(Close Window)
Topic: "Session" is finally here!
Message: Posted by: Joshua Jay (Jun 21, 2007 10:08AM)
Session is finally here!

Session: The Magic of Joel Givens ships the first week in July, and as author I’m happy to fill in some details

The concept is different. Joel and I figured that there are already too many magic books, and we wanted to produce something that readers could curl up with and enjoy in a few lengthy sittings. So rather than writing it like a reference book, I spun the tricks into a story!

The story is constructed just like a real session. Two magicians talk about their stuff. Joel performs entire “sets,” sometimes with three or four performances in a row. Then the effects are explained—sometimes with the obligatory begging. This allows you to envision how certain tricks play, and how they can be routined together. By offering explanations in this way, we also hope it provides a dramatic arc—a reason to keep turning the page…to figure out how the tricks are done!

Now some info on Joel Givens, for those who don’t know him. Joel lives in North Carolina. Other than Trapdoor, Semi-Automatic Card Tricks, and my column, he has published very little. To this date, he has lectured and performed at conventions only a couple times. He is, as they say, under the radar.

But all that changes now. I’m biased, of course, but Joel is a true magic artist. He is a technical wizard, and I do hope you guys get to see him work sometime. There’s some CRAZY passes and floating deck things near the end of Session, and I assure you he does them all perfectly.

But Joel utilizes subtlety, mathematics, and simple gimmicks to aid in his tricks. By drawing on all sorts of principles, his effects nearly ALWAYS involve several methods working together. This means his tricks generally aren’t “cute.” They’re foolers.

And, Joel’s a pro. He does more shows than any magician I know, and he has worked in his own stuff over years. Although much of the material is in print here for the first time, most of it has been honed in performance for over a decade. And it shows. These tricks are tight.

Lastly, a word about production. I work with Ben Harris on my items because he’s the best graphic artist in our business. And, I must say, he outdid himself here. The book REALLY feels like a novel, and he did every page with such care and precision. Steven Hienzelman did the photos, and he’s an unbelievable still life photographer. For those interested in this kind of thing, the photos in the book MATCH THE TEXT. The time on Joel’s watch reflects the time in the story…there’s a half-eaten burger in the background and a diminishing glass of coke. EVERYTHING is themed.

Please, check out an excerpt on my website: http://www.joshuajay.com/merchandise.html

And check out more info on my blog.

If you preorder the book (before July 8th), you’ll receive the booklet Five Forty Seven free. This is a separate set of notes with 8 OTHER unpublished effects by Joel, normally priced at 15 dollars. It is also printed on glossy paper, perfect bound, with crisp photos. It’s our way of saying thanks for supporting the project.

All the best, and I’d love to get emails from everyone once you’ve read the book. I hope you enjoy!

Joshua Jay
Message: Posted by: bugjack (Jun 21, 2007 10:54AM)
I just checked this out and read the excerpt (a generous freebie, I might add). I, for one, really like the style. Reminiscent of the two-character sections in "Dear Mr. Fantasy," I think it is both a more fun approach to a magic book and also one that provides a situational context for the tricks that enhances their appeal to the reader.

I'll definitely be picking it up.
Message: Posted by: Joshua Jay (Jun 22, 2007 09:15AM)
Really nice of you to say, Bugjack. I’m particularly flattered that you picked up on our main objective, which was to add context to these tricks.

You see, Joel’s background informs his magic. He did bar magic for a long time, and still does lots of strolling and restaurant work. As a result, lots of his items use straws, drinks, bottles, sugar packets, coffee, etc.

These tricks don’t mean much out of context! For example, he has a wonderful routine in which a borrowed bill appears rolled in a straw. This trick makes NO SENSE unless you’re performing in a bar, where a straw dispenser is naturally in your setting. There, it’s perfect! So we brought the settings to the tricks, and I hope that comes through.

There’s no doubt in my mind that some people will find the story gets in the way of the tricks. To combat this, I made sure to EXPLAIN the tricks without any interruptions from characters or dialogue. Learning from this book should feel the same as reading any other book.

