Repost – They Can’t All Be Bad, Can They?

Sometimes this blog of mine needs to become something of a confession. I feel like I live a life in the shadows where only the late night glow of the computer can sustain me. During the day I am one person, making decisions in my job, in my life, in my very conversations, and then there is the person that only a few people know.

He’s the one I want to talk about right now.

You see, this person has a problem. Actually that’s not entirely accurate. If you asked him he might not even acknowledge the problem as he sits there on the couch watching TV. We live at a time where almost every classic you’d ever wish to watch is available within seconds through some streaming service or by actually renting the item in question. Instant access.

And yet there he is, this version of me who I don’t want to claim, he’s watching the worst movies… over and over and over again.

It has to be a sickness. There is no reason that every time he sees movie X on the TV that he should watch it again. The only thing I can figure out is that he’s comforted by them in a way that others would not… could not ever understand. So in an effort to out this problem to the world, these are my favorite “Bad” movies. These are movies that without fail I find myself watching at 11 PM (who am I kidding, pretty much whenever they actually come on). And I understand that they aren’t good movies… I really do. I just can’t stop myself.

Note that this list does not include things that I actually feel are genius in some way – Office Space, Happy Gilmore, Tommy Boy, etc. nor does this list include romantic comedies that I would say are good – While You Were Sleeping. And it definitely does not include Side Out (the GREATEST VOLLEYBALL MOVIE OF ALL TIME – it is never on tv… ever).

No, these are just the worst of the worst… or maybe just the best of the best.

red-dawn-movie-poster-1984-1020191147

Red Dawn – This is the original. I have not seen the remake, and I’m pretty sure it would only degrade the original in my head, so what would be the point.

Why do I love this movie? Well for starters it has C Thomas Howell in it, so it has that going for it. Seriously I think that this was one of those movies that capitalized on that inate fear of many in the 80s… this could actually happen. But the real reason is probably that it was teenagers who were fighting off the Cuban/Soviets. That sense of trying to think, even for a moment, that if the shit went down, maybe you could make a little bit of a difference. That appealed to the 12-18 year old me (and still appeals to the 38 year old me).

And who didn’t want to shout WOLVERINES? Put your hand down, you’re lying. We all wanted to do that.

Point Break

 

Point Break – I think this movie is amazing, if only for the most stilted line in movie history:

“You crossed the line. People trusted you and they died. You gotta go down.”

Considering everything that’s occurred between them, Keanu couldn’t muster a little more effort in delivering that line (or maybe they could have gone with another line).

But really, I love every moment of this movie. From the idea that the Ex-Presidents are surfers, to the fact that the FBI is paying Johnny Utah to go undercover, to the very real possibility that having a top notch college quarterback be “undercover” in anything would be a terrible idea (at least it seems like a terrible idea).

The-Replacements.2

The Replacements – Hey, Keanu makes the list twice. I love sports movies. Hoosiers is one of my all-time favorite movies, The Natural is amazing, and Bull Durham makes me wonder exactly how it is on those minor league teams. I love the idea that the majority of the time the guys we are watching are going to succeed and yet I still am engrossed in the movie.

And then you take these misfits, these cast-offs, and watch them come together under a washed up QB and a coach that was out of the league. I mean, these are the storylines they focus on every week on ESPN and here it is in a film. Make those over-paid divas the bad guys and let’s mix it up with those guys who are just happy to be there on the field.

Those are the guys I want to watch.

A-Knights-Tale-2001-movie-poster

A Knight’s Tale – I have no defense for this one. It is blasphemus to have Rock and Roll music as the soundtrack to a medieval adventure – though the dancing to Bowie’s Golden Years is good. It is terrible to have Geoffrey Chaucer in this film and make it seem like he wrote some of his stories based on Sir Ulrich Von Lichenstein’s adventures – though I like how they make him a gambling addict. There is so much bad that if I just talked to you about the movie in person, you’d wonder if I was preparing a Mystery Science Theater style mocking of it.

I still watch this one EVERY TIME it is on. I like the stuff with the Black Prince throughout the movie and then when Will is knighted. I like that this guy is trying to figure out what being a knight is all about, when he just needs to be himself.

I know, I know… very sappy. I can’t help it.

Bedazzled

Beddazled – This is the Brendan Fraser one, not the original one, which I feel like is much more sinister in its approach. I had forgotten about this movie until this past weekend when it came on and suddenly found myself watching it. This is one that actually has inspired me in my very first attempt at trying to write a novel. Now, not much more than the basic outline of a few chapters took place, but I love the idea of portraying the Devil as someone who is not just the boogeyman in our minds, but as someone who could actually have depth and caring.

But I also think that the Devil would try to screw over someone making wishes to the best of their ability. You’d need to be a top of the line lawyer in order to actually be able to make a wish and not have it backfire on you. And I’m guessing that the person/being who has been around since the beginning of time might still have more experience.

roadhouse-poster-mt

Roadhouse – “Pain don’t hurt”

“I want you to be nice until it’s time not to be nice.”

“A polar bear fell on me.”

Patrick Swayze at his most Zen-like (well maybe 2nd most to Point Break). Let’s go through the checklist? Bouncer who is legendary? Check. Falls in love with the local doctor who patches him up? Check. Evil rich guy who controls the town? Check. To the death fight on the shore of some creek/river with the number 1 henchman? Check. Everyone getting a one-liner? Check.

If that’s not enough for you, then I don’t know what you want.

So that’s my demons. My skeletons in the closet. Exposed for all to see. I don’t claim that I will stop myself from watching them the next time they are on. I don’t claim that I won’t love them just as much. I mean, why deny ourselves the things we love…

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Tales from the Cubicle – Part 9

Salsa Shark

I don’t like onions. Hate them, in fact. However, the rest of the world doesn’t understand this, so there are many, many, many opportunities to eat them if you’d like at various resturants. Salsa being a big one. In the Atlanta area, you can’t throw a stick without hitting a Mexican resturant, which means I’m going to have a big bowl of chips sitting in front of me. Now, while others use those chips to scoop up as much of the salsa as they possibly can, I take a slightly different tactic.

I dip the chip in, allowing it to get a little damp, and then make sure to effectively wipe any of the bad stuff on the side of the bowl.

I’ve done this for as long as I can remember. Which also means when I first started working, I would do the same thing in front of my co-workers.

Now, I’m sure people thought this was odd, but they also realized they had more of the “good” stuff for themselves. Or at least that’s what I thought.

Flash forward nearly twenty years at the company Christmas party. One of our remote employees was walking around, introducing her husband to people when suddenly he immediately recognizes me. It takes me half a second and I recognize him from that first job, having worked with him for maybe a year or so. Truly, it is a small world.

And then he says to his wife, “John always dipped his chips in the salsa just barely enough to get some juice on them and that was it.” Twenty years later and he still remembered the random way I eat chips. Talk about making an impression on someone.

***

You Knew What You Were Getting Into

As an engineer, there are long periods of work where you need to get really focused and avoid any distractions you can. There are tasks which can be very repetetive, so over the years I started bringing headphones to work to listen to music and later podcasts. I was certainly not the first at this particular company to do it. I personally found that the focus allowed me to be much faster and efficient with those tasks. A win-win.

However, flash back to a moment where during one of our staffing meetings it was brought up that the budgets on some of the projects were getting stretched thin. An one of the bosses made a point about how headphones and listening to music was likely at the cause of this issue. That because we (and I mean multiple people) were doing it, we were completing tasks slower than we would have if we weren’t covering our ears up.

Not what I was doing at the office.

Now, I’m normally not a person who seeks out confrontation, but this infuriated me. So I asked whether it was possible that the projects were running low on money because they hadn’t originally had enough money in the contract. His response was, “There are tasks that you have to do which are not always fun. But they have to be done without distractions. And hey, you chose your profession… you knew what you were getting into.”

Which, to this day, I still don’t understand what the hell that meant.

We still continued to have our headphones. Maybe the other project managers explained to him how dumb his thinking was (or at least how poor his people managing skills appeared to be).

***

You Don’t Have To Turn On The Red Light

Back in the days of being a younger engineer and living the true cubicle life, your immediate neighbors were the ones you were likely to have the most conversations with. My three closest neighbors would sometimes just have random chats about life, music, whatever you could think of… while sitting at our desks and doing our work. The cubicle walls doing little to damper our talks.

And it is during these times when you really get to the root of things. About how much you don’t know about someone or how much they may not know.

So it was that we all began talking about music. Lloyd was more into hip-hop and was attempting to educate me on those artists. Somehow we got to Puff Daddy, and I said “well, I’m a little indifferent to him after he took the Police song.”

Lloyd was silent for a beat, and then said “Who are the Police?”

After which I was silent for more than a beat. “Every breath you take… that’s the Police. Roxanne? Message in a Bottle? King of Pain? Everything She Does Is Magic?”

“Nope. Nope. Nope. I don’t think I know them.”

My world cracked completely open.

My other neighbor at least tried to save me. “Lloyd, don’t be stupid. You know who the Police are. You’ve heard of Sting.”

And at that point, it clicked into place for him. “Oh, yeah…”

As the years have gone by, I understand more that everyone has their own tastes and blind spots. But in that moment, I couldn’t have imagined not even having heard of the Police.

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

 

Movie Review – Furiosa

A lot of time when a sequel or prequel comes out, I try to go back and watch the previous movies. Sometimes I don’t get that opportunity. However, with Furiosa I wanted my wife to go see it as well (she’s a fan of girls kicking ass), which meant she needed to watch Mad Max Fury Road first. So we both went into the movie this evening with Fury Road only a couple of days old.

First… I really dug the movie (Courtney liked it a lot as well).

Chris Hemsworth is a worthy addition to the villains of this world. You could tell that he was having a ton of fun just playing nearly every moment as big as possible. Anya Taylor-Joy has very large shoes to fill in the titular character’s role, and she does a great job in making the character hers.

As to the story… while it is one overarching story of Furiosa’s life, Miller does an interesting thing where he breaks up these tales into segments, with each having their own title. I thought that was a cool way to tell these little tales that still allow for the time jumps we need for Furiosa to grow up, but I also realized that these Mad Max stories could happen in almost any order (prior to this movie), and as such they are little stories you might tell about the heroes and villains in mythology. Each of the chapters in this movie are exactly that, chapters of a larger tapestry within this world.

With the box office results so far, it would be fair to say that it hasn’t performed as the studios would have liked it to perform. And while I don’t have the answers to all the questions pertaining to why people aren’t going to the movies like they used to (although I do have plenty of theories that range from the cost of movies to make down to the cost of seeing a movie and a bunch of other things in between), I do have a couple of thoughts about why this particular movie might have stumbled out of the gate.

Both Fury Road and Furiosa ask something of its audience that I’m unsure how it works across the broader spectrum. They ask you to buy into a post apocolyptic world that is gonzo. The characters are over the top, larger than life, in a world where the lives of the extra characters are beyond meaningless. And by that, I mean those people are sacrificial lambs in the entire sense of the word. I’ve heard that the best science fiction asks you to believe one thing, but then grounds the rest within the rules you would expect. Mad Max says this is a dead world run by insane men… and oh, yeah, there’s going to be over the top, in your face action to the point you are going to question how anyone would live for an hour in this world.

But that’s the charm of these movies as well. I think it is why Fury Road did as well as it did. It got the good word of mouth to help slowly build to a success. Whether Furiosa does the same, it’s hard to say, but given Hollywood’s penchant for taking these “duds” and immediately trying to go to streaming, we may never know the real answer.

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

The One Where I Don’t Get Sea Sick On My Very First Cruise

Image by Gianluca from Pixabay

When I was about 14 years old my family went to Destin, Florida for a week. Well, technically we did that pretty much every year. When we first started going there in the early 90s there were only a handful of places to stay, even fewer things to do (you generally had to go across the bridge to Fort Walton), and that was probably for the best for my parents and their three kids. However, during this particular year, my grandmother had come to stay with us as well.

