Death Comes to New England

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Grim has arrived. The graphic novel empire known simply as Newbury Comics has graciously agreed to take a chance on everyone’s favorite Reaper by offering a spot for his book on its illustrious shelves.

For those of you who may not know, Newbury Comics is New England’s premiere comic/graphic novel/punk/new wave/indie music vendor. Considered Mecca to the pop-culture obsessed, I couldn’t imagine a better fit for a novella series as subversive and potentially off-putting as REAPERS WITH ISSUES.

Now, if I could just finish Book Two…

-H.E. Ellis

CLICK THE PIC FOR STORE LOCATIONS

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Reapers With Fangs

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, the day is nearly here when we will unveil Book Two of the four book compilation series called REAPERS WITH FANGS. The sequel to Reapers With Issues follows the Grim Reaper on his journey through middle management Hell.

Don’t forget to visit the REAPERS WITH ISSUES website and sign Grim’s DEATH BOOK. Now onto a preview of:

REAPERS WITH FANGS

Death’s bag landed with a thud, dumping its coconut scented contents and nearly a pound of beach sand onto the cold, office floor. “When was someone going to tell me about this?” Grim asked the three Horsemen scrambling to form a line in front of him.

“What ‘this’ are you referring to?” Famine asked, backing away slowly.

Grim stepped forward and shoved a pink, bubble gum scented memo into Famine’s bony hand. “THIS is what I’m referring to. This memo that’s nearly two weeks old. I count on you three to cue me into this kind of thing when I’m gone. I shouldn’t have had to hear this from Lucifer.”

Pestilence flinched at the word “Lucifer,” but said nothing. War looked to Famine who, after returning a stony glare, reluctantly answered. “No one wanted to bother you. We all agreed you needed the break.”

“So you thought waiting until I got back from vacation to walk into this mess was the better idea?” Grim asked as he snatched the memo from Famine’s hand and tossed it atop a monstrous stack of waiting paperwork.

“No, that’s not what we thought at all,” Famine explained. “We agreed we’d do some recon first and get a handle on who this Ashli person was before we decided whether or not you should worry.”

Grim startled. “Worry? Why? Who is she?”

Without saying a word Pestilence slowly lifted Grim’s mug off his desk and then went for coffee just as Famine produced a silver flask from deep inside his cloak.

“That good, huh?” Grim asked, not convinced he wanted to know.

“I’m not sure “good” is the word you want here,” Famine said as he poured a stream of red, viscous liquid into the steaming cup of coffee. Pestilence blew the billowing smoke away before handing the mug to Grim who promptly set it on the desk behind him.

“I’m not a Cherub, Fam. You don’t have to pussy foot around me. Just tell me straight out who this Ashli person is.”

Famine took a quick sip from the flask, steeling his courage before he spoke. “From what we’ve been able to gather Ashli is…well, let’s just say word around the Cloud is that the boss has got himself a new girlfriend.”

Grim stood frozen for a moment before he snatched the flask from Famine’s hand, tipped it back and sucked it dry.

“We’re still not sure what this is, so I see no reason to assume the worst,” Pestilence said in an attempt to put Grim at ease.

“Bunch of bullshit is what it is,” War blasted. “Give me five– no, four thousand real Reapers and we’ll take care of business no problem I guaran-fucking-tee it. We don’t need no Bible bitch tellin’ us how to do our jobs. We–“

Famine backhanded War into silence just as Grim dropped the flask to the floor. “Wait–what’s he talking about?” Grim asked, wide eyed. “What did he mean by, ‘telling us how to do our jobs?’”

Famine hung his head and sighed. “Yeah…I hadn’t gotten to that part yet.”

“So what are you saying?” Grim asked. “That I finally got Skippy and his shih-tzu out of my department and now….now I’ve got the girlfriend setting up shop here? Are you telling me she is actually in command of the OHD??” Grim’s shocked reaction forced his eyeballs to pop out of his skull and roll along the floor.

Famine picked the eyes and his flask up and set them all on the desk. “I’m afraid that’s the way it looks,” he reluctantly replied.

“Well that’s just fucking great,” Grim said as he ripped off his best tanned meat suit, stopping short of revealing a heart-shaped tattoo with the words Fran Forever emblazoned across the bicep. A tattoo that for the life of him Grim could not recall getting. “I need to sort this shit out so give me a few minutes alone, please. Pronto.”

