10 Years Later – Part Two

We’re now on the other side of 10 Years worth of posts. A time where I’m hoping that I can push myself to write more on the various projects I have going. Though sometimes the amount of bandwidth feels too much. Like too much time is spent doing everything but the writing.

I think it is a good thing to reflect back on what I’ve done and accomplished through my posts. Highlight a handful of others that might have gotten lost in the shuffle over the years. So many words…

Stan Lee

Without Stan Lee I might not be a writer. His work on those early Marvel comics helped to pave my way into the fandom I have today. Though all the collecting and reading, it was comics that I wanted to write more than anything else. So without him, I’m not sure I would have gotten even half as far as I have.

30 Years Ago

I’d completely forgot about this blog post. But it is the origin story for Courtney and me. And while I don’t know every thought going on in 17 year old John’s mind, I remember enough of it to put it out there for everyone to read.

I’m The Problem

Egg Embry and I have a joke about how the two or three comics he is currently collecting is the only thing staving off armageddon for the comic book industry. And every other week there is an article out there discussing why comics are not doing as well as they used to do. Or why can’t they get more fans. Or what things could they do to improve things. I read these articles and try to take in everything I can, even if I literally have zero power to do anything more than what I am doing.

Except I had this thought, maybe I am the problem. Maybe you can pin it all at my feet. Maybe I’m the bad guy?


The Darkest Timeline

Weirdly, I’m writing this particular blog post in the hours after another Atlanta Braves postseason loss. Another year where they should have won more games in the post season. Career years for many of the players… I don’t get the feeling very often, but I really thought this was going to be the year. Other teams manage to do it, and yet…

(Note to self – this post was prior to the 2021 season where we did win it all, so while it is dark, it isn’t as dark as it had been.)


To Become A Super-Villain

Written during the shelter in place for Covid, the lack of interaction with anyone other than Courtney started me thinking that this could be her villain origin story. So this one is more of a list of things for us to avoid.


I merely clicked on the link to the one, and I started tearing up again. A reminder of the hole this little guy left in my heart. But I am especially proud of this piece because it is raw. It is as much as I could think of in those days after he was gone. The words flowed because I had to make sure I remembered everything I could… that if I did that then I could feel like others could understand how that little cat filled my life in a way I didn’t know was possible.



I hate leaving on this down note, but the last one is likely the most important thing I’ve ever written on this site for what he meant to me. So go hug your pets. Give them treats and kisses and snuggles and enjoy every moment you have with them.


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



10 Years Later – Part One

In 5 days it will have been 10 years since I posted my first blog to this website. At the time there were four of us doing our best to create some content, potentially help raise some awareness about the projects we were working on, and maybe even assist each other in an “the tide raises all boats” sort of way. Over the course of ten years there have been just over 2100 posts made by the various creators. Which is crazy to think about considering it feels like a bit of a fever dream that we actually followed through on doing this.

For me, I don’t know if this ever really moved the needle much for any of my comics or books. Maybe one or two, here or there, over the years, but as time went on I came to realize the true benefit was simply ensuring I sat down at some point during the week (many times very late into Wednesday morning) and actually write something. Writing is repetition. Writing is routine. And on Tessera Guild I managed to do that in spades.

Looking at the stats, I have over 570 posts since that first blog went out all those years ago. Up until last year (I think), I hadn’t missed a week, though in the past couple of years I have done some reposts every so often of older blogs to try and get newer eyes on them.

So in the spirit of looking back, I wanted to highlight a handful of blogs that I am especially proud of:

I Should Have Paid More Attention to C. Thomas Howell

C. Thomas Howell was in a movie called The Hitcher, which was about the bad things that can happen to you when you pick up a hitchhiker. This particular post is about the time I decided to give someone a lift. If it isn’t the dumbest thing I’ve ever done, it is top 10 at the very least.

He’ll See Me On the Flipside

I wrote this as a sort of therapy for myself. A way to try and make sense of who I am and how I’ve gotten to the life I had. It hops back and forth throughout my life, sometimes connecting bits and pieces and sometimes not. But it is a quick look at how to build a me.

(As a side note about this one… there is a moment in the Watchmen comic where Dr. Manhattan’s conciousness bounces around showing how he is living simulaneously throughout the points of his life. And while I have read Watchmen, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I saw those comic pages again and then remembered this blog. An unintentional homage, I guess.)

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

While I’ve shared other short stories on this site, this one was wholely written for the blog. I’m not 100% on how I managed it, but I think I wrote it over two nights after watching The Hobbit for about the 10th time. It is one of those questions I’ve not really seen asked or answered… we just expect Dragons to have treasure.