Now Nanny loved to fish. I honestly think had she lived on the coast she would have done it from sun up to sun down. So we were definitely going to do some fishing activity while we were down there, and so my parents decided to book us all on a 4 hour deep sea fishing excursion.

Side note – I get motion sick in cars. It’s not nausea though. Instead, I get bad headaches. Weirdly, I don’t get them if I’m driving, and I don’t get them if I’m in the passenger seat. Otherwise, life becomes a bit of pain. Which made family trips all sorts of fun as I couldn’t read to pass the time. At best I could listen to music with headphones on or just try to zone out.

I load up on the boat. This thing likely could hold maybe 30 people. Everyone would have a spot on the rail where they could fish until their hearts desire was full. And there I was, right beside Nanny, ready for the boat to get to the fishing spot and catch all sorts of things.

Image by gwiseman from Pixabay

The trip out there was probably 15 minutes and wasn’t too bad. Though, I felt the very beginnings of a headache, that would likely go away once the boat stopped.

Once the boat stopped moving.

On a moving ocean…

Oh, crap, the boat is never going to stop rocking, is it?

What occurred next I can only (luckily) remember through a haze of blinding pain as I spent the next 4ish hours in the middle of the boat on a cot, writhing and moaning. Because, the only thing that might make things worse would be if there was a storm out at sea. You know, where the boat gets tossed around a little bit (nothing scary, but more than I could possibly deal with).

When we finally reached land, I may have kissed the ground. And every year after, my parents would make the joke about booking another deep sea fishing excursion.

***

Image by Took A Snap from Pixabay

Now, I told you that story, so that I could tell you this story…

My wife and I were married back in 2002, and for our Honeymoon we were gifted a Mediterrean Cruise. We’d fly into Barcelona the morning of departure, and then it would be a week visiting various ports throughout France, Italy, and Malta. I was really looking forward to the opportunity, but my previous “boat” experience weighed on my mind. So I went and got the motion sick patch from a doctor. If you are unfamiliar, you stick it right behind your ear, and it is supposed to help with motion sickness. In addition, my dad mention a bracelet that he’d worn on a cruise which was based on pressure points along your wrist which apparently helped with the symptoms. Finally, I had old faithful, Dramamine to get me through any of the worst of it.

The flight to Barcelona was overnight, and since it was far and away the longest flight I’d ever been on, I made sure to take my Dramamine when I got on the place so that I could sleep. But, sleep on a plane is a sporatic thing for me, so I’m not sure how much rest I actually got.

Once we landed in Spain, it was early morning, and we hurried to the port in order to begin boarding. Somewhere along the way I slipped on the bracelet and put my patch on.

Getting onto the boat, the previous day’s trip, jet lag, and perhaps something else had completely wiped me out. I could barely function when we had to go to the muster stations, and by 3 or 4 when we were allowed to go back to our rooms, I pleaded with my new bride to let me sleep.

“Just give me today, and I’ll be good the rest of the week. I don’t know why I’m so tired, but I can’t…”

Luckily, she saw the poor, pitiful state I found myself in, and took pity… even though it meant missing some of the first evening activities (the big one being the first dinner). I think I finally woke up around 9ish, and when we started trying to figure out why I was so wiped and she wasn’t… we realized:

Dramamine

The Patch

The Bracelet

I’d over drugged myself!

I took the bracelet off. I didn’t take anymore Dramamine. I only used the patch. And the good news was that not only did I not need to sleep the trip away, I didn’t get sea sick!

***

I’m not sure if there is a less subtle message in all of this. Mostly, I felt like a dumbass, but I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the trip… I nearly messed up the trip in a different way. Which feels like a very “me” thing to do.

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Soundgarden

I didn’t know what to do with Soundgarden at first. Of the Big 4 Grunge Bands from Seattle I was squarely in the Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Alice in Chains side of things. It’s not that I disliked Soundgarden by any means, but something held me back from truly embracing them as one of “My Bands”.

Weirdly it might have been Chris Cornell’s voice which gave me the most pause. It’s an extremely strange thing to admit considering he might have one of the best pure Rock voices from anyone of his era (or any era really). But there it was. While my other friends raved about Badmotorfinger, I went on listening to other things.

But apparently Chris Cornell and Soundgraden weren’t going to let me off the hook so easily. He first got me with the Singles Movie Soundtrack. Seasons, his solo contribution made me refocus a bit more on his vocal talent. And it hammered me as one of the real standout tracks from the album. Just this little beauty of a piece…

Next it was the Temple of the Dog record… through my love of Pearl Jam, he’d found another way to worm into my head with Hunger Strike. After I listened to the full piece, it was inevitable. Somewhere in there I added Badmotorfinger into the rotation in my car. It was this perfect level of heavy and rock, and whatever idiocy I’d had with Cornell’s voice was long since forgotten.

And then Superunknown came out… I heard Fell on Black Days, and it was completely over from there. How we managed to snag tickets to see them at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, I’ll never know for sure, but I am grateful for it. This band should have been selling out the arenas at that point. Yet, there we were in a pretty cozy venue where we could absorb ever ounce of energy from the band.

Down on the Upside… I’m going to say something odd, but I may actually like that album better than the others. I’m not saying it is a better record than Superunknown (or Badmotorfinger), but I find myself coming back to it again and again over the years. It may be that Black Hole Sun was overplayed on the radio where it went from this amazing track to something I didn’t really need to hear again. Down on the Upside never got the love of their previous albums, so maybe that was what I was embracing as well. With any band, I think we all want to be able to find the thing that we like that no one else does (or we like it more than they do). Regardless, in some ways I feel like this is the version of Soundgarden I always needed them to be. No matter what, I can pop that one in and never seem to get tired of it.

Then they broke up… just as it felt I had fully embraced them. Trying to cast my mind back to that time to remember how I felt about that… I think I was more annoyed than anything else. At the same time, I understood I’d only broken the surface with them, so even if there was nothing new to come, I still had older stuff to listen and learn. And when Matt Cameron joined Pearl Jam, that seemed like, well, if they were finally going to stop being the modern day Spinal Tap when it came to drummers, then at least some good came from it.

But again, Cornell wasn’t through with me. He decided merging with members of Rage Against the Machine to form Audioslave might just get my attention. The part of me who held out hope for a Soundgarden reunion was sated by this new band…

And then they broke up.

And got back together.

And broke up.

Maybe it didn’t happen quite that way, but it felt that way. Audioslave feels like a band that I really liked, but somehow managed to never actually get to see in person.

Then Cornell went on to do solo stuff, and I’d check in on him periodically. His version of One is so crazy that I’m not sure how you can sing the lyrics to Metallica’s version while playing the guitar for U2’s version. That’s a huge step up from patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time.

Either way, that should have been it. Instead, Soundgarden miraclously reformed, put out a new record, and toured.

It was weird again. I think it caught me completely off-guard. Mentally I was in a good place with Soundgarden’s legacy, but maybe that was because I had come to them a little later than everyone else. For some reason I didn’t immediately go out and get King Animal. I’m not sure why exactly. Maybe I was worried about them trying to ape their own sound. Maybe I was thinking I was good with where they left off. It seems like long breaks from reforming bands don’t always go the way you might like.

And then they announced a tour and the Atlanta date was going to be at the Fox Theater again.  I wrote a little about the experience here.

Little did I know that only a few weeks later, Chris Cornell would be dead.

***

The first time I dealt with a band I liked having an unexpected death, it was Nirvana. Later on Alice In Chains and Stone Temple Pilots and Linkin Park were added to that (sadly) growing list. Sometimes the reaction was pure surprise. Other’s were less surprise and more a general sadness for what seemed like was inevitable due to their issues with drug abuse. I don’t mean to say it in such a matter of fact way… it is all very sad, but I never know how to react to those moments.

With Chris Cornell, more than anything, I think about what the world lost. The art that he was still making. Whether it was with a band or on his own. The power of his voice in both music and in life. He was a part of the soundtrack of my own life. Milestones which pile up over the years as I listened to his words over hundreds and thousands of listens. It’s the amazing power of music that is able to move us in ways we might never thought possible. Chris Cornell did that with everything I heard. And seven years after his death, I still wonder about a world with him still in it.

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Two Days Left for the In Our Dreams Awake Issue 2 Kickstarter!

Two Days Left for the In Our Dreams Awake Issue 2 Kickstarter!

Click here to back the comic!

***

Throughout this Kickstarter campaign I’ve written a few posts on In Our Dreams Awake, so this post will put them into a more comprehensive guide so that you don’t have to go stumbling through the Tessera archives in order to locate things.

 

Repost – Behind the Comic: In Our Dreams Awake

This post actually comes from the first issue’s Kickstarter, but it tells the origin story for the comic. Going back nearly two decades, the comic went from something we hoped would be our way into the comic industry to something collecting dust on a computer hard drive to finally a series.

Behind the Comic: – Anatomy of a Panel – In Our Dreams Awake #2

An idea which actually came from Egg Embry when I was struggling on how to post about The Gilded Age. This post takes you through the development of a panel from issue 2 of In Our Dreams Awake. Going from the concept, to an excerpt from the script, to the art itself (and the panel itself is the image from the banner at the top of this post).

Odd Synchronicity?

A little more of a stream of conciousness style post that focuses on little moments which lead to the comic coming to life.

What If?

A post about the core concept of In Our Dreams Awake… trying to find happiness in the life you have rather than always yearning for the path not taken.

The Reason Why – In Our Dreams Awake

Finally, the true reason I dragged In Our Dreams Awake back from the land of the dead.

Kickstart the Comic – In Our Dreams Awake #2: A Cyberpunk/Fantasy Adventure

I started doing a highlight post on Kickstarter some years ago on the blog, so it was only fitting to do one for my own comic (totally unbiased too… honest).

***

A quick reminder that In Our Dreams Awake #2 is available on Kickstarter for only two more days. Go and check it out here.

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

John McGuire is at Galactic Quest (Buford, GA) for Free Comic Book Day May 4, 2024

The Kickstarter for In Our Dreams Awake #2 is still going! Find it here!

***

This coming weekend (Saturday), I will be at the Galactic Quest Comic Store in Buford, Georgia from 10 till 6(ish). It’s Free Comic Book Day, so there are all sorts of goodies whether you are a young fan or old fan (or anywhere in between). Check out the website for information on exactly what comics are being offered this year. Plus, there are bound to be superheroes showing up here and there in all their costumed glory.

So come and stop by and we can chat. I will have copies of In Our Dreams Awake, the Gilded Age trade and The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, and The Echo Effect novels.

Hope to see you there.

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

The Reason Why – In Our Dreams Awake

Over the last couple of years, I decided to start writing about the published things I’ve managed to do – comic, short story, and novels. But I wanted to talk about the reason why they exist. Sometimes that’s talking about how the comic came about. Sometimes that’s a breakdown of where I was when it was conceived. Sometimes it’s a look inside my brain.

It occurs to me I never wrote a post for In Our Dreams Awake. Even if I have talked about the origins and it’s history.

The Reason Why In Our Dreams Awake exists is because I feel like I let people down when it didn’t exist.

***

Back when we were first emailing about this story, Egg was doing his best to try and make it in the world of comic books. He traveled around the southeast to various conventions setting up at an artist table with his then girlfriend. He would craft stories, make connections, and was putting in the legwork.

In the meantime, I was traveling down a different path with the folks over at Terminus Media, trying to get the anthologies finished. Trying to figure out how to create a comic book in the first place. And then later trying to figure out how to do more than the odd 8-10 page short.