Famine nodded and then led the Horsemen out of the office. As soon as he was alone Grim headed straight to the closet to change into his regular uniform. His official cloak, Grim decided, would put him in the right frame of mind to deal with the fact that once again, God pulled the rug out from under him.

As Grim slid on the heavy, black robe he set to putting this new dilemma into perspective. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad, he thought. Anything had to be better than Jesus and his Reaper disaster. After all, the Big Guy never kept a woman for long, and he was sure it would only be a matter of time before this new one grew tired of his continued absence. Running the Universe for an eternity isn’t the nine to five job most women think it is.

Still, there was reason for concern. Even though this wasn’t the first time God took a mate, it was the first time in at least two thousand years he’d been this public about it. As Grim could recall, Lucifer was the reason behind God’s last romantic debacle. Grim wondered just how deep into Ashli’s pie his demon colleague’s fingers were, and just how bad the blowback to the OHD might be if God found out.

His mind racing with new concerns, Grim threw open the office doors and called for his Horsemen. “Have any of you spoken to Lucifer yet?” Grim asked once they arrived. “He’s the one who forwarded the memo. He’s got to know how this happened.”

“We…didn’t think it was such a good idea,” Famine tentatively began. “We didn’t know how much of this action originated from the Southern offices, you know, considering how Jesus’ Reaper solution went down.”

Grim ran a bony hand back and forth along his spinal column. “I do know what you mean, but it seems like a lot of risk, even for Lucifer. This isn’t Jesus and his shih-tzu we’re talking about, this is the Big Man and his woman. Anyone remember Lilith?”

“Come on, Boss,” War interjected around a wad of chew. “You know you can’t trust ol’ whistle britches, especially when there’s a female involved. Don’t matter who she is. He nails ‘em faster than Jesus to a cross.”

Hearing his Horseman echo his thoughts reinforced Grim’s suspicion of Lucifer’s role in Ashli’s sudden appearance at the OHD. Determined to get answers, Grim reached for a phone that rang as he grabbed it. “Hello?”

“Why Grim! You’re back!” Lucifer announced with mock cheerfulness. “What’s the good news?”

“You tell me. I’ve been skull deep in sand for the past two weeks.”

“Hmm…how very odd. I’d have thought your ponies would have alerted you to the magnitude of the situation by now.”

Grim shot his Horsemen a look of death as he spoke. “Never mind all that and just answer a question for me. Did you have something to do with this Ashli bullshit or not?”

“Hold your Horses,” Lucifer snickered. “The answer’s no, I had nothing to do with this. Although I wish I had, because this is more glorious than any plan I could have concocted.”

“Plan? What fucking plan are you talking about?”

A sudden, thunderous crash resonated throughout the office followed by a sulfurous puff of smoke. Lucifer appeared at Grim’s side. “Sorry about the theatrics Grimmie old boy, but I just had to be here when you got the news.”

Grim rubbed his skinless temples in exasperation. “Fuck the news and just get to the plan.”

An expression that was both gleeful and menacing at once took hold of Lucifer’s face as he stared into Grim’s and said, “I can sum up the plan in one word-

Vampires…

FOR MORE FROM H.E. ELLIS VISIT:

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Interview With…Lucifer

In my world, Lucifer looks a lot like Colin Farrell.

Today’s REAPER WITH ISSUES interview comes to you live from scenic downtown Hell, because today we sit down with none other than the Devil himself, Lucifer.

HE: Good morning, Lucifer. You look nice today.

LUCIFER: *runs hands over Italian silk suit* Yes, yes I do. And might I say that you look lovely as well. I cannot remember the last time I saw polyester blend worn so tastefully.

***

HE: *sighs* How was your trip to Earth? I noticed you didn’t travel by bus the way the Horsemen did.

LUCIFER: I will admit there are certain perks to being an Archangel. The ability to apparate is one of them.

***

HE: That’s right…I almost forgot. You are an Angel. So does that mean you are lacking in the… “meat department” or is that just a rumor?

LUCIFER: Let me be clear- I am an Archangel and as a rule we do not have “junk” as it were. Sadly, when my Father reassigned me to Hell he equipped me with said apparatus as a punishment. His plan worked beautifully, as this particular appendage is more work than it’s worth.

***

HE: You’ve stated that you were “reassigned” to Hell by your Father. Is there any truth to the rumor that this demotion came from a falling out over a woman?

LUCIFER: Oh how little birds love to chirp.

HE: So, I take it you aren’t going to answer the question?

LUCIFER: My lips are sealed.

