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Archive for 2014

Sirens Newsletter – Last-Minute Shopping Edition! Volume 7, Issue 2 (December 2014)

In this issue:

 

SIRENS GIFT CERTIFICATES
Sirens gift certificates are always apropos! (Seriously, we give them for the holidays, but also for birthdays, coffee dates, and Mondays.) You can buy them in any amount, and they can be used for 2015 Sirens registrations or tickets. We, of course, provide a certificate suitable for printing and gifting. If you have a friend thinking of making the trip to Denver in October, help her out!

 

REGISTRATION PRICE JUMP
You might also consider, especially if you’re giving gift certificates, that the registration price for Sirens will increase on January 1. Right now, the price for all programming, events, and meals (excluding only the pre-conference Sirens Supper and the Sirens Shuttle) is $175. On January 1, that becomes $185.

 

CAFEPRESS FLASH SALES
Until it’s too late to ship for Christmas, we’ll be running flash sales on our CafePress store. Sometimes that means discounts, and sometimes it means products that aren’t available the rest of the year. If you’re looking for hoodies, water bottles, colored t-shirts, pajamas, or other fun things, check out the store and keep an eye on our Twitter for flash sales. (Also, we expanded our store in November to feature a lot more products, including some with our 2015 rebel logo!)

 

WHAT IS AMY GIVING THIS YEAR?
Books! Amy, a founder of Sirens, gives books year-round, but never so enthusiastically as at the holidays, when she happily drops stacks in the laps of unsuspecting recipients. If you’re at a loss as to what to give a family member, a friend, a co-worker, or a toy drive, here are some ideas:

This year Amy is giving her mom: The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes. Mom is a huge mystery and thriller fan, and while she doesn’t often read fantasy works, Amy’s positive that she’s going to love Beukes’ breathtakingly clever story about a time-traveling serial killer and the girl he thought he killed who tracks him down…through time.

This year Amy is giving her best friend: Conservation of Shadows by Yoon Ha Lee. Yoon is, of course, a guest of honor for Sirens in 2015, but Amy will blissfully tell you that Conservation of Shadows is, despite a long list of brilliant books read, the best book she’s read since Code Name Verity. Since the last book Amy and her BFF both loved was Code Name Verity, she’s crossing her fingers for a repeat.

This year Amy is giving her grandma: The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith. Amy’s grandma loves history, and while she tends to read American history, Amy thinks that The Frangipani Hotel, with its deft weaving of history and legend in ghost stories about Vietnamese identity in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, will appeal.

This year Amy is giving her co-worker: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Amy’s co-worker, today an immensely successful businesswoman, once toiled away as an English literature major. Since The Night Circus skillfully walks the very thin, very porous line between genre fiction and literary fiction—and ingeniously combines a dazzling love story with an exquisite ruthlessness—Amy thinks this will be just the fantasy book to turn a literature fan on to the wonderful world of genre fiction.

This year Amy is giving her three-year-old niece: Dangerously Ever After by Dashka Slater. Princess Amanita laughs in the face of danger. She loves her brakeless bicycle and plants flowers such as grenapes (which explode three seconds after being picked) and heckle-berries (which…you know). When Prince Florian arrives with roses, Princess Amanita loves their thorns, but of course, things go downhill and a danger-loving princess must save herself from what might be too much danger after all.

 

YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT…
Keep reading for interesting articles, and covers and dates for new releases. We love to have your contributions—and we are happy to hear about things we might have missed. Please send the news to (help at sirensconference.org).

Interesting Links:

How fairytales grew up,” Marina Warner in The Guardian.

Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards 2015.

A discussion about the Arabian Nights stories, via SurLaLune.

The History and Modern Relevance of Fairy Tales,” an interview with Ellen Kushner, Maria Tatar, and Marina Warner.

Omenana, for speculative fiction writers from across Africa and the African Diaspora.

The Radical Joanna Russ.”

Ursula LeGuin presented with Lifetime Achievement Award, and then SPEAKS.

Top Ten Reasons Girls Should Read Fantasy” by Cinda Williams Chima.

2014 World Fantasy Awards.

How Sleeping Beauty is Accidentally the Most Feminist Animated Movie Disney Ever Made.”

Fall 2014 issue of Interfictions.

 

New Releases:

December2014Collage

Click the image for a closer look at the covers.

Stitching Snow, R. C. Lewis (October 14)
The Future Falls, Tanya Huff (November 4)
The Retribution of Mara Dyer, Michelle Hodkin (November 4)
The Halcyon Bird, Kat Beyer (November 11)
The Name of the Blade, Zoë Marriott (November 11)
The Last Changeling, Jane Yolen (November 28)

Ticker, Lisa Mantchev (December 1)

Boundary, Heather Terrell (December 2)
The King’s Deryni, Katherine Kurtz (December 2)
Wickedly Wonderful, Deborah Blake (December 2)
Darkness Falls, Keri Arthur (December 2)
No True Way: All-New Tales of Valdemar, Mercedes Lackey (December 2)
The Vault, Emily McKay (December 2)
Seduction, Molly Cochran (December 2)
City of Eternal Night, Kristen Painter (December 2)
Ravencliffe, Carol Goodman (December 2)

Suspicion, Alexandra Monir (December 9)
The Lady, K. V. Johansen (December 9)
Gathering Darkness, Morgan Rhodes (December 9)
Princess of Thorns, Stacey Jay (December 9)

Myth and Magic: Queer Fairy Tales, ed. Radclyffe and Stacia Seaman (December 16)
Cold Hillside, Nancy Baker (December 16)

No Life But This, Anna Sheehan (December 18)

The Dress Shop of Dreams, Menna Van Praag (December 30)
Stonehill Downs, Sarah Remy (December 30)

 

SIRENS REVIEW SQUAD
SeaofTimeMortal Heart
Robin LaFevers

There aren’t enough stars in the sky to show much I loved Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers (no way is five enough)! I haven’t had a book touch me so personally since reading The Mists of Avalon back in 1998.

But before I get into why this book affected me the way it did, a little explanation of the story. Mortal Heart is the third and final book in the His Fair Assassin trilogy. The trilogy centers on a convent of nuns in medieval France who are devoted to one of the nine old gods of Brittany, Mortain, the god of death. As Death’s handmaidens they are trained to be assassins to carry out His will. This fictional setup is blended seamlessly with actual historical events of the time, namely a 13-year-old duchess’ fight to keep Brittany independent from the French.

Each book is told from a different character’s point of view, but is part of a continuing story. The first book, Grave Mercy, is told from Ismae’s point of view and is very much about politics and court intrigue. The second, Dark Triumph, is Sybella’s story, one of adventure and heart-pounding action. In Mortal Heart, Annith finally gets to tell her story, one of romance, love, and faith. (If you haven’t read the rest of the series, start with Grave Mercy. You’ll be lost if you pick up with Mortal Heart.)

Throughout all of the other books, Annith has patiently waited in the convent where she was raised for her turn to be sent out to do Mortain’s work, which is her life-long dream. She’s watched Ismae and Sybella be sent out before her, even though she is the most skilled. When she finds out that the abbess has other plans for her, ones that involve her never leaving the convent, she must make a decision whether to obey the rules as she has always done, or seek Mortain’s will on her own. Her choice leads her on a journey not even the convent seeresss could have predicted, revealing long-held secrets that threaten to unravel everything she’s ever believed about herself and the convent and send her straight into the arms of Death himself.

Being a fan of love stories and fantasy, as well as someone who is fascinated by religion, it probably shouldn’t be surprising that this my favorite book of the series. It delves much more deeply into the religion and mythology of the series, placing a truly devoted nun, Annith, at the fore. As someone who used to want to be a nun (although, not the assassin kind), I deeply related to Annith. I understand what it’s like to “be in love with” your God, to want to do his will more than anything else in the world, as well as the frustration of not understanding how you’re supposed to bring this cherished dream to fruition. Add to this that the old gods are based on the Celtic pantheon (which is near and dear to my heart), and that this book deals with the intersection of the old religion and Christianity, and how the gods and mortals interact, and you have what is personally for me, a life-changing book.

But I also realize that most people won’t have this personal connection to the book. Even if you don’t relate to it on the level I do, I believe you will be moved by the themes of love, trust, faith, and hope—things we all struggle with, no matter what our personal beliefs are. Mortal Heart is also very much about the lengths to which we are willing to go for those we love, and the impact of the secrets that each and every one of us carry around with us. There is something for everyone in this richly layered tale of devotion, love, and adventure.

Maybe it’s because this is the final book in the trilogy, but I felt like I was much more a part of the world of this book than in the previous books. It was a joy to see Ismae, Sybella, and Annith together again and learn the final resolution of the political situation I’ve been invested in since the first book. I also loved getting to see the inner workings of some of the other orders devoted to the old gods.

There is so much more I want to say about this book, but I can’t because it involves spoilers for key plot points. Please trust me on how wonderful this book is and give it, and the series, a chance. Even though it’s marketed as YA, it certainly doesn’t read like a YA book. To me it’s a wonderful historical fantasy perfect for those who love their fantasy with strong female characters, unlikely love, a bit of mystery, and a dash of danger. – Nicole Evelina


Questions? You can comment here or write to us at (help at sirensconference.org).

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Sirens Newsletter – Volume 7, Issue 1 (November 2014)

In this issue:

 

THANK YOU
Thank you to Kendare Blake, Rosemary Clement, and Andrea Hairston for their informative, heartfelt, funny, and thoughtful keynote presentations. Thank you to every single volunteer who offered up an hour or two of time. Thank you to everyone who presented on the programming schedule. Thank you to everyone who donated or purchased an auction item. Thank you to all of our 2014 attendees. All of you, together, make the conversations and community of Sirens possible.

Guest of Honor Kendare Blake - Thursday, October 16, 2014. Guest of Honor Rosemary Clement - Friday, October 17, 2014. Bedtime Stories at Sirens in 2014. From left to right: Andrea Hairston, Rosemary Clement, and Kendare Blake. Guest of Honor Andrea Hairston - Saturday, October 18, 2014.

