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It’s that special time again where I do my special way of reviewing a book. Today I’m going to talk about THE DIVINE: UNLOCKING THE MAGICAL CREATOR WITHIN by Joseph Sale and whether the book is a firework(4 to 5 stars), a sparkler(3 stars), or a lit fart(1 to 2 stars). Joseph Sale is known for his weird and wild, but often shockingly macabre fiction novels that involve far-fetched monsters, different dimensions, a colorful mix of insane people and untrustworthy deities, and hallucinogenic prose. (The Illuminad series is my fav!) THE DIVINE is his first non fiction book.
I got to ask Jo about this, but for some odd reason, this book wasn’t on Goodreads. So I had to get the blurb from Amazon.
THE DIVINE: UNLOCKING THE MAGICAL CREATOR WITHIN
by: Joseph Sale
- Unlock your true creative potential with occult secrets…
If you are a writer suffering from burn out, struggling to improve your craft, wondering why no one rates your books, or why none of the online courses seem to work, then this book will help you solve the riddle. The necessary change to unlock your true potential is not external but internal, and Joseph Sale is here to show you how to make that change.
Joseph Sale has been an author for over a decade and published more than 30 books, including the acclaimed novel Dark Hilarity, the epic poem Virtue’s End, as well as ghost-written best-selling autobiographies and non-fiction books. As an editor, his clients have been nominated for the Bram Stoker and Splatterpunk Awards, been finalists in the National Indie Excellence and Eric Hoffer Awards, and even submitted to the Pulitzers.
However, on the 29th September, 2020, Sale had a mystical experience in Glastonbury that changed everything. At a moment of profound despair, burn out, and hopelessness, an angel appeared to him, pierced him with the spear of archangel Michael, and gave him new purpose.
Now, Joseph Sale is on a quest to manifest the beautiful and divine in the world, and wants to show other creators, editors, and writers how to do just that. The Divine is an enchiridion that aims to unlock the blockages that stop writers from channelling true divine inspiration. It also includes some of Sale’s most acclaimed non-fiction essays and never-before-printed material on the 5-Act Structure.
Get ready to open your mind and heart to a divine revelation and unlock the true power of your inner magical self.
Praise for the author
“One of the most stirring books on the art of writing I’ve read.”
—Christa Wojciechowski, author of OBLIVION BLACK and Founder of WRITER’S MASTERMIND
“Sale has taught me a lot as an editor and the main thing I’ve gleaned from his brilliance is pacing and story structure.”
—Ross Jeffery, Bram Stoker Award Nominated Author of TOME and ONLY THE STAINS REMAIN
“Theory and practice are often poles apart in writing advice, but not in Joe Sale’s approach to writing. In short, he will set you free to create and craft your best story. I know this because he helped me do the same.”
—Dan Soule, author of WITCHOPPER, SAVAGE, and THE ASH
“I approached Joe Sale to assist with editing and formatting my first three books. He gave me a high-quality impartial service, assisting with advice and direction on all manner of writing styles, formatting, cover design and general lay-out. I cannot thank him enough for his assistance and direction. I would highly recommend any new authors contact this man – you will not regret it!”
—M. S. Morgan, author of WHAT DO THEY REALLY KNOW? and NOT OF DEFENCE SIGNIFICANCE?
“Joseph Sale helped rewire my whole novel-writing mindset. When we started working together, my first novel was a mess of clunky sentences, melodramatic characters, and more commas and adverbs than there are stars in the galaxy. Thanks to his support and encouragement, his helpful and informative writing advice, and his knit-picky editing that sometimes tested my sanity, I can write a story and make it into a good book too.”
—Bia Bella Baker, author of the HECCTROSSIPY series
Ah gese. At the time I gave him that quote of praise, I didn’t think I would end up having my book temporarily pulled out of Amazon. I hope that my quote being up there isn’t an embarrassment, because what if it looks like I’m a fake author name with a false series title. There is a real Bia Bella Baker. She wrote this blog post. And I am the author of the HECCTROSSIPY series. The books are just still hanging out in my computer.
So anyhow, before I get to the review, let me tell you a little about life with the infamous dark fantasy/horror writer.
I know the author personally. He’s my editor and a good friend, and has gradually wiggled his way into pretty much becoming a part of my family. Okay, that’s not really how it went down. My sisters and I kind of passed him along among us. First, he and Christa met on Twitter, and they eventually got to helping one another with each other’s books.. Then she set me up to work with him on my series. (It WILL exist!) Then she and I had recommended him to Gina, who has an up-coming children’s book. Gina, the aspiring proof reader, helped Jo with one of his books. He even got acquainted with my brother-in-law, Gina’s husband, Carlos. So we three sisters have a warm and fuzzy, writerly book nerd relationship with him. He’ll grace us with his presence almost every Monday, showing up to our Writers’ Mastermind Zoom meetings.
We also have a weird, sort of psychic, sort of telepathy thing going on with him. I forgot if Jo said it or Christa, but one of them said something about how anyone who works with him will experience some form of psychicish activity. If that’s so, I wonder if the same goes for his friends and family members, and anyone else who associates with him. I had my share of spooky little incidents throughout the five years I’ve known him. I told him one time in an email, “You creep me out sometimes.”
He was amused.
For example, there was this one weekend when he crossed my mind, but as he did, I got this strongly negative feeling. It was like a very unhappy, down-in-the-dumps kind of feeling. By this point in our relationship, I’d had several moments of psychic with him, so I knew the sudden unhappy feeling wasn’t me developing a mood disorder out of nowhere. I just knew that something had gone wrong for him on that particular day.
