectator and turn it into a twenty dollar bill. And you let them keep the money. Plus, the magician is none the poorer thanks to the sneaky method involved.

Then again why should this matter?

Personally, I think it is worth giving away nineteen bucks in order to create the impression of real magic when performing for somebody special. Take a one-dollar bill—turn it into a twenty-dollar bill. Hand it back. And then walk off. An investment of nineteen dollars to create a memory that will last a lifetime.

John Kennedy has a wonderful floating matchbox routine in which a match lights itself on the box as they float in mid-air. The match then floats up to light the cigarette. Yeah, you say, but I don’t smoke and the method is awkward and rather annoying.

So what? Why should you let irrelevant concerns get in the way of a miracle?

David Harkey has an incredible close-up effect involving a torn up dollar bill reappearing inside a light bulb inside a lamp. The light bulb is then smashed open to reveal the dollar bill. Remarkably the light bulb is then restored and placed back inside the lamp—and the lamp is switched back on and shining light again. A true miracle. Yet most magicians looking at the method will have sighed and then turned the page in search of something simpler.

Or take an effect like “Freak Out” which was published a couple of years ago in MAGIC Magazine. You lay a card face down on the table, and have the spectator name any card.

You then show that the card on the table is the freely chosen card. It really is that clean.

However the method is so bizarre (and shocking and offensive) that most magicians will shy away from ever performing the trick, even though it will bring them closer to a genuine miracle than just about any other trick in magic.

Or take “Murder By Mail” by Kenton Knepper. You predict the death of somebody. It is that simple. This effect is so strong you run a fair chance of being questioned by the police.

TA Waters has a wonderful effect where the image of a spectator vanishes from a Polaroid photograph that she herself posts to her own house.

Lubor Fiedler has an effect where a spectator disappears whilst looking in a mirror. Paul Harris has a trick where you convince somebody he is now invisible. Strange effects with methods that just might not work. But what if they do? Isn’t it worth having at least one ‘moon shot’ in your repertoire?

If you have a miracle that may only come off one time in ten, isn’t it worth having that on hand? Since if you perform a hundred times—that means ten miracles! And you can be sure that the story of such miracles will spread to many of those who never saw it.

Most magicians would rather work on the next trick involving that sleight they just mastered, rather than try and capture some of the inspiration that made them want to be a magician in the first place, back when they thought anything could be possible with magic.

And so, if I had a piece of advice for you to take away, it would be for you to find a strong piece of magic that has a method which is so inconvenient or so “location dependent” that you may never get a chance to perform it. But in doing so, you will give yourself a chance of one day pulling off a miracle. And having that possibility in your repertoire will act as a constant reminder as to why it is you fell in love with magic in the first place.

Joe McKay

Thanks again to all who participated! Again, for those who would like to be part of the next edition, and get a copy of the pdf in the process, here are the contest rules.

The Millionaires’ Magician: Steve Cohen . . . and A Contest Update

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Steve Cohen bills himself as the Millionaires’ Magician, and while this spectator and his wife fall more into the category of the 99%, Steve did manage to make us feel like a million bucks.

Steve has very cleverly carved his niche by marketing himself as the heir to such conjurors as Malini, Hofzinser, and David Abbott; they were magicians who entertained in posh salon venues performing for select, intimate-sized audiences. In this case, our posh salon is a suite in the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, a suite that seats about fifty people. The magic happens before our eyes, no more than a few feet away. In Steve’s introductory remarks, he tells us that our suite is just down the hall from the Presidential suite, the suite where US Presidents going back to Herbert Hoover have stayed. He also tells a true story about what happened when the Clintons came to spend the night, a story that gets one of the biggest laughs of the evening.

The show starts off with a few entertaining card effects, then a coin effect with a Malini-esque twist, but the bulk of the show is weighted heavily towards mental effects. Part of the pleasure of the show is the inherent surprise of the effects themselves, so I don’t want to describe too much, but rest assured that you will be very mystified and delighted. These are all classic effects, and Steve’s methods are devious enough that even if you are familiar with these tricks, the odds are that you will be scratching your head over them. Steve has an obvious joy of performing. His skill in anticipating audience reaction and improvising when the needs arises is part of the fun. His audience management skills are superb too—he reminds me of that teacher in high school who you knew could make the noisiest, most chaotic classroom snap to attention with just a look. You never doubt for a moment that he is in complete control of the situation.

One effect that I will mention is the famous Think-a-Drink effect. First popularized by a vaudeville performer called Charles “Think-a Drink” Hoffman, the effect is simply this: people call out drinks, and those drinks are immediately poured out from one magic tea kettle. At the performance I saw this evening, the drinks called out included an Apple Martini, Rum and Pineapple, a Banana-Strawberry Smoothie, a Rob Roy, and Pomegranate VitaminWater. Lo, all those drinks were poured out from the tea kettle on command! All the drinks were then handed out to different audience members who verified each drink’s identity by downing each potion. Really a great effect, and one that Steve has now made his own.