 

SIRENS IN 2015
Next year, we’ll be returning to our roots in the Rocky Mountain region, and though we’ll miss the northwest, we’re pleased to be back. Sirens will be held October 8–11, 2015, at the Inverness Hotel in the southern Denver metro area. Our guests of honor are Rae Carson, Kate Elliott, and Yoon Ha Lee, who have unique takes on next year’s theme: rebels and revolutionaries. We’ve updated our Reading List to help you start thinking about rebellion, too. Registration is currently $175, which includes a reception, two lunches, a breakfast, a conference t-shirt, and all programming (except for the Sirens Supper and Sirens Shuttle—and tickets for those will be available in 2015). You can get all the news on our website, and we’ll be featuring more on our guests, travel, programming, and theme throughout the year. In the meantime, feel free to grab a graphic to show your support. We hope you can join us in October!

 

BLACK FRIDAY PROMOTION
Not wanting to be left out of the shopping frenzy, for the first time, Sirens will be offering a Black Friday registration discount. Watch our Twitter account for the promotion code, and if you haven’t already purchased your registration, mark your calendar for Friday, November 28. You’ll be able to buy a registration for a discounted rate of $165 from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Black Friday only.

 

VOLUNTEERING
The Sirens Review Squad is made up of volunteer readers reviewing books that they would recommend to others interested in women in fantasy. If you think you could contribute a book review of 250–500 words sometime during 2015, please visit the volunteer system and on the third page, where you are offered different volunteer team choices, indicate that you’d like to be a book reviewer in the section that says “Please tell us of any specific position you are interested in.” Review squad volunteering is very flexible; we simply ask that you share information about books you’ve enjoyed. You can contribute once or on an ongoing basis, and on a schedule that works for you. See below for this month’s review!

You can also see, from the magnificent collection below, that we like to feature news and book releases of interest to readers of women in fantasy. We’d like to split the book release research into manageable volunteer jobs for newsletter contributors. We’ll be setting up a small team that will communicate regularly via email and collaborate on highlighting new releases. If you might be interested in collecting for adult fantasy, young adult fantasy, picture books/middle grade, or graphic novels, or in being a project coordinator for the group and filling in where needed, we’d love to have you volunteer (and we promise to show you where we look for new releases, too). These are ongoing volunteer positions that will require 1–2 hours of work per month, probably in one sitting toward the end of the month, though that’s up to the volunteer, and volunteers should be comfortable with learning how to find and use new websites, with support. If you’re interested, please visit the volunteer system and on the third page, where you are offered different volunteer team choices, indicate that you’d like to be on the book release team in the section that says “Please tell us of any specific position you are interested in.” We’ll collect responses and set up a team if we get enough interest, probably in mid-December.

 

YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT…
After a hiatus, we’re thrilled to have so many links and new releases to share! (We’ll have a big offering in December, too, while we get caught up.) Keep reading for interesting articles, and covers and dates for new releases. We love to have your contributions—and we are happy to hear about things we might have missed. Please send the news to (help at sirensconference.org).

Interesting Links:

Obituary: We regret to hear of the passing of Eugie Foster.

Poison Fish” by Nnedi Okorafor will be made into a shadow production.

Terri Windling on the magic of walking in cities and Women Destroy Fantasy.

The British Library is hosting a display on Gothic stories through January 2015.

Essay/discussion: “Where Are Women’s Friendships in Science Fiction and Fantasy?

The Islamic Roots of Science Fiction.”

The 2014 Mythopoeic Awards winners.

The 2014 Hugo Awards winners.

The 2014 British Fantasy Awards winners.

A new superhero/ine who fights terrorists in Pakistan.

Science Fiction & Fantasy 2014: How Multicultural Is Your Multiverse?

The Glass Bottle Trick,” story by Nalo Hopkinson.

When Gods and Vampires Roamed Miami,” story by Kendare Blake, and “3 of the Biggest Overreactions in Greek Mythology.”

Jennifer Lee, co-director of Frozen, signs on to film A Wrinkle in Time.

The Enchantment of Imagining,” interview with Andrea Hairston.

Discussion on women, power, and fairytales.

The Book Smugglers enters publishing with short stories, and this fall’s selections are retold fairy tales.

The story of Dolores Umbridge, according to J. K. Rowling, and no log in required.

Yoon Ha Lee: Axions & Theorems.”

Cover reveal for Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge.

Kari Sperring on Woman and History.

The Otherworldly and Utterly Portland Ursula K. LeGuin

…who is set to receive a lifetime achievement award.

SFF IN CONVERSATION: A Diverse Mythical Creatures Round Table – Part 1.”

A Women in Fantasy coloring book.

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Authors Reveal Truths in the Strangest Fiction.”

Women in Fantasy Illustration: Julie Dillon.”

Sundance Next Fest: Are You Ready for An Iranian Vampire Western?

A. C. Wise on Women to Read: Where to Start: August 2014 Edition.”

Q & A with Robin LaFevers.

 

Book Releases:

November2014Collage

Click the image for a closer look at the covers.

Anthologies edited by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow now available digitally.

Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories, ed. Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios (August 5)
The Girl of Fire and Thorns Stories, Rae Carson (August 26)
Ghost House, Alexandra Adornetto (August 26)
Sanctum, Madeleine Roux (August 26)
Deliverance, C. J. Redwine (August 26)
The Beautiful Ashes, Jeaniene Frost (August 26)
The Mirror Empire, Kameron Hurley (August 26)

The Haunted Girl, Lisa M. Bradley (September 1)
Bone, Fog, Ash & Star (The Last Days of Tian Di #3), Catherine Egan (September 1)
The End of the Sentence, Maria Dahvana Headley and Kat Howard (September 1)

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3), Sarah J. Maas (September 2)
Ghost Layer, Robin D. Owens (September 2)
The Jewel, Amy Ewing (September 2)
Dark Blood, Christine Feehan (September 2)
The Winter Long, Seanan McGuire (September 2)
Julia’s House for Lost Creatures, Ben Hatke (September 2)
Spells at the Crossroads, Barbara Ashford (September 2)
Maplecroft: The Borden Dispatches, Cherie Priest (September 2)
Trial by Fire, Josephine Angelini (September 2)
The Midnight Queen, Sylvia Izzo Hunter (September 2)
Enchantress: A Novel of Rav Hisda’s Daughter, Maggie Anton (September 2)
Unwanteds: Island of Legends, Lisa McMann (September 2)
Wood Sprites, Wen Spencer (September 2)
House Immortal, Devon Monk (September 2)

The Caller (Shadowfell), Juliet Marillier (September 9)
Evil Librarian, Michelle Knudsen (September 9)
Spirit’s Key, Edith Cohn (September 9)
Illusions of Fate, Kiersten White (September 9)
Rondo Allegro, Sherwood Smith (September 9)
Winterfrost, Michelle Houts (September 9)
The Iron Trial, Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (September 9)
Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales, ed. Kelly Link and Gavin Grant (September 9)
The Falcon Throne, Karen Miller (September 9)
Winterkill, Kate A. Boorman (September 9)
Vampires of Manhattan: The New Blue Bloods Coven, Melissa de la Cruz (September 9)

Echoes of Us, Kat Zhang (September 16)
Broken Monsters, Lauren Beukes (September 16)
The Witch’s Boy, Kelly Barnhill (September 16)
Stone Mattress: Nine Tales, Margaret Atwood (September 16)
The Perilous Sea, Sherry Thomas (September 16)
The Magic Thief: Home, Sarah Prineas (September 16)
Hook’s Revenge, Heidi Schulz (September 16)
Made for You, Melissa Marr (September 16)
Gifts for the One Who Comes After, Helen Marshall (September 16)

Rooms, Lauren Oliver (September 23)
Lark Rising, Sandra Waugh (September 23)
Unmade, Sarah Rees Brennan (September 23)
Salt & Storm, Kendall Kulper (September 23)
Firebug, Lish McBride (September 23)
The Guardian Herd: Starfire, Jennifer Lynn Alvarez (September 23)
Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty, Christine Heppermann (September 23)

Radiant, Karina Sumner-Smith (September 30)
Invisible, Dawn Metcalf (September 30)
Belzhar, Meg Wolitzer (September 30)
The Queen of Zombie Hearts, Gena Showalter (September 30)
Winterspell, Claire Legrand (September 30)
Love Is the Drug, Alaya Dawn Johnson (September 30)
The Curse Keepers, Denise Grover Swank (September 30)
The Bloodbound, Erin Lindsey (September 30)
Summer Moon, Jan DeLima (September 30)
The Clockwork Dagger, Beth Cato (September 30)

Girl on a Wire, Gwenda Bond (October 1)

The Secrets of Life and Death, Rebecca Alexander (October 7)
Stray, Elissa Sussman (October 7)
Poison Fruit, Jacqueline Carey (October 7)
Stories of the Raksura: The Falling World & The Tale of Indigo and Cloud (The Books of the Raksura), Martha Wells (October 7)
Silverblind, Tina Connolly (October 7)
Night Sky, Suzanne Brockmann and Melanie Brockmann (October 7)
Closer to Home, Mercedes Lackey (October 7)
The Young Elites, Marie Lu (October 7)
The Fall, Bethany Griffin (October 7)
The Spiritglass Charade, Colleen Gleason (October 7)
Exquisite Captive, Heather Demetrios (October 7)
Thursdays with the Crown, Jessica Day George (October 7)

Sweet Unrest, Lisa Maxwell (October 8)

Lark Ascending, Meagan Spooner (October 9)

Chasing Power, Sarah Beth Durst (October 14)
Snow Like Ashes, Sara Raasch (October 14)
The Cure for Dreaming, Cat Winters (October 14)
The Fire Artist, Daisy Whitney (October 14)
Sublime, Christina Lauren (October 14)
Prophecies, Libels & Dreams: Stories, Ysabeau S. Wilce (October 14)
Mortal Gods, Kendare Blake (October 14)
The Princess in Black, Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, LeUyen Pham (ill.) (October 14)
Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future, A. S. King (October 14)