***

HE: Alright, moving on. What confounds you most about mortals?

LUCIFER: Your overwhelming desire to know the sexual predilections of others. The mind boggles at the effort put toward investigating the bedroom habits of your would be politicians. These same politicians then refuse to represent the rights of their constituents based on their sexual predilections. How you mortals manage to accomplish anything is beyond my comprehension.

***

HE: On that note, if you were mortal, what job would you want to have?

LUCIFER: Literary Agent.

***

HE: No explanation necessary. Tell me, is it hard working for God?

LUCIFER: Working for my Father? Oh what to say, what to say… I suppose when inspected in the proper light the idea of working for God may seem appealing, but I haven’t found that to be necessarily true.

HE: Really? In what way?

LUCIFER: The man lacks vision, for starters. The first thing I would do if I were to take over Heaven is rewrite the Bible. Too many contradictions. No wonder mortals are confused as to what is expected of them.

***

HE: Rewrite the Bible. Interesting. So now tell me- what do you think of the Horsemen?

LUCIFER: Ugh. You want to talk about the ponies. *sighs* So be it. Where do I begin? Pestilence is an insufferable know it all, Famine is a stickler for standards, War is a sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen and Grim, well…Grim has his moments.

***

HE: Your dream date is?

LUCIFER: Bjork. There’s a lot of pent up hostility in that frigid little body. I’d love to melt her-

***

HE: Got it. Pick one- Beatles or Elvis?

LUCIFER: Why the Beatles, of course. The late great Mr. Lennon sent Jesus off the deep end with one simple statement. I’ve always admired him for that.

***

HE: Favorite sports team?

LUCIFER: I am sad to say that I am a former fan of Tampa Bay Rays baseball. They disappointed me a few years ago. I haven’t forgotten.

***

HE: Where do you see yourself in five years?

LUCIFER: North Korea.

***

HE: What would mortals be most surprised to learn about you?

LUCIFER: I refute the claim the a fore mentioned politicians have made that I, indeed, am the entity to blame for their succumbing to their baser instincts. No such whispering into ears was committed by me or any of my demon henchmen. We simply do not have the time.

That concludes our interview with the Lord of the Underworld, Lucifer. Stay tuned tomorrow for back to back interviews with God and his golden boy, Jesus!

Interview With…War

HE: Today we sit down with everyone’s favorite Horseman, War. Good morning, War. How was your trip to Earth?

WAR: Freakin’ awesome!  I missed the bus transfer in Purgatory, so I had to walk a some, but then this carful of female rodeo clowns gave me a ride in.  Say…do I have white makeup anywhere fun?

***

HE: *struggling not to look* What confounds you most about mortals?

WAR: Uh…nothin’.  Well, I guess sometimes I wonder why they go and hack and bludgeon the shit outta one another.  Y’all are so fucking good at it, I almost don’t need to try.

***

HE: Where is your favorite place to reap?

WAR: Battlefields, hands-down, and the bloodier the better.  Your inner cities aren’t bad these days either, on a small scale.

***

HE: If you were mortal, what job would you want to have?

WAR: Shoot, do we have time for my list?  Porn star – that’s an obvious one.  I was thinkin’ doctor since I ain’t scared a blood. But the good kinda doctor like one of them Gyno…cogo-ologists, you know, the kind that looks at lady parts. Not one of them human butthole doctors. That shit ain’t right.  I was also thinking a vet might be awesome but only because I think the idea of having your entire arm up an elephant’s ass is fucking hilarious… [actually rolls on floor laughing]

***

HE: Has a mortal ever escaped you?

WAR: Just one. Fucking Lazarus. I’ve had some reclassified out of my reach, like Caesar.  He got too big for his Rubicon-wading britches, so he got moved from my domain over to Grim’s.  Same with Napoleon, that little Frog pantywaist.  You might think Saddam Hussein escaped me by livin’ all up in his own asshole there, but in the end, that was MY noose.

***

HE: What’s the most negative aspect of wearing a meat suit?

WAR: There ain’t no downside, Sugar Britches (winks).  Uh, they’re kind of fragile.  Do you know how fucking painful bending your boner is? [shudders] Maybe the random need to back out a stinker.

***

HE: Is it hard working for God?

WAR: Fuck yes!  Think about it: “Now War, you’re supposed to go and reap souls lost to conflict… but don’t be too messy… and don’t break shit… and don’t be too noisy, I’m resting… and that blood will stain, so don’t get it on you!”  Seriously, I’d rather be married to a Human woman with control issues.

