Four Years Later

Check out John McGuire’s The Gilded Age steampunk graphic novel on Kickstarter!

I’m about a month late with this particular article (this is my 212th “regular” blog post). Normally I like to use the beginning of October as my look back at the previous year’s blog posts and point out some of the ones that either got some reaction or others that I felt good about but got overlooked.


Behind the Comic – Why Kickstarter?

Insight on why exactly I’m doing a Kickstarter for The Gilded Age. And a snapshot of my feelings a few days before I pulled the trigger on something that determines whether a lot of my time might have been wasted on being a comic book writer.


Tales from the Loop – Thoughts about the Best Game I Played at GenCon

Probably the one post that surprised me with how well it did, but really it shouldn’t have. If playing the game was as fun as it was, then writing about the game should have had the same amount of excitement for it. If I remember nothing else from GenCon 2017, I will remember this particular game and session.

NES Games Left Off The Classic

I wasn’t sure if I would get the NES Classic. Considering how hard it was to find the system, it seemed more like a pipe dream than anything else. But then my old roommate, Mike, got me one. And I was amazed by what was included and a little disappointed by what wasn’t included. With a few tweaks, they could have taken it from a “10” all the way to “11”.

Death of Ideas

An essay about whether or not you should worry about the idea that “There are no new ideas” or “Sequels are killing the film industry”. I’d like to argue that it might not be as big of a problem as you think.

Not Like This

The aftermath of this year’s Superbowl when things were still very raw and my mind was trying to process everything that had happened.

Gotta admit, rereading it was a little rough.

20 Things I’ve Learn at Concerts

After decades of going to concerts in all sorts of venues from the extremely small to full on stadiums, I’ve decided to classify some of what I’ve seen and learned from all these shows. Think of it as a do and don’t do list (you get to decide which one is which).

Interview with a 9 Year Old

Much like everyone thinks that the past was always better than the here and now, so too do they think that the current generation will be the death of everything Personally, I believe it is just a different way of looking at the world. So in an attempt to get to know a tiny bit of insight – I interviewed my 9-year-old nephew.


John McGuire

The Gilded Age Kickstarter is still going on. Check it out on Kickstarter here.

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here to join John’s mailing list.

His prose appears in The Dark That FollowsTheft & TherapyThere’s Something About MacHollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at

Three Years Later

This week marks my 157th blog since Tessera Guild started. Which really means that somehow, through late nights and odd bits of inspiration, I’ve somehow managed to write another 52 posts. Some of them might have received some attention and some slipped under the radar. So as I’ve done the past two years, I’d like to take the time to maybe shine a spotlight on a few posts.


Story Telling – Micro Bursts


Part writing exercise (gotta work out, right?), part challenge to myself, and perhaps part trying to get the brain waves pushing in the correct direction, this blog has maybe the most “stories” of any blog I’ve ever done before or since. Of course, since they are only 2 sentences each, I really had to write a bunch of them all at once.


Creatures Big and Small

FIona Cropped 1

Not a blog I’d hoped to write. When we lost our outdoor cat, Fiona, it felt like it was time to pay tribute to some of my pets I’ve had since I could barely walk. It’s my hope that when Fiona crossed over, there were a few other cats and dogs who could help take care of her on the other side.


40 Things You Might Not Know About Me


They say turning 40 is scary. Of course, “They” are always saying stuff like that to scare us. 30 was scary. 40 was scary. 50 will be scary.

But I thought this would be a good time to give as much information about myself in as short of time as possible… hence the list.


Killing Your Darlings or Editing My Over-used Words


A writing blog about editing. Even though I only have a handful of things out there, I forget that I’ve actually made great strides from when I started. And this blog belongs in that grouping where I can let myself know I have come a long way. And it also is a reminder that the first draft doesn’t have to be perfect.


New Myths and Legends


In the old days, people told stories and created gods in order to explain the explainable within their universe. So if you wondered why the sun moved through the sky, obviously Apollo is up there on his chariot pulling it along. These days we have new issues pressing us on all sides, and this article was my attempt to explain exactly who or what we now appear to worship.


My Musical Love Affair

pearl jam

There are moments in your life that you don’t know are coming, but will have a great impact upon how you suddenly view the world. This can happen with movies, tv, books, or in this case with a forgotten cd left at my house for a couple of days. Up until this album and this band, music was something to sing along to on car trips. Afterwards it became an obsession.


