In the Future, Retread the Past

We come to the beginning of the year and with it a chance to reflect on the previous year’s accomplishments and failures and set those goals for the following year. Every year I set out goals, but manage to only hit a small portion of what I had planned for the coming year. Sometimes the reasons are other projects which suddenly demanded my attention and other times it is a time squeeze or not managing my time just right or perhaps I’m setting my goals too high?

The thing is that each of these projects are like open boxes in my mind. If I’m not careful I’ll continue to open new boxes… which is great! However, if you never close any of the boxes, that can be worse than not having them in the first place.

2018 has to be about closing boxes so that new boxes can be worked on. And a big piece of that puzzle was actually accomplished late last year with the Gilded Age Kickstarter funding. Shutting the box (completing the graphic novel) doesn’t mean I’m finished with the Gilded Age, but instead means I have something I can point at and feel that sense of accomplishment we all get when we complete those large tasks.

The Look Back – 2017

Reviewing my previous to-do list is a little depressing because I can feel the frustration of my previous self. 2017 was to be the end of this “5-year plan” where… well I don’t exactly know what it is I was expecting.

The White Effect

I have one more path for this book before I do self-publish it. I entered it into the Angry Robot open submissions during the holidays. One way or another this must become a box that gets closed.

Edge of the World

Not much movement here. I still need to finish my self-edit. I would still like to send out query letters.

S.O.U.L. Mate

Above, I mentioned that having too many open boxes is better than the alternative, but in this case, the old Writer’s Block came to visit me. It was surprising considering I had the book outlined out… until I realized I didn’t have parts of it outlined out… and that brought me to a screeching halt.

The Gilded Age

This is where I can pat myself (and all those who supported the Kickstarter) on our collective backs. After helping out on the Route 3 Kickstarter, I was both excited and worried about launching my own. But when I finally pulled the trigger… it was even more nerve-wracking than I would have thought!

Regardless, this is a big success, and I’m looking forward to holding the trade in my hands.

Veronica Mars Novella 2

This was published earlier in the year and somewhat showed me that everything is timing. When the Kindle Worlds had just launched, we were pretty much ready with the 1st novella… and while it didn’t break the bank, it was a consistent seller, a handful here or there every month. This novella was released a couple of years later. There wasn’t a new book or movie or really much in the way of Veronica Mars news, and the sales of both books prove that out.

I’m still extremely happy to have published the story.

Short Stories

This was a very nebulous one and I did finish up a couple of stories, but they are still on the hard drive, so maybe I’ll give myself half credit.


Another success story in that I still didn’t miss a week (though I came close a couple of times), but the other aspect was to be a little more focused with the Kickstart the Comic series or the Behind the Comic series… and I think I did a better job of it. My blog is probably still a little too scattered, but I like that.

Plus, I also launched a second blog over the summer in Steampunk Fridays… and let me tell you it is both a blessing and a curse to have a focused blog. Sometimes it means you have plenty of things to write about, interviews to run, reviews, or Kickstarters, and other times there is next to nothing happening. Very feast or famine.

I took the last couple of weeks off for the holidays, but I’m hoping to keep at it in the coming year.

Looking Ahead to 2018

What are my goals this year? How about forward motion on closing those open boxes? How about opening new boxes? How about publishing another book? How about selling books at conventions?

How about a little of all those bits and pieces? Things I’d like to work on in the coming year:

The Gilded Age

The White Effect

The Edge of the World

S.O.U.L. Mate

The Crossing


Short Stories

The Next Big Idea for a Novel Series

Hollow Empire Season 2

You Must Be This Tall To Ride



The blog(s)

Something I didn’t even have an idea was on the horizon

I want to be excited by the paths I choose. I want to have some success. I want to get the books into people’s hands and have them love the ride.

So what are you doing this year?


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

Click here to join John’s mailing list.

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

He can also be found at

Answer the Universe

This past weekend the NFL regular season came to a close, and for the first time since 2008, the Miami Dolphins have made the playoffs (apparently “next year” was this year). Aside from being happy to actually have someone to seriously cheer for this coming weekend, it got me a little reflective. I’ve watched nearly a decade worth of games where my team might have been in the mix only to fall short or, and this is more likely, they haven’t been in the mix at all.


That’s a lot of football. Actually that’s a lot of mediocre football.

Strange then that I suddenly am thinking of all that “bad” time to be a fan when this is the time to enjoy the ride we’re currently on. I think back to J Edward Neill‘s post from last Fall where he swore off the NFL in order to regain the most precious of commodities: TIME.

(I know he slipped at least once…)

Every team comes into the season with a list of things they want to accomplish. It may start with:

Improve upon last year’s team.

Win the division.

Get a first round Bye.