Creatures Big and Small

I’ve always been an animal person. I was the kid that pretty much could tame to most vicious animal. That love and caring has carried over into my adult life. And while I wouldn’t trade my time with the animals for anything, I still tear up reflecting on the ones who are gone.

New Myths and Legends

The old gods and goddesses demanded worship from their followers. They gained power as the people fell in line, but over the years those old ones have faded away. However, I think I’ve discovered a new goddess who we all have begun to let control our lives…

My Musical Love Affair: Pearl Jam

If there is something I’ve written about more than anything else other than comics it might be Pearl Jam. They are MY band. In a way, they are the true soundtrack to my life as I’ve grown from a teenager listening in my bedroom to the adult writing this post… they are a sort of constant.

Not Like This

My reflections on the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl in the aftermath of disaster. Nuff said.


10 years is a long time, but rather than miss out on some key posts, I’ll have part two next week.


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

How to Make Me

Sometimes the best way to inspire yourself is to look back at the archives of this very site and see what you’ve written before. I’ve done that over the last couple of years, doing repost blogs since there are likely more than a few people who might not have ever seen some of my earliest tales of fun and woe. But sometimes it is also worth it to take a look back at what others were doing and then steal the idea and make it your own.

So as I was doing so, I glanced in the “Drafts” folder for Tessera and found something that Chad Shonk (who wrote for this site many years ago) wrote up, but never actually published. The idea of “How to Make a Me” where he posted these images of things that he felt contributed to who he was at the time of the blog post (or would have been at the time of the blog post). I like this idea of trying to Frankenstein’s Monster myself



Comics are the great, singular passion for me. I couldn’t quit them if I tried. And while much of my collection is focused on the superheroes, that doesn’t mean my love doesn’t extend to the independents. If you have a compelling story, I’m in.

Blast from the past: Comics Are My Time Machine


I’ve written about my love affair with Pearl Jam, but like so many people, music has been the time machine of my life. A song can signify a period that I might have long since forgotten. The nostalgia for those old memories and feelings are a great drug.

Blast from the past: I Like To Swim… Into the Mosh…


I joke that had I not seen Jaws, I would have gone into Marine Biology. But with my family getting HBO when I was around 10 years old, watching movies was just one of those things I always did. And rewatching your favorites give me a certain level of comfort.

Blast from the Past – My Top Ten Horror Movies


A long time I wrote about how my two main teams had only delivered one World Title while I’d been a fan (and that was probably one of the years I hadn’t paid as much attention to the Braves). If you aren’t a Lakers/Yankees/Patriots fan, it can be a bit of slim pickings. Of course, with the Braves winning the World Series last year, I finally got to experience that ultimate joy as a fan.

Blast from the Past – Finally!!! Atlanta Braves Win!!!


Jack London was the first author I really recognized from name alone. Call of the Wild was one of the few books, as a young kid, that I’d read and reread. Over the years I’m not sure I’ve found anyone to replace him at the top of my pantheon.

Blast from the Past – Books That Changed Me – Part 2


Courtney and I play poker. We strategize. We watch Youtube videos. It is one of our great bonding pieces of our relationship. And it is one of those things we can always get better in through practice.



I’ve had cats my whole life. Something about pets overall helps fill in the pieces of your soul. But these two knuckleheads are the best I’ve ever had. And while Westley passed away last year, Inigo has been a rock since.

Blast from the Past – COVID Through the Eyes of a Cat



Of course, there are other pieces of me not reflected here (family, the beach trips, the travels), but these all consist of the bigger things.


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 Return of Rosie

My own love of animals was imparted to me by both my mother and father… but my love of cats was definitely from my mother.


The Return of Rosie

By: Mickey McGuire

February two years ago we had a bad snowstorm according to Virginia standards. After letting my two dogs out for one of their many bathroom trips of the day, I heard persistent barking on the covered back porch. When I looked out the window, I saw both of them were fixated on presumably another animal under the love seat. Broom in hand, I went out to investigate- you never know if it possibly could be a wild animal out here in these woods.

What I found all huddled under that piece of furniture was a teeny cat, not exactly a kitten but not a grown cat either, with the snottiest nose I had ever seen on an animal. Timid and scared by all the barking, she wouldn’t let me touch her. So I did the only thing I knew to do- put out some food and water. That night I made her a nest with blanket coverlets so she could at least be warm. By the next day, I noticed something peculiar: every time the dogs would go out, she would walk straight up to them and rub against their legs. She still wouldn’t let me get close.