Sequels That Never Were – The Crow

the crow fire

Sometimes I like to remind myself that the best way to show off my writing is through actually writing a short story for the blog. The problem is that most of the time shorts aren’t something I can just put out there in an evening. I’d like to go over it and tweak and revise before I put it out into the world.

However, sometimes you have something you’ve been sitting on for a little while… and that makes it easier.


Dragoncon 2016 – The Bad

Dragon Con 2016

This is only a month old, but it was one of those posts that got clicked on more than I’d have expected. The follow up to this one focused on the good and didn’t have nearly the reach. I guess it makes some level of sense though, people like reading negative things (I know I do). And this was me bitching about Dragon Con.


Again, there are others that I am proud of, bits and pieces scattered throughout the year. You just never know what might strike you just right…


John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at

Two Years Later

Last year I wrote a post celebrating the first 52 weeks worth of blogs. Strange how time goes. Stranger still how some blogs I wrote at midnight the night before they were published get more views than the blogs I stressed over.

Rhyme meet Reason.

So I thought I’d highlight a few of my favorites and maybe offer a couple of others a second chance at being seen.

Searching for a Super Power


Growing up on superhero comics means that you have the thought. You have to. What power would you want if you could have any super power? And it is an important decision because in comics sometimes what power you get reflects who you are (Invisible Girl thought no one noticed her, The Human Torch was a hot-head, etc.). Maybe it can be a bit like the sorting hat in Harry Potter… if you chant it enough as the radioactive goo pours over you.

I mean, what could it hurt?

What if… Last Action Hero was a Good Movie


Stolen from J Edward Neill‘s various “What if” posts. Mostly I see Last Action Hero as a missed opportunity to do something really cool instead of just playing most of it off as a goof. It’s a movie that really is at war with itself. Wanting to show the humor in the situations, but also wanting to have some kind of dramatic impact as well. And I don’t believe it hits them as hard as it could have.

The Darryl Problem


Maybe people didn’t look because they thought there would be spoilers, but this one goes into the idea of killing off a character just because they are “too popular”.

Which I disagree with immensely.

This is why we can’t have nice things


Thoughts on the idea that people always want to tear down anything they don’t like… and they double-down on that attitude if said thing is popular. And I don’t get it. I’ve mostly been a person who if I don’t like something – I just stop watching it, or stop listening to it, but the last thing I try to do is piss all over someone else’s “thing”.

It’s OK if I like something you don’t like and vice versa. Really.

Losing Power


Sometimes we need to get away. Sometimes we can’t see today for tomorrow.

Just breathe.


So What’s He Going to Buy With All That Gold?


A recent one that started with a question about dragons and their gold and became a little story about who helps the dragon spend all that money. I would say more, but I’d rather you just read it. I like the way it turned out.

There are others that deserve a look, but I think this is a good place to start…


John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the recently released anthology Beyond the Gate, which is free on most platforms!

He can also be found at

One Year Later

This is my 53rd blog post, which means that I’ve now, officially, hit the 1 year anniversary of blogging on Tessera… without missing a week. 52 straight weeks where sometimes it was well after midnight and the blank screen taunted me in a way I’d not thought possible.

Since I started blogging I’ve released 2 books, 1 novella, and 1 short. I’ve gotten an author website up (with the mighty, mighty Tanya Woods help), done a couple of interview swaps, and enjoyed my guild-mates’ musing on life and anything else they wanted to write about.

So for this post I wanted to take a look back at those 52 posts and highlight a few that I think either got overlooked or just were personal favorites.

I Should Have Paid More Attention to C. Thomas Howell


For those that might not get the reference, Howell was in the original move, The Hitcher, which was about what bad things happen when you pick up a hitchhiker. This post was my own personal (and 100% true) story about the 1 time I offered a ride to a stranger(s). It was the 3rd post I’d done and effectively my October “Horror” post. Most people like it even if the consensus is “what a dummy!”

The Biggest Fish: Smallville


This was a post about potential opportunities. It was about taking a shot, no matter how crazy it might be. And it was about getting a small amount of vindication. I might also call this one “The One Time I almost wrote an episode of Smallville.”

Brought to you by Yellow #5



Another story blog, this time focused on the one and only time I’ve ever spent time in the back of a cop car… and how Mountain Dew/ Mellow Yellow might be to blame (and lack of sleep, and not being in my own car, and finals week and…).