DC SUPER HEROES: My First Book of Girl Power, Julie Merberg (October 21)
Princess Mononoke: The First Story, Hayao Miyazaki (October 21)
Fish Tails, Sheri S. Tepper (October 21)
The Sorcerer Heir (The Heir Chronicles #5), Cinda Williams Chima (October 21)
Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Maggie Stiefvater (October 21)
Follow Me Through Darkness, Danielle Ellison (October 21)
Centaur Rising, Jane Yolen (October 21)
Beware the Wild, Natalie C. Parker (October 21)
Seventh Grave and No Body, Darynda Jones (October 21)

Atlantia, Ally Condie (October 28)
Compulsion, Martina Boone (October 28)
In the Afterlight, Alexandra Bracken (October 28)
The Secret History of Wonder Woman, Jill Lepore (October 28)
Shadowboxer, Tricia Sullivan (October 28)
Black Dog, Caitlin Kittredge (October 28)
Eternal (Shadow Falls: After Dark #2), C. C. Hunter (October 28)
Prince Lestat, Anne Rice (October 28)
Talon, Julie Kagawa (October 28)
Waterfall, Lauren Kate (October 28)
Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona (ill.) (October 28)

The Door in the Mountain, Caitlin Sweet (October 29)

Dreamer’s Pool (A Blackthorn & Grim Novel), Juliet Marillier (November 4)
The Map to Everywhere (Pirate Stream), Carrie Ryan and J. P. Davis (November 4)
Forbidden, Kimberley Griffiths Little (November 4)
A Play of Shadow (Night’s Edge #2), Julie Czerneda (November 4)
Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3), Robin LaFevers (November 4)
Empire of Shadows, Miriam Forster (November 4)
Jala’s Mask, Rachel Grinti and Michael Grinti (November 4)

Young Woman in a Garden: Stories, Delia Sherman (November 11)
The Bane Chronicles (#1–10), Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, Sarah Rees Brennan, Cassandra Jean (ill.) (November 11)

Stranger, Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith (November 13)

Waistcoats and Weaponry, Gail Carriger (November 14)

Cold Hillside, Nancy Baker (November 18)
Stolen (Heart of Dread #2), Melissa de la Cruz (November 18)

 

SIRENS REVIEW SQUAD
SeaofTimeSea of Time (vol. 7, Chronicles of the Kencyrath)
P. C. Hodgell
Baen (June 2014)
Trade Paperback

Backstory: The Kencyrath (composed of three completely different races) have been bound together by their mostly absent god to fight the encroaching evil of Perimal Darking. They retreat from world to world as Perimal Darking consumes the Chain of Creation. They have resided on Rathilien for ages. The series follows Jamethiel Priests-Bane, pure-bred Highborn Knorth, and heir to her brother, the High Lord.

In Sea of Time, Jame has passed (by the skin of her teeth) the trials of the military academy and is assigned to her first post. In her usual fashion of slipping into odd corners and asking uncomfortable questions, she finds herself wrapped up in local politics and theology. Hodgell writes with a wry sense of humor that keeps Jame’s adventures from becoming overly heroic; in fact, they often seem accidental, if not downright capricious. Sea of Time doesn’t travel far in space, but it offers a unique perspective on the time travel paradox. Apparently, the arrival of the Kencyrath on this world caused a historical anomaly that is beginning to resolve itself, which affects trade, politics, and Knorth family history.

I do not recommend starting with Sea of Time, although it is an excellent installment in an often overlooked series. Now that Baen has re-issued the beginning volumes in two omnibus editions, you no longer have to search through used book stores and online marketplaces. Along with the main character’s antics, the series also continues to build this particular, peculiar world. I love the wide variety of people Hodgell gives us, including high lords, common soldiers, tavern keepers, and fellow cadets. Jame has a real talent for making both friends and enemies as she crashes through established society. She destroys that which is stagnant or rotten so that new, healthy growth has room to thrive.

Hodgell’s writing style is wonderfully weird, sometimes occurring in liminal space as well as detailing the mundane aspects of daily life. The emerging picture of the Kencyrath and Rathilien being on the verge of massive, mythic happenings keeps me excited for the next volumes. Please, ignore the bad, Baen-ish cover art to discover an astoundingly original, strong female protagonist in Jamethiel of Knorth. – Kristen Blount


Questions? You can comment here or write to us at (help at sirensconference.org).

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Sirens Newsletter – Volume 6, Travel Edition (October 2014)

In this issue:

 

CHECK-IN AT SIRENS
Our Registration Desk will open at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 16. We’ll be located in the Baker room in the conference center at Skamania Lodge. To pick up your registration, please bring photo identification and a copy of your registration confirmation.

The official check-in time at Skamania Lodge is 4:00 p.m. If you arrive earlier and you wish to store your luggage, please talk to the hotel’s front desk.

The Narrate Conferences bookstore will be located in Baker. In the Rainier room, afternoon tea will be available beginning at 3:00 p.m. and evening appetizers at 5:00, and we’ll also host fantasy games, meet-ups, and space to chat.

If you’re arriving early and would like to meet others for lunch, please stop by the Cascade Dining Room at noon on Thursday, October 16. If you’d like to meet others for dinner, either in Skamania Lodge or in nearby Stevenson, please stop by Rainier at 5:00 p.m. on October 16. Even if you aren’t looking for company, if you’d like recommendations on places to eat, we’re happy to oblige.

If you’re attending the Sirens Supper on Wednesday, October 15, you should have received information via email; if you did not, please write to (help at sirensconference.org).

 

CONTACTING US DURING SIRENS
Many of our staff will be traveling to Stevenson as early as Friday, October 10, to prepare for Sirens. While we are in transit and when we’re on site unpacking and setting things up for the conference, we will not be able to monitor our emails as closely as we do at other times. If you have an urgent inquiry during this time, please send it to (help at sirensconference.org) and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.

During the conference, the best way to contact us is in person! If you have any questions or would simply like to chat, please stop by our information desk in Skamania Lodge’s Baker room starting at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 16.

 

SIRENS SHUTTLE MEET-UPS
Does your flight arrive early on Wednesday or Thursday, or are you driving to Portland International Airport (PDX) and meeting the shuttle there? There will be meet-ups for attendees at PDX on Wednesday, October 15, and Thursday, October 16, for anyone arriving early who’d like to connect with other attendees. Once you have claimed your bags, please feel free to join us as we gather for a little conversation and perhaps a bite to eat before it’s time to board the Sirens Shuttle. There is no host for these meetups, and lunch is on your own.

Location: Beaches Restaurant and Bar, outside the security checkpoint for Concourses D and E at Portland International Airport
Time: Noon and later

Sirens Shuttle check-in point, both Wednesday and Thursday:
Seating area near Baggage Claim 2/Southwest Airlines baggage assistance desk/TriMet MAX light rail exit from the airport
Time: Please gather by 3:00 p.m. to ride the Sirens Shuttle.

 

REGISTERING AT SIRENS
We have very few on-site registrations available, and those will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis starting Thursday, October 16, when the information desk opens at 3:00 p.m. If you have been thinking about coming and don’t yet have a registration, you might check the message boards; there may be a few for sale by people who can’t make it this year.

 

VOLUNTEERING DURING SIRENS
We still have many openings for volunteers, and we’d love to have your help! The shifts are usually no more than an hour or two long. We’re always in need of room monitors, who typically stay in the room during presentations, help the presenters get situated, and keep things running on time.

If you’re interested or would like more information, please take a look at the schedule on our Volunteer page and email us at (volunteers2014 at sirensconference.org) with your top three shift choices and the number of shifts for which you’d like to volunteer. Thank you in advance!

 

BOOKSTORE
Thank you to everyone who has donated books! We really appreciate your support for our mission, and we hope you’ll stop by during Sirens to browse and maybe find a new (or new-to-you) book to add to your collection. We will also continue to accept donations on site; if you have a moment, please contact Amy Tenbrink at (amy.tenbrink at sirensconference.org) with what you plan to donate. If you’re planning to shop, we’ll have books by the guests of honor, from the Books and Breakfast list, and by attending authors, as well as a selection of other really good reads.

 

AUCTION
Do you have an item to donate for this year’s auction? Please let us know by the end of the day on Thursday, October 16. All sorts of items are welcome! If you’d like to donate an item or you have questions, please email Amy Tenbrink at (amy.tenbrink at sirensconference.org). She’d love to hear what you’re planning and address any concerns you might have. Thank you in advance for your support!

 

TRAVEL TIPS
Packing and Weather
October in the Pacific Northwest generally ranges from the upper 40s to low 60s Fahrenheit (about 7–17 Celsius), and there is always a chance of rain. Be sure to pack comfortable, casual layers to make the transition between indoors and outdoors—and the temperature that you prefer in your room and the temperature of the conference space—more comfortable. Sturdy closed-toe walking shoes are recommended, as is a raincoat or umbrella. For more packing tips, please check out the Travel page of our website.

Driving Directions
Directions for those driving to Skamania Lodge from the north, south, or east can be found on our website.

Where to Eat in Stevenson
Skamania Lodge has two restaurants on site, both featuring locally sourced regional cuisine. River Rock, the bar and restaurant next to the lobby, is the more informal of the two and typically has slightly lower prices. The Cascade Dining Room, which is farther down the hallway past River Rock, is more formal and has fantastic views of the Columbia River. On Sunday mornings, the Cascade Dining Room hosts a champagne brunch, which might make a nice splurge if you’re leaving late; be sure to make reservations in advance. The hotel gift shop has snacks and grab-and-go items. The lobby offers free tea, coffee, and cocoa in the mornings. Room service is available from 7:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m. The hotel will also offer grab-and-go options like juice and pastries in the Conference Center Lobby if you need a breakfast to bring to Books and Breakfast.

If you’d prefer to have a meal outside the hotel, the official Stevenson website offers a listing of area restaurants on their Dining page, and you can check the last pages of your program book for our list of nearby eateries. Please note that the hotel does not provide shuttle service to Stevenson.

 

TWITTER SCHEDULE
Beginning on Thursday, October 15, we will be posting the conference schedule on our Twitter. If you prefer not to receive these reminders, you may want to mute or unfollow @sirens_con until Monday, October 20. (The schedule will not be posted on Facebook, though a few highlights might be.)


Questions? You can comment here or write to us at (help at sirensconference.org).

