One of the highlights of the World Horror Convention for me was the The Haunted Mansion Project reading on Friday night. Kim Richards — mistress of Damnation Books, publisher of the Haunted Mansion Project: Year One and Year Two, and contributor to both volumes — served as emcee. William Gilchrist — new to the Mansion last year and now a published poet because of it — served to keep us all on time. In 30 minutes, five contributors read the scariest bits of their ghost-inspired work.
E. S. Magill opened the evening by reading the entirety of her essay “See Anything?” about the horrific paranormal experience she had as a child. I could hear the shivers run through the audience.
Sephera Giron read “A Weekend at a Haunted Writers Retreat,” a poem that managed to condense four days of camaraderie and terror into three brief pages. The poem sparkles with so many real events that reflect from the stories that follow.
Angel Leigh McCoy read the suspenseful bit of her story “Purgatory,” the calm right before all hell breaks lose. I heard the audience catch their breath — and the disappointment when time ran out and Angel had to stop. I knew right then that she’d sold some books. People would have to find out what was going to happen next.
I went next, reading the part where the shadows gather at the beginning of the seance from “A Curiosity of Shadows,” which appeared in the first Haunted Mansion book. I’m so proud of that story.
Then Rena Mason brought us back to the current volume with an excerpt of “awk*ward.” Wow, I love that story. And she chose the perfect excerpt to read, the bit where the sister’s ghost is creeping in with the fog. I don’t know who could resist discovering what happens next.
Personally, I was blown away to share the podium with so much talent. It was my honor to edit The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two, but I honestly cannot wait to hear what other people think of the book. I’ve lived with it for six months, but now that it’s loose in the world, the terror can spread.
I can’t wait to see the shivers!