Both of us were hoping for that little kick from a project or a connection or something which maybe would make it so this crazy idea of making comics might not be as crazy as you think.

In Our Dreams Awake should have been that thing. It should have been the catalyst for something bigger and better.

***

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

There’s this concept called Sunk Cost. Basically it means that a cost has already occurred and cannot be recovered. To me it means that you can’t let your future be determined by mistakes you’ve made in the past. You cannot remain beholden to something because it MIGHT work out for you. Instead, you need to forge ahead almost as if that original mistake didn’t happen.

When the original artist on Egg’s Cyberpunk story fell off the face of the earth, I should have scrounged up some funds and pushed the project ahead with a new artist.

But I didn’t do that.

I convinced myself that we had come too far to go backwards and start 24 pages completely over. I held onto some misguided hope that the time and effort invested in those pages were worth holding the whole project up.

The pages sat there on a computer for over a decade. All that hard work lain fallow.

Even when I finally circled back to the project and decided it NEEDED to get finished and put out into the world, I still couldn’t let go of that Sunk Cost. I still waited to hear back from the missing artist, engaging with him to try and see if we could salvage those pages. And when he ghosted me again, I waited… holding out hope for… what?

***

In Our Dreams Awake is a story about a man who isn’t sure which life he deserves. It’s the story about a man who is constantly wanting something more, something different than his current life can provide him.

But at it’s core it is about DREAMING BIG.

Egg and I wanted to make a comic book. We wanted to have readers and be able to tell this weird story. We wanted to be able to sell a few copies here and there, maybe break even on things when it was all said and done.

DREAMING BIG.

***

So maybe the biggest thing is the things I’ve learned along the way. Every mistake, every misstep got me a little closer to having printed copies of issue 1 in people’s hands. The mistakes that occurred between issue 1’s Kickstarter and issue 2’s current Kickstarter. And probably the mistakes that are likely to happen in the future.

Because doing this isn’t easy. The imposter syndrome is constantly hanging around in the back of my mind. Telling me that all the hard work isn’t worth it. You’ve invested so much, why keep going? It would be simplier if you just called it quits.

Maybe you shouldn’t DREAM SO BIG.

***

But that’s The Reason Why, isn’t it? If I don’t push this through, then the little voice of doubt will have been right. And I owe it to everyone who worked on this comic, whether it was 15+ years ago or it was earlier this year, to find a way to get it out into the world. Because if you can’t DREAM BIG about something so wonderful as comic books, then what can you DREAM BIG about?

***

A quick reminder that In Our Dreams Awake #2 is available on Kickstarter. Go and check it out here.

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

What If?

 

The Kickstarter for In Our Dreams Awake #2 is still going! Find it here!

***

I’ve talked before about how the process of In Our Dreams Awake came about all those years ago. But just like every idea, it’s meaning and purpose have changed over the years. The way the project started, and what it has become are ever changing in ways I don’t know that I completely understand.

But it all stems from this central idea I have about the What If Game.

What is the What If Game? It’s the thing that every (or nearly every) human on the planet plays at various points in their lives. It is the time we take to daydream about decisions we’ve made in the past and how they’ve affected our current state of being.

It can be very big decisions:

What college will I go to (or do I even go to college)?

Should I ask this person out?

Should I maintain this friendship?

Should I take this job or another job?

And sometimes it can be very small decisions which could add up to something bigger.

Should I go talk to the professor about my grades?

Should I spend more time working on this project?

***

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

The thing is, this is a good exercise for a person to go through. We should constantly evaluate what we have done, and look into not only the results of those decisions, but anything which might have led us to the moment. In the same way you might analyze your victories and defeats to see what you can do better the next time… the very same thing for the various life decisions we must all make.

However, it is one thing to use this in a way to better yourself. To propel you forward in your life. Like everything, it can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you use the self-reflection.

I have a friend who for many years focused a bit too much on the What If Game. They were so busy looking backwards at the things they didn’t have that they didn’t see all the gifts and opportunities right in front of them. Fundamentally their world view became a bit skewed because the path not taken was the path they thought they should be down.

***

In many ways, In Our Dreams Awake, is that idea taken to the next level. It is about a burning for something extra in our lives. Jason Byron lives his two very different lives, but he isn’t happy in either one. In the Fantasy world, he is willing to risk everything he has for an artifact of an outlawed era. And for what purpose? Because he wants to have a life different than the one he currently enjoys. In the Future world, he loves his life so much that he is trying to doublecross everyone and escape off world.

Because he is simply not happy with where he is.

He looks to the past or he looks to the future, but neither sate his appetite for much of anything. For Jason, both of these paths may lead to destruction.

***

In Our Dreams Awake is a reminder, of sorts, to myself that I should take time to be in the present. To experience things as they are and not constanly look back or forward. Time already flies by. If I’m not enjoying the present… what’s the point of any of it?

***

A quick reminder to go and check out the comic book, In Our Dreams Awake #2 on Kickstarter!

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

 

Kickstart the Comic – I Took A Hammer to Hell #3

 

Just a friendly reminder that I have a Kickstarter going right now for In Our Dreams Awake #2. Back it now!

***

Sometimes there is a plotline/story idea that catches me just right. I’ll be minding my own business (definitely not planning on buying more comic books), and then they jump me out of nowhere. I And then I’m left only trying to figure out how quickly I can get the issue in my hands (or virtual hands as the case may be).

You had me at Deal with the Devil story.

***

Cover by Mulele Jarvis

I TOOK A HAMMER TO HELL #3 (#1 & #2 Available too)

Writer – Matt Garvey

Artist – Mulele Jarvis

Colorist – Fabi Marques

Alternate Cover – J Francis Totti

The Kickstarter campaign ends on Friday, May 3, 2024

 

***

The Pitch:

With nothing more than a MASSIVE hammer duck taped to his hand, Jake is going to kill the devil! 

 

The Story:

Jake made deal with the devil for his eternal soul (original I know, but wait till you read it, this is VERY different) but instead of waiting till his time is up or trying to wiggle out of the agreement, he goes to Hell WILLINGLY! 

Why on Earth would someone do this?!… Well,  he has only one goal in mind. 

With nothing more than a MASSIVE hammer duck taped to his hand, Jake is going to kill the devil! 

This comic has action, it has gore…but it also has a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

So, F#@K REDEMPTION…EMBRACE VENGENCE!

You won’t be disappointed!

 

John’s Thoughts:

So many Deal with the Devil stories are about the person trying to find a loophole to the predicament they have put themselves in. You see, it is very simple: you do the crime and then your soul does the time. And don’t get me wrong, I love those types of stories. Heck, I have a book sitting on my shelf that pretty much focuses on just that.

I Took A Hammer To Hell makes an immediate detour, though. It takes that core premise and says “what if the guy made his choice and was willing to go to Hell when the time came”. And then tried to go kill the Devil.

At it’s core, that is an interesting idea. If you had 40 years to plan your assault on Hell, what would you do? Would you train like Neo in the Matrix? Downloading every bit of fighting skills you could. Would you study with all the religious figures you could find, hoping to find some weakness for the Devil?

Or maybe you’d just strap a hammer to your hand and say f$%# it.

A sampling of the Ultimate Digital Collection

The Rewards:

Matt Garvey does his best to keep his Reward costs low, so you can pick up the lastest digital issue for £2 ($3) or even a signed copy of issue 3 for £2 ($6). If you are just hearing about the comic and want to play catch up the digital will run £5 ($7) and phyrical versions of 1-3 are £12 ($16).

The best bang for your buck though is his Ultimate Digital Package (25 comics) which will get you caught up on I Took A Hammer To Hell and then continue to feed comics directly in your brain from many of Matt Garvey’s history for only £10 ($13).

(I actually did that level on his last Kickstarter: Gangsters Versus Nazis and am working my way through all the comic goodness.)

The Verdict:

I’ve already supported the two previous Kickstarters for Issue 1 and Issue 2, so I was ready to go when Issue 3’s campaign went live. If you can handle a story about Vengeance against the Devil (and who wouldn’t want to see that), you should back this comic so that they make 50 more issues!

Make sure you check out I Took A Hammer To Hell #3!

Covers by Mulele Jarvis

 

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

 

 

Kickstart the Comic – In Our Dreams Awake #2: A Cyberpunk/Fantasy Adventure

 

I’ve been writing about it for the better part of the last month, but we are finally LIVE on Kickstarter.

For those who may be unfamilar to Kickstarter, it is a platform that allows creators to take their work (in this case a comic book) and effectively get people to Back the project by saying they want to buy the product. We do this through a number of different reward levels… some of which will just be the new issue of In Our Dreams Awake #2, others will include both issues, digital options, as well as a chance to get signed novels or signed comics from Egg Embry and my back catalogue.

I hope you will join us for the campaign!

Click here to check it out!

Cover by Moonee Art

***

In Our Dreams Awake #2: A Cyberpunk/Fantasy Adventure

John McGuire – Writer/Creator

Egg Embry – Writer/Creator

Edgar Salazar – Artist

Rolands Kalninš – Artist, Colorist, Letterer

Genaro Olavarrieta – Inker

Javier Laparra – Inker

Alexander Lugo – Letterer

Moonee Art – Cover Artist

The Kickstarter campaign ends on Friday, May 10, 2024.

***

The Pitch:

Jason Byron dreams of two lives. In one fantasy, magi reactionaries won, technology is banned, and Jason is a portrait painter hiding a contraband telescope. In the other world, he leads a cyberpunk gang amid a future of flooded cities and gilled aliens. When he closes his eyes in one world, he awakes in the next.

In Our Dreams Awake is the story of what happens when both dream worlds spin out of control. What happens when Jason no longer knows which world is the dream and which one is reality?

 

The Story:

IN THE FANTASY DREAM, a mage arrives at Jason Byron’s cottage with orders: Paint and document a downed flying machine before the Magi destroy the heretical technology. But, will the authorities let Jason live with this forbidden knowledge?

IN THE CYBERPUNK FUTURE DREAM, there’s a turf war in Drowned London, and Jason Byron must parley with the rival gang leaders. Can Jason make peace with the ‘A People, those mouthy cat aliens, and other gangs? Will this escalate and go to guns?

Who can say what dreams may come? Each Jason Byron works for an unseen love. Their guiding light is making their worlds better for those who hold their hearts. But can these dreampunks make their dreams come true?

Cyberpunk Variant – Art by Rolands Kalninš

John’s Thoughts:

In Our Dreams Awake began with an idea of having a man dream two different lives. Egg and I then took that to the comic book pages by having two seperate artists work on the two different dreams… the two different versions of one story that we were telling.

Issue 1 started things off with us learning a bit about Jason in both his Dreams. A painter who dreams of the unknown, doing his best to keep his contraband technology a secret. A Gang Boss who dreams of a way off a drowned world, doing his best to keep his forbidden love a secret.

Issue 2 escalates that to the next level. Secrets begin to unwind and the consequences will change both his worlds completely.

 

 

The Rewards:

The Kickstarter is for the second issue in what will be a four-issue series. Issue 2 is completely done and issues 3 and 4 are nearly complete.

We have the ptions of either the pdf ($5) or print version ($10) to send to you. We also have two different variant covers, one by Rolands Kalninš and the other by Egg Embry ($15). If you missed the first issue, never fear, we have options for both issue 1 & 2 ($8 for digital and $20 for print copies).

On the higher end, we have an opportunity to get drawn into the Cyberpunk world as a potential member of Jason’s Gang ($250). On the last Kickstarter, we had two people choose this option, so you’ll get to see them in this issue!

Finally, we have a number of add-ons ranging from Signed Copies of The Gilded Age Graphic nivel, to the Dreamr by the Apocolypse RPG Zine ($10-$20 each).