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Sirens Newsletter – Volume 6, Issue 10 (September 2014)

In this issue:

 

REGISTRATION DEADLINES
Sirens is just over a month away! If you haven’t purchased your registration yet, or your Sirens Shuttle or Sirens Supper ticket, please make sure to do so before September 13. All payments for registrations and tickets are due no later than September 20, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact us at (registration at sirensconference.org).

Please keep an eye on your inbox to find out where to check in for the Sirens Shuttle, where to find the Sirens Supper, and how to pick up your registration materials when you arrive at Skamania Lodge. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

 

HOTEL RESERVATIONS
If you haven’t yet made your hotel reservation, please do so as soon as possible. Skamania Lodge is a resort, and so some reservation and guarantee policies are different than standard hotel policies, including a requirement to reserve rooms well in advance. Please see the hotel page on our website for more details. Hotel reservations must be made no later than September 25, 2014. Please expect other groups to be in the hotel, and know that there may not be rooms available at the last minute; Skamania was sold out for the Friday and Saturday nights of Sirens last year. If you find you have questions during your reservation process, or you have concerns that we need Skamania to address, please contact us at (help at sirensconference.org); we are often able to assist, including helping to communicate with the hotel.

If you’d like a roommate (or two or three), please check out our Facebook page and website message boards, where there is at least one person in need of a roommate!

 

PROGRAMMING
Check it out: we’ve posted the conference schedule for October 16–19. Pre-planners, please feel free to download and highlight your copies—though, as always, if your first-choice presentation is at capacity, know that there are great alternatives. Roundtable discussions and workshops, particularly, can fill up quickly. If we scheduled just one presentation during a time slot, we’ve made sure that all attendees will be able to find a seat.

Speaking of programming, Erynn Kerwin has been accepted to present “Graphic Fantasy Femme Fair,” an interactive offering for sharing comics and other graphics-oriented work. If you would like to share your collection during the presentation, please contact Erynn through her sign-up form.

Thank you to Nancy Werlin and Margaret Johnston for sponsoring programming presentations!

 

NARRATE BOOKSTORE AT SIRENS
Narrate Conferences, Sirens’s 501(c)(3) presenting organization, will again be running a bookstore during Sirens this year. It’s a great fundraiser that helps Sirens continue, and it means that we get to share a great selection of books by and about women in fantasy.

The bookstore will feature new books, of course, as well as an always interesting array of used books (each of which will cost only $5!). We do stock our own inventory of new books, but we’ve found over the last couple years that people sometimes donate new books they want to make sure are on our shelves for others—and our used section is stocked entirely by attendees, friends, and families. We hope you’ll stop by during Sirens to see what we have available.

We hope that you’ll consider donating new or gently used books, both for the support it provides Sirens and also because our attendees are always great next readers. If you’d like to donate books, please send them to us at:

Sirens
c/o Narrate Conferences
P.O. Box 149
Sedalia, Colorado 80135

The last day we can visit the box before Sirens is September 19, so please be sure to ship books in plenty of time. If you use the US Postal Service and ship only books, you should be eligible for media mail rates.

 

AUTHOR SIGNINGS
Sirens hosts time for author signings on Friday and Saturday during the conference. If you are a published author attending Sirens and you’d like to participate in our author signings, please email us at (help at sirensconference.org) as soon as possible, preferably by September 19. We’d love to have you join us, whether to sign your latest work or just chat with readers and new friends.

 

SUPPORTING REGISTRATIONS
If you can’t make it this year, we will miss you, and we hope that you’ll please consider purchasing a supporting registration. This helps us present Sirens this year and offer Sirens in future years, and you’ll receive a 2014 program book following the conference. Supporting registrations cost $50; $35 of each supporting registration is a donation to Sirens, and because Narrate Conferences, Inc. is a charitable organization, that amount is eligible for tax deduction in the United States. (The other $15 covers the cost of the program book and our mailing costs.)

 

VOLUNTEERING AT SIRENS
Would you like to help out during Sirens? Volunteer shifts vary in length and responsibilities, but most are fairly short and low-key, and you’re always able to ask a staff member for assistance if you encounter a problem. Most volunteer shifts are during programming and allow you to attend presentations; you might help people find seats, turn microphones on or off, give presenters their five-minute warnings that time is up, and gather lost and found items. See the volunteers page on our website for more details. If you’re a returning volunteer, you don’t need to fill out the form—just keep an eye out for email from the Google Group. We’ll be sending information about available volunteer shifts to group members. Many thanks in advance!

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB
One of Sirens’s chairs, Amy Tenbrink, is reading “hauntings and the haunted” books in preparation for October. Since she keeps talking to us about them, we thought she should talk to you, too! If you’d like to read along, there are already discussions up on the Sirens Goodreads Group for Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina García, Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo, In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters, and The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. We’ll close out this year with October’s pick, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, if you’d like to read ahead.

 

BOOKS AND BREAKFAST
Don’t forget that Books and Breakfast will be held on Friday, October 17, and Saturday, October 18. For those of you who are new to Sirens, this is where we invite you to bring your own breakfast and join us for informal chats about books before presentations begin in the morning. It’s perfectly okay to join in Books and Breakfast if you haven’t read any of the books, but if you’d like to come prepared, the schedule is listed below. Conference volunteers will be waiting to welcome you to their tables!

This year, our reading list includes tales of hauntings and the haunted. Some of them are new, some of them were game-changing or controversial, and some we just loved and wanted to share.

Friday, October 17, 2014
The Demon Catchers of Milan, Kat Beyer
The Diviners, Libba Bray
The Red Tree, Caitlín R. Kiernan
The Frangipani Hotel, Violet Kupersmith
A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar

Saturday, October 18, 2014
Long Lankin, Lindsey Barraclough
Anya’s Ghost, Vera Brosgol
Comfort Woman, Nora Okja Keller
White Is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi
My Real Children, Jo Walton

 

YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT…
Sirens! This month, we’re going to send out a special newsletter edition with September book releases (and some lovely new things we missed in our August newsletter) and any breaking news later in the month. Of course, we always welcome links and book news at (help at sirensconference.org).

 

SIRENS REVIEW SQUAD
The review squad is on vacation for September and October, but they’re already planning what to read this autumn and will be back in November.


Questions? You can comment here or write to us at (help at sirensconference.org).

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Sirens Newsletter – Volume 6, Issue 9 (August 2014)

In this issue:

 

REGISTRATION DEADLINES
Sirens is just over two months away! If you haven’t purchased your registration yet, or your Sirens Shuttle or Sirens Supper ticket, please make sure to do so before registration closes on September 13. All payments for registrations and tickets are due no later than September 20, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact us at (registration at sirensconference.org).

 

HOTEL RESERVATIONS
If you haven’t yet made your hotel reservation, please do so as soon as possible. Skamania Lodge is a resort, and so some reservation and guarantee policies are different than standard hotel policies, including a requirement to reserve rooms well in advance. Please see the hotel page on our website for more details. Hotel reservations must be made no later than September 25, 2014. If you find you have questions during your reservation process, or you have concerns that we need Skamania to address, please contact us at (help at sirensconference.org); we are often able to assist, including communicating with the hotel.

If you’d like a roommate (or two or three), please check out our Facebook page and website message boards, where there is at least one person in need of a roommate!

 

PROGRAMMING UPDATES AND SPONSORSHIPS
We’ve posted some of the presentations offered up by Sirens attendees on the accepted programming page, with more to come as we finalize details, verify presenters, and tidy up the descriptions. If you see one you love, consider sponsoring the presentation under your name or on behalf of a group! Presentation sponsorships cost only $35, and the proceeds go entirely to Sirens 2014 expenses. We appreciate your donations, and if you sponsor a presentation by September 1, we’ll be able to list your donation not just on the website, but in the printed program book that all attendees receive.

A schedule for the weekend will be posted soon; please keep an eye out on Twitter and Facebook for an announcement later this month.

Speaking of programming, Erynn Kerwin has been accepted to present “Graphic Fantasy Femme Fair,” an interactive offering for sharing comics and other graphics-oriented work. If you would like to share your collection during the presentation, please contact Erynn through her sign-up form.

 

NARRATE BOOKSTORE AT SIRENS
Narrate Conferences, Sirens’s 501(c)(3) presenting organization, will again be running a bookstore during the conference in 2014. It’s a great fundraiser that helps Sirens continue, and it means that we get to share a great selection of books by and about women in fantasy.

We will have new books, of course, but a fun part of the bookstore is our used section. Readers can pick up copies of older (and perhaps out of print) books, or try new-to-them authors. Our attendees, our friends, our families, and sometimes people we don’t even know send us fantasy books by or about women, and each of these books will cost our attendees only $5, with the proceeds going toward the conference.

We hope you’ll consider donating your gently used books, both for the support it provides Sirens and also because our attendees are always great next readers. (We also take new books, if you’d like to augment our bookstore with some of our favorites, as donors have done in the past.) If you’d like to send books—new or used—please send them to us at:

Sirens
c/o Narrate Conferences
P.O. Box 149
Sedalia, Colorado 80135

The last day we can visit the box before Sirens is September 19, so please be sure to ship books in plenty of time. If you use the US Postal Service and ship only books, you should be eligible for media mail rates.

 

AUTHOR SIGNINGS
Sirens hosts time for author signings on Friday and Saturday during the conference. If you are a published author attending Sirens and you’d like to participate in our author signings, please email us at (help at sirensconference.org) as soon as possible. We’d love to have you join us.

 

SIRENS AUCTION
Each year, a significant amount of our Sirens expenses are funded through our auction of always interesting, sometimes fun, sometimes important items during the conference. In the past, we have auctioned off everything from reader kits to first editions, from editorial development letters to custom artwork. All of our auction items come from friends and attendees of Sirens, and if you’d like to donate an item or two, please contact Amy at (donate at sirensconference.org).

