Category: Grim

It Don’t Scare Me Much!

It Don’t Scare Me Much!

Four of us sit at a table in a nice bar on a Friday night in Glasgow. There’s John Mercer at the top left, Michael next to him, Scott on my left and then me, bottom right. Michael gets up to get a round in, good lad. The three of us left have a bit of banter. We’re such lads. Then, from the table over, slinking into Michael’s empty seat, was a rogue female. She was in her forties, appeared to be on her third glass of wine, wore a parka and carried a beat-up looking backpack. She looks like she’d had a hard life, to put it delicately. She looks stood-on, to be much less delicate about it.

‘Excuse me, are you here for food?’ she asks.

We are, but we’re waiting on our table freeing up and catching a drink while we wait. We tell the rogue as such.

‘Oh, okay – I was going to ask if I could join you,’ she slurs.

We laugh it off and carry on our conversation, and then she full-on moves into Michael’s seat and starts asking what we do with an unnecessary amount of hair-flicking and what she assumes to be charming laughter when John Mercer tells her Scott is a fireman (Scott is not a fireman).

The conversation turns to her. She tells us she’s had a lot of important meetings that day and she was just out for a couple of drinks to wind down.

Whatever. It’s awkward.

Michael comes back and she shuffles up into her own seat, lets Michael sit and then shoogles in close to us again. We are uncomfortable.

We ask where she’s from – no, John fucking Mercer asks where she’s from – and she tells us (after a fair amount of hesitation to suggest that she was a bloody liar) she was born in a private hospital. After that, she was raised in a household where her Dad abused her and her Mum and-

‘Oh!’ She interrupts herself. ‘You boys don’t want to hear that on your Friday night, do you? Let’s just say I was born and nothing bad happened!’ she cries. ‘Nothing bad happened. Nothing… Nothing bad happened.’

We nod politely.

‘Nothing bad happened.’

Uh-huh.

‘Nothing bad happened!’

Yep.

‘Nothing bad happened!’

This goes on for a while.

Jamie meets us somewhere amongst all this and can’t decipher what the fuck is happening. But nothing bad happened! We welcome Jamie and ask about his struggle to get into town as the rogue gets in Michael’s ear and proceeds to explain to him in sultry tones that bad things did in fact happen.

Half a minute later, we decide to ask if our table was ready early.

Why tell this story? Well because it was scarier than our screening of It shortly after.

It is such an easy keyword

It just isn’t scary

This isn’t a review, I’m more just trying to process why I didn’t find the film scary. I get scared by movies. I have done since forever. The first half of Insidious still affects me to this day. I’m not a yelper or a screamer, nor am I one of those smart marks that will laugh at a horror flick in the cinema. I’m just the appropriate amount affected by horror flicks. I’m the bar at which a good horror film is measured.

It is a good film, it’s just not scary. I loved the characters in It. And It is definitely a well-acted and pretty film. It is not scary.

It is a funny film when it’s trying to be funny. It has some bombshell one-liners from these little bastards. It is not scary.

It is a freaky film. Ah. Now there’s something worth thinking about. Freaky. The way Pennywise moved and talked was freaky. Some of the fears he summoned to terrify the kids (yes, bitch from the painting, I’m looking at you. Who would ever hang such a horrific picture in the first place?) were freaky.

Pennywise himself was brilliant. Bravo Mr Skarsgard, but sadly I like a horror villain to be too terrifying to respect (or even care about) who was behind the mask. Leatherface, Mike Myers, those guys. Bill Skarsgard you did well – you were freaky, but not scary.

The slow build of tension and showdown moments between characters and Pennywise was freaky but never scary. Never did it get much past a few hairs raised on my arm.

The true way to tell that this film wasn’t scary is that Jamie managed to get through it with minimal commentary (that wee bastert better huv a heed, for example). The reason the five of us were there to see It in the first place was that we enjoy torturing Jamie. Jamie gets scared by things. I’ve seen Jamie look up IMDB in the middle of horror flicks to find out how much of its runtime is left because if it’s more than half an hour, he will leave. But Jamie made it through and came out the other end with his grey pants still suitably grey.

It is borderline lovely, though

It is a good film… but yeah it’s just not scary. It’s a terrific kids adventure flick. Think The Goonies or Stand By Me or, of course – and you’ve heard it before – Stranger Things. I just don’t think the genres mesh well at all. I know Stephen King wrote this while the actors were still swinging about in their Da’s baws, but the horror of the book didn’t transfer here. The tone was too light in the kid’s parts to transfer correctly into the horror when Pennywise showed up.