Several other strong mental effects followed, but the one that shook my wife the most was Mr. Cohen’s Q and A, where people wrote down facts about themselves and Steve seemed to know all, apparently reading minds. Again, very well done, Steve does a lot of quick thinking on his feet, and the illusion of real mindreading is very strong.

Ninety minutes of powerful magic, not a moment is wasted. In my opinion, if you’re visiting New York City, and you only have the time and money for one show, skip Broadway and catch Steve Cohen’s show. Thanks, Steve Cohen!

In other news, I was thinking maybe we could expand this idea of the Millionaires’ Magician into other areas. The Millionaires’_____________ —fill in the blank! How about The Millionaires’ Poet, who only reads poems in the salons of the wealthy? Or the Millionaires’ Delicatessen Worker, who only makes pastrami-on-rye sandwiches for a select few in posh venues.

And so on.

Update on The Contest for Magicians: Entries have been coming in, but there’s still time to get your entry in, and to win a great prize. See here for details. I’ll be taking entries until midnight this Tuesday night, October 27th; then I’ll take a few days to read them all, put together the pdf, and award the prizes. I’ll announce the winners formally here on November 1st. So don’t delay, get in your entry today!

And Then…And Then…And Then…

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A little update on a few things:

  1. Novel #1, which used to be called The Longest Winter of Holly Walker, has a shiny new name. At least for the moment. The spine of the novel keeps eluding me, but it’s become clear the character who I thought was the protagonist cannot carry the story herself. Will it be a problem that the thrust of the story is told through several pairs of eyes? Maybe. But I think the way I’m telling this story is integral to the novel, and I can’t force it into being what it isn’t. It’s an ensemble piece with several strong characters. If it doesn’t work, then it doesn’t work.  I’ve gotten some excellent advice from recent readers, and I’m working to incorporate their feedback into the latest revisions.
  2. Novel #2 is really a mess. I understand why it’s a mess, but it’s a mess nevertheless. I started #2 as a way to keep myself distracted while I awaited feedback from revisions of #1. Now I fully expect a first draft to be awful, but I’m only halfway through the first draft, and its already 100,000 words. That’s 100,000 words of awfulness—which I could accept, if I knew that I could start revising now, but, as I say, I have another 100,000 words to go before I can even begin to re-write. So I’m stuck in this awful place for a long time more, and I don’t know how long my patience is going to hold out. The novel moves around in time and depends on an important historical event, and my lack of knowledge about the period is really a problem. I did do some research before I started, but clearly not enough. I figured that I would go back later and fill in the context, but now I see that without the proper context it’s an empty shell. Of course, I could stop writing and do more research, but I’m afraid that if I get wrapped up in research, it will be too tempting and I’ll get lost in it. So I’ve decided that what I have to do is just grin and bear it, know that this is bad, and hope that in revision, I can fill in and re-write what needs to be taken care of.
  3. I wrote last week about Steve Brundage’s Rubik’s Cube effects. I’ve been going through his material and I can now reliably solve any mixed Rubik’s Cube in under six minutes. So having achieved that, I have moved on to Steve’s second DVD where he talks about his magic effects. The key sleights involved are one-handed, and while not difficult, they do need careful placement and analysis initially, and then a lot of repetition to get it into muscle memory. To me, it’s a lot like learning a coin sleight such as a Tenkai pinch or a coin roll. You have to train the muscles of your hand and your fingers to do things which they have not done before. So I’m at the repetition/muscle memory stage now.
  4. Sunday I posted the rules to my first ever CONTEST! Win cool prizes! I’m keeping the contest open for the next week or two, so don’t be shy, send in an entry!

A Contest for Magicians

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I thought it might be fun to run a contest about things magical.

So here it is: explain three actions or ideas that you think were the most helpful in the improvement of your magic or mentalism. Your explanations don’t have to be profound, although profound is fine, too. But if you just want to talk about how your little pinky sticking out this way instead of that way made everything a lot better, that’s okay, too. And you don’t need to be a professional or anything like that, hobbyists are welcome to participate as well.

No criteria here other than what strikes me as interesting and useful.  Details and specifics are key. Extra points for humor and entertainment value. It would be especially helpful if you could analyze why the actions or ideas were important to you.

First prize is first choice from the little grab bag of magic books and DVDs I’ve put together; second prize is second choice from the grab bag, and third prize, in a pleasingly parallel harmonic consecutive manner, is third choice from the grab bag. The items in the grab bag are all commercial books or DVDs, at least one of which, I guarantee, you will be happy to have.

And in the spirit of everyone being a winner, I’ll ask all entrants to allow me to make up a pdf file which includes their entry. This pdf will NOT BE SOLD, but will be offered only as a free download on this website to all those who entered.

Send your entries please to jshalom@worldshare.net

Make sure to put the word CONTEST in the subject line

I’ll keep this open for a week or two, based on the number of responses I get.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!