During the writing group meeting, the following Monday, he told us about how badly his weekend went. He and his friends had lost a bunch of good footage from a movie project they were working on. Not only was it accidentally deleted for good, due to some stupid technical mishap, the scenes they did couldn’t be redone, because they mixed in a lot of improvising with the script. He was so pissed off and beside himself over this.
On another spooky occasion, I had a very vivid dream, one night, that Jo wrote a book where the story involved a labyrinth. When I told him about my dream, the next day, even he got spooked. He said that he woke up that morning, thinking about a new story idea that involved a labyrinth, and wrote the word labyrinth on a piece of paper.
My favorite psychic incident—and I think this one is by far the creepiest—is when my sub conscience knew what Jo looks like, even though I never saw him in my waking life.
Being that I’m blind, it would make sense for me to ask people what they look like, but I don’t. Maybe it’s a prudy, neurotic hang-up, but openly asking someone to describe their physical appearance for me would feel like I’m invading their personal space. The only time I’ll ask about someone’s appearance is if other people are talking about it, or if the person themself is talking about their hair or the shape of their nose and things like that. Otherwise, it would feel as inappropriately too personal as if you, the sighted person, were on a video call with a purely platonic friend or a co worker, and you ask them to describe what they smell like. I met Jo over the phone, which is totally not the place for a woman to ask a man what he looks like.
Jo started making appearances in my weird dreams in 2018, shortly after we started working together. He appeared as tall and fare skinned with kind of a high forehead. His eyes were brown, but not like a chocolate or honey shade of brown. I saw it as a more soft shade. His hair was a color that, at the time, I wasn’t sure how to identify. It looked somewhere between a lighter brown and a darker blond. I didn’t give these dream appearances a second thought, assuming this was just the dream-made-up version of him. That my visually thinking, vividly imaginative writer brain was just fabricating an image to go with the young British male voice.
A little more than a year goes by, and I’m having coffee one morning while Christa, who was visiting from Panama, was doing stuff on her computer. She got a Facebook notification that it was Jo’s and his wife, Michelle’s birthday. She remarked how cute their pictures are and what a cute couple they are, because not only do they have the same birthday, they have the same coloring. Always being the curious type, I asked what colors they are. She said that they both have fare skin and dirty blond hair. The dream image of Jo with the fare skin and in-between hair color flashed into my mind, and I nearly dropped my coffee. However, the creepiness of psychically knowing what he looks like had disappointingly toned down when it seemed my subconscious got his eye color wrong. More time went by, and it was March of 2020. The Writers’ Mastermind was born into the social media world, and all we new members had a group picture taken with all our cute little heads in the Zoom video squares. Christa described all the other members’ faces in the picture. When she got to Jo, she said his eyes are greenish blue.
Then when I was reading THE DIVINE:UNLOCKING THE MAGICAL CREATOR WITHIN, there was an essay where Jo described his eyes as dull brown orbs. “Your eyes are brown?!” I yelled out loud at the book. Then I immediately had to pee. And speaking of his book, let’s get around to the review.
Yes, he’s a friend of mine, and has given me unwavering support through the many trials and tribulations of this pursuit that I can’t yet call a writing career. He has the patience of a saint in a cryogenic freezer with all my demands and needing favors, and the exhausting way I’ve been dwelling on the same books for five freaking years. Forcing him to stay on planet Velva Leena, like an earthling hostage, because I keep re-writing and re-writing and re-writing the series with no signs of moving on to a different story. He’s also been an awesome support to Christa and Gina and the rest of the group. However, despite the raving positives about him, my review isn’t going to be 100% pure solid sugar.
Forgive me, Jo, but the very beginning of the book was a little rough for me. It wasn’t horrible. It wasn’t bad in the least. It was beautifully written, in fact. Just a bit on the scholarly side. I felt like I was sitting in on a class lecture at some university. And there were so many quotes, oh my goodness, and so much mentioning of Shakespeare. There are quotes and Shakespeare name dropping scattered throughout the book, but I swear, the very beginning had the heaviest sprinkling of it, which—I’m sorry to admit—kind of got on my nerves. On a grander scale, I don’t think this is an actual fault about the book. I’m the only blasphemous Cretan in the writing group who never took a liking to quotes or Shakespeare, but that’s a fun little topic for another post.
The part I thought was a little rough at least did not drag. Once he got into the story about a spiritual experience he had while vacationing in Glastonbury, I loved the book from then on. What an incredible, inspiring story that was.
This book teaches about the Five Act Structure, which is something every author should know, and the other teachings are not like anything else I’d read in other books about writing and creativity. This is some intense, deep, and trippy stuff, but not in an airy-fairy, Lah Lah Land sort of way. More so in a way that really makes you want to think, and want to open your mind. I already had an open mind before reading this book. Then while reading, It doubled, tripled, quadrupled its vast openness. He also talked about forms of story telling that I didn’t know exist—And I read a little of everything! Aside from the story about what happened in Glastonbury, I loved the other life experiences and personal anecdotes weaved in with his well written wads of creativity knowledge and wisdom. Well, maybe not wads. This book isn’t too bulky. Maybe more like potent Jell-O shots of creativity knowledge and wisdom. SLAM! SWALLOW! Think…
My only other regretfully honest negative is that I’m just not into Spencer. The essay on Spencer was the one and only part of the book that I skimmed through.
So my review was solid sugar after all. Maybe solid sugar with some granules knocked loose. Despite my couple of minor criticisms, this book was exceptionally informative, genuinely original, written with life, beauty, and color, and a must-have for every author and aspiring author. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
So what’s the verdict?…
Five stars! BOOM!! It’s a firework!
All you authors and aspiring authors out there, get a copy for yourself and enjoy drinking in those knowledge and wisdom Jell-O shots. Here is the link.
Love you all! Post you soon!