I know the style won’t be for everyone, but I hope that those looking for something different will find it in Session.

Bugjack, thanks for writing!

Message: Posted by: Yves Tourigny (Jun 22, 2007 12:21PM)

I'm curious. How many items are in the book? What is the proportion between published and unpublished materials? How many pages are in and what size is the book?
Thanks. I'M really looking forward for this book. I like the concept of putting tricks in context. It gives a sense of what magic should look like. We'll see if it works like you intended it to.

Message: Posted by: Joshua Jay (Jun 22, 2007 01:46PM)
Hi Yves,

The book is about 270 pages, and I believe there are about 40 items, and another 8 in Five Forty Seven, the companion volume.

As far as published to unpublished, it’s a tricky answer. Since Joel published lots of items in old issues of Trapdoor, there have been substantial developments on nearly everything. So while his incredible Karate Coin (Joeljitsu) was once in print, we devote nearly six pages and 10 photos to all sorts details that weren’t tipped in the original writing.

Effects like his Pseudo Memorized deck, his book test (which uses silly putty as a secret means to capture an impression), and his Heckler Stopper are all very lengthy items that have never appeared anywhere. I’d say there’s a good mix, but ALL the routines, even the published ones, have been updated and revamped with new detail.

The book is on a low gloss, heavy paper. And since it’s written like a paperback novel, Ben Harris gave it an authentic paperback novel feel. I forget the exact dimensions, but it isn’t 8.5 by 11. Rather, it’s something easier to travel with.

Message: Posted by: Peo Olsson (Jun 22, 2007 01:54PM)
Hi Josh,

Im definatly interested in this book, set me up for a pre-order.
Do you accept PayPal, and what will the total cost be to send it to sweden?
Will send you an pm with my details.

Message: Posted by: Yves Tourigny (Jun 22, 2007 01:56PM)
Thanks a lot Josh. I don't know why but your answer will make waiting for this book a little more bearable. I've been hoping for this book for a long time, ever since I read many of his items in the Trapdoor, Magic Magazine, lecture notes and al.

Message: Posted by: kadz (Jun 22, 2007 02:20PM)
Hi Josh,
Is it possible for you to mention approximately how many tricks are cards, coins, and everyday objects?

and how much will international postage cost?
Message: Posted by: Joshua Jay (Jun 22, 2007 06:25PM)
Hi everyone (Hi Peo; good to see you here),

Postage is an issue. I'm new at the mail order thing, and I understand they did away with book rate. Now they tell me! So, I'm doing the honorable thing.

Postage is a modest 4 dollars everywhere in the world for all the people who already ordered. I'll stay this way until I can determine exactly what the book will cost to ship to Europe, and then I'll adjust accordingly.

But for the time being, go crazy, my treat.

As far as contents of the book, I'm trying not to give away too much. I already listed some of the bizarre objects Joel uses: coffee, creamers, straws, bottles, glasses, silly putty, coins, stirrers, rings, watches, tie bars, q-tips, bills¦and that's just off the top of my head. There is also a LOT of card stuff.

You see, I wrote the book without a table of contents at the beginning on purpose (don't worry¦ it's all extremely well-indexed in the back, for research). Like a novel, I don't want there to be expectations. I hope people don't flip to the pseudo-memorized deck or the Karate Coin or some of the more anticipated items. Instead, I hope they read the book cover to cover, as it was designed, and that they're pleasantly surprised by some of the material, the way the material works WITHIN each setting, and the thinking behind each piece. Even though I wrote the book, I used lots of conversation to bring Joel and thought-process onto the page. I hope that comes through.

Thank you all SOOO much for your interest. I hope this book lives up to its expectations! Joel's material certainly deserves a good home.