Be the overall #1 seed in the playoffs.

Win your conference.

And at the top of the list is win the Superbowl.

That’s not to say that they actually are able to even compete for such an honor, but it is still there. Heck, there are a bunch of the above which are probably above and beyond a team’s LEGITIMATE goals. The key is that they still write them down. And it isn’t because they want to set themselves up for failure if things don’t go their way. No. They do it so that there is something to aspire to.


Last week I put up my annual look back/look ahead blog post. Here’s the thing, that post is like 98% for me, 1% for my family (in case they might be wondering what it was I actually do during these late nights), and maybe 1% for anyone else reading the blog. I use it in order to get a grip on what the previous year might have had in store for me (or not). The look ahead is about setting goals for myself.

Maybe setting too many goals?

That’s fundamentally OK to do. If the NFL teams only set their goal on getting 1 more win next year, well that’s probably doable, but then what? You get that additional win and stop? Or do you shoot for the moon on the off-chance you can actually get there?

This is what I’m trying to get to. This is the type of work output, the type of word count I need to get to in order to have the level of success I want to have. So you get a list of things which either seem like they haven’t been accomplished or there are just too many things on the LIST to possibly get done.

There is some truth to that. Like so many other people I have various levels of responsibilities in work and life. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time. Then again, maybe I just didn’t use all that free time as wisely as I could/should.

Regardless, I want to say YES to things. Can I write the 1st draft to this novel? Yes! Can I edit this 2nd draft of a different novel? Yes! Can I write this comic script? Yes!


I want to say YES to myself.

Think about the whole idea of Resolutions in conjunction with the birth of a new year. Right now if I were to do a search on New Year’s Resolutions I bet I’d get a ton of blog hits where it was describing potential goals or perhaps telling you how to accomplish your proposed goals. But also think you’d find some people who want to mock the very idea of the goals. They might consider it a waste of time to even bother. “Everyone puts all this nonsense out there and within a week or a month or 6 months it will all revert back to who you were before the pledge.” Yet, I’d say we’re all doing it on some level even if we don’t say it aloud or write it down. There is something you want to accomplish this year, right? You may not want to call it a Resolution, but it probably is.

And it’s OK.

The kicker to all of this is that sometimes you set the bar impossibly high and you get there. Sometimes the ball bounces your way. So put it out there. Put it into the universe! Have 50 projects. Have a plan.

There’s nothing wrong with striving for more.


John McGuire

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

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

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

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

He can also be found at

Fifty MORE things you should probably think about…


I’m not sayin’.

I’m just sayin‘.

* * *

50 MORE Things You Should Probably Think About

A rare compliment is better than everyday flattery.

Don’t fistfight the person who cuts you off in traffic. Fight the one who says you can’t do something. And fight them with your mind, not your hands.

Patience is a virtue, but sometimes you need to do stuff right f’ing now.

Wine is healthier for you than soda.

Stainless steel looks cool, but definitely isn’t stainless.

Win or lose, there’s a six-month post-election limit on leaving political candidate bumper stickers on your car.

Be the one who tips too much.

Think of meteorology the same as telling ghost stories around a campfire. Both contain fiction designed to scare people.

 Don’t drive around looking for the best parking spot available. Get some exercise; park in the farthest spot imaginable.

Try not to do a movie on the first date. Go somewhere you can look them in the eyes.

The five minutes after you start doing something are easier than the five years you procrastinated before doing it.

Insulting the things other people love doesn’t make the things you love more awesome.

Consider being friends before lovers.

You can be a cat person and a dog person. It’s possible.

Kids these days want the same things as kids during previous generations’ days. They just chase it differently.

Never be ashamed of the music you love.

The best time to order pizza delivery is immediately after grocery shopping.

Valentines Day is a fraud if you want it to be. But extremely romantic if you care to try.

Odds are you probably already have everything you need.

Always keep Ramen noodles handy.

No one really cares whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. As long as you’re a decent human being, it’s all good.

Sometimes the grass is actually a LOT greener. Sometimes not. Flip a coin.

Try taking MMA classes. Not to learn how to kick people’s asses, but instead to gain the confidence to know you can.

If you have to drive after drinking heavily, pound water for 90 minutes and stay in the fast lane. 🙂

It’s possible the only purpose of life is to live.

One learns much more in defeat than in victory.

Instead of lite beer, why not just drink water? It’s cheaper and has the same effect.

Try not to jump on the bandwagon of manufactured causes.

Consider collecting experiences instead of things.

The Big Green Egg is a fantastic grill, but steak still tastes better when cooked over charcoal.

It’s cool to be weird, off-the-grid, or eccentric. But it loses some of its luster when you talk about it too much on the internet.