 

The Verdict:

In my completely and totally unbiased opinion, why are you still here reading this? Go and back this amazing project!

Back this if you like Dreams, Painters, Cats, Blowing Stuff Up, Aliens, a drowned London, magic, spaceships, and probably a dozen other cool things I’m forgetting about (oooh, crab people!).

Cyberpunk Variant – Art by Egg Embry

***

I’d like to thank you for taking the time to check out our project. A lot of passion went into telling this story, and we hope you will join us on the ride!

Check out the campaign here!

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Repost: Behind the Comic: – Anatomy of a Panel – In Our Dreams Awake #1

 

Reminder that the Sign up page for In Our Dreams Awake Issue #2 Kickstarter is still available. Be sure to sign up so you get notified when the project goes live!

I thought it might be a nice look back at the Anatomy of a Panel that I did for issue #1 (which will also be available during the upcoming Kickstarter).

***

Taken as a whole, a comic book represents the input of multiple people, multiple perspectives, and multiple skill sets before the final product is created. I’ve said many times in the past that one of the reasons I love the format is exactly for that reason. You get to feed off of the creatives who you work with. And what begins as one thing can become something completely different in execution (and making the overall comic that much better).

 

In Our Dreams Awake #1 – Page 7, Panels 7 & 8

The Team

Pencils – Edgar Salazar

Inks – Genaro Olavarrieta

Letters – Egg Embry

Writer – John McGuire

 

Concept

This pair of panels represent the end of a larger conversation within the issue. So much of this world that Jason Byron lives (dreams?) in is dictated by the mages who control everything. They ensure the chaos technology threatens to bring to the people can never exist again. They are Order.

And to go against that would mean going against everything they stand for… and that way lies madness.

So what do we see? We see that Edgar made a choice to not allow for any other colors within these two panels, but instead presented them as a pair of black and white moments. Two men, representing opposite beliefs about their world, are separated by the small table.

 

The Script

Page 7 Panel 7

Annoyed by Peter’s accusation, Jason pushes himself away from the table as if to get up.

Jason – I know all of this, Peter.

Peter – So ask me your question again.

 

Page 7 Panel 8

Same shot as Panel 7 (Jason is still sitting). Jason pauses. No words are needed.

 

Breakdown

As you can see from the script, I actually made a slight mistake between the two panels. In Panel 7, Jason is frustrated/annoyed and pushes himself away from the table. Edgar followed that showing him standing up. His body language is very tense. However, when we come to Panel 8, I note that “Jason is still sitting”…

No, John, he is not.

But Edgar went with it, and I think it actually works in this visual context because of the artist’s choice to make these mirror images of each other (in regards to the black and white). Where Jason was angry in the previous moment, he has sat back down. But instead of either of them furthering the conversation, the darkness envelops them instead pointing two the very ideas that they stand for can not exist alongside one another.

It even mocks the prompt from Peter in Panel 7: “So ask me your question again.” Panel 8 answers that prompt with silence. There is no need to push the issue any longer.

There are no shades of gray here in this place.

***

But perhaps there is another world for Jason to find peace? One he can visit while he dreams?

***

We are less than a week out from the launch of In Our Dreams Awake #2 on Kickstarter. Make sure to sign up to the Prelaunch Page here:

 

 

 

***

Repost – Behind the Artist – Interview with Rolands Kalnins

 

Reminder that the Sign up page for In Our Dreams Awake Issue #2 Kickstarter is still available. Be sure to sign up so you get notified when the project goes live!

***

As we prepare for the In Our Dreams Awake Issue #2 Kickstarter, I wanted to spotlight some of the people who helped bring these crazy ideas to life. This brings us to the artist and colorist on the Cyberpunk portion of the comic book: Rolands Kalniņš.

 

***

How long have you been creating/working in comics?

I’ve been working in the comics industry since I was 16 years old. And full-time since I was 20.

I’m 26 now.

 

What made you want to work on comics?

As a kid growing up in a post-Soviet country we got our entertainment(films, books, comics) much later than the rest of Europe. So I was lucky to grow up watching original TMNT, Star Wars, Spider-man and the X-men animated series, Power Rangers, Adam West Batman, Tim Burton’s Batman, Pokemon, Digimon…

These shows and films made me love these characters, and later on, I found out that many of them were based on comic books. Unfortunately, the only comics we could buy in Latvia were based on Disney and Hanna-Barbera characters aimed towards very young kids.

So I spent a lot of time drawing and creating my own comics. And when I was living in the UK at the age of 15, I had the chance to buy a lot of Marvel comics. And that moment when I first held a comic book in my hands was simply magical.

And that truly made me take the path to become an artist in the comic industry.

Who inspires you? Or do you have a favorite artist or creator?

Personally, I have so many favourites/inspirations. Tho the most influential artists on me were/are: Dave Rapoza, Sean Gordon Murphy, Nick Dragotta, Junji Ito, and many others…

Variant Cyberpunk Cover by Rolands Kalniņš

How do you manage your daily/family life with your creative work? Is this your 9 to 5 or is this your 10 to 2?

My daily routine used to be different. But for the last few years, I’m also a full-time Tattoo Artist at 2 private studios that I own. So my day-to-day is divided.

Most days I work from 8:30-11:00 on comics and tattoo designs. From 12:00-16:00, I work at my tattoo studio. 17:00-19:00 session at the gym (usually 4-5 times a week), and 19:00-24:00 more work on comics/family time.

 

How would you describe your creative process when it comes to making comics?

My process is quite simple. I read the script, gather references and inspirational images, and then I draw the pages, usually coloring them right after.

 

Making comics often requires collaboration with others. How do you foster relationships and approach the collaboration process?

Creative relationships for me are really different with each writer and or company. On some projects, I get complete creative freedom and just create the artwork.

On others, the process is more involved and created on a step-by-step basis. With a lot more back and forth. Visuals changing as the story evolves.

And these things are different on each project depending on my involvement as well. Am I just the artist, or am I the colorist?

In some cases, I design the whole book, spine and all.

For me, the most important thing is to do the best work I can for the client.

Jason Byron makes his way through the flooded streets. By Rolands Kalniņš

What are your biggest obstacles when it comes to making art? How do you overcome them?

Hmm, for hurdles in creating work…

The hardest thing for me is creating art in bulk for my personal projects. Client work comes much more easily for me because it has certain direction-script, or just a description of a piece.

 

How has your experience been with the indie comics community?

I love working on indie comics.

Of course, a dream of mine is to do a Batman book, but for the most part I’m most comfortable doing creative horror books in the indie scene.

The thing I like the most is the “out there” ideas and that there’s no limit to the craziness of the stories I could visualize…

 

What advice can you give for people who want to start making comics?

Best advice is to learn the basics first.

And that doesn’t mean human figure, faces, etc… It means drawing straight lines, perfect circles, cubes… and only then applying those skills to draw objects, and characters.

And of course, drawing non-stop, but doing illustrations, pages, and panels, not just studies for study’s sake.

Applying knowledge and learning on the go is key. Many things I learned over the years I learned on the job doing the actual work.

And of course, finishing things. Many up-and-comers tend to sketch a lot and never do finished work, which grows into a boatload of bad habits.

 

Are there themes and/or subjects/genres you find yourself drawn to again and again in your work?

My favourite genres to create for are usually pulp-fiction, neo-noir, cyberpunk, and horror type of work.

But I love doing most genres.

But dark fiction and psychological mind-bending work suits my style best in my opinion.

Jason Byron and Fem’A Lin kiss. By Rolands Kalniņš

If you could go back in time ten years, what advice might you have for your younger self? Something you wish you knew?

Hmm, I would probably say to myself to never stop drawing and don’t give up. Things will go your way eventually…

And don’t let anyone talk you out of anything career-related.

 

Do you have any upcoming projects? Anything you’d like to promote? Anything else that you’d like people to know about you (Hobbies? Passions? Favorite TV Show)?

I have many upcoming books and personal projects, but I can’t really talk about any of them due to NDA’s. Only thing I can say is that “The Pandora Window” a book I’m co-creating with Ray Chambers is finally announced and being drawn as we speak. And many other projects with Adam Barnhardt of Sh*tshow fame. Hopefully, soon they’ll be announced.

For hobbies, I tend to have many, but the most important ones are Powerlifting and reading. For me, it’s a way to clear my head. And of course, a healthy mind and body are key with this type of profession.

I personally believe you’ll go crazy quite fast if the only thing you do 24/7 is draw. It can become more of a detriment than a strategy to become successful.

 

Where’s the best place to find out more about you and your works?

I’m most active on my website(portfolio), Instagram, Twitter and Reddit.

https://rolandskalnins.carbonmade.com/

https://www.instagram.com/marvelzukas/

https://twitter.com/marvelzukas

https://www.reddit.com/user/Marvelzukas/

Jason Byron’s intense stare. By Rolands Kalniņš

Do you have a Bio that I can post at the bottom of the article?

My name is Rolands Kalniņš

I’m an illustrator, concept artist/designer, colorist from Latvia.

I’ve worked on many projects for different publishers and kickstarters.

Scout comics: Red Winter.

Fracture Press: Tales of Fractured Mind, Tales of Fractured Worlds, Soul of The Sea, The Burning Memory

Tpub: Transdimensional.

Source Point Press: Sirius

Frank Martin’s Pipe Creepers

Scapegoat Press Inc: Pcycho Path, Aeonian.

Roy Burdine’s Reapers.

VMComics: Hotel Hell

Musicians: Varien, Hellhills, Manic, Toracha, Cream of Cthulhu, and many more.

***

I want to thank Rolands Kalniņš for taking the time to answer my questions. And I really appreciate his contributions in bringing In Our Dreams Awake to life. Remember to go to the Sign up page for In Our Dreams Awake Issue #2 Kickstarter. Be sure to sign up so you get notified when the project goes live!

 

 

 

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

 

 

Odd Synchronicity?

Reminder that the Sign up page for In Our Dreams Awake Issue #2 Kickstarter is still available. Be sure to sign up so you get notified when the project goes live!

There are little things in our everyday world which sometimes lay out a message you might be on the right path. Small reminders, universal beats as it were to help subtlely (and not-so-subtlely) guide you. Then again, it could be more that these are the very things which seeped into your subconcious to begin with to create the path in the first place.

As we close in on the launch date for In Our Dreams Awake Issue 2, I began looking through the old emails, trying to find little bits and pieces that I had forgotten in the meantime. The back and forth in the very early days between Egg and myself as we worked the story, bouncing ideas off each other, trying only to improve upon the blocks of the story each time. Discovering things about the characters and what their goals may or may not be.

***

Things in the original breakdown:

The very first outline was 9 issues of story. Talk about being overly ambitious on what we might be able to do all those years ago… not that long out of college. 9 issues… good lord.

Jason Byron was originally an important man… perhaps a Duke of some sort.

In the sci-fi story there was a moment where he was going to have something similar to an Office Space style futuristic job. There was no Cyberpunk gangs. No angry cats (see issue 2).

Jason has more of a comprehension of what is going on between the worlds earlier on in the process. As seen in issue 1, these two worlds are tied together by him, but as things begin to spiral a bit, those world can start to bleed over.

There was an assassination attempt on Fantasy Jason. Totally didn’t remember that one at all.

As opposed to splitting issues between the two worlds, it would be full issues spent in one or the other. So a lot less flip book.

***

So what are the guideposts that helped us along?

Henry David Thoreau’s core quote. Egg discovered it somewhere and suddenly we had a proper title for the story.

I received a series of post-it notes from my parents as a gift and one of them was the Poe quote which again felt like they had read our emails.