Message: Posted by: Magiguy (Jun 22, 2007 11:04PM)
Greatly looking forward to this book! Just placed my order...
Message: Posted by: Daren (Jun 23, 2007 04:02AM)
My order is in, very much looking forward to receiving this book and the bonus booklet
Message: Posted by: Christopher Williams (Jun 23, 2007 04:52AM)
Josh is an amazing writer of books. Troy Hooser was a brilliant book, Magic Atlas was awesome, now this! And for someone with such an incredible mind in Magic, my order was in a couple days ago and I sooo can't wait for this to come.
I agree that John Bannon's 'Story' style effects were brilliant, and a fun read, and I can only see this being just as good. It gives you a setting to imagine in your head of how it will play. Sometimes effects are written, and people read it, if it doesn't suit them they don't use it. However, they could be missing on how strong it is, as they don't imagine in their head how strong it really plays. By doing what Josh has done and put it in a novel kind of style, as with a novel, it builds the picture in your mind, and you can actually visualise how it will play.

Can't wait for this Josh!!!
Message: Posted by: Cameron Francis (Jun 23, 2007 09:42PM)
Man, this looks great! Thanks for posting about this.
Message: Posted by: RevJohn (Jun 23, 2007 10:37PM)
Order in.. and a thank you "booklet" to boot. Sweet.

Looking forward to it, and excited about the style it is written in.

Message: Posted by: Motor City (Jun 23, 2007 11:47PM)
I, too, am looking forward to the book. I have had the pleasure of being fooled badly by Joel at Fechter's. Can't wait to learn some of the stuff he fried me with.

John Luka
Message: Posted by: Xiqual (Jun 23, 2007 11:52PM)
My order has been placed as well. The excerpt is great, killer trick.

Josh, I am just a bit worried about the shipping. Surface mail is very unsafe these days. I have lost many,many items surface mail. Will you be using airmail for the overseas pre-orders?
Thank you,
James Linn
Message: Posted by: Markymark (Jun 24, 2007 05:29AM)
I think Surface mail is no longer available in the U.S.
I am guessing the book will go in a mailer anywhere in the world for $10.00
So Josh is offering a great deal.
Message: Posted by: eryanic (Jun 24, 2007 06:28AM)
This will be an enjoyable read. Placed my order..
Message: Posted by: emyers99 (Jun 24, 2007 05:26PM)
Looks like Josh published several of the tricks from the book in this month's MAGIC
Message: Posted by: VcosNJ (Jun 24, 2007 06:39PM)
I'll put an order in for this as soon as I get my funds. Looking forward to it!
Message: Posted by: Joshua Barrett (Jun 24, 2007 10:16PM)
Ordered... err well my girlfriend ordered for my birthday comming on thr 7th. I'm a coffee nut and anyting involing coffee, must be had!
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Jun 27, 2007 11:29PM)
I'm one of the lucky few who got to proofread this book. My first impression was just how many tricks there were using different items, not just the usual cards and coins. The very next thought was just how solid and visual so much of this unique magic was.

If you are looking for truly solid, high impact magic with non typical items, you will find loads of effects for you in Sessions.

And as others have stated, the way it reads in real time is a great direction for magic books to strive.

Kudos to Josh and Joel!!!
Message: Posted by: Daren (Jun 28, 2007 01:13PM)
I have just seen a demo of laser aces on the llpub website, is this included in the book?
Message: Posted by: Joshua Barrett (Jun 28, 2007 01:58PM)
Ohh I like that. id like to know if its included as well.
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Jun 28, 2007 04:14PM)
It is in the book.
Message: Posted by: Joshua Barrett (Jun 28, 2007 07:50PM)
Sweet, I can;t wait till josh ships them out! I for one am excited to see the cream the coffee thing =D
Message: Posted by: Luke Dancy (Jun 30, 2007 08:28PM)
I went to visit my brother in Raleigh last week, well I knew that Joel lived in that area as well so that was another reason for going there. Anyway, Joel had an advance copy of Magic Magazine (July) where he has taken over the talk about tricks section with his magic. He showed me several items from the issue and stuff from his new book as well. Joel is not only a fun guy to be around but he has some really fun magic as well. It was great being able to session with the 'Session' man himself. Keep your eyes peeled for this book!