***

HE: Is Lucifer as bad as they say?

WAR: Lucifer is a card-carrying dickwad.  If he weren’t one of them special creations of God, I’dve pummeled the piss out of his silk-suit-wearing panzie ass millennia ago.  What I hate about Lu is that he won’t just come out and fuck with you like a man.  He’s got to be all passive-aggressive and shit, so you’re just cruising along thinking the everything is cool and BAM! You’re asking yourself, “Hey, how’d this dick get all the way up my ass?”

***

HE: What do you have to say about the Mayans?

WAR: Oooooh!  Those are so good with cheese!  Or fried!  I once had them barbecued and then smothered with pilates.  Fuck, I’m hungry.  Is there a taco place close?

***

HE: Your dream date is?

WAR: You.  Those puppies real?

HE: [ahem] Can you just answer the question?

WAR:  Guess I shoulda worn the tattooed rocker meatsuit.  I’ll say my dream date was Catherine the Great.  You think that story about her dying underneath her horse was true?  The only thing close to being horse-like in that rumor was my epic fuckin’ …

***

HE: Alright, alright, moving on. Beatles or Elvis?

WAR: Fuck that hippy shit. I’m straight up old school metal dude, er, dudette. I do my best reapin’ to Disturbed. They ain’t metal but I love that shit.  Makes me want to go hack something with a dull blade. Or bone them in half…

***

HE: Favorite sports team?

WAR: You know the Mongols used to have this brutal sport played on horseback… I don’t know.  I have to admire teams that suck ass but have loyal fans.  The Red Sox come to mind.  I hang out with fans mainly for the fun, and of course cheerleaders.

***

HE: Where do you see yourself in five years?

WAR: Kicking ass and taking names, baby.  Humans are always coming up with new reasons to go schwack each other, and yours truly will be there to enjoy the fuckery.

***

HE: What would mortals be most surprised to learn about you?

WAR: I have a sensitive side… no shit.  One time, I was out reaping and there was this little kid who got shot.  So I was all, like, “Aww, that’s sad,” and then I jerked his little soul out – *ssschwaap* – just like that.  Sensitive an’ shit.

***

This concludes our sit down with War, the last of our interviews with The Four Horsemen. Stay tuned tomorrow for our exclusive on site interview in Hell with the ever stylish, ever evil, Lucifer. Then we’ll round out our weekend with an interview with the Big Man himself, God and his favorite son, Jesus! Stay tuned…

Interview With…Pestilence

HE: Today’s interview has us sitting down with Creeping Death himself, Pestilence. Good morning, Pestilence. How was your trip to Earth?

PEST: Good morning, Miss Ellis. Considering I had to get a bus transfer, it wasn’t bad.  Once you make the transdimensional leap from Purgatory to the mortal realm several times, it’s old-hat.  Little known fact: Purgatory started as a sort of safe zone for travel from Earth to and from either Heaven or Hell.  It’s a sort of pressurization chamber, like divers use.

***

HE: What confounds you most about mortals?

PEST: Body odor [makes face].  I have no idea how God managed to create Humans in his image yet chose to have them excrete smelly substances.  And this is coming from me, the Bacteria and Virus King.  Eew [shudders].

***

HE: Where is your favorite place to reap?

PEST: Tropical climates are by far the best for reaping within my domain.  I mean really, I almost don’t have to do anything except follow the molds and fungi around and pick up after them.

***

HE: If you were mortal, what job would you want to have?

PEST: Oh, I don’t know.  I’m not sure I could be mortal and sit in my own cloud of stench all day.  In fact I need a shower now.  But I’ll be fair and answer your question.  I guess perhaps a lab technician at the CDC.  That or a postal worker.

***

HE: Has a mortal ever escaped you?

PEST: Yes and fiddlesticks!  Those Humans are so goshdarned clever that sometimes I think they’d do a better job than I would at reaping a la Pestilence.  Do you know why viruses mutate?  [waits for answer]

HE: Oh, you’re actually asking me [rolls eyes] – why do viruses mutate?

PEST: They mutate because I’m constantly having to make new strains to keep ahead of your best efforts to counter me.

***

HE: What’s the most negative aspect of wearing a meat suit?

PEST: Body odor.  I’m sorry, am I obsessive here?  A little Freudy-Doidy? Haaa ha  hah ha… ahem.  But seriously, body odor.  I also tend to be very disturbed by no-reason boners.