Over the next few days, she would eat part of the food and drink the water- it was freezing as fast as I could put it out- and sleep in the blankets. She would eventually let me pick her up- now I could see evidence of ear mites as well as the congestion. Thankfully, now that the driveway had finally been cleared, I scooped her up and off to the vet we went. Naming her “the cat from the other side of the tracks,” the vet treated her respiratory condition and ear mites, cleared her of any fatal condition such as feline leukemia, and admonished me to keep her separated from the other cats for another week.

At the end of that week, I opened the door for her to come in and be part of this crazy animal family I have- two big dogs and four other cats. She was unsure at first- running in and running out- but finally, she seemed to make her mind up taking a cat leap of faith and did it. I named her Rosie.

Rosie barked like a dog and bullied the other cats- hilarious when you realize she is half the size of the smallest of the other cats. She followed the dogs around and slept with them. She selected me as her person- you would hope so since I was the one who pleaded her case to join our animal family. She became the lap cat I had always wanted- snuggling against me at every opportunity in the coverlet on my lap watching TV or reading a book.  Eventually, she won my husband John over, too, with her unpredictable antics and sleeping in his lap when he least expected it.

Rosie is not the most beautiful cat I ever had, but she is the cat with the most soul. She and I connected on a level I cannot really explain. I just knew she was MY cat, and I was HER human. Never had I had a cat which brought me so much joy and contentment simply holding her in my lap.

Fast forward to February of this year. She went out occasionally with the dogs but usually would circle the deck and come back in. One Sunday she ran out with the dogs, and I forgot she was out. We left for my grandson’s basketball game, had lunch, ran errands, and, upon returning home, it still did not register she was missing.  Later that evening, it dawned on me I had not seen her since we returned. Not completely alarmed, I assumed she was curled up taking a nap. The hunt began for Miss Rose- no sign of her anywhere, inside or out. The next day,  we searched our property and called neighbors. The next day, I posted her missing on social media and put out fliers. Days became weeks, and weeks became months- no Rosie. Heartbroken, I could not accept she had been eaten by a coyote or other wild animal. The only acceptable fate in my mind was she had ventured so far she could not hear the dogs and became discombobulated.  Finally accepting she was lost to me forever, I hoped that a nice family had adopted her and would love her as much as I did.

The last week of April I was on my birthday trip to Paris with girlfriends. I answer an unexpected phone call from my husband. A man has called and said he had Rosie. She had traveled eight miles from home and, looking pretty haggard, finally stopped when she found a food source with a colony of feral cats. This man who had made himself “keeper of the cats” and a few of his friends provided food for this colony, and a local vet spayed and neutered them. When he had taken Rosie to be spayed, the vet found the scar where she had already had the surgery and scanned her for a chip. There was her owners’ information! So back home safe and sound- no worse for the wear except an ear which had been clipped to identify her in the feral colony. The whole adventure was a true miracle in my mind. As my son, Mark said, “She is our gypsy cat.”

The man who called said if we ever wanted to give her away, call him first. He had already realized she was a special cat. He was one day away from taking her home to be part of his family.

Why do we love animals so? Dogs provide unconditional love no matter what- cats love you more mysteriously. I have learned to appreciate them more and more as I have gotten older. No matter what treatment dogs receive from their owners, a chained dog is as happy to see you as a dog who lives a plush life inside a home. People who suffer from hypertension have lower blood pressure if they are animal owners. Studies have shown the calming effects of animals for the sick and dying. In addition, never underestimate their psychic abilities- they know when you are upset and need affection. Unexpectedly, they will appear at your side just when you need it.

Dogs and cats are the perfect Yin and yang in the animal world. With dogs, we instantly know that we are loved; with cats, we have to work for their affection. I believe that dogs reflect those qualities we as humans should aspire to develop along this earthly course- unconditional love, unselfishness, loyalty to a fault, acceptance, unwavering forgiveness. As the contrasting balance, cats reflect opposite qualities to help humans deal and cope with the frustrations of life-  a quiet reserve, unpredictability, appreciation of life from afar, self- centeredness, aloofness, and the love of sleeping in the sun. What better way to approach life when we are confused concerning a life decision? Cats teach us to take a step back, maybe practice self-care, and take that damn nap!

Our pets are treasures who are only with us a few short years. When you have that special bond with your animal, there is no sorrow like having to let them go. There is no other anguish as difficult as making that decision to end their life mercifully. Is there a pet heaven? I have no idea, but I like to think that Heidi, Sassy, Sage, Cleo, Snoopy, Tater, Magic, Nicholas, and Juju all met in that dimension where they found peace and comfort and eternal happiness- chasing butterflies, chewing sticks, and sleeping in the sun to their hearts’ content.