Everyone can be corrupted. The trick is knowing exactly what ruins you and staying the hell away from it.

The coldest winds don’t blow through mountains or forests. They blow through the human heart. Luckily, the same is true for warm wind.

Forget sharks. Be afraid of jellyfish.

For every person who loves a thing, someone else is offended by that same thing. Fuck it.

Good luck changing anyone’s political belief system.

Resting Bitch Face (RBF) doesn’t always mean what it looks like. But sometimes it does.

The best kind of diet & exercise plan is one you can do for the rest of your life.

Survival of the fittest no longer really applies. But it might someday. So it’s probably a good idea to keep doing pushups.

Odds are someone is stalking your Facebook page right now.

Odds are even better someone currently has a huge crush on you that you’ll never know about.

The government will never be the super-efficient machine we want it to be. If it were, millions of people would be out of work.

There’s no such thing as ‘morning people.’ There are people who hate mornings and those who hate them slightly less.

It’s entirely possible there’s no such thing as right or wrong.

The key to finding happiness is embracing its elusiveness.

If you’re nervous about trying a new food, get tipsy first. Everything tastes a better with little liquor. Everything except key lime pie.

Mile number five is a thousand times more satisfying than Mile zero.

Almost everything you click on the internet is designed to take your money. (Oh, the irony.)

A sure mark of intelligence is the reservation of judgment.

All men are probably not created equal.

* * *

For the original 50 Things You Should Probably Think About, go here.

If you like the serious stuff, hit this.

J Edward Neill

50 Things You Should Probably Think About


I’m not sayin’.

I’m just sayin’.

* * *

50 Things You Should Probably Think About

If you’re not willing to do it today, you probably won’t do it tomorrow either.

 You’re probably not going to meet the love of your life on Tinder.

Everything is ok when consumed in moderation. Except Red Bull and Pabst Blue Ribbon. And Meth.

Anger solves nothing. Ever.

Disappointment is for children. Not adults. (Kinda like Trix cereal)

 If you can’t be happy while you’re alone, you can’t be happy.

At least once in a while, live like you’re in a Budweiser commercial. Be up for anything.

You’re not finished being a parent until you’re dead.

 If you really, really hate doing something, find something else.

Jealousy isn’t a good look. For anyone.

Being involved in politics takes more than ‘liking‘ something on Facebook.

You can decide whether or not to be offended.

If you vote for the lesser of two evils, you’re still voting for something evil.

Never vomit into a running fan. (Seriously, I saw what you did to my A/C unit)

Wisdom isn’t gained automatically with age.

A good mate should also be a good roommate.

Intelligence is rarely earned in classrooms.

The only one who cares about your complaints is you.

When interviewing a prospective employee, focus on their personality, not their resume.

It’s ok to do the opposite of what the internet says.

Teach your kids how to lose and they’ll figure out for themselves how to win.

Never argue with someone you don’t care about.

Don’t be the one who says, “I never saw that coming.”

It’s ok to be stupid sometimes. We’re all stupid now and then. But it’s never ok to be willfully ignorant.

If everything were fair, life would be boring.

If you see something beautiful on the internet, distrust it.

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

Boasting is for jackholes. But shit-talking is perfectly acceptable.

Teach your children how to think. Not what to think.

Cornhole shouldn’t be played on hills.

Being passionate isn’t the same as being a loud-mouthed douchebag.

Those who trumpet their sufferings are usually the most deserving.

Follow the Two-Text Rule: If you send two texts to last night’s date and they don’t answer, don’t send another until they reply. In other words, don’t be a stalker.

The cost of convenience: experience

Wedding rings will tarnish. Dresses will fade. Cars will break down. But fake boobs last forever.

Taking things personally gives other people power over you.

Pick just three things in your life to say never to. And never say never regarding anything else.

Nudity is natural. But graphic sensationalist violence is more fun.

When eating noodles, the point is to make as much noise as possible.

The sooner you apologize, the better.

In order to be granted city status, a township must have at least three Mexican restaurants.

No one deserves immediate respect. Everyone has to earn it.

The deepest evil one can do is to manipulate someone else to do evil things.

Try not to play Beer Pong with crappy beer. Use a good craft beer or cider. Or better yet, play Wine Pong.

It’s healthier not to have an opinion.

Three Cokes per day will kill you as surely as one pack of cigarettes per day.

If you’re not the first one to offer help to someone in need, you might as well be the last.

Never refuse an honest gift.

The correct spelling is f-o-o-t-b-a-l-l.

Sometimes the best answer you can give is, “I don’t know.”

* * *

If you’re pissed off now and want to start some arguments, read this.

If you’re into sharp, but friendlier philosophy, check this out.

Oh, and here are 50 MORE things you should probably think about. 🙂

J Edward Neill