***

HE: Is it hard working for God?

PEST: I’d like to say yes, and I’d like to say no.  The sad truth is, he tends to come up with awesome creations but then inserts middle managers between him and his creation when he finds it too difficult to manage.  So for in-the-trenches marks of performance, I have to give him an ‘F.’  However, for his strategic vision, nobody beats him.

***

HE: Is Lucifer as bad as they say?

PEST: He’s a doodie head.  He does wear nice clothes though.

***

HE: What do you have to say about the Mayans?

PEST: I’d say they were pretty susceptible to infection just like everyone else.

***

HE: Your dream date is?

PEST: Hmm… so many to choose from.  I think the day the Black Death started in Europe has to be number one, and the Spanish Flu thing there I did wasn’t bad either…

What?  Oh THAT kind of date… uhm, well… I’ve never been on a date [hangs head]. *** HE: Beatles or Elvis?

PEST: Oh, I’m sorry.  Neither?  Okay, truth is I love classical music.  You Humans got that right.  I like most of what your composers created, and I am particularly taken by the Baroque artists.  Rock and roll sounds like… sweaty Humans.

***

HE: Favorite sports team?

PEST: I’m not really into sports so much.  I like watching Kasparov play chess – now that is exciting!

***

HE: Where do you see yourself in five years?

PEST: Reaping, of course, but can I sort of qualify that?  Okay.  I want to be better at what I do in five years, you know.  Like perhaps I’ll make a better form of Ebola.  It just kills me that after all that time and effort, that virus is only about 95% lethal.  I think I can get it up into the high 98% range.  Sometimes I secretly dream of creating some whole new type of pandemic… I mean, there’s bacteria and there are viruses… what if there was a whole new thing out there.  I have dreams too!

***

HE: What would mortals be most surprised to learn about you?

PEST: I like to collect stamps, and macramé.

***

Thanks for stopping by and visiting with the Reaper better known as Pestilence. Tune in tomorrow when we sit down with everyone’s favorite Horseman, War. Stick around this weekend when we’ll be sitting down to chat with some of the upper (and lower) members of the Office of Heavenly Affairs. Until then, stay well and avoid the Reaper!

Interview With…Famine

HE: We continue our interviews with the mysterious Horseman known as Famine. Good morning, Famine. How was your trip to Earth?

FAMINE: You assume I left, ha, that’s… that’s funny.  I haven’t gotten away from Earth in what seems like eons.  Just when I think I might get away, some jack-hole gets me involved in another bunch of crap that I can’t delegate out and I can’t pass on higher up the chain.  Story of my fucking life… uh, death… existence.

***

HE: What confounds you most about mortals?

FAMINE: Toy dogs.  Fucking ‘Toy’ dog breeds.  The women and gay guys carrying these things around are the same ones freaking out and jumping up on chairs when they see rats and mice.  What the hell, man?  And cocaine.  Why the hell would anyone want to do ANYTHING faster and with more sweating?

***

HE: Where is your favorite place to reap?

FAMINE: Depends, easiest or most fun?  Easiest: L.A.  Just ask a broad if she’s expecting or if she just had a baby, *BAM*, job is done for you!  Not only will she stop eating, she’ll puke up Thanksgiving dinner from three years ago!  Most fun?  Suburbs of Atlanta.  Have you ever watched a 350 pound guy looking at a plate of ribs or chicken and waffles and suddenly realize he isn’t hungry?  Funny as shit!  They get mad.  Rumplestiltskin mad.  I could do that all day!

***

HE: If you were mortal, what job would you want to have?

FAMINE: Sales associate at Abercrombie. Every time some skinny bitch walked out of the dressing room I could say, “Uhm, Honey, you want me to get you the next size up?” I think I could be pretty happy with that.

***

HE: Has a mortal ever escaped you?

FAMINE: Victoria Beckham.  But the game ain’t over yet.

***

HE: What’s the most negative aspect of wearing a meat suit?

FAMINE: Grooming.  I mean, the showering, the cleaning, the de-stinking.  Really a lot of work.

***

HE: Is it hard working for God?

FAMINE: A boss is a boss is a boss, you know?  They give you bottom lines and you’re just supposed to run with them.  My budget barely not-feeds the westernized world!  Don’t get me started on trying to juggle maternity leave rotations for those slutty Succubi!

***

HE: Is Lucifer as bad as they say?

FAMINE: No.  We get each other.  He’s got a job to do, he’s got to get it done on time and under budget just like the rest of us.