 

VOLUNTEERING AT SIRENS
Would you like to help out during Sirens? Volunteer shifts vary in length and responsibilities, but most are fairly short and low-key, and you’re always able to ask a staff member for assistance if you encounter a problem. Most volunteer shifts are during programming and allow you to attend presentations; you might help people find seats, turn microphones on or off, give presenters their five-minute warnings that time is up, and gather lost and found items. See the volunteers page on our website for more details. If you’re a returning volunteer, you don’t need to fill out the form—just keep an eye out for email from the Google Group. We’ll be sending information about available volunteer shifts to group members. Many thanks in advance!

 

YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT…

New and Recent Releases:

August2014Collage
Click the image for a closer look at the covers.

 

Prisoner, Lia Silver (June 29)
Night’s End (Indigo Court), Yasmine Galenorn (July 1)
Alias Hook, Lisa Jensen (July 8)
The Shadow’s Curse, Amy McCulloch (July 8)
Dissonance, Erica O’Rourke (July 22)
The Time of the Fireflies, Kimberley Griffiths Little (July 29)
Smiler’s Fair, Rebecca Levene (July 29)

Crushed, Eliza Crewe (August 5)
Dust and Light, Carol Berg (August 5)
Evil Fairies Love Hair, Mary G. Thompson (August 5)
Gates of Thread and Stone, Lori M. Lee (August 5)
The Girl from the Well, Rin Chupeco (August 5)
Greta and the Glass Kingdom (Mylena Chronicles #2), Chloe Jacobs (August 5)
The Guild of Assassins (Majat Code #2), Anna Kashina (August 5)
Jim Henson’s Enchanted Sisters: Autumn’s Secret Gift, Elise Allen and Halle Stanford, ill. Paige Pooler (August 5)
The House of the Four Winds, Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory (August 5)
Mortal Danger, Ann Aguirre (August 5)
Of Metal and Wishes, Sarah Fine (August 5)
Revenant (Greywalker #9), Kat Richardson (August 5)
Servants of the Storm, Delilah S. Dawson (August 5)
The Wandering Dragon (Children of the Dragon Nimbus #3), Irene Radford (August 5)

Black Ice (Midgard #2), Susan Krinard (August 12)
Cursed Moon (The Prospero’s War #2), Jaye Wells (August 12)
Heiresses of Russ 2014: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction, Melissa Scott and Steve Berman, eds. (August 12)

Between the Spark and the Burn, April Genevieve Tucholke (August 14)
Fiendish, Brenna Yovanoff (August 14)
Fool’s Assassin, Robin Hobb (August 14)
The Only Thing Worse Than Witches, Lauren Magaziner (August 14)
Sisters’ Fate (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #3), Jessica Spotswood (August 14)

The Ripper Affair (Bannon & Clare #3), Lilith Saintcrow (August 19)
Storm Siren, Mary Weber (August 19)
Visions (Cainsville #2), Kelley Armstrong (August 19)

Amity, Micol Ostow (August 26)
Faces of the Dead, Suzanne Weyn (August 26)
Ghost House, Alexandra Adornetto (August 26)
Greenglass House, Kate Milford (August 26)
Feral, Holly Schindler (August 26)
Into the Grey, Celine Kiernan (August 26)
The Island of Excess Love (Love in the Time of Global Warming #2), Francesca Lia Block (August 26)
We Will All Go Down Together, Gemma Files (August 26)
Uni the Unicorn, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, ill. Brigette Barrager (August 26)

The Fire Prince, Emily Gee (August 27)

Circle of Stones, Catherine Fisher (August 28, US edition)

 

Interesting Links:

Trailer for Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers.

Nnedi Okorafor reads “Poison Fish.”

First episode of Outlander (TV series version) by Diana Gabaldon available August 2.

World Fantasy Award nominees for 2014; Ellen Datlow and Chelsea Quinn Yabro to receive lifetime achievement awards.

Obituary Note: Mary Rodgers, who might be known to readers of genre fiction as the author of Freaky Friday, passed June 26.

J. K. Rowling expanded the Potterverse with a new short story on Pottermore.com (registration required).

Interested in cover design? Check out the 2014 Chesley Awards finalists.

2014 Locus Awards winners.

You might be familiar with Mette Ivie Harrison’s fantasy work, so you might be interested to know that her forthcoming mystery The Bishop’s Wife is one of Publishers Weekly’s most anticipated books of fall 2014.

Warner Bros. has optioned the rights to Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern.

Trailer for the movie of musical Into the Woods.

Holly Black to write installment in Dr. Who book series.

A good illustration for the existence of Sirens.

Do you have exciting book news or fantasy links to share? Send it to (help at sirensconference.org) and we’ll include it in the next newsletter. We appreciate your contributions!

 

SIRENS REVIEW SQUAD
In the not-so-distant past, we had a review squad: volunteer readers reviewing books that they would recommend to others interested in women in fantasy. We’re pleased to bring back the review squad, and to feature their book reviews in the Sirens newsletter. If you think you could contribute a book review of at least 250 words sometime during the next year, please visit the volunteer system and on the third page, where you are offered different volunteer team choices, indicate that you’d like to be a book reviewer in the section that says “Please tell us of any specific position you are interested in.” Review squad volunteering is very flexible; we simply ask that you share information about books you’ve enjoyed. You can contribute once or on an ongoing basis, and on a schedule that works for you.

 

CityofHeavenlyFireCity of Heavenly Fire
Cassandra Clare

City of Heavenly Fire is the sixth and final installment of the Mortal Instruments young adult urban fantasy series. The series was originally supposed to be a trilogy, ending with City of Glass, before Clare decided to extend it another three books. As a devoted fan, I eagerly read the second “trilogy” of the series, only to be rather disappointed by the first two books. So if City of Heavenly Fire was going to “save” the series, it had big expectations to live up to—especially considering the ending of City of Glass was pretty much perfect.

City of Heavenly Fire follows Shadowhunter Sebastian Morgenstern, who has chosen to turn against his kind and ally with demons in a bid to take over not only our world, but the demon realms. In his quest for power, he takes the Shadowhunter’s most sacred object, the Mortal Cup, and uses it to create the Infernal Cup, a device capable of stripping Shadowhunters of their souls and turning them into mindless killers loyal to him. Now, Sebastian is determined to turn as many Shadowhunters as possible so he can get revenge on those who wronged him (namely his Shadowhunter mother, Jocelyn, his sister, Clary, and her boyfriend, Jace, of whom Sebastian is jealous) and rule the world. The war that he creates pits Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter and strains their fragile alliances with the faeries, vampires, werewolves and warlocks, threatening to send the entire magical world into chaos and, ultimately, ruin.

While I was hoping for a little more dramatic of a conclusion, I have to say I enjoyed this book. It felt more like the first three, like I was “home” with friends I really cared about. That may be because the group of five (Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Alec, and Simon) were together through most of the book, giving the story a great group dynamic. Many of the characters retained the signature qualities that made me fall in love with them, while Jace and Simon matured to men who think of others before themselves. While this maturity somewhat dampens Jace’s snarky sarcasm, it also makes him a character worthy Clary’s affection. Simon, too, matures admirably, allowing him to make decisions that change the fate of everyone involved, especially his own.

Some reviewers have criticized the story, saying that while their world is coming to an end, the characters are focused in their love lives and don’t have their priorities straight. First of all, the book is young adult, so it makes sense that the characters will be thinking about love (it’s what you do when you’re a teenager). Plus, it’s not just love interests that consume the thoughts of the characters, but parents, siblings and friends. In many ways, the story is about relationships, with others and with ourselves. It’s about overcoming what we think we want to be able to see what we truly need – all wrapped in a page-turning adventure that will keep you wondering who lives and who pays the ultimate price.

Fair warning: about a third of this book is setup for Clare’s next Shadowhunter series, The Dark Artifices. The prologue and a subplot are devoted to introducing the next generation of Shadowhunters and getting us to like them enough to want to read their story. It didn’t work with me, and so much time was spent on them with so little impact to the main plot of this book that it felt forced. Similarly, the frequent nods to the Infernal Devices series (the prequel series to this one, set in the Victorian era) also drove me crazy. I didn’t care about past and future. I just wanted to know what happened in this story. But, thankfully, that was something I was able to look beyond.

Despite these shortcomings, City of Heavenly Fire is a good conclusion to the series. While I still think City of Glass was stronger, it was a pleasant reading experience and I’m happy to know how things turned out for my favorite characters. If you’re into the Mortal Instruments, I think this will provide a satisfying conclusion. – Nicole Evelina


Questions? You can comment here or write to us at (help at sirensconference.org).

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Sirens Newsletter – Volume 6, Issue 8 (July 2014)

In this issue:

 

REGISTRATION PRICE JUMP
Registration for Sirens increases to $205 on July 6. Beat the deadline and save that money for books!

 

SIRENS SUPPER AND SIRENS SHUTTLE TICKETS
The price of tickets to the pre-conference Sirens Supper and for the shuttle from Portland International Airport won’t go up on July 6, but about half of the tickets for the Sirens Supper are already gone. You can find more information on the registration page.

 

BOOKS AND BREAKFAST
Books and Breakfast will be held on Friday, October 17, and Saturday, October 18. For those of you who are new to Sirens, this is where we invite you to bring your own breakfast and join us for informal chats about books before presentations begin in the morning. It’s perfectly okay to join in Books and Breakfast if you haven’t read any of the books, but if you’d like to come prepared, the schedule is listed below.

This year, our reading list includes tales of hauntings and the haunted. Some of them are new, some of them were game-changing or controversial books, and some we just loved and wanted to share.

Friday, October 17, 2014
The Demon Catchers of Milan, Kat Beyer
The Diviners, Libba Bray
The Red Tree, Caitlín R. Kiernan
The Frangipani Hotel, Violet Kupersmith
A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar

Saturday, October 18, 2014
Long Lankin, Lindsey Barraclough
Anya’s Ghost, Vera Brosgol
Comfort Woman, Nora Okja Keller
White Is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi
My Real Children, Jo Walton

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB
One of Sirens’s chairs, Amy Tenbrink, is reading “hauntings and the haunted” books in preparation for October. Ghosts, specters, memories, visions, and other patterns show up across fantasy, horror, and non-genre fiction, and she keeps talking to us about them, so we thought she should talk to you, too! If you’d like to read along, there are discussions up for Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina García and Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, and the following books will be featured on the Sirens Goodreads Group in coming months.