Even stranger than that was a random listen to a Van Halen song which felt like it too was written about Jason Byron two decades before he ever took shape:

Love Walks In – Van Halen

Contact is all it takes
To change your life to lose your place in time
Contact! Asleep or awake
Coming around you may wake up to find
Questions deep within your eyes,
Things you’ve never realized

CHORUS:
So when you sense a change
Nothing feels the same
All your dreams are strange, love comes walkin’ in
Some kind of alien
Wait for the opening
Then simply pulls a string

Another world, some other time
You lay your sanity on the line
Familiar faces familiar sights
Reach back remember with all your might
Ohh there she stands in a silken gown
Silver lights shining down

CHORUS

Love comes walkin’ in

Sleep and dream is all I crave
I travel far across the Milky Way
To my master I become a slave
Til we meet again some other day
Where silence speaks as loud as war
And the earth returns to what it was before

CHORUS

Love comes walkin’ in

***

At the end of the day, the story is one we felt compelled to tell. In our email exchange 20 years ago, Egg asks a key question about the story “Is this a story of hope or failure?”

And I like my response, because even through all the tweaks and changes to the very first kernel of an idea, I think we’ve kept to this guiding light:

“The story, at its core, is probably a little of both (failure and hope). Hope that our lives can be brighter than they are but also failure in the risk of not living in reality. Plus, there’s the issue of what reality is truly. Is it what we perceive, or is it what others perceive?”

***

We are less than a month out from the launch of In Our Dreams Awake #2 on Kickstarter. Make sure to sign up to the Prelaunch Page here:

 

 

 

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Repost: Sleep, Perchance…

Make sure to sign up for the In Our Dreams Awake Kickstarter Pre-Launch Page to get notified when the project goes live by clicking HERE!

***

I feel like In Our Dreams Awake comes from the same place the following comes from… that frantic, unsure thing where we have this thing (SLEEP) that we must have but area always cutting short with everything else in the world.

***

Alarm off. A slow glance at the clock. The time flickers a thought in my head.

That can’t be right. Close my eyes again as if the sheer act of doing so will change what they witnessed. A slow peek before I’m careening out of bed. A mad scramble of clothes and contacts and “did I shower last night?” and deodorant and shaving and finding a shirt and…

Dragon Clock

It’s already past the countdown clock moment. Now it becomes the beginnings of a true decision. Formulas scream through my brain.

How long is the trip?

When is it too late?

Damn… missed class again…

***

Many years ago Chad told me that he preferred nightmares to pleasant dreams. The very concept made little sense to me at the time.

“Why?”

“Because when I wake up from a “great” dream, I’m back in the real world where things are inevitably worse than the worlds I had just visited. But with a nightmare, I have absolute and utter relief, because my waking life is so much better then any nightmare.

“Suddenly I’m happy to be awake!”

***

I struggle to fall asleep. Not stay asleep… oh, no. That is well taken care of. I tend to stay up too late and want more than my allotted eight hours the next day.

***

Henry Rollins said that you either sleep or you don’t – but you can’t catch up.

***

I respectfully disagree with that sentiment.

***

Your body knows when enough is enough. When you’ve pushed yourself. When you have burned that candle down to nothing but a pool of wax and a long-forgotten wick.

That’s when you need to let yourself catch up.

candle-579580_1920

***

Tonight, I don’t want to sleep. I want to stay up, looking down the internet rabbit hole – wondering where it will take me. I wonder if ancient scholars had the same feeling reading the same obscure text.

Sadly I’m reading about football or baseball or something else not quite so grand.

My nightly ritual where I put it off as long as possible. One more minute. Five more. Let me just finish this article. Where is that link going to take me? What about this video on something from 1 year ago. Five years ago. 100 years ago.

Yeah, I could wait until the next day, but then the information couldn’t swim through my head waiting to greet me in my dreams.

I need to know RIGHT NOW!

***

Reality vs. Dreams? What is the difference really? What if the world ceased to exist when we closed our eyes? And then the very act of opening them created a whole new world?

city in the sky

***

In dreams we are the creator, not always in control, true, but building.

Yet, I have to wonder. Is that actually a truth or just something I believe without real proof?

If that was true, why would I set the clock to a point where I’m late for class? Why torture myself when it is nothing but mental 1s and 0s of my own personal Matrix? What good does it do my body to send that familiar rush of fear and anxiety through my body?

***

What if it were the opposite? What if we are only the creators when we are awake? What if when we shut our eyes that was the real world(s)? That’s why we don’t have control over it. That’s why we can’t get off the railroaded path provided to us.

As strange as that reality might be where physics no longer works the way you think it should. Where people you’ve not seen in years suddenly have different personalities than you are used to. Your wife recognizes you, but she’s different and the same and…

***

We have to follow Alice down that damn rabbit hole no matter what.

***

Another friend in high school once commented that he woke up early (most weekends) because he was afraid of missing something. Better to be awake for whatever exciting/important/whatever thing than to not be.

As if the world ceased to exist when we shut our eyes.

***

The world continues to exist when we shut our eyes.

***

Doesn’t it?

***

We have been working hard to get this issue ready for public consumption. Over the next month or so, I’ll have preview pages, behind the scenes looks, and probably some random other stuff that I’m not remembering right now. I hope you’ll join us on another great comic book adventure!

Remember to sign up to the Pre-Launch Page to get notified when the project launchs on Kickstarter!

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

 

Behind the Comic: – Anatomy of a Panel – In Our Dreams Awake #2

 

We are less than a month out from the launch of In Our Dreams Awake #2 on Kickstarter. Make sure to sign up to the Prelaunch Page here:

 

 

 

***

As a comic book writer, we are doing the best we can to take the thoughts and images in our head and describe it in a way where the artist can have some idea of what we originally meant to show up on the page. The amazing thing about artists, though, is they take that mess of words and somehow (through magic is the only way I can figure) create an image (or series of images) which end up being a way better version of whatever I had in my head to start. Those are some of the best days, when you open up your email to get a new page and it leaves you speachless. Where you want to go back to your script to see how in the world they made it so much better.

 

Page 16 Panel 1 Pencils – Edgar Salazar Inks – Genaro Olavarrieta Colors – Javi Laparra

 

The Team

Pencils – Edgar Salazar

Inks – Genaro Olavarrieta

Colors – Javi Laparra

Letters – Alexander Lugo

Writer – John McGuire

 

Concept

This panel represents a bit of the calm before the storm. At the end of last issue, Fantasy Jason spotted this very same spacecraft in his (illegal) telescope. Now he finds himself commissioned to draw it. In so many ways, this is exactly what his curious mind truly wants to do. Somewhere inside him is a person who wants to see the strangeness in the world. The very truth of things which cannot be obscurred by those in charge.

Here we are with our artist sitting on top of a hill, trying to draw this literal alien craft as the workers go about disassembling it. He’s not sure whether this thing will be studied or destroyed, so it may be his pictures will be all there is left for anyone to know this machine existed.

 

The Script

Page 16 Panel 1

Jason has paint on his clothes, face, and has various sketches, scroll casings, and papers lying all around him. He has a sense of wonder and awe at what he is witness to. Magus move past him with pieces of the ship.

For this panel, the time is 13:00.

Caption – Early Afternoon.

Peter (caption) – It will eventually be dismantled, so we need accurate records.

 

Breakdown

Edgar and Genaro did a great job here really nailing this moment. The butterfly fluttering just above Jason provides a very relaxing moment in the midst of the overall craziness which is not only occurring in that moment, but really has been occurring since the day before (Issue 1) and is a bridge to what awaits our hero throughout the remainder of Issue 2. He placed the papers on the ground beside him, so the reader can see that he has been hard at work for a little while already. And he has an in progress piece on the easel to his left.

On top of that, Javi’s colors are perfect here. The greens, browns, and blues put the characters and the reader at a sort of ease (hopefully).

And while I haven’t shown your the entire page here, the overall feel is much the same as Jason pours himself into this project. Maybe even forgetting for a moment that this craft from his dreams is actually real and true.

Lost in the moment. Lost in the painting.

 

***

Be sure to sign up for the upcoming Kickstarter by clicking the image below!

 

 

 

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

 

 

 

In Our Dreams Awake Issue 2 – Kickstarter Prelaunch

 

The Kickstarter Prelaunch Page can be found here!

Jason Byron dreams of two lives. In one fantasy, magi reactionaries won, technology is banned, and Jason is a portrait painter hiding a contraband telescope. In the other world, he leads a cyberpunk gang amid a future of flooded cities and gilled aliens. When he closes his eyes in one world, he awakes in the next.

In Our Dreams Awake is the story of what happens when both dream worlds spin out of control. What happens when Jason no longer knows which world is the dream and which one is reality?

***

In Our Dreams Awake comes from co-creators John McGuire and Egg Embry. The second issue of this 4-issue mini-series features two dreams, the first illustrated by Edgar Salazar with the second by Rolands Kalniņš. With covers by Moonee Art, Rolands Kalniņš, and Egg Embry, this is a comic written for fans of love stories, dreampunk, steampunk, and cyberpunk, this series promises an engaging mystery with amazing artwork. This story is about love and loss and asking the big questions: Who am I? Where do I belong? Who do I love?

***

IN THE FANTASY DREAM, a mage arrives at Jason Byron’s cottage with orders: Paint and document a downed flying machine before the Magi destroy the heretical technology.  But, will the authorities let Jason live with this forbidden knowledge?

IN THE CYBERPUNK FUTURE DREAM, there’s a turf war in Drowned London, and Jason Byron must parley with the rival gang leaders. Can Jason make peace with the ‘A People, those mouthy cat aliens, and other gangs? Will this escalate and go to guns?

Who can say what dreams may come? Each Jason Byron works for an unseen love. Their guiding light is making their worlds better for those who hold their hearts. But can these dreampunks make their dreams come true?

***

We have been working hard to get this issue ready for public consumption. Over the next month or so, I’ll have preview pages, behind the scenes looks, and probably some random other stuff that I’m not remembering right now. I hope you’ll join us on another great comic book adventure!

Remember to sign up to the Pre-Launch Page to get notified when the project launchs on Kickstarter!

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

The Reason Why – The Last Stand

Back at the beginning of this journey, my brain was looking for any way to get a comic done. Of course, at that time I was recently married, just beginning my career in Civil Engineering, so I didn’t have a ton of disposeable income. Which is a nice (or just honest) way of saying I couldn’t pay an artist.

Not the best place to be.

At this point Terminus had gathered a bunch of artists up to do their first anthology, where I had my first published work: The God That Failed. It wasn’t enough. I went online to see what things might be out there. Various contests for artists, but very, very few which had many opportunities for writers. The best I could find was a couple of short contests where you entered your script and if they liked it, you’d get matched up with an artist.

I didn’t win the couple I entered.

Then came an anthology built up to support the victims of the 2004 Tsunami which hit southeast Asia.

I needed to figure out something that would be a little uplifting, maybe having to do with the sea, maybe something from a dream, maybe… maybe… maybe.

I gathered up three artists to do the 4 pages I’d written about a kingdom dealing with the oncoming storms which threaten everything they’d built up. And those same artists took my still very early script and turned into a lovely little story about endings and beginnings.

Sadly, I’m not sure if that anthology ever actually came to pass, or if they just passed on my story… it’s been nearly 20 years.

But the work still stands as one of those first things which I poured myself into. One of those first stories where I am grateful for each of the artists who have their time to a project that ended up not seeing the light of day for a while.

In fact, it wasn’t until Egg Embry was putting together an anthology many years later (The Burner) that the story finally found a place to call home.

***

That story is my reminder that comics are a collaborative process. Every set of hands helping to bring these stories to life which is simply amazing.

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

A Love for Everyday – Part 16

Seven years ago, I created a homemade book for my wife with all these quotes about Love from our favorite TV Shows and movies and books and then I added to it great quotes about love from history or just great quotes about love from anyone. For the past six years, I’ve shared a few from the book around the holidays.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 is here.