For now, contentment for me is having Miss Rose curled up in my lap.


Mickey McGuire is the mother of published author John McGuire, a registered NICU nurse, retired high school teacher, an artist, and passionate student in this game of life.

Creatures Big and Small

Some days I don’t know what to write about. Those are the days (nights) where I struggle with words, getting lost in the muck and mire, and trying to determine a subject to fashion some kind of thoughts around. Those are not my favorite evenings. I pound my head against the wall looking for any glimmer of inspiration.

I wish I had that problem tonight.


There’s a story told about me when I was little. Somewhere in that 2-5 range. My grandparents owned a junkyard. It was this crazy, magical, weird place I would see for a week at Christmas and maybe a couple of weeks during the summer. And they owned a lot of dogs. I’m not sure if it was to help protect their land or because they liked dogs or maybe a mixture of the two. Regardless, there was at least 4 or 5 at any given time outside. Most, if not all of them were tied off to something (a tree, a car, their dog house). So they had some amount of rope to move around, but certainly did not have free reign of the yard (sadly).

Some of the dogs were friendlier than others, but even the not-so-nice ones you could maneuver around like they were barking land mines, knowing that if you stuck to the proper path, their slack wouldn’t let them get to you.

One of these dogs was either named or nicknamed “Satan”. And it wasn’t because everyone in my family was a big fan of a certain Dark Lord. No, the dog apparently had earned his name through pure meanness. So you didn’t hang around to pet Satan. You walked around him as quickly as possible and hoped the chain would hold for one more day.

One day everyone was outside and I decided it would be a good idea to pet the “doggie” – and for the briefest of moments time stopped for everyone there. They had no idea what Satan was going to do. And I’m sure if he wanted to I could have ended up a rag-doll, tossed back and forth within its jaws, before Dad or anyone else could have gotten to me.

But none of those things happened. Instead Satan decided to let me pet it. To love on it a little bit. When Dad eased over to try and retrieve me, Satan growled at him, but had no problem with the little one.

Cleo Tree


Around 9 or 10 Mom brought home a Calico cat, Muffin, who my 4 or 5 year old sister decided needed to live in her purse or drawers or something else traumatic. So the cat did what any sane person might have done and hid behind the washer and dryer. When I came home, it was left to me to coax the little kitten out from behind its hiding space.

Muffin slept in my room most nights after that.


When a ferret adopted our family (no, really, it came to our house and set up shop even with two outdoor cats prowling the grounds), I was the first to garner its trust. It ended up eating directly from my hands that first night.


I bond with my animals. I talk to them, confide in them. When I started writing comics late into the night, Cleo would sit beside me at the desk – monitoring my progress. Being my little muse.

Later Westley and Inigo took over those chores, ensuring these blog posts and the comic scripts and the novels and the short stories and everything else in between would have some stamp of feline approval (or at least that’s what I tell myself).

Westley & Inigo Window

Inigo & Westley



Over this past weekend, I was working at the computer when I heard a commotion outside our house. We have an outdoor cat, Fiona, who resides just on the other side of the front door. Sometimes other neighborhood cats will sneak over and try to steal some of her food, and they throw down (except for “Marvin” the possum, who sometimes makes an appearance – he is more than welcome to graze).

I didn’t immediately move, typically waiting for that next level of “fighting” before trying to save the day. The next sound told me it was a little more than a scuffle, so I went over to the front, and turned on the outside lights. As I opened the door I expected to scare off one of those enemy cats. Yet, instead of something small, a “dog” fled the scene… and it looked like it was carrying something in its mouth.

I hurried to put on shoes, grab a flashlight. I tried to find Fiona in the bushes. I went down to the lake area behind some of our neighbor’s houses… trying to find any sign of her or the beast who might have had her. The whole time trying to get the image of it possibly carrying something from my mind. My wife joined the fruitless search.


The next morning it was more of the same. We walked through the woods around the lake. We sent out word to our neighborhood board.



This story doesn’t appear to have a happy ending.


I get that outdoor animals don’t live as long as their indoor counterparts (and we tried to bring her inside – it didn’t work with the two boys already here). And I know that this was a possibility. That she could be hurt or injured, but she was a happier little girl outside than she had been during those inside days).

FIona Cropped 1



And I know there are bigger things happening in the world (directly to my family, in fact)… but, in the little slice of life I live in… in this moment… I have lost a furry friend.

And it makes me sad.



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!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.