July: The Ghost Bride, Yangsze Choo
August: In the Shadow of Blackbirds, Cat Winters
September: The Woman in Black, Susan Hill
October: The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson

 

NARRATE BOOKSTORE AT SIRENS
Narrate Conferences, Sirens’s 501(c)(3) presenting organization, will again be running a bookstore during the conference in 2014. It’s a great fundraiser that helps Sirens continue, and it means that we get to share a great selection of books by and about women in fantasy.

We will have new books, of course, but a fun part of the bookstore is our used section. Readers can pick up copies of old, but perhaps out of print, favorites, or try new-to-them authors. Our attendees, our friends, our families, and sometimes people we don’t even know send us fantasy books by or about women, and each of these books will cost our attendees only $5, with the proceeds going toward the conference.

We hope you’ll consider donating your gently used books, both for the support it provides Sirens and also because our attendees are always great next readers. (We also take new books, if you’d like to augment our bookstore with some of our favorites, as donors have done in the past.) If you’d like to send books—new or used—please send them to us at:

Sirens
c/o Narrate Conferences
P.O. Box 149
Sedalia, Colorado 80135

The last day we can visit the box before Sirens is September 19, so please be sure to ship books in plenty of time. If you use the US Postal Service and only ship books, you will be eligible for media mail rates.

 

SIRENS AUCTION
Each year, a significant amount of our Sirens expenses are funded through our auction of always interesting, sometimes fun, sometimes important items during the conference. In the past, we have auctioned off everything from reader kits to first editions, from editorial development letters to custom artwork. All of our auction items come from friends and attendees of Sirens, and if you’d like to donate an item or two, please contact Amy at (donate at sirensconference.org).

 

YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT…

New and Recent Releases:

July2014Collage
Click the image for a closer look at the covers.

 

Guardian, Jo Anderton (June 6)
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, Vol. 6, Shinobu Ohtaka (June 10)
Edda: A Little Valkyrie’s First Day of School, Adam Auerbach (June 24)

Elisha Magus (The Dark Apostle #2), E. C. Ambrose (July 1)
Fireborn, Keri Arthur (July 1)
Unwept (The Nightbirds #1), Tracy Hickman and Laura Hickman (July 1)
The Seat of Magic: A Novel of the Golden City, J. Kathleen Cheney (July 1)
Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4), Maggie Stiefvater (July 1)
Through the Woods, written/.ill Emily Carroll (July 1)
The Vast and Brutal Sea (The Vicious Deep #3), Zoraida Cordova (July 1)

The Child Eater, Rachel Pollack (July 3)
The Mark of Cain, Lindsey Barraclough (July 3)

Demon Derby, Carrie Harris (July 8)
The Kiss of Deception, Mary E. Pearson (July 8)
Midnight Thief, Livia Blackburne (July 8)
The Queen of the Tearling, Erika Johansen (July 8)

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3), Deborah Harkness (July 15)
Dirty Wings (All Our Pretty Songs #2), Sarah McCarry (July 15)
Loretta Mason Potts (reissue), Mary Chase, ill. Harold Berson (July 15)
That Night, a Monster…, Marzena Sowa, ill. Berenika Kolomycka (July 15)

Endless, Kate Brian (July 22)
The Fire Wish, Amber Lough (July 22)
Poison Promise, Jennifer Estep (July 22)

The Four Seasons of Lucy McKenzie, Kirsty Murray (July 24)

Magical Cross Stitch Designs: Over 60 Fantasy Cross Stitch Designs Featuring Fairies, Wizards, Witches and Dragons, Various Authors (July 28)

Cast in Flame (Chronicles of Elantra #10), Michelle Sagara (July 29)
Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels #7), Ilona Andrews (July 29)
Oceanborn (The Aquarathi #2), Amalie Howard (July 29)
Silver Shadows (Bloodlines #5), Richelle Mead (July 29)

The Fourth Wish, Lindsay Ribar (July 31)

 

Interesting Links:

TU BOOKS has opened the review period for the New Visions Award, a path to publication for MG and YA books by authors of color writing speculative fiction, with entries due October 31.

The Sunburst Award Society for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic announced the shortlist for the 2014 Sunburst Award (including some great reads you just might have heard of).

The 2014 Mythopoeic Awards finalists have been announced.

The New Visions Award is accepting submissions until October 31.

Andre Norton’s young adult novels.

MIND MELD: When Genre Intersects Classical Literature and Myth.

Erynn Kerwin has been accepted to present “Graphic Fantasy Femme Fair,” an interactive offering for sharing comics and other graphics-oriented work. If you would like to share your collection during the presentation, contact Erynn through the sign-up form.

Do you have exciting book news or fantasy links to share? Send it to (help at sirensconference.org) and we’ll include it in the next newsletter. We appreciate your contributions!

 

SIRENS REVIEW SQUAD
In the not-so-distant past, we had a review squad: volunteer readers reviewing books that they would recommend to others interested in women in fantasy. We’re pleased to bring back the review squad, and to feature their book reviews in the Sirens newsletter. If you think you could contribute a book review of at least 250 words sometime during the next year, please visit the volunteer system and on the third page, where you are offered different volunteer team choices, indicate that you’d like to be a book reviewer in the section that says “Please tell us of any specific position you are interested in.” Review squad volunteering is very flexible; we simply ask that you share information about books you’ve enjoyed. You can contribute once or on an ongoing basis, and on a schedule that works for you.

If you’re with a publisher and are interested in providing review copies or similar, please contact us at (help at sirensconference.org). On to this month’s reviews!

 

TheLostThe Lost
Sarah Beth Durst
Harlequin MIRA (2014)
eBook edition

A silver hoop earring. The other black flip flop. A recipe for blueberry coffeecake. I’ve lost other more important things. My way in my early twenties. A belief in love after the demise of a relationship. Trust in a friend.

Sarah Beth Durst’s The Lost introduces us to the place where all of these things go when they are lost, including people who have lost their way physically, mentally and emotionally. Stuck in a rut professional, twenty-seven-year-old Lauren Chase, Durst’s narrator, is facing a reality at home she just doesn’t want to deal with. So, she does what we’ve all thought about doing at some point: getting in the car and just driving. She wants to get as far as she can on one tank of gas.

It’s in the first two chapters Durst develops a claustrophobic, arid atmosphere which helps the reader to feel Lauren’s panic. When she finds herself on a stretch of road with no exits, no towns and a sandstorm, Durst’s power of imagery chokes the reader with alarm. Then we meet the strangest character of the whole book—and that’s saying a lot because there are some odd ones—the town of Lost.

If the claustrophobic imagery of this book hits you in the gut, then Durst’s character development is a perfect knockout. She forces you to scrape the veneer of trash and dirt from her cast and begin to peer into the broken humanity in Lost. Beauty emerges in the brokenness. And Lauren Chase evolves from fugitive on the run from her mother’s illness to discovering that she’s “interesting.” And, of course, we get to meet “The Finder” of Lost, who just happens to be a mysterious, tattooed man who spouts passages from literature. Swoon!

Durst, author of both adult and YA novels, offers a journey full of cacti, trash and beauty. It’s an unexpected combination and it works in this adult novel. When I picked it up I had no idea it was the first in a trilogy. Now, I’ll be waiting for the void to spit out the second in this series. That will make sense once you read this stellar novel, which you should do now. – Courtney Marquez

 

ApparitionsMiyuki Miyabe, Apparitions: Ghosts of Old Edo (first published as あやし = Ayashi, 2000; English trans. Daniel Huddleston, 2013)*

Apparitions includes nine tales threaded by the supernatural. It could have been on the official Sirens reading list this year if not for publication timing, given its multifarious engagement with hauntings and situation of female characters. The one commonality amongst the stories, aside from their early nineteenth-century setting in Edo—now Tokyo—is shopkeeping. Each story features a shop’s family, employees, and the unspoken rules that bring individual and communal voices into conflict. The collection’s first two stories, “A Drowsing Dream of Shinjū” and “Cage of Shadows,” are perhaps the most straightforward; from there the tales become more complex. My favorite story of the set is “The ‘Oni’ of the Adachi House,” in which two women who have married into a shopkeeping family muse upon the mother-in-law’s unusual past in ways that encircle the shop’s fortunes yet stand somewhat apart from them, at once independent and dependent.

Haikasoru, publisher of the English translation, has taken pains to include Masao Higashi’s learned yet pithy introduction to the original publication. Higashi asserts that Miyabe balances a Japanese spirit tradition with a slightly dizzying array of anglophone influences. These stories may also be read as slice-of-life historical fiction, however, evocative of times and places when sane adults talk to dead relatives and when spirits (kami) are adjacent to everyday existence. If the reader doesn’t mind the stories’ absence of trains, motor vehicles, and telephones, then several of the stories could nearly be set today, with multiple ways to construe their interest in the nuances of social convention, socioeconomic barriers, and transgression.

Huddleston’s translation reads smoothly for someone who (like me) doesn’t read Japanese. He expects the reader to be minimally familiar with Japanese culture, however, which means that some key terms are left unglossed, such as shinjū (double suicide), the annual Obon festival, woven floor mats called tatami, -cho to indicate a location, and the O- prefix on women’s names (not matched in the volume by -san or similar). One may look these things up easily via the internet, of course, and they help to maintain the sense of a slightly opaque setting. In a few places it seems that Huddleston or the editor has decided to take pity upon the unwary reader; after someone addresses a character named Yonesuke as “Mr. Rice,” for example, the narrative adds a bit clumsily, “using a nickname based on the first kanji of Yonesuke’s name” (p. 241).

I’ve enjoyed Apparitions well enough to want more, and it turns out that Miyabe is not only prolific but relatively well translated into English. Available to me are Crossfire (1998, English trans. 2005) and Shadow Family = R.P.G. (2001, English trans. 2004), whose original publication dates bracket Apparitions neatly. Both have contemporary thriller settings from a US-inflected genre perspective, Crossfire with a paranormal bent and Shadow Family a police procedural. Three others—ICO: Castle in the Mist, The Book of Heroes, and Brave Story—are available from Haikasoru. Miyabe’s first translation into English, All She Was Worth, should also be mentioned. There is a single-volume treatment of Apparitions = Ayashi in manga form, Oedo Fushigi Hanashi Ayashi (お江戸ふしぎ噺 あやし, published 2010), but it appears not to be translated into English, whether officially or by fans.

