Rain Graves opened the afternoon by talking about how she met the mansion and conceived the idea to bring horror writers together to explore it. Then she introduced me — and I introduced S. G. Browne, and things really got rolling.
I knew Scott’s work from Fated and Breathers, his satiric novels, so I was completely taken off-guard when he submitted a straight-up Lovecraftian horror story for the Haunted Mansion book. I got goosebumps as he read an excerpt of the story “Spooked.” Thank goodness nothing like that has happened to us in the mansion!
Fran Friel read “The Whispers of Chickens” next. I love that story because it absolutely refuses to go where you expect. Fran rocked her reading of it, which I hadn’t realized would be so complicated to perform.
Rain read her lovely poem “Ten Thousand Eyes,” which deserves to be its own video on the Haunted Mansion Retreat website. Her performance was perfect: intense and scary.
I finished up the reading part of the afternoon with an excerpt from “Here There Be Monsters.” Until I was preparing for the reading, I hadn’t considered how personal the story is, how much of my misspent youth it reveals.
I wish we could have included Kim Richards, William Gilchrist, and Dan Weidman in the reading, too, but Rain invited them up to stand with us during the Q&A part of the event. We got some great questions. I think we met some of the sacrifices, um, I mean, new people, who will come with us to the next Haunted Mansion Retreat.
You can keep up with preparations for the next retreat here.
I cleverly forgot to take any photos, but William shot some video, so I’ll link to that when he’s ready.
You can pick up your own copy of The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two at Borderlands Books on Valencia Street in San Francisco. They have some copies signed by all the contributors who were at the event yesterday.