Part 5 is here.

Part 6 is here.

Part 7 is here.

Part 8 is here.

Part 9 is here.

Part 10 is here.

Part 11 is here.

Part 12 is here.

Part 13 is here.

Part 14 is here.

Part 15 is here.

 

 

January 27

It’s like, it’s not even real to me. It’s like my life isn’t even real to me unless you’re there and you’re in it and I’m sharing it with you.

Gilmore Girls

 

February 13

It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them.

Agatha Christie

 

March 12

You’re my favorite reason to lose sleep.

Anonymous

April 10

When you think you’re not happy with your life, always think someone is happy simply because you exist.

Anna Kendrick

May 17

Love is the longing for the half of ourselves we have lost.

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

 

June 24

There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.

Vincent Van Gogh

 

July 29

I could not tell you if I loved you the first moment I saw you, or if it was the second or third or fourth. But I remember the first moment I looked at you walking toward me and realized that somehow the rest of the world seemed to vanish when I was with you.

Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince

 

August 26

Loving you is like breathing – so effortless, so natural. And so essential to life.

Anonymous

September 24

Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection. The loves, the dreamers, and me.

Kermit the Frog

 

October 30

But our love was stronger by far than the love

Of those who were older than we

Of many far wiser than we

And neither the angels in heaven above,

Nor the demons down under the sea,

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

Edgar Allan Poe

 

November 10

There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.

Martin Luther

 

December 11

One love

One blood

One life

You got to do what you should

One life

With each other

Sisters

Brothers

One life

But we’re not the same

We get to

Carry each other

Carry each other

One… life

U2, One

 

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Tales from the Cubicle – Part 8

Image by piviso from Pixabay

She Knows Where You Live

During 2020, I was lucky enough to have the type of job where I could work from home. However, the job wanted to make sure we still felt some level of connection with the rest of our coworkers even if we weren’t seeing them regularly. So we ended up with Zoom call happy hours where we would chat… it was actually nice. However, what always cracked me up was one of my coworkers would normally ask a question about where someone lived and from that appeared to hack into the government database to discover all sorts of things about you that you didn’t think was out there.

It became a running joke for any new employees to warn them that if they gave her any information, she’d have their addresses within the hour.

 

I’m Having a Problem With My Computer

We once had a Temp employee who was helping us out on a series of deadlines wih the goal of hiring them on full time if things worked out. At that particular job, I was the one who they designated to help them out on any problems they might have with our network/computers/jobs/etc. I didn’t mind doing that at all (I’ve come to realize over the years I really like helping the junior engineers, so in some ways this was one of the steps down that path). After a couple of weeks of the Temp working on any number of projects, they came over to me and said there was a problem with their computer… it was crawling.

I walked over to their desk and saw it was really slow. Like slower than I’d ever seen any of our machines run. I start doing some digging and I realize what the problem is – the computer is out of storage.

Then I dig further.

The Temp had been saving all the files they’d worked on to their computer as an extra level of backup in case something went wrong. Now, I can understand some things you might want to do that with… and maybe they’d had a nightmare scenario at a previous job which caused this behavior… but this was above and beyond. It was as if ANY file they touched at all got backed up to their computer.

After a conversation about the companies’ backup procedure, we managed to get the machine cleaned up enough… for like a week. And that became a weekly routine of trying to explain that not everything needed to go on their computer.

Every week.

Owen Wilson

At the various holiday parties and monthly lunch and learns, there are moments which hit you out of the blue. I can’t recall what we were having lunch for in particular, but a series of stories were being shared. At the end of one of them, one of the engineers made what can only be referred to as an “Owen Wilson WOW” sound. At that point, I started paying attention to her reactions and sure enough Owen Wilson Wow made multiple appearances. With the best moment being during a meeting where some rather uninspiring thing was being shown for the group and I heard a “Wow” from two rows behind me and nearly lost it right then and there.

It has now entered my own lexicon throughout my daily life. Anytime anything deserves a Wow… Owen Wilson gets his kickback.

 

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

A Free Short Story – Piece By Piece

I sometimes forget that I should be promoting myself, things that I’ve done, or books and shorts that I’ve written. I end up more passive than I would like to be by including it into my signature at the end of the blogs. But it occurs to me that maybe people aren’t reading those things. And it also occurs to me that being passive isn’t the answer. As I get ready to launch some more work into the world, I need to remind people what is already available as well.

I wrote this a few years back, but it is available for Free. And if you liked The Dark That Follows, it features Jason Mills doing his psychic thing (and if you haven’t read The Dark That Follows, you could do worse than having this short be your introduction into the world).

***

I’m trying to figure out this publishing thing. I’ve got the book, got a comic, got a little novella, but I know I need to do more. The chances of anyone having just one thing out there in the void and suddenly hitting it big are pretty low. And that’s fine with me. I know it is a marathon and not a sprint (to borrow that old cliche’). Still, the projects I’m working on don’t really feed the beast of The Dark That Follows. And while I have ideas for the sequel, I’m not ready to really dive in (too many other projects that must get done).

So how do I fix that? How do I get potentially more eyes on this book I wrote without writing another book in the same world?

writing

I’d been thinking about a story, but I really wanted it to tie into The Dark That Follows somehow. Have a place where they could get the short for free and if they liked what they read, maybe they’d check out the book. Something extra. And a story began to shape itself in my mind.

A short story.

This is the old two birds one story idea. And while I didn’t name it Tessera or Tesserization or Tesselation or… (well, you get the idea), it does take a little bit of inspiration from trying to see a bigger picture from little bits of information.

PIECE-BY-PIECE-COVER

So without further ado, I present to you Piece by Piece. You can find it here on the site, and shortly you should be able to find it for free download on the various other platforms… but you can get it first!

***

The Song of Your Life III

In the movie, Before Sunset, Ethan Hawke is on a book tour where he is talking about his next project: this idea of a song transporting you back in time. How it grabs you and can make you remember things you’d forgotten – all of it locked within a song.

I feel the same way, where the music moment can transport you back to those memories you might not always have right at your fingertips. Things you thought had been lost are now crystal clear once again.

***

Image by Mollyroselee from Pixabay

Def Leppard – Hysteria

One of the first albums I ever owned, I nearly wore out the cassette tape as it would play behind me while I shot baskets throughout so many afternoons. But more than anything it transports me back to a particular summer where I’m maybe 12 or 13 at my grandparents’ house in south Georgia. My sister and I would normally spend two weeks with them every summer and hand out with our cousin. The thing was that south Georgia heat is nothing to play with. We’re talking 100 degrees easily during most afternoons, and in the area I’m talking about, it was probably closer to scrubland than woods sometimes (so not as much shade to potentially keep you cool). We tried to stick to the indoors as much as possible, but even back then the adults were always wondering why we weren’t outside playing (I wondered if adults didn’t feel heat in the same way, but now, as an adult, I know it’s certainly not the case). So I took a basketball out to the weathered and battered goal and turned on Def Leppard and cooked in the heat.

Good times…

***

Guns N’ Roses – November Rain

When you are a poor high school student, you really depend on tape trading with your friends in order to experience anything more than what your own feeble funds might allow you to purchase. One of those tapes was a copy of Use Your Illusion 1 (and 2 as well) which Chad Shonk had made a copy of for me. I devoured that tape over the course of many weeks before I finally decided to just go and get the CD. Imagine my surprise when this song Novemeber Rain came pouring through my stero… a song I did not recognize at all. I popped back on the tape, fast forwarded to where the song appeared and got a weird gabled version of the song that was abruptly shortened as well. So it was that one of the bands greatest songs finally managed to be appreciated by me… months after the album had been out.

***

Korn – Blind

Right after I graduated from high school, my parents moved the family up to Richmond, Virginia, leaving their oldest in behind in Georgia to begin college at GA Tech in the fall. It was a great summer as for many weeks I pretty much was by myself. My dad would be down about every other week, but otherwise I was on my own (luckily for them, I was anything but a wild kid – I wouldn’t have known how to throw a party even if I’d wanted to). Just before the end of summer, the movers came and packed up all our worldly items and off we went to Richmond, where I think I technically lived for about two weeks.

It was there I discovered a record shop a couple of miles away from the new house. Every couple of days I would pop up there to see if they had anything of interest. And one day they had these sampler tapes from a band named KORN. Free means go ahead and grab one just in case. I got home, popped it into the stero, and was blown away by what I heard. Suddenly, a random trip to the store had introduced me (and my friends shortly thereafter) to not only a brand new band but the beginnings of a whole new music (Nu Metal).

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Repost – Behind the Comic: In Our Dreams Awake

 

I don’t have the email anymore where I first pitched Egg the basic idea behind In Our Dreams Awake. I basically remember that I had hit upon this idea of someone having to live two different lives, one when they slept and one when they were awake. I know that it happened around the Winter of 2004-2005 in one of many of our daily emails back and forth to each other. Those emails served as both catch-up on the day/week and also a dumping ground for us to share potential writing ideas.

You see, the goal with Egg and I always was to find a way to write comic books. During college, there were many, many, many weekends the two of us would journey from one comic shop to another looking for back issues. And during those trips, we’d talk story ideas. They ranged from some take on whatever Marvel or DC or Image might be doing at the time all the way to our own comic ideas featuring our own characters. But this was in the days before something like Kickstarter existed, back in the days when we were going to have to find a way to do things on the “cheap”.

Egg’s always been good about looking at potential story ideas and breaking them down into a format that might be a little different. And In Our Dreams Awake sent his mind going.

I know/remember a few things about this time:

Egg found the title from a quote by Thoreau.

Egg pitched the idea of the two of us writing portions of the story. One of us would take one dream and the other would write the other.

Egg found both the artists to do what would become a 4 issue mini-series: Edgar Salazar (pencils) and Genaro Olavarrieta (inks) for my “fantasy world” dream and an artist for “futuristic world”.

So we started on the scripts for issue 1. And then the pages started rolling in… this was working… we were going to have a comic book!

We quickly got scripts going for all 4 of the issues, as Edgar and Genaro were rocketing through their work. I learned how to color on the computer (which is a story for another time). Egg’s artist was turning in good stuff. The tone felt great… all we needed to do was find a home for the comic.

We approached Image, I think we sent it off to a couple of other places, but nothing ever came of it. I was working with the Terminus Media guys at the time and had learned enough to know how to get the book printed, but we realized we probably needed to have a complete book before going down that path.

And then Egg’s artist fell off the face of the Earth.

He’d done around 20ish pages out of the 48 or so we’d need to finish things up. But we couldn’t find him. He didn’t return email. I think Myspace was a bust (remember Myspace?). Months went by, which became a year, which became two years. Edgar and Genaro finished their pages and moved on, but we felt hamstrung by this artist. It was weird that one of the original reasons for doing the comic with two artists was so that it would half the load. We thought there was a chance that if an artist disappeared (or ghosted us) that it would be relatively early in the process. Maybe they’ve done 1-5 pages and then make like a wizard, but he’d done enough for 2 issues.

We scrambled. Egg came up with an idea to split his dream in two with the already finished pages and then get a new artist (potentially himself) to do the last 24 pages. We toyed with some other thoughts, but time went on, and like so many things…

In Our Dreams Awake passed into legend…

It nagged at me. Tugged at the back of my mind. Every year I’d look through my files and see the pages and think about what could have been. I wrote the Gilded Age and The Dark That Follows and still, it was there. Egg moved on to RPGs and writing for so many websites that I can’t even keep up with his output these days.

When we were first working on the comic, Egg found the Thoreau quote and it fit perfectly. But randomly during that same Christmas, my mom got me post-its with quotes on them. And while they didn’t have the In Our Dreams Awake quote, they did feature one from Poe that seemed made for our comic:

Things had lined up perfectly until they didn’t.