* Throughout this review, Japanese names are written surname last; if the review were in Japanese, names would appear surname first.– thistleingrey

 

BOOK GIVEAWAY
Post a comment of at least two sentences on our blog or LiveJournal by July 20, 2014, and tell us which June release you’re most excited about and why. We’ll choose one lucky winner from the participants and contact them for a mailing address, and that person will win a copy of the book they chose. (U.S. addresses only, please!) Current Sirens staff members are not eligible to win, though they may leave a comment, but all volunteers, attendees, and I-wish-I-could-attendees are welcome to tell us their favorites.

 

JUNE GIVEAWAY WINNER
Congratulations to Kate Larking, who picked Rain! Please email us at (help at sirensconference.org) to arrange for your book to be sent.


Questions? You can comment here or write to us at (help at sirensconference.org).

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Sirens Newsletter – Volume 6, Issue 7 (June 2014)

In this issue:

 

PROGRAMMING DECISIONS COMING
Notices regarding proposals will be sent to you by June 9, 2014 (and you should expect them close to that date, rather than sooner). Please note, however, that if we’re still tracking down your co-presenters, a decision may be delayed. Thank you in advance for making sure that all proposal collaborators have checked in. Tip: Be sure to check under less-used tabs if you use Gmail.

 

GET A ROOM!
Over the past year or so, hotel occupancy rates and meetings have picked up significantly. There is more demand than available space. That can affect smaller events, like Sirens. We recommend that you reserve your room at Skamania Lodge this summer—and that you don’t plan for there to be a spare upon your arrival at the conference, especially given the resort policies. See more information and discounted rates on our hotel page. Also, if you’re looking for roommates, others are (already!) looking too. Contact others or post an ad on our message boards.

 

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL
If you’re wondering about air travel from your location to Portland International Airport (PDX), you might sneak a peek at FlightAware Insight. Plug in your departure and arrival airports, and you’ll get back a list of popular routes, passenger loads, and typical prices, so you can figure out if you’re getting a good deal—or not!

 

REGISTRATION PRICE INCREASE: JULY 6
Registration for Sirens increases to $205 on July 6.

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB
One of Sirens’s chairs, Amy Tenbrink, is reading “hauntings and the haunted” books in preparation for October. Ghosts, specters, memories, visions, and other patterns show up across fantasy, horror, and non-genre fiction, and she keeps talking to us about them, so we thought she should talk to you, too! If you’d like to read along, there is a discussion up for Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina García, and the following books will be featured on the Sirens Goodreads Group in coming months.

June: Imaginary Girls, Nova Ren Suma
July: The Ghost Bride, Yangsze Choo
August: In the Shadow of Blackbirds, Cat Winters
September: The Woman in Black, Susan Hill
October: The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson

 

YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT…

Recent and Upcoming Releases:

June2014Collage
Click the image for a closer look at the covers.

 

Feather Bound, Sarah Raughley (May 6)
The Wizard’s Promise, Cassandra Rose Clarke (May 6)
Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, ed. Daniel José Older and Rose Fox (May 9)
Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times, Emma Trevayne (May 13)
Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1 (Pretty Deadly #1-5); Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Ríos (ill.), Jordie Bellaire (ill.) (May 13)
Reborn, C. C. Hunter (May 20)
The Castle Behind Thorns, Merrie Haskell (May 20)
Fairs’ Point, Melissa Scott (May 20)
Thunderstruck (Weather Witch #3), Shannon Delany (May 20)
City of Heavenly Fire, Cassandra Clare (May 27)
Everyday Angel, Victoria Schwab (May 27)
The Twelve Kingdoms: The Mark of Tala, Jeffe Kennedy (May 27)
Messenger, Kate Tremills (May 30)

Drift, M. K. Hutchins (June 1)
The Girl Who Never Was, Skylar Dorset (June 1)
Lightspeed Magazine, June 2014 (Women Destroy Science Fiction special issue), including flash fiction by Rhiannon Rasmussen (June 1)
Lonely Stardust: Two Plays, a Speech, and Eight Essays, Andrea Hairston (June 1)

A Barricade in Hell, Jaime Lee Moyer (June 3)
Blood Red (Elemental Masters #10), Mercedes Lackey (June 3)
Ecko Burning, Danie Ware (June 3)
The Feral Child, Che Golden (June 3)
Gasp, Lisa McMann (June 3)
The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, Genevieve Valentine (June 3)
The Heir of Khored (Seven-Petaled Shield #3), Deborah J. Ross (June 3)
The Merchant Emperor, Elizabeth Haydon (June 3)
Sea of Time, P. C. Hodgell (June 3)
Shield of Winter, Nalini Singh (June 3)
A Shiver of Light (Merry Gentry #9), Laurell K. Hamilton (June 3)
Stars of Darkover, ed. Deborah J. Ross and Elisabeth Waters, with contributions by Janni Lee Simner, Rachel Manija Brown, Kari Sperring, and Diana L. Paxson, among others (June 3)
Take Back the Skies, Lucy Saxon (June 3)

The Impossibility of Tomorrow, Avery Williams (June 4)

The Truth Against the World, Sarah Jamila Stevenson

The Arabian Nights, ed. Wen-chin Ouyang (June 10)
Born of Deception, Teri Brown (June 10)
(Don’t You) Forget About Me, Kate Karyus Quinn (June 10)
Hexed, Michelle Krys (June 10)
My Last Kiss, Bethany Neal (June 10)
The Leopard, K. V. Johansen (June 10)
The Strange Maid (United States of Asgard #2), Tessa Gratton (June 10)
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, Diana Gabaldon (June 10)

The Glass Sentence, S. E. Grove (June 12)
The Merciless, Danielle Vega (June 12)
Dreamwood, Heather Mackey (June 12)
Inland, Kat Rosenfield (June 12)

Dark Metropolis, Jaclyn Dolamore (June 17)
Flight of the Golden Harpy, Susan Klaus (June 17)
Otherbound, Corinne Duyvis (June 17)
Ruin and Rising, Leigh Bardugo (June 17)
The Quick, Lauren Owen (June 17)

Better Homes and Hauntings, Molly Harper (June 24)
Child of a Hidden Sea, A. M. Dellamonica (June 24)
The Doll Graveyard, Lois Ruby (June 24)
Of Sorcery and Snow, Shelby Bach (June 24)
Rain, Amanda Sun (June 24)
Still Life (The Books of Elsewhere #5), Jacqueline West and Poly Bernatene (ill.) (June 24)
Summoned, Anne M. Pillsworth (June 24)
Thorn Jack, Katherine Harbour (June 24)
Unexpected Stories, Octavia Butler (June 24)

Razorhurst, Justine Larbalestier (June 25, Aus/NZ; out in US in 2015)

 

Interesting Links:

“Trust the Story”: A Conversation with Sofia Samatar.

Nalo Hopkinson on winning the Norton Award for Sister Mine.

Article on Guadalupe Garcia McCall in SIGNAL.

Obituary note: Mary Stewart, author of The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment, among other works, passed in May at age 97.

Speculative Literature Foundation: Diverse Writers and Diverse World Grants reading period open May 1 to July 31 (grant funded through efforts of Faye Bi and Ellen Wright).

The 2014-15 Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship has a deadline of September 5, 2014.

Folklore doesn’t always or necessarily mean fantasy. With that in mind, we thought many of you might be interested in checking out Never Alone, a game with a young Iñupiat girl at its center.

Marvel’s Agent Carter picked up by ABC.

Nominees for the 2013 Shirley Jackson Awards.

Shirley Jackson takes readers on unsettling ride down a darkened path.

Shveta Thakrar sold “Krishna Blue,” to be included in the forthcoming Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories.

Arabic sci-fi and other literary revolutions.

Translating Frozen into Arabic.

Science fiction in the Philippines/A short and incomplete history of Philippine science fiction.

A Day of Latino Science Fiction.

The 2014 Locus Awards finalists.

The 2013 Bisexual Book Awards finalists.

And the winners include Inheritance by Malinda Lo and Pantomime by Laura Lam.

C. S. Friedman on starting a writing career without revealing gender.

Aliette de Bodard on “Vanished Women: In the Wake of This Year’s Nebula Awards.”

Athena Andreadis on “Lest We Forget: In the Wake of This Year’s Nebula Awards.”

Do you have exciting book news or fantasy links to share? Send it to (help at sirensconference.org) and we’ll include it in the next newsletter. We appreciate your contributions! Thanks for helping us expand this month’s news, and special thanks to Kate, Sabrina, and X! for their additions.

 

BOOK GIVEAWAY
Post a comment of at least two sentences on our blog or LiveJournal by June 20, 2014, and tell us which June release you’re most excited about and why. We’ll choose one lucky winner from the participants and contact them for a mailing address, and that person will win a copy of the book they chose. (U.S. addresses only, please!) Current Sirens staff members are not eligible to win, though they may leave a comment, but all volunteers, attendees, and I-wish-I-could-attendees are welcome to tell us their favorites.

 

MAY GIVEAWAY WINNER
No one entered the May giveaway, and thus there was no winner. Good luck to June’s entrants!

 

SIRENS REVIEW SQUAD
In the not-so-distant past, we had a review squad: volunteer readers reviewing books that they would recommend to others interested in women in fantasy. We’re pleased to bring back the review squad, and to feature their book reviews in the Sirens newsletter. If you think you could contribute a book review of at least 250 words sometime during the next year, please visit the volunteer system and on the third page, where you are offered different volunteer team choices, indicate that you’d like to be a book reviewer in the section that says “Please tell us of any specific position you are interested in.” Review squad volunteering is very flexible; we simply ask that you share information about books you’ve enjoyed. You can contribute once or on an ongoing basis, and on a schedule that works for you.

If you’re with a publisher and are interested in providing review copies or similar, please contact us at (help at sirensconference.org). On to this month’s reviews!