The end result is… well it’s actually quite a fun little coming-of-age flick about friendship. Genuinely. It ends on the cusp of manhood and all that crap (only without the gangbang Stephen King uses to punctuate it in the book). It’s heartfelt. It made me want to hug my pals. I went to bed with a smile on my face. Life is good!

It’s a shame because I firmly believe if they’d taken their foot off the coming-of-age pedal and put a little extra weight on the horror one, then this could’ve been CHANGE MY PANTS FOR ME BECAUSE I SWALLOWED MY HANDS terrifying, but as it stands, nah.

Try again in twenty-seven years, I guess!

Oh, and we never saw the rogue again. We think she might have been a prostitute. Visit Glasgow!

It begs your thoughts

Your thoughts on It? Comment down there if you’re game. Here’s my Twitter handle – go check out a recent mobile-phone-induced breakdown I had. Otherwise, here’s the Insta.

Additionally, last week’s blog did some pretty decent numbers. Given it was about an awful Hot Wing challenge, I can only assume you’re all sadists. Go take a look!

Annnnd finally – my little book is TWO MONTHS OLD. If you haven’t read it, you should. If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if the duties of the Grim Reaper were a council job (and why wouldn’t you?) then this book is right up your street. It got a mention in Erin’s August round-up over on her addictive Youtube channel too!

See you next week, enjoy your weekend!

It’s Gavin.

 

Now What?

Now What?

I don’t know, I mean…

Is this technically some kind of break-up? Not to sound dramatic, but if I spend time with something every day for two years, that makes it a relationship of some sort, right? And now I’m not spending time with that thing anymore so, what now?

What now… indeed.

I’m referring – of course – to my book, Grim. A funny contemporary fantasy about a terrible, clumsy grim reaper and friends, on the hunt to find his missing daughter kidnapped by a whisky-swilling lunatic. To everyone that’s bought and read it so far, HOLY SHIT THANK YOU, and to anyone else, here’s the link and HOLY SHIT THANK YOU IN ADVANCE.

(I’ll write more about the book in the future, once I know more people have read it. If you’re not sold, I wrote a blog a couple of weeks ago with some reasons you should be: Five (Grim) Reasons Why.)

Grim and its cast have been kicking around my life for a bit now, and as delightful as it feels to share them with you (pretentious writer quote of the day, check!) it’s also a bit sad because I don’t really know what I’m doing anymore. I trained myself to get up at remarkable hours to write, and now I just get up and stare at my screen for a couple of hours.

And it’s only been a week. One week since I set Grim upon you all and I’m already haunting the flat. I’m getting really into cooking eggs in different ways. That’s interesting, right? I can boil the perfect egg. My scrambled is excellent too. Don’t talk to me about frying. Frying an egg is a dirty son of a bitch and I don’t want to talk about it.

So, some things I need to do:

Selling the Book

Because I couldn’t really make up my mind about how I wanted to release Grim (hello another link to a previous blog) the “marketing” for Grim has been uh… non-existent. I’m not really very good at selling the book.

Recently, I was talking to a guy about Ready Player One – a book. The subject was on the table, and I just didn’t mention the fact that I was releasing one. It took one of my pals to jump in and do it for me. I’m getting better at it (you’re welcome, woman who cut my hair and lady who served me at Asda!), but overall it needs work.

I’ve hard to learn words like ‘reach’ and ‘engagement’ and how to use hashtags for what they’re actually intended. I honestly thought hashtags were just fun ways to say things that were somewhat relevant to your post: #ohdearIfelldown, #MumproblemsamIrightladies #tragicsextales and #shitlikethat.

This knowledge comes with the sad side-effect of jumping on my phone any time it lights up, just to see Google reminding me that I’m late for work. #standard

A dream I dreamt the night before last: I’m going door-to-door trying to sell Grim to people, and if they seem disinterested, Jason Statham leaps in (against my will) and goes FULL JASON STATHAM, PISTOL AND ALL, threatening the poor person in their home until they order the book in front of him. I’m in the background pleading with him, telling him it’s fine, but he won’t have it.

To be honest, it’s not a bad idea.

Exercise and Music – The Neglect

Two things I’ve been neglecting since I went full commando on Grim. First up, exercise. I collapsed into a proper junk-food and lying-on-arse cycle. ‘But Gavin!’ I hear you say, ‘your diet is bloody atrocious all the time and exercise has always made you cry!’

Yes, dear reader, you’re right on both counts. I mean that I’m struggling even by my own meagre standards.