Message: Posted by: VcosNJ (Jul 1, 2007 10:30AM)
My order just went out. I'm definitely looking forward to this book! :)
Message: Posted by: Daren (Jul 2, 2007 01:34PM)
So have these been sent yet?
Message: Posted by: FredNarlo (Jul 2, 2007 02:32PM)
I don't think they have been sent out yet, although I may be wrong. Josh has ALWAYS been very prompt and attentive...I have no doubt he will shoot them out to us as soon as he gets them.

Looking forward to it too! I have seen Joel do much of what is in the book and it ain't nothing to take lightly.

Message: Posted by: kadz (Jul 2, 2007 11:10PM)
It says if we preorder BEFORE the 8th of july we get the free lecture notes
so I guess it'll be sent out after 8th of july
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Jul 6, 2007 05:22PM)
Hey Josh,

Any update on an ETA?

Message: Posted by: Ben Harris (Jul 6, 2007 06:23PM)
Hi guys,

I believe the book is back from the printers any day now.

It's a great read with some amazing material.

Message: Posted by: VcosNJ (Jul 9, 2007 07:32PM)
Hopefully, I'll have this in my hands this week. I'm sooo looking forward to reading this and having some fun along the way!
Message: Posted by: learachel (Jul 11, 2007 03:17AM)
Any update?
Message: Posted by: Joshua Barrett (Jul 11, 2007 07:27AM)
From the email I sent yesterday they said still not back from pub
Message: Posted by: honus (Jul 11, 2007 10:00AM)
The excerpt is outstanding, but what really struck me is the quality of the photos - very clear, and beautifully done. The title page credits Stephen Heinzelmann with the photos; he did a great job.
Message: Posted by: Joshua Jay (Jul 12, 2007 10:39AM)
Hello all,

Update on Session: After a slight, unexpected delay at the printers, the books have apparently been shipped to me. So…we’re still planning a same-day turnaround for all orders. You’ll hear more when I know more.

On the photos: So glad you noticed! There’s a lot going on with those photos. Here’s the thinking behind them.

I wanted the photos to do more than convey the mechanics behind each effect. I wanted them to help tell the story. That’s why they match the venue, right down to the restaurant label on the glasses. Even Joel’s watch matches the time in the book.

The photos themselves were taken by an absolute expert, Stephen Heinzelmann, of Raleigh, NC. I knew they would be good. I didn’t know they would be THAT good.

Enter Ben Harris. What he did was unbelievable and, again, unusual for a magic book. He rated the photos based on both importance and artistic value, and varied the sizes accordingly. So, a trick might have ten photos. Four of those might be on the same page. But then one photo—an important one or a pretty one—might occupy a full two-page spread, bigger and more beautiful than the others. Then a photo might be wrapped around text, etc. I think this layout choice keeps every page different and exciting, and is a new way of conveying magic. Thanks to Ben and Stephen!

Message: Posted by: Michael Dustman (Jul 12, 2007 01:23PM)
Ordered this the other day Josh...can't wait to see it.

Also looking forward to seeing you at MAGIC Live.
Message: Posted by: Joshua Jay (Jul 12, 2007 01:43PM)
Hey Michael,

Looking forward to seeing you again too...in a different setting than Magi Fest this time!

Message: Posted by: KLG (Jul 15, 2007 09:12PM)
Has the book been shipped yet? I've pre-ordered but I live in Hong Kong. Just wanna know when can I expect to receive it. So looking forward to it.
Message: Posted by: DougNicols (Jul 15, 2007 09:15PM)
Just ordered this earlier today from HP, looks amazing! I've been waiting for a great magic book that I cannot put down. Haven't had that since Dear Mr Fantasy...
Message: Posted by: paisa23 (Jul 16, 2007 01:25AM)
Josh your killing me, I NEED TO SAVE MONEY!!!! Ill place my order today(I HAVE To ASK) any military discount? ;)
Message: Posted by: Joshua Jay (Jul 16, 2007 05:36PM)
Hey all,

Just a quick update on Session. I got the books today! They look AMAZING and I’m so, so, so pleased with the result. It really does look like a paperback novel (but with pictures). Even though it’s paperback, it has a high gloss wrap around dust jacket…which is a touch of class we can thank Ben Harris for.