Forget Me Not


I believe that when a writer sits down and begins to craft a story he’s considering a question that he’d like to answer. That isn’t to say that it always has to be some earth-shattering question. This post was about one of those questions that is always on my mind, whether I end up answering it is an entirely different question.

And Now For Something Completely Different

Look tasty? Think again!

Look tasty? Think again!

My Grand Unification Theory… about pizza. I stand by this 100%. Study this, understand this, and maybe your next get-together will be a more successful one.

My only regret with this one is that I should have made it my April Fools post instead of my Superbowl post. I think it would have been more appreciated.


The Tribe Has Spoken


My Survivor post… the only bad thing about this one is that if you don’t care about Survivor then you have no reason to read it. But my wife and I continue to love the show, so I decided to write about some of the strategies and how we see the game. The cool, sad thing is that I could probably write a part 2 and 3 to this post without breaking a sweat.

He’ll See Me On the Flip Side


It was very stream of consciousness. All about how different moments in my life are connected in very interesting ways. I’m probably most proud of this post as it ended up better than I thought it would when I started it.

Hollow Empire: Those Initial Steps


A behind the scenes look at those first days when J Edward Neill and I began to hatch the project now known as Hollow Empire. This is the sort of post I love to read by other writers, so I hoped to give a little insight on one of mine.

And it also shows that sometimes ideas come at the most random times.

So whether you’ve read them all or never read a single one, maybe give them a look-see.


John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is currently in week five of its 6-part release. Each episode is only $0.99. But you can go ahead and purchase the full novel (all 6 episodes) right now for $4.99 with the above link!

He can also be found at

My Top Seven Words of 2014




 <— creepy


Back in 2013, while plundering the bottom of my mind for the finishing touches on my dark fantasy trilogy, I plopped this little article on the web. Turns out it was a pleasure to write, so much so that I’ve decided to churn one out every year forever. I don’t have another long introduction about how I’ve been busy mining the abyss for skulls, crushing nuns’ dreams, or plotting to rip the sun out of the sky.

So I’ll just get to it.

1. Unctuous – excessively or ingratiatingly flattering; smug

I liked this word so much I made it into a villain for my latest book, Nether KingdomUnctulu, the oily, slick-tongued, loathsome servant of Grimwain, defines unctuous to a tee. The word makes me ill just to think of. Say it with me; Smug. DisgustingUnctuous.

2. Tatters – a torn piece; a shred


 As in tatters of flesh, tattered clouds, tattered ribbons of dead men’s bones.  You get the point.




3. Masticate – to soften or reduce to pulp by crushing or kneading; to chew

No, not the other mast…ate word. I mean it in terms of, “The ragged, grey-toothed wights masticated the soldiers’ remains until only powder remained.” You know. Something grim like that. 🙂

4. Abattoir – a slaughterhouse

Ok. Maybe I’m getting too grisly here. Still, I like the imagery this word conjures up. It feels ghoulish, grotesque, and maybe a little…meaty. As in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. As in a haunted, metal-roofed, broken-windowed building none of the kids are brave enough to sneak into.

 5. Guile –  insidious cunning in attaining a goal; crafty or artful deception

I like this one as well as its opposite – Guileless (sincere; incapable of lying).  We all know people with varying levels of guile in our lives. We’d all be better knowing fewer. I’m not sayin’. I’m just sayin’.

6. Hodor – Hodor


Now, I’m not nearly as big a Game of Thrones fan as I used to be, but even so, who doesn’t love a word that means everything and anything? Think how much easier reading and writing would be? Hodor, Hodor, Hodor. It’s the ‘I am Groot’ of the fantasy genre. Actually, Guardians of the Galaxy is fantasy, too. So yeah. They both work. By the way, Hodor is guileless. Just sayin’.

7. Selfie – a photograph that one has taken of oneself; usually a sign of narcissism

Some things you just have to love to hate. Selfie is on this list because if viewed in the right light, it can tell you a lot about the person who uses it. Just imagine: “I never take selfies.” or “All I take are selfies.” I bet if you heard someone say either of these sentences, you’d start judging instantaneously. That alone makes this wretched word powerful. And powerful is good…if used to crush Kim Kardashian.

Until 2015,

J Edward Neill