I believe there is no way one person, with just twenty-four hours in a day, can hold down a full-time job, a relationship with a partner, a gym schedule AND write a book. I don’t believe it can be done. And that’s not even including weekends for plans with friends or – in another life – a family! Something had to give, and it was my diet. I’ll go through phases of a gym membership. It’s more effective sometimes than others, but if I’ve got a book to edit, I’m going home and grabbing whatever’s fastest out the oven before I sit down and get to it (that’s if I make it back past the Chinese, Indian, Domino’s, Gregg’s, Subway and anywhere that sells Pot Noodles).

So yeah, if I’m still getting up early like I did when I was writing, I could feasibly spend that time moving.

I’ve also been neglecting my guitars. I’m in a band, we play covers and have two songs of our own. I wrote one of those songs – barely – and I still don’t have lyrics for it months down the line. I could be spending some of this time with the guitars. Get my callouses back and all that. I can’t remember the last time I played Torn by Natalie Imbruglia (he elaborates, as though there is any other song called Torn that matters). That’s not acceptable.

Writing More

I have a new book stewing. There’s a new book stewing, but I’m determined not to sit down with it until the new year at the earliest. That’s a good way to lose two years, gain another stone and get kicked out of my band. I’ll resist the urge to dive down that well for now.

Short stories, though? I could do short stories. Is that something you guys would occasionally like to see here on a Friday?

I spent a whole book writing about a Reaper that took over when Death fucked off to live on the moon (yep!), I want to know what he’s getting up to up there.

Then, of course, there’s this little site of mine. What else could I be using this spot for, now that I’ve got spare time? There are the aforementioned short stories, there’s definitely some legs on Story Time with Gavin about my tragic friends and me. I could review stuff. I have thoughts about things. I could do that, but typically I get angry and ranty. I’m still frightened the Foo Fighters are going to break my heart again.

It’s definitely a break-up

I mean, all the symptoms are there, right? When people break up, they throw themselves into something else. Their career, their image, creative outlets or pretty much just anyone they can find, but they have to resist starting a new relationship too soon!

I mean, all I’m really not doing is drinking my weight in alcohol on a weekday- nope, wait, I’ve been out twice this week.

Eh, it was sunny. Don’t judge me.

It’s Gavin

 

 

 

5 (Grim) Reasons Why

5 (Grim) Reasons Why

Okay, here it is.

I’m releasing a book – my beautiful baby book – in a week’s time, and I want you to buy it.

Let me help nudge you towards that purchase.

So, it’s called Grim, it’s out the 14th of July, and it looks like this:

Here’s the Amazon description:

In September 1945, Death quit his job. He was knackered, he’d had enough, and he left the human race to do it themselves. Within a year, the grim reaper was a regional council position.

The job is a second chance for the recently deceased, an immortal life as ferry for the dead. It’s meant for the excellent, the diligent, the go-getters and the home-bred success stories…

But in 2016, on a rainy Saturday morning, they gave it to the wrong guy. They gave it to Grim. He’s here to send souls and save the day!

And man, he tries his best.

Whet the appetite? Wait, there’s more!

Here’s an alternate blurb:

I suppose it starts with three people who need help

Tom’s got anger
His stepdaughter’s missing and nobody cares

Derek’s a worrier
His boss is a little too cavalier about murdering people

I’m still alive
I play in a band held captive by a giant

Then, on a rainy Saturday morning on Wilson’s Well,
The island’s new Grim Reaper rises

And apparently
He’s my Dad

He’s a lanky, staggering mess, and he has no idea what he’s doing

Sold? Great, pre-order HERE and enjoy the rest of your day!

Do you need a little bit more of a shove? Cool – let’s talk

Five reasons you should buy Grim on the 14th of July 2017.

  1. It’s a bit mad, but it’s also a cool story

I don’t really do tension, grit, subtlety or – I suppose – reality very well. Don’t expect to see much of any of this within Grim. What you’re going to get is a string of silly events happening to mainly silly people. We’ve got immortal lunatics, massive (alleged) cyborgs, snivelling man-servants, moody teenage musicians in a basement, an angry, fat and explicit dad, and a grim reaper who can’t do his job to save himself. It’s not as far out there as Pratchett, but maybe it’s closer to Punch and Judy… on crack.

That’s not to say it’s devoid of substance, of course. Beneath some positively loony shit, there’s a solid story about a guy that just wants to get his daughter back, and a girl who’s just trying to keep her friends alive, and a guy that just wants to do his Daddy proud, and then a bloody awful grim reaper gets involved and it all goes wrong.