Anyway, the weird thing is that there’s no sign of Five Forty Seven. They were shipped together but, apparently, will arrive separately. Recall that I’m offering Five Forty Seven (the companion booklet) free to anyone who preorders on my website, http://www.joshuajay.com/merchandise.html. The normal price for this booklet is 15 dollars and it includes 8 effects NOT printed in Session. I am the only one offering this booklet for free…and I want to make good on that promise.

So…I’m going to hold off on sending the orders until the free gifts arrive, and then send everything out together. Thanks for your patience…and I hope you enjoy the book!

Joshua Jay
Message: Posted by: VcosNJ (Jul 16, 2007 06:09PM)
Great! I'm so looking forward to this with all the positive buzz. I'll be a busy reader the next few days. :)
Message: Posted by: paisa23 (Jul 16, 2007 08:19PM)
My Order is in and I cant wait.
Message: Posted by: Joshua Barrett (Jul 17, 2007 09:08AM)
Hopfulyl soon can;t wait. didn;t know it was soft cover!
Message: Posted by: Joel Givens (Jul 17, 2007 10:06PM)
Hey guys,

Thanks for all the kind words about my magic and our new book. Josh and I both worked very,
very hard to make this the best book we could. I think that whether you’re an amateur or a
pro, a hard-core cardician or a hobbyist, you’ll find material you will enjoy.

Now that the book has been released, I’ll be accepting orders via paypal or regular mail. I
don’t have a website, but you can paypal me directly at


or send checks to

Joel Givens
109 Brandon Drive
Clayton, NC 27520

My book, Session, is 40 dollars. It is printed on low gloss paper and is packed with photos
and dozens of moves and effects.

Five Forty Seven is a companion volume with essays and tricks NOT FOUND IN SESSION. It’s 15

Shipping is on me.

For those who would like, I’m happy to inscribe your books. Just let me know.

Thanks, and I hope you enjoy the materials.

Joel Givens
Message: Posted by: bugjack (Jul 18, 2007 01:45PM)
Any sign of the 5:47's?
Message: Posted by: Joshua Barrett (Jul 18, 2007 01:47PM)
Lets hope you have no idea how anxious I am about magical cream coffee. and I'm being dead serious, I love that kind of thing
Message: Posted by: Joel Givens (Jul 18, 2007 03:20PM)
I have the Five Forty Sevens, too. I will be including it with the Session books for free, with a purchase from me. thanks
Message: Posted by: bugjack (Jul 18, 2007 03:31PM)
Thanks, Joel -- I was just wondering if Josh had received them since I pre-ordered from him.
Message: Posted by: VcosNJ (Jul 19, 2007 06:13AM)
So Josh, what's the word? Have they been shipped? Sorry I'm a little impatient, but I'd love to start reading this asap. :)
Message: Posted by: Joshua Barrett (Jul 19, 2007 02:52PM)
I sure hope so!
Message: Posted by: Christopher Williams (Jul 19, 2007 03:41PM)
I think of Joel had them I'm sure Josh has them. Give him time, he is the busiest Magician I know and everything will be sent asap. It doesn't matter how many times you post on here, it will arrive with you when it arrives
Message: Posted by: Luke Dancy (Jul 19, 2007 05:18PM)
I spent some time with Joel last night and now have my copy! This book is full of strong magic and Josh Jay did a fabulous job getting everything into words and making the book a lot of fun to read. The book itself is simply beautiful and everyone involved did an excellent job in helping to make this one of the best looking magic books I've seen around. You guys are in for a real treat, back to reading!