Then March 2020 happened and the world changed. We had time on our hands. And In Our Dreams popped up in my dreams again. So I reached out to Egg. Told him I wanted to make a go of it. That we knew so much more than we had nearly 2 decades earlier. The biggest obstacle was always having product, but in this case, we had 1/2 the story already done. There was only one hurdle to go: we needed to reach out to Egg’s artist and see if we could use those pages or if we were going to start over.

And after many weeks, we decided to go with someone new.

The thing was, I’m a part of a couple of Facebook Groups where artists post their work looking for their next gigs, so I’d been saving posts of anyone who caught my eye. So when we decided to move on, I shared all the potentials with Egg, and very quickly we identified Rolands Kalniņš as the person who could bring the sci-fi/cyberpunk dream to life. And Rolands has done that and more. And all of a sudden we had issue 1 ready to go.

All of sudden… after 17 years… we had the first issue.

***

We’re in the process of putting the 2nd issue on Kickstarter very soon, and I’m hopeful that we won’t have quite as long of a break between issues from now on. Be on the lookout for the prelaunch page coming to your screens very shortly.

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Turn the Page on 2023

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

 

I normally like to take this first blog of the new year and do both a look back and look forward on the various projects I have been working on. However, 2023 was an odd year in that I’ve been working on things, but overall it has probably been one of my least productive years in some time with no good milestones of releases to kind of mark my personal progress. It’s likely to a lack of discipline to sit my butt behind the keyboard and do the work, mixed with some shiny object syndrome, and some real life events that made it where many nights I just wanted to veg out rather than be productive.

So, with that thought I think a better use of my time would be to look forward to 2024 and see what possibilities lie in front of me:

In Our Dreams Awake

In 2022, Egg Embry and I launched a Kickstarter for the first issue of In Our Dreams Awake. Due to various reasons (some hinted at above), we weren’t able to get to the second issue Kickstarter within the 2023 calendar year. However, issue 2 is complete and ready to be unleashed into the world during the first quarter of the year. In a perfect world, I’d like to see all four issues get their Kickstarter runs while still allowing for maybe a final shorter Kickstarter in 2025 for the trade. I’ve never run more than one crowdfunding campaign in a year, so this may be easier said than done. Still, it would be nice to bring a story to a close after nearly two decades.

 

The Crossing

In 2020, Robert Jeffrey, Sean Hill, myself, and 133art came together to tell a story which was a sort of love-letter to the Dimension hopping stories of science fiction (think Sliders or Exiles). Then the pandemic happened. Then Sean Hill got himself famous with Marvel work. And the project kind of got back-burnered. After some discussions late in 2023, we have new pages and are looking to potentially having a path to wrapping up the first story in what (hopefully) could be a much larger sandbox. Assuming things go well, I could see us having a Kickstarter for this during the second quarter of 2024.

Another Comic Project

I look at everyone who is doing independent comic books and notice that they have multiple projects going at various stages of completion. And while I have that in some ways (see the above), I also need to look towards the future and not just 2024. It is all fine and well  if I have 3 issues of In Our Dreams Awake come out and maybe two issues of Crossing this year, but what then? Do I kill any momentum I might have gathered during 2024 and 2025 becomes a waiting for the artwork to get done type of year? Or could I start the wheels turning this year so that when Dreams is done, I’m immediately ready to launch the next project into the world?

So that’s what I’ve been trying to figure out in this last week. Some of it depends a great deal on whether I’m successful with Dreams and the Crossing. If those fail or even just squeek by… it could change the entire equation. But if you are going to take a leap of faith, I could see worse things to do. I have two projects that would make a decent follow-up, so the only question is which one to attack first.

 

S.O.U.L. Mate

I swear this is my white whale. I have a full draft of this one. I have done a first pass of edits. But it is still missing something. It’s nothing big, the overall skeleton is there, but I think there are a few places within the draft where things need to be punched up and/or elaborated on (fleshed out). Editing is the least fun part of things sometimes just due to the time investment on my side. If you think about it, when you read for pleasure a 300 page book can take days/weeks of reading (according to how fast you read). With editing, I’m having to reread the work but with an eye for where the weaknesses in the manuscript might be and then make the edits. An hour of editing might get me through 1 chapter. And if I’m editing, then I’m not writing anything else… very much a push-pull effort on my time.

The other thing is when this thing is ready to get released into the world, I want it to actually do more than any of my previous works. Now I’m not delusional, but I’d also like it to do more than pizza money. I really need to have my marketing strategy down pat when I put this one out (really that goes for everything though).

Image by G.C. from Pixabay

Untold Series

I jump around genres. That’s a path to failure. So I’ve been working on a series of books (and novellas and short stories) to try and get a proper release that will take hold and maybe grow the audience with each release. This won’t be ready for release this year. At this point I have 2 1/2 of the novels done in what I see as a 6ish book series. I have notes filling up pages of notebooks. I have worlds being created and destroyed. But this big push for this one is consistantcy in writing on the series so that perhaps 2025 might see the release of Book 1. No matter, if I make more and more progress on this insanity, I will be extremely happy.

 

Hollow Empire

Mr. Neill and myself wrote a serialized story set in a world where the Black Plague event happened twenty years eariler and the world was still picking itself back up from getting punched in the teeth. We did 6 episodes and collected that as a full-length novel (Season 1). In the years since, I’ve wanted to go back to this story, but have always back-burnered this in favor of something else. However, Jeremy has written 2 additional novellas in the world in the meantime.

It is like an itch I need to get at… I have one novella ready to go, but need to finish the next two before I do any releasing. Regardless, more work on this is needed this year.

Short Stories

At some point this year I wondered about both my published and unpublished short stories. I have a few building up in my folders, so I started putting them all in a Scriviner file to see where I was in a potential Anthology. I was pleasantly suprised to see I had about 40,000 words over around 10ish shorts. And I have about 4 other stories that would be really good fits in there that are in progress. This is another “make progress” as I wouldn’t want to try and put it out this year but maybe in 2025…

***

So that’s a look toward my writing future. I’m optimistic that come this time next year a whole bunch of these items will have a big checkmark beside them. Fingers crossed.

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

A Love for Everyday – Part 15

Seven years ago, I created a homemade book for my wife with all these quotes about Love from our favorite TV Shows and movies and books and then I added to it great quotes about love from history or just great quotes about love from anyone. For the past six years, I’ve shared a few from the book around the holidays.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 is here.

Part 5 is here.

Part 6 is here.

Part 7 is here.

Part 8 is here.

Part 9 is here.

Part 10 is here.

Part 11 is here.

Part 12 is here.

Part 13 is here.

Part 14 is here.

 

 

January 25

You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.

Dr. Seuss

 

February 12

You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.

E. M. Forster, A Room With A View

 

March 29

Time is

Too slow for those who wait

Too swift for those who fear

Too long for those who grieve,

Too short for those who rejoice;

But for those who Love,

Time is not.

Henry Van Dyke, Music And Other Poems

April 22

If anything happened to you, I’d be so destroyed they’d have to strap me to a bed and feed me through a tube. After five or six years, I might be capable of taking care of Rex. In the interim, you should assign a guardian.

Janet Evanovich, Fearless Fourteen

May 16

Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which is everything.

Katherine Hepburn, Me: Stories Of My Life

 

June 17

Whenever you are confronted with an Opponent. Conquer him with love.

Mahatma Gandhi

 

July 11

One day spent with someone you love can change everything.

Mitch Albom, For One More Day

 

August 10

You don’t marry the person you can live with…

You marry the person you can’t live without.

Anonymous

September 25

What greater gift than the love of a cat.

Charles Dickens

 

October 28

Only one is a wanderer; two together are always going somewhere.

Vertigo

 

November 9

For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.

Carl Sagan, Contact

 

December 7

I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you.

Roy Croft

 

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Survivor – What’s Your Path to Win?

Watching this season of Survivor brought me to a weird conclusion about games in general. For those unfamiliar with Survivor, each week someone is voted out, but there are items which can grant you immunity if you find/earn them. During this season, one of the players, Bruce, made the decision to trust someone and opted not to play his immunity idol… and was promptly voted out. Now, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened in the history of the game. In fact, there have been many times where the players have commented no matter what, they weren’t going to be dumb and go home with the idol in their pocket.

In the past, I would have definitely been railing against this player… why on earth wouldn’t you play this idol if you had any inkling you were next to go? I’m pretty sure I have done just that while watching past seasons.

Yet, this time something else occured to me. What was his path to actually get to the end of the game and win?

Just because you can make a move in any game doesn’t always mean that you have to make it. In fact, I’d argue that doing something because you don’t want to look stupid not doing the thing is likely just avoiding failing versus actually trying to win.

Let’s say that at 8 players left, he plays the idol and makes it to 7 players… isn’t he just as likely to be the number one target next time? Yes, he’d have an opportunity to win a challenge (which he had done twice already) to protect himself, but if he doesn’t do that… he’s toast.

How does Bruce get to the end game?

Image by Erik from Pixabay

To get to the end game means not using the idol at 8. He has to put his trust into someone at some point. And the path he needs to take requires him having that idol in his pocket at least one more vote. If he survives the vote at 8, then he can now use it at 7 if he needs to. However, the thing is, if he survives the vote at 8, then the game has likely pivoted more in his favor anyway. Suddenly, he may not be worth the bother anymore. There may be someone on the other alliance who needs to go first. There may be a bigger threat. Or, given that he wasn’t well liked… sometimes those people become assets as you assume no one will give someone who annoys them 1 million dollars.

Obviously, no matter what game you might be playing, you don’t want to get to a position where you are hoping for the narrow path to possibly win, but I believe it can be a good exercise to employ. When you win, how does that most likely occur? In Poker, it may be getting someone to pay you off on a big hand or it may be getting someone to lay down a big hand. In Magic the Gathering, it might be a series of counter plays where you find a window to play a threat and protect it at all costs.

Once you can start to see how the win comes, you can craft your strategy to get there better than if you are just allowing variance to control your fate. And that may mean taking an unorthodox line of play, knowing that yes you might not be successful, but at least you didn’t let the game dictate to you. At least you took as much control as you could.

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

The Reason Why – The God That Failed

 

How do you write a comic book?

I had crafted terrible, terrible stories throughout my youth. I have a blue beat-up notebook with the ongoing tales of the Threats based on the adventures of my sister and friends. I had various files on the computer with a bullet list style outline of ideas here or there but there was never a real chance to actually get a comic going. And then somehow I found myself with a very random opportunity after spending a few months talking about writing in the back of a comic shop.

There were some artists who met up there as well and somehow there was an opportunity to do something short. 8-pages.

I didn’t go back to any of my old ideas. In fact, I wasn’t really sure how to go about writing a script for an artist. I don’t think I’d really seen anything at that point. But there was a bigger problem:

I didn’t have an idea.

It was a struggle to try and find some kernel of an idea. Sure I had 60 issue epics planned out, but only 8 pages? What in the world could I tell in such a short amount of time?

And then it hit me one day while I was at work. Over the next 10 minutes I roughed out the full script on a bunch of scrap papers. The idea of having a hero who had a very limited time in the world. I don’t know if I was feeling my own mortality as I approached my 30s or if there was something about comic book heroes never getting to see the last of their stories, but that’s what I set out to do.

Again, it was a bare bones script at best that I handed the artist, John Etienne, the next meeting. He might have asked a couple of questions, I can’t remember. All I knew was there was a chance this bit of words on a couple of pages might get transformed into something bigger.