***

HE: What do you have to say about the Mayans?

FAMINE: Fucking nutty.  I mean, I like a good party, but, to quote a well known space cowboy, “Eating people alive? Where’s that get fun?”

***

HE: Your dream date is?

FAMINE: Tina Majorino.  Freaking adorable, I love her.  She’d finally notice me, in the bushes, with the camera and be all like, “Hey! Are you the one sending me those letters? You wanna hit the Olive Garden with me?”.  And I’d be like, “Olive Garden?  Really?”.  And there would be this split second of us looking at each other and we’d both screech out “UNLIMITED BREAD STICKS, SUCKER!”  It would be awesome, you know?  Magic…

***

HE: Beatles or Elvis?

FAMINE: Uhg.  Uhm, Elvis, if I had to choose.  If I got to pick, Cheap Trick.  I’ll take Elvis because Zander kicked ass on Don’t Be Cruel.  Why always Beatles or Elvis? Beatles or Stones?  What about The Clash or Abba?  Iron Maiden or Prince?

***

HE: Favorite sports team?

FAMINE: The Eagles.

***

HE: Where do you see yourself in five years?

FAMINE: Probably doing the same fucking job, but with a three and a half percent increase in pay, those cheap mother-fuckers…

***

HE: What would mortals be most surprised to learn about you?

FAMINE: Hmm.  Not sure… Oh!  Okay, I got one!  No one ever believes me, but I had nothing to do with Karen Carpenter.  Seriously, that was all just fucked up psyche and shit.  Hell, do you have any idea what I went through over that?  Jesus loved her.  I swear, that’s the reason I haven’t even been considered for a promotion!  Hell! I was sending her fruitcakes and candy grams just to save my own ass!  And I do I ever get the credit for Mama Cass?

***

That concludes our interview with the Horsemen known as Famine. Tune in tomorrow when we sit down with Creeping Death himself, Pestilence, followed by War on Thursday and a special mystery guest on Friday. We round out the weekend with back to back interviews with the Big Man himself, God on Saturday and a one on one exclusive with Jesus on Sunday. Stay tuned!

H.E. Ellis’ Interview With…Death

by, H.E. Ellis

In an effort to promote my latest work entitled REAPERS WITH ISSUES I’ve decided to devote the next four days to interviewing my favorite middle management employees, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

We’ll begin the first of our interviews with the man beneath the cloak. We’ll discuss what it’s like working for God, his views on intra-office politics and yes, even his love life.

Today I sit down with none other than Death himself, THE GRIM REAPER.

***

HE: Good morning, Grim. How was your trip to Earth?

GRIM: Fine, I suppose, considering I traveled here by bus. Wouldn’t you know I sat next to a guy who had just come from an Oktoberfest somewhere. Nothing like sitting next to a fat man with bratwurst farts.

 

HE: Bus?? But I thought you were one of the Four HORSEmen?

GRIM: You’re right; I am, but since God promoted Gabriel to Head of the Archangel Board our department’s equine budget has been “reallocated” south, if you know what I mean.

 

HE: South? Are you talking about Hell?

GRIM: Look, I don’t want to be the guy who trash talks other department heads, but between you and me let’s just say that Lucifer’s productivity doesn’t jive with the funds flowing his way. It’s good to have a big brother in high places is all I’ve got to say on the matter.

 

HE: Alright, moving on. What confounds you most about mortals?

GRIM: I’d have to say it’s your obsession with your appearance. A mortal’s lifespan is over in a flash, and yet you feel the need to spend your money on useless beauty procedures. If you only knew what you looked like without your skin, you wouldn’t bother. Trust me.

 

HE: Where is your favorite place to reap?

GRIM: Canada. The friendliest mortals come from there. The beer’s not bad either, eh?

 

HE: If you were mortal, what job would you want to have?

GRIM: Gloucesterman, hands down. Nothing sounds better to me than a solitary life of peace and tranquility on the sea. Plus all you can eat lobster. Hmm…pass the buttah.

 

HE: Has a mortal ever escaped you?

GRIM: Never. Although over the years Dick Clark has given me the slip a couple of times.

 

HE: What’s the most negative aspect of wearing a meat suit?

GRIM: Meat suits are extremely high maintenance. I’ve yet to find one that didn’t have something wrong with it. They’re hot, they leak and they fall apart easily. And did I mention the smell?

 

HE: Is it hard working for God?