Put it this way, you come for the madness and stay for the feelings and shit – like any other stable relationship.

  1. You’re going on holiday, right?

On the subject, it’s an incredibly light read. You going on holiday and need something for poolside? Grim’s your huckleberry. Admittedly, the whole book is set on a grim (roll credits!) island that rains non-stop, so it might clash with your surroundings a tad, but if you’ve got a cocktail in one hand and Grim in the other, you’re golden. Better, read it with a hangover! Most of the characters have a hangover! It’s a perfect match!

Oh, what, you’re not going on holiday? Crap. Okay – new angle. I have it on good authority that Love Island ends in a couple of weeks. Let’s not pretend that Love Island isn’t destroying the nation right now. I’ve seen men fall to Love Island. Their girlfriends watch it, but it’s just on while they happen to be in the room… and then two days later they’re hooked. But it ends in a couple of weeks. Suddenly, an hour of your night is free and you need a dose of light entertainment featuring awful people.

BAM. Grim. That’ll keep you going for a week.

And yeah, I said awful people…

  1. All the characters are unlikable (but in a good way)

When I started writing Grim, I made a point of making every single one of them unlikable. Nobody likes a perfect character, right? (or so most Superman detractors tell me), so I haven’t written any. Not one. Not one of them is even close to being perfect. Even the well-intentioned ones are nervous and wet. The villains are worse than the heroes, of course, but they all suck. Should I be using this as a selling point for my book? Absolutely! These people are unlikable, but you gotta know what happens to them. They’re not anti-heroes, they’re just a bit broken. Damaged people trying to get rich, get free, get lost, get better or get their shit together. It’s an adventure. It’s emotional.

  1. It comes with a smile guarantee

I love making people laugh. Laughing people are the best (right beneath singing people – particularly those who are bad at singing; are there any happier people on earth than awful singers?). As a result, I’ve made sure that the book wants to make you laugh too. Grim is sixty percent unfortunate comedy.

Now I’d love to say the book will DEFINITELY make you laugh, but some people just don’t laugh when they’re reading a book. I never have. Additionally, I just recommended you read it with a hangover, I don’t like to laugh with a hangover.

However, Grim will make you smile. Once. It will make you smile once AT THE VERY FUCKING LEAST. I guarantee you will not get through my book without smiling once. I’ve made sure to include humour for a spectrum of tastes – it will make you smile. ONCE.

Am I offering your money back for this guarantee? Of course not. I’m poor and people lie. But feel free to email me letting me know it didn’t work. Put that in the subject of the email so that I know what I’m ‘opening’ before I definitely ‘open it’.

  1. At £2.99, it’s a bargain

Yeah, it’s digital only, so it’s not like I’m offering a hardback at that cost, but still. £2.99 on release day is a bargain. The book is 447 pages long. It’s a decent chunk of imagination. My brain and a couple of years of my life are in there, y’know? But yeah, okay I get it. If you think you would rather spend £2.99 on an alcoholic beverage on a Friday – I am SO onboard with that. Believe me. But when you come home the next day with a pocket full of smash and think ‘huh… I’ve probably got three quid there and nothing to do today…’ spare Grim a thought.

  1. BONUS CONTENT: You haven’t read anything quite like Grim.

That’s a bold statement, but it’s one I’m confident making. You haven’t read anything quite like this. I’ve avoided cliché where I can, and I’ve mocked it where I can’t. Grim is new, clever and daft, and I can’t wait for you to read it.

So… there you have it.

Look, you’ve just read a full blog about it, did you like the blog? Do you like any of my blogs? Yes? Then you will like my book.

Promise!

Right then, see you in seven days.

It’s Gavin

Grim for pre-order and an awful run

Grim for pre-order and an awful run

It’s four weeks today until the release of Grim, and you can pre-order it now!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B072R5VWNP/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1497557715&sr=8-2&keywords=gavin+mccallion

GO. ORDER. BOOK.

It’ll drop you just £2.99. It’s a bargain. Believe me.

(Oh my God I will go full Taylor Swift is someone tells me my book isn’t worth £2.99. I will start fires.)

Some notes regarding the book:

First up, the target audience is mid-twenties to mid-thirties nerds. That’s definitely not to say my book isn’t for you if you’re out with that age range, of course. The target audience for most of my lego sets is half my age, that doesn’t mean I don’t adore it.