 

Evolution-Book-one-cover-lo

Since the internet loves a list, here are 9 things (Why 9? Because that’s how many I came up with!) about my first comic that might strike your fancy, a behind the scenes, if you will:

1- John Etienne was the artist on the story. The only reason that Etienne was my artist is because I had approached him a couple of months earlier, before the idea of doing an anthology was even a real thought in anyone’s head. However, it wasn’t because I had this story lined up. No, instead I had wanted him to draw an 8 page Moon Knight story for me (not sure what my goal there would have been). Lucky for me he didn’t have time right then to work on anything, and when the anthology project was finally launched I had a story of my own.

2- John Etienne happens to know my Mother-in-Law. She played a trick on him once the comic was out by telling him that not only had she gone to Dragon Con, but she had bought this comic book and wondered if he was the artist on it. “I always go to Dragon Con, and I love comic books”. After a few dumb-founded seconds she fessed up, but both of them later relayed the story to me (and the look on his face as he wasn’t sure if he’d stepped into Bizzaro world or not). I believe Etienne’s words were to me that he just couldn’t see her at Dragon Con. Though, I would pay good money to see her downtown on Labor Day weekend.

3- There was some debate about the order of the stories within the book. I generally like to be the nice guy about most things, but by my thinking I believed you either wanted to be the first story or the last story in the book (actually we all may have thought those spots were the best). I ended up with the last story position, but when the first story ended up delayed (or abandoned, I can’t remember) everyone agreed to put The God That Failed into the first position. Again, I have to thank Etienne for actually being the first one finished with his pages which made the choice fairly easy plus they looked pretty damn good as well, which did not hurt our cause).

4- I mentioned in the blog that my favorite superheroes are Spider-Man and The Flash. The God That Failed was my idea of what would happen to a guy who received the abilities of The Flash, but that power was burning him up inside.

TheFlash

5- In my original script, page 7 was actually page 6, and page 6 was page 7. Given the way the narration was done the story wasn’t as much linear as it was a guy talking about his friend who was disappearing from the world. When I actually saw the finished pages I had those two flipped given the way the story played out. That being said, page 7 is a “what if” moment, not something that the character actually did (he didn’t need to get more power, he already had way too much).

6- Though I love the serialized format of comic books, this was always a stand-alone story… a cautionary tale, a new myth or something. Thus began my apparent need to tell complete stories (done in one) in comics. That continued with The Gilded Age. But the real reason that I didn’t want to have him as a new hero for future stories was that I had no idea if or when I’d ever get a chance to do more comics. And as a reader there is nothing more frustrating than buying a comic that says “To Be Continued” and then not ever finding the rest of the story.

7- The main character’s name was John Smith; however, it wasn’t because two Johns worked on the story. I wanted a generic name, someone who might be easily forgotten regardless of all the good deeds he might have done. That fear is something that I know I have and I was channeling that fear into John Smith. This is really summed up to me on pages 5 & 6 but mostly in panel 4 on page 5. John carving into the Easter Island statues is not him destroying something precious; it is his attempt to prove that he existed at all. I sometimes wonder if he did that all over the world.

8- The title is taken from the title of a song on Metallica’s Black Album. I just liked the way it sounded, and since superheroes many times are considered gods, it fit exceptionally well in my mind.

Now I probably owe them money or something.

9- My favorite page of the story is the last one. I think (I hope) that I dodged becoming too preachy by having that last panel thrown in there. I love the idea of another what if… this one being, of course, what if John Smith had lived. The shot of The Fruit Fly conjures up memories of a 10-year old me. I think he would have gotten a kick out of that.

***

I’m not sure John truly knew how excited I was to start seeing those pages. And while the narration and idea was mine, it wouldn’t be anything without his wonderful artwork. He took a bare script and made it look like a true comic story. And when he was done, that’s when I got that first true rush I hope everyone who creates something gets when they see it finished. It’s an odd moment where you know no matter what else happens, a little piece of you exists in the world. Something permanent which sprang from your mind.

My own Easter Island carving if you will.

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

The Blank Page

The scariest thing about doing this writing thing is always the blank page. Whether it is a blog or a mailing list email or a short story or a novel or a comic script…

Every movie or tv show you’ve ever seen has the wadded up pages scattered along the floor near the wastebasket (never in it unless it is completely overfilled… a very all or nothing scenario I suppose). But that image is what’s going on in your brain the whole time. A metaphorical throwing away of the pages.

The white page/screen stares you down. It dares you to try and fashion something coherent. It annoys you with its stark nature. Mocks you into thinking you won’t be able to write the THING. Whatever that THING happens to be this time. It reflects that not-so-little voice inside us which trys to remind us we are frauds. Why would anyone bother reading anything you’ve written?

To start a new THING is a bold and scary thing. Even the act of hitting that NEW button of your writing software. The very act which summons your ancient enemy. It’s all a part of the process.

But push past that initial fear and there is an odd freedom to what lay before you. I mean a blank screen can also represent something completely unknown to you in the moment, but it is also a promise of something to come. True endless possibilities. The opportunity to write and discover the secrets you’re unearthing.

That, too, comes with obstacles. Just because you’ve started and managed to get some words on the screen, doesn’t mean you have accomplished your goal. The thing is, ideas can be squirelly to nail down. I have folders of partially written blogs and short stories where I got off to very strong starts. Thousands of words littered across the pages. The characters becoming more and more real with each line of dialogue or discription. Then it just stops. It becomes a slog. You’ve lost the thread. You go back and read what you’ve written and begin to have the doubts again. You can’t abandon all this work, but you know it isn’t going anywhere either.

Click Save and move on. It’ll remain unfinished.

Or will it? Maybe that start is all you needed? Maybe you can come back to it? Maybe you can harvest that THING for use in another THING? Maybe it can be the inspiration for something even bigger and better?

Maybe… maybe… maybe…

Sometimes all you need is a little kick in the rear in order to get going. Most of the time I search for inspiration in any place I can think of. I have the habit of writing ideas, bits of dialogue, random notes or what have you on pieces of scrap paper.  Because the truth is you don’t know when the next bit will happen. The story well may have run dry for a while, but all it takes is one little bit of light to shatter the darkness you find youself in.

That’s the key. You have to allow yourself to dream. To mentally go down wrong pathways before you can discover the true nature of the THING.

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

A Love for Everyday – Part 14

Seven years ago, I created a homemade book for my wife with all these quotes about Love from our favorite TV Shows and movies and books and then I added to it great quotes about love from history or just great quotes about love from anyone. For the past six years, I’ve shared a few from the book around the holidays.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 is here.

Part 5 is here.

Part 6 is here.

Part 7 is here.

Part 8 is here.

Part 9 is here.

Part 10 is here.

Part 11 is here.

Part 12 is here.

Part 13 is here.

 

January 9

What I really want to do with my life – what I want to do for a living –  is I want to be with your daughter.

I’m good at it.

Say Anything

 

February 27

Doubt thou the stars are fire;

Doubt the sun doth move;

Doubt truth to be a liar:

but never doubt I love.

William Shakespeare, Hamlet

 

March 30

 

The one thing we can never get enough of is love. And the one thing we never give enough of is love.

Henry Miller

April 20

 

Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time.

Jorge Luis Borges

May 15

You’re in a car with a beautiful boy, and he won’t tell you that he loves you, but he loves you. And you feel like you’ve done something terrible, like robbed a liquor store, or swallowed pills, or shoveled yourself a grave in the dirt, and you’re tired.

You’re in a car with a beautiful boy, and you’re trying not to tell him that you love him, and you’re trying to choke down the feeling, and you’re trembling, but he reaches over and he touches you, like a prayer for which no words exist, and you feel your heart taking root in your body, like you’ve discovered something you didn’t even have a name for.

Richard Siken

 

June 10

For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.

Judy Garland

 

July 25

You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing.

Charlotte’s Web

 

August 15

 

But love doesn’t make sense! You can’t logic your way into or out of it. Love is totally nonsensical. But we have to keep doing it or else we’re lost, and love is dead and humanity should pack it in.

Because love is the best thing we do.

How I Met Your Mother

September 13

That’s when you know for sure somebody loves you. They figure out what you need and they give it to you – without you asking.

Adriana Trigiani, Very Valentine

 

October 27

My only nightmare is waking up in a world where you’re not mine.

Anonymous

 

November 14

With my last breath, I’ll exhale my love for you. I hope it’s a cold day, so you can see what you meant to me.

Jarod Kintz, This Is The Best Book I’ve Ever Written, And It Still Sucks

 

December 5

Woman is sacred; the woman one loves is holy.

Alexandre Dumas, The Count Of Monte Cristo

 

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Movie Review – The Marvels

There is a ton of talk about this movie online. Honestly, it is to the point that I’m wondering about that old saying “whether it is bad or good… as long as they are talking about you” still applies. After one weekend, this has underperformed at the box office, and while many people have listed their own theories about why this has occurred (smarter and dumber people alike), it seems to me we’ve gotten away from the key part of watching a movie.

Did you like it?

Yes.

***

Thanks for coming to the blog!

***

OK. The first Captain Marvel really occupies an odd place in the MCU as it came out after Infinity War but before End Game but took place in the 90s, which put in a position where it didn’t really fit into the current storyline and acts as a prequel to much of the MCU (other than say the first Captain America movie). It introduces more of the Kree (since Ronan in Guardians was really the only Kree we’d met otherwise) and sets up something that within the comics is a HUGE deal: the Kree/Skrull conflicts.

I enjoyed the first one, but I must admit, I haven’t gone back to do a rewatch so it might have been seen through rose-colored glasses as we all waited for End Game.

***

With Marvels, my concern was how well would people who haven’t watched the tv shows understand who these characters are. We’d watched WandaVision, so Monica’s story was familiar to us, but we haven’t had a chance to watch Ms. Marvel. And while I am familiar with the comic version, I haven’t really read much with her in it. Luckily, I think they did a pretty good job of introducing both, even if Monica has a leg up due to Captain Marvel being Aunt Carol.

The sequence which gets the movie started is them switching places whenever one of them uses their powers at the same time as another of the trio. Which creates a breakneck series of fights which does a nice job of illustrating each of their power sets. When the three are finally all together, the embarassingly cute interaction Ms. Marvel has with the other two women is infectious. It also does a nice bit of contrast to one of the things people complained about with the first one – that Captain Marvel was too stoic. In fact, that is kind of her character arc here. Someone who has seperated herself from the rest of the universe, someone doing a job only they can do, and just being utterly alone. Faced with a “team”, she balks at it because it is so against her nature. Yet as things continue, she has no choice but to literally and figuratively embrace these two souls. It was this underlying thread that still made it HER movie in so many ways.

Dar-Benn

On top of everything else, though, this movie feels like something where everyone is having fun. The actors look like they are into it. The writer clearly understood this was supposed to be more about the three heroes and their developing relationships between one another rather than the larger plot. Which may be the one bit of “bad” about the movie for me.

I don’t know if they completely knew what kind of villain they were portraying here? Is Dar-Benn your classic cosmic world destroyer in the vein of Ronan? Is she someone who is only trying to do her best to restore her homeworld back to from the brink of annihilation? Or is she someone who is bent of revenge against a sworn enemy?

Now, that sounds like the beginning of real depth for Dar-Benn, but it is here that things seem to get confused. She is all these things, but we only find out about the revenge against Captain Marvel near the end of the movie which makes it seems like it was her ultimate motivation. However, this came across as more of a “oh, ok” moment rather than a “WOW” moment. I wish they would have put something more into that, even an exchange between her first officer saying something about getting revenge is how she’s picking her targets.

***

The cosmic side of Marvel has so much to explore and these characters could allow them to do just that. And could even seed some additional ideas for a Fantastic Four movie (Annihilus is out there).

The comic book nerd would hate for the lower box office to hurt these explorations in the future. There is a ton to enjoy about this movie, and if the first one didn’t quite hit right, this one has a feel very different to that one – it may be more in your wheelhouse.

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com