GRIM: God? Uh…no, not really. I’d say the biggest problem is working for the idiots he puts in charge; namely his sons. They bicker constantly; spend money on themselves, barely show up to work and help themselves to the Heavenly budget just to name a few things. Not to mention that each one thinks he’s the boss when the Big Man’s not around. Typical family business horseshit. Oops! Sorry…horse-puckies.

 

HE: Is Lucifer as bad as they say?

GRIM: Only if you are a mortal. I was reaping amoebas while he was still in his Father’s good graces, so he’s not too intimidating to me. He’s sort of like a splinter, not lethal- but irritating.

 

HE: What do you have to say about the Mayans?

GRIM: One of Lucifer’s practical jokes. Just ignore him or he’ll keep it up.

 

HE: Your dream date is?

GRIM: A certain special lady, a certain Latin meat suit, and a month in the Bahamas. In fact I’m leaving on a trip there as soon as I’m finished with this interview.

 

HE: Beatles or Elvis?

GRIM: Coltrane.

 

HE: Favorite sports team?

GRIM: Anyone but the Raiders. Those a-holes don’t know when to die.

 

HE: Where do you see yourself in five years?

GRIM: If all goes to plan, running my department. I recently managed to cut loose some dead weight so I think things should be running smoothly once I get back from the Bahamas.

 

HE: What would mortals be most surprised to learn about you?

GRIM: That I have feelings just like everyone else. Being Death isn’t easy, you know. Please don’t fear me.

***

Thanks for stopping by and visiting with the Grim Reaper. Tune in Tuesday when we sit down with the Horseman better known as Famine, followed by Pestilence on Wednesday and War on Thursday. Stick around this weekend when we’ll be sitting down to chat with some of the upper (and lower) members of the Office of Heavenly Affairs. Until then, stay well avoid the Reaper!

An Interview With H.E. Ellis

My Dear Readers,

   As a delightful and delicious follow-up to yesterday’s announcement of the release of Book One for sale, I bring you what you have always wanted: an interview with H.E. Ellis.  Without further ado, here you go:

1.   Your first book, Gods of Asphalt, was told in a First Person format.  How difficult was it to shift into Third Person to pen Reapers With Issues, and what was your motivation to do this?

H.E. Ellis: Switching gears was extremely difficult, which is the reason why I did it. I attempted to write GODS OF ASPHALT – BOOK TWO in the third person but struggled to make progress since I’d never tackled that POV before. I had also planned on writing REAPERS in the third-person because as much as the story is about the Grim Reaper, I was committed to the idea that it should revolve around the odd cast of characters. I suppose in the end I decided it would be better to write REAPERS first since it is a novella and I could use the practice before tackling the novel that is to be GOA2.

2.  You’re a self-described 40-something mother of three.  What techniques do you use when crafting your writing day to day that keeps you so well focused on the plot and storyline?

H.E. Ellis: I find it difficult to focus on anything in my day to day life whether I write or not, so I whenever I do I put on my headphones and listen to music. It’s why GODS OF ASPHALT has its own soundtrack written into it. I listened to a lot of Wagner, Mussorgsky and Metallica while I wrote REAPERS.

Another thing I like to do is to carry a Sharpie around with me wherever I go. As soon as I am out and about an idea will hit me that I need to jot down quickly, so I write it on my forearm. I will just misplace scrap paper so I don’t bother bringing any. I’ve tried texting myself, but most of the walks I take are deep into the New Hampshire forests, and I rarely get cell reception there. Not to mention that I am a Gen X’er, so the art of texting is lost on me.

3.  Many readers will probably be offended by the Reapers Series.  What is your message behind the irreverence?

H.E. Ellis: I never doubted I would write REAPERS, but I did debate over whether or not I would publish it. I was afraid that if people only read snippets or heard what it was about they might think that I set out to slam Christianity, namely Jesus. Nothing could be further from the truth. I took great care in portraying Jesus as who he was purported to be- kind, compassionate, and tolerant. It’s the rest of the world who uses his good name to lend credence to their own sinning. REAPERS blasts the Hell out of those people, and I couldn’t care less how they feel about it.

Another misgiving I had was that REAPERS WITH ISSUES is as close to a written manifestation of my sense of humor as you could possibly get. Since I don’t take myself too seriously, I am hoping readers don’t find anything remotely serious about my book or the message behind it.

4.  You favor using dialogue over exposition to advance your stories.  What makes this your favored technique and what do you feel you sacrifice?