However, and I need to say this, it isn’t for kids. Good God, do not show my book to your children. Listen to me. Don’t do it. Oh, but your parenting style is really progressive and- NO. The word ERECTION is ON THE FIRST PAGE. Okay? I’m not writing porn here (maybe one day!), but my book isn’t for your kids.

Of note secondly, it’s Kindle-only for now. If you wanted a print copy, maybe later. I can’t guarantee it; don’t hold your breath. This isn’t a sales scam where I expect you to buy it twice, that’s really not the case. If you don’t have a Kindle, it’s cool. Every phone and every tablet going has a Kindle App, so there is a way. Just search for it in your selected app store. I believe in you.

Third, I have to reference Saga again. We love Saga. Saga had a bit in the letters page of the most recent issue that said little projects like this do not have fans early in their life, they have families. (Yes, this cheesy-as-fuck sentiment is brought to you by the same people who brought you that full-page robot phallus I mentioned last week.) The sentiment is there, and I love it. My book, so labouriously early in my career only has a crowd of people huddled around it, trying to keep it alive. You know the best way to keep it alive? Tell your pals. Tell anyone who reads. Especially people who read modern fantasy.

So, that’s my spiel. If you haven’t already pre-ordered, I think you should. You’ll wake up on the morning of the 14th with a new book on your Kindle, ready to go. Is there a better way to start a Friday?

…Yeah, okay, don’t answer that, my bad.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B072R5VWNP/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1497557715&sr=8-2&keywords=gavin+mccallion

 

Right.

That didn’t take as many words as I thought it would, so eh…

New subject: Don’t exercise with a hangover.

That seems obvious. What I mean is don’t exercise with any level of hangover, at all. I had an eight-cider evening last Friday and woke up feeling a touch woolly. Regardless, I thought I would go out a run.

I’m doing this couch to 5K thing. I felt committed to the idea. It was silly.

With my sore head, I didn’t really have the energy for like… clean clothes. I found shorts and a t-shirt that I’d definitely worn twice before and shoved them on. I hadn’t showered, I put on my ugly incognito hat, and I was wearing bright, odd-coloured socks and white trainers.

Here’s the thing, save for the cleanliness of the clothes, that’s usually how I’m going out running. Why? Because I don’t give a fuck. I’m out a run around the park on my bloody doorstep. If anybody thinks I look ridiculous, I should be running at such a speed I don’t hear about it.

My head hurts like hell, I’m dressed like a tramp, I smell like a kebab box, and I’m going out running and…

Goddammit, I forgot my keys.

My door is on a snib. It locks itself as soon as it shuts, and it was as soon as it banged shut at my arse I realised I didn’t have my keys on me.

I stood there staring at it for about twenty minutes just… wondering what I was going to do. After that, I stepped outside into the rain and let ANOTHER door slam at my back. So, suddenly I was wet too. That’s grand.

I had options, and here’s what they looked like.

Remember Danny from the cutlery theft? () He lives around the corner from me. I could have given him a buzz and hopefully he’d let me in to surf his couch for four hours until my girlfriend, Simone, got home. The problems with that were two-fold. One: I had plans before Simone came home. Two: Danny would never, ever let me live that down and I don’t blame him even a little bit.

My other option? Get a train into the centre of Glasgow and walk to work, where Simone would come out and give me her set of keys. So that’s what I did.

A moment here, just to thank the lord for Android pay. All I had on me was my phone, and if it weren’t for Android pay, I was walking the hour to work in that weather.

Of course, there was a wild card.

I mean, I wasn’t having a good day as it stood, I could’ve done without something making it worse.

Like, oh, I don’t know, FOOTBALL HOOLIGANS EVERYWHERE.

I live around the corner from Scotland’s national football stadium, you understand, and it just so happened to be a game day. Awesome. Just excellent. So there’s me, the walking dead, shambling through a few hundred half-pissed hooligans, making my train four times busier than I really needed it to be. Then at Central itself, oh the station was just lovely. Queues to get on my train. Police everywhere. Just awesome.

I get outside my work and text Simone, begging her to come down. I catch the eye of one of the security guards who looks like he’s legitimately about to come out and kick my head in.

Eventually, Simone arrives with the keys and informs me that I’m on the security cameras and the guards thought I was a genuine homeless person.

I mean.

I ran home after that.

As well as the fact that my train station was queued out with hooligans, I was determined that if I was at the very least getting my run in.

So yeah, look… if you think about exercising with a hangover, just don’t. I blame the headache for all of this. I don’t care what you think.

Go pre-order my book though, thanks!

It’s Gavin