Message: Posted by: KLG (Jul 20, 2007 01:10AM)
Me too. So looking forward to this one!

On 2007-07-18 14:47, Joshua Barrett wrote:
Lets hope you have no idea how anxious I am about magical cream coffee. and I'm being dead serious, I love that kind of thing
Message: Posted by: gmmagic124 (Jul 20, 2007 12:32PM)
On 2007-07-20 02:10, KLG wrote:
Me too. So looking forward to this one!

Same here.
Message: Posted by: DougNicols (Jul 20, 2007 01:01PM)
When it arrives, I'm locking myself in a room and reading this entire book in one sitting.
Message: Posted by: DougNicols (Jul 20, 2007 06:13PM)
Just got mine from Hocus Pocus. BEAUTIFUL glossy pages, the pictures are huge - no more squinting to see the move or sleights. Some are half page, some full page. 270 pages and contains a "trick index" where each trick is summarized complete with page number.

VERY very pleased.
Message: Posted by: BrandonWilliams (Jul 20, 2007 06:21PM)
Any word on whether or not the pre-orders have shipped from Josh yet?
Message: Posted by: VcosNJ (Jul 20, 2007 06:37PM)
Darn it! Here's hoping I can start reading this soon once my preorder comes in.
Message: Posted by: paisa23 (Jul 20, 2007 08:30PM)
Well I get back home tommorrow and I was kinda hoping to sit down with a nice cup of chocolate(OR WHISKY) and read this. Sounds like I might have to wait a bit longer.
Message: Posted by: Daren (Jul 21, 2007 04:21AM)
I have heard josh still hasn't received the 547 booklets yet, as soon as he receives those they will be shipped
Message: Posted by: Joshua Jay (Jul 21, 2007 11:38AM)
That's right. Still waiting on one last box of 547s. Half of them came on Friday, and were shipped out same day, in the order I recieved them in. And, when the others arrive, the rest will be filled in a same-day turnaround.

It's been very hectic, as you can imagine. Also, for international, I took a big hit. First I didn't charge for international shipping. Then I offered 8 dollars. Turns out, shipping to the UK (for example) is 16 dollars. So...it has been a learning curve (but I'm happy to honor the shipping I charged for pre-orders).

On one hand, Joel and I are extremely flattered by this unexpected buzz and restlessness for the book. On the other hand, we hope you'll show a bit of understanding and patience, as all these delays were out of our hands. We're as eager to get them out as you are to reieve them. Thanks everyone for all your support!

Message: Posted by: FredNarlo (Jul 21, 2007 11:59AM)

Thanks so much for keeping us informed! As far as you getting the 547s late and thus the books sent out later than planned, we understand it was all out of your hands...you are at home waiting for them just as much as we are. Again, thanks for keeping us up-to-date!

It is this kind of "customer service" and personality that make it easy to deal with unexpected things when they don't go quite the way you want them.

Looking forward to the book...

Message: Posted by: VcosNJ (Jul 21, 2007 12:25PM)
Good to hear Josh. Thanks for taking the time to let us know. :)
Message: Posted by: bugjack (Jul 21, 2007 12:49PM)
Agreed -- thanks for the update. It is, of course, pointless to be obsessive-compulsive about waiting for things like this, but the whole pre-order thing serves to whip up the anticipation. Anyway, appreciate the status report.
Message: Posted by: Steve Hook (Jul 23, 2007 02:04PM)
I got my copy Friday direct from joelgiv@aol.com

It and FIVE FORTY SEVEN are beautiful, as everyone else has noted. Josh, Ben, and Stephen did a great job! These books are unique.

Had a busy weekend but will be reviewing a couple of tricks soon (I'm especially interested in "Ninja Coin" and "The Human Slot Machine") over at "Books, Pamphlets & Lecture Notes" at http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=218233&forum=110&5

Waiting to hear what RevJohn, Tyler, and Robert McDaniel think about the books.