H.E. Ellis: I am an extrovert, so I find comfort and familiarity in the voices of others. I do live in my head at times, but when I do I am always eager to share what goes on in there with others, whether they want to know about it or not. Case in point, REAPERS WITH ISSUES.

I suppose what suffers most is either action or plot. Maybe both. The largest obstacle I face when I write is ensuring that my books are more than just a bunch of comedy skits strung together.

5.  What is the most challenging aspect of the mechanics of writing for you, and how do you overcome it?

H.E. Ellis: DIALOGUE TAGS!!!! I hate them with every fiber of my being. If I thought for a moment that I could get away with writing a novel that existed as nothing more than an overheard telephone conversation I’d be the happiest little writer in the world.

The other obstacle of mechanics I faced with REAPERS was writing an inverse of what I normally consider my comfort zone. As anyone who has read my blog will tell you; I am a writer who takes something commonplace and mocks it, pointing out the hidden absurd. What I worked to accomplish in REAPERS was to take something fantastic, and transform it into something that resembled the everyday in order to make it absurd. To quote my cohort Tom Elias, “That’s about as natural as a quarterback throwing off his back foot.”

6.  There is art and science involved in writing.  What is your favorite aspect of writing in the context of its art?

H.E. Ellis: As a writer in the twenty-first century, it is impossible to come up with anything new, plot-wise. That leaves us with the challenge of conceiving of something new. All any writer can do is take a spent storyline and put a new spin on it to make it their own. If a writer can bring their own perspective to their writing they will create something no one has ever read before.

7.  Ten years from now, what is H.E. Ellis writing?

H.E. Ellis: Children’s books. I find that the older I get, the more enamored I become with all things innocent. I’m slowly beginning to abandon the angst of teendom while I am fast embracing the playground. Yes, I am a literary Benjamin Button. Although I imagine I will always take time out to write something completely out there like REAPERS WITH ISSUES, because if I have to know about it, then so do all of you.

Reapers With Issues Urgently For Sale!

by Tom Elias

H.E. Ellis sure has some interesting marketing strategies for selling books.  I tried calling her all day yesterday, and her voicemail and I got to know one another.  Eventually I got this note, though.  I think she’s leveraging the savvy of that guy in Nigeria here.  Either that or Mr. Mikopka is our agent.  Or publisher.  Maybe both…

My Dear Earth Friend,

I know this proposal letter might be a pleasant surprise to you as we don’t know ourselves before. I am from Earth born 25 years ago, now seeking asylum in Purgatory under (OHD). I contacted you as a cause of my serious search for a reliable and trust worthy person that can handle such a confidential transaction of this nature.

My Late father former Defense Minister under the regime Ex president of Hell, but was assassinated by the rebels during the civil war and properties destroyed, but I narrowly escaped with some very important documents entitled REAPERS WITH ISSUES valued at $4.99 of U.S Dollars deposited by my late father in a high financial company here in Purgatory. Other items of a virtual nature are valued at $1.99 U.S Dollars to be hidden inside devices such as Kindles. or Nooks.

However, I seek with the problem of securing a trust worthy foreign personality like you to help me transfer these documents pending when I will come over to your Earth for us to meet for investment of the money. On commencement of this transaction I want to let you understand that the future of myself and of my fellow document experts H.E. Ellis, S. Quinn ShawTom Elias and Mikhail Vlakfeld depends solely on this money. So please keep this business to yourself only to avoid raise eye brow of any third party aliens.

I am eagerly expecting your urgent response.

Yours Sincerely,

Abaniye Adophe Mikopka-Reaper

Announcing Book One: Reapers With Issues

by The Grim Reaper

Hey, how are you all doing? Awesome.  Me? Oh, hey, I’m great.  Listen – I want to announce the pending publication of the first book of four in the Reapers With Issues series.  This is the story of yours truly, and my buddies War, Pestilence and Death.  We have some adventures, and there’s a lot of laughter and tears.

I won’t bore you with details – go buy the damn book once H.E. Ellis gets it published through Smashwords.  And visit her page, too.  She deserves the love.  She put in a lot of effort documenting this part of the adventure, and no other author could have really done that like she did. 

Okay, okay, except for S. Quinn Shaw, Mikhail Vlakfeld, and Tom Elias.  Check them out too.  Hit their links on the home page here!

Anyway, for a sample of the opener, look up at the page banner and choose “Reapers With Issues – Book One.”  Or just click that link if you’re a lazy bastard.  That only moves your appointment with me sooner…