 

MothandSparkMoth and Spark
Anne Leonard
Viking (February 2014)
hardcover edition

Moth and Spark. Tam and Corin. I’m a sucker for strong female characters, and Tam Warin certainly fits the bill. She’s of good birth and excellent education but not noble. She is possessed of a sassy sense of humor and an extraordinary amount of common sense, which eventually saves the day and her handsome prince. Corin (said handsome gentleman) has several hard tasks—living up to his father’s expectations, freeing the dragons, and saving his country from imperial politics and enemy invasion. Our intrepid heroes make a formidable team as they operate within court and go haring about the countryside on adventures.

The book starts strong. In the first fifty pages or so, Corin has an enigmatic encounter with dragons and fights an unexpected skirmish at a country inn. Meanwhile, Tam accepts her sister-in-law’s invitation to court where she becomes an accidental witness to a strange sort of murder. All of these brief scenes eventually unspool into a tangled plot that carries this story forward into intrigue, romance, and war. The dragons present another unexpected layer, since their fate determines so many other problems.

I haven’t read a second world, high fantasy novel in ages, and I enjoyed this one. I would have appreciated a little more world-building, but the plot drove me through the story. I happen to like “girl cooties” and rooted for our unlikely, heroic couple. The romantic aspect also served to balance the hardships of invasion and war. The dragons seemed completely Other, almost unexplainable. Hopefully, Anne will write another volume that examines the relationship between dragon and rider.

Full disclosure: Anne Leonard attended Sirens in 2013, where I met her and enjoyed discussing books and being parents of teenage boys. – Kristen Blount

 

TheThirdEyeThe Third Eye (The Tara Trilogy #1)
Mahtab Narsimhan
Dundurn (2007)
paperback

Tara’s mother and grandfather disappear in the middle of the night, and soon, her father remarries, leaving Tara and her little brother, Suraj, pitted against an evil stepmother. In true fantasy fashion, the stepmother pampers her own child and neglects Tara and Suraj. It’s almost unbearable for the children, especially since their father is a mere shell of his past self, unable to spin the tales he used to tell. When a strange newcomer, Zarku, tries to usurp Tara’s missing grandfather’s place as the village healer, Tara hatches a plan to scour the dangerous forest for her missing relatives. However, the night is dark and full of vetalas…and before things are done, Tara forges an alliance with Lord Yama, the god of death.

The Third Eye won the 2009 Silver Birch Award from the Ontario Library Association for books aimed at young readers. It’s not hard to see why: Third Eye is an engrossing, fast-paced fantasy adventure that incorporates Indian culture and Hindu stories. I loved that Tara’s quest is not only to save her family (and her relationship with her younger brother is, frankly, cute), but to save the men of her village, who are Zarku’s biggest targets. How often does a little girl end up in that position? I also enjoyed how stories and storytelling were embedded within the plot, such as the inclusion of Tara’s father’s stories, which gave me a pleasant sense that the story was operating on multiple levels.

The writing is uneven at times, and I sometimes wished for more attention to introducing details at just the right time. I also wished for a little more subtlety in the struggle between good and evil. Still, when this story is good, it’s especially good. I devoured most of the book on a plane ride, and I’ll be going back for the rest of the series—this book ends on a breathtaking cliffhanger. – Undusty New Books


Questions? You can comment here or write to us at (help at sirensconference.org).

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Sirens Newsletter – Volume 6, Issue 6 (May 2014)

In this issue:

 

PROGRAMMING DEADLINE: MAY 12
The deadline to submit programming proposals to Sirens is May 12, 2014. That means you have less than two weeks to put together your proposal, to find co-presenters, and to offer your idea to the vetting board. Never fear, however: at the time of submission, you need only have a short summary for the program book and a short abstract (or lesson plan, or set of discussion questions) ready for review. You’ll still have until October to prepare! Not sure what to present? Visit…

 

BRAINSTORMING RESOURCES
…our helpful recent posts on how to prepare a programming proposal, and check out—or add to!—the brainstorming post. Or come to the…

 

UPCOMING CHATS
We have two chats scheduled for talking about programming ideas, books, travel, Sirens, and meeting potential travel companions and roommates: Sunday, May 4, and Sunday, May 11, both from 4 to 6 p.m. Eastern. You don’t need any special software or programs to participate; the page will turn into a chat room at the appropriate time. Join in at http://www.sirensconference.org/chat/.

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB
One of Sirens’s chairs, Amy Tenbrink, is busily reading so many “hauntings and the haunted” books in preparation for October. Ghosts, specters, memories, visions, and other patterns show up across fantasy, horror, and non-genre fiction, and she keeps talking to us about them, so we thought she should talk to you, too! If you’d like to read along, the following books will be featured on the Sirens Goodreads Group in coming months.

May: Dreaming in Cuban, Cristina García
June: Imaginary Girls, Nova Ren Suma
July: The Ghost Bride, Yangsze Choo
August: In the Shadow of Blackbirds, Cat Winters
September: The Woman in Black, Susan Hill
October: The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson

 

BOOKS AND BREAKFAST
Books and Breakfast will be held on Friday, October 17, and Saturday, October 18. For those of you who are new to Sirens, this is where we invite you to bring your own breakfast and join us for informal chats about books before presentations begin in the morning. It’s perfectly okay to join in Books and Breakfast if you haven’t read any of the books, but if you’d like to come prepared, the schedule is listed below.

This year, our reading list includes tales of hauntings and the haunted. Some of them are new, some of them were game-changing or controversial books, and some we just loved and wanted to share.

Friday, October 17, 2014
The Demon Catchers of Milan, Kat Beyer
The Diviners, Libba Bray
The Red Tree, Caitlín R. Kiernan
The Frangipani Hotel, Violet Kupersmith
A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar

Saturday, October 18, 2014
Long Lankin, Lindsey Barraclough
Anya’s Ghost, Vera Brosgol
Comfort Woman, Nora Okja Keller
White Is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi
My Real Children, Jo Walton

 

YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT…

Recent and Upcoming Releases:

May2014Collage
Click the image for a closer look at the covers.

 

Alpha Goddess, Amalie Howard (March 18)

Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy #1), Danielle L. Jensen (April 1)
High Maga, Karin Rita Gastreich (April 4)
The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, Ambelin Kwaymullina (April 8)
Thornlost (Glass Thorns), Melanie Rawn (April 29)
Sleep No More, Aprilynne Pike (April 29)
Silver Mirrors (Apparatus Infernum #2), A.A. Aguirre (April 29)

Mirror Sight, Kristen Britain (May 6)
Deep Blue, Jennifer Donnelly (May 6)
Midnight Crossroad, Charlaine Harris (May 6)
Sparrow Hill Road, Seanan McGuire (May 6)
The Bees, Laline Paull (May 6)
Slightly Spellbound (A Southern Witch Novel), Kimberly Frost (May 6)
Witches in Red (The Mist-Torn Witches #2), Barb Hendee (May 6)
Fire Kin, M.J. Scott (May 6)
Only Everything, Kieran Scott (May 6)
A Creature of Moonlight, Rebecca Hahn (May 6)
The Falconer, Elizabeth May (May 6)

Of Neptune, Anna Banks (May 13)
Raging Star (Dust Lands #3), Moira Young (May 13)
Thief’s Magic (Millennium’s Rule), Trudi Canavan (May 13)

Mermaid in Chelsea Creek, Michelle Tea, ill. Jason Polan (May 14)

Dangerous Creatures, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (May 20)
Sixth Grave on the Edge, Darynda Jones (May 20)
My Real Children, Jo Walton (May 20)
The Chronicle of Secret Riven, Ronlyn Domingue (May 20)
Fearful Symmetries, ed. Ellen Datlow (May 20)

Court of Conspiracy (The Tudor Enigma #1), April Taylor (May 26)

Air Bound, Christine Feehan (May 27)
Crown of Renewal (Paladin’s Legacy), Elizabeth Moon (May 27)
Strange Country, Deborah Coates (May 27)
Bad Luck Girl (The American Fairy Trilogy #3), Sarah Zettel (May 27)
Heirs of the Demon King: Uprising, Sarah Cawkwell (May 27)
Banishing the Dark (The Arcadia Bell series), Jenn Bennett (May 27)
The Lost, Sarah Beth Durst (May 27)
Skin Game (The Dresden Files #15), Jim Butcher (May 27)

The Girl with the Iron Touch, Kady Cross (May 28)

The Immortal Crown (Age of X #2), Richelle Mead (May 29)

 

Interesting Links:

An overview of convention-related speculative fiction awards.

The Ultimate Guide To This Summer’s Science Fiction and Fantasy TV.

Clips and concepts for Maleficent.

Catherine Lundoff on LGBT Science Fiction and Fantasy in the 1980s.

A case for strong Sansa Stark.

“The Man in the Woods” by Shirley Jackson.

The Diverse Editors List: a post-production essay by Bogi Takács.

Do you have exciting book news or fantasy links to share? Send it to (help at sirensconference.org) and we’ll include it in the next newsletter. We appreciate your contributions! Thanks for helping us expand this month’s news, and special thanks to Casey, Anne, and Sharon for their additions.

 

BOOK GIVEAWAY
Post a comment of at least two sentences on our blog or LiveJournal by May 20, 2014, and tell us which May release you’re most excited about and why. We’ll choose one lucky winner from the participants and contact them for a mailing address, and that person will win a copy of the book they chose. (U.S. addresses only, please!) Current Sirens staff members are not eligible to win, though they may leave a comment, but all volunteers, attendees, and I-wish-I-could-attendees are welcome to tell us their favorites.

 

APRIL AND MARCH GIVEAWAY WINNERS
Lina K. won the March book giveaway, choosing Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi. LJ user theironchocho is April’s winner, choosing Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor (please check out http://sirenscon.livejournal.com/57977.html to find out how to claim your book). Congratulations! Thank you to all the entrants.

 

RETURN OF THE REVIEW SQUAD
In the not-so-distant past, we had a review squad: volunteer readers reviewing books that they would recommend to others interested in women in fantasy. We’re pleased to bring back the review squad, and to feature their book reviews in the Sirens newsletter. The first review by thistleingrey appears below, and you’ll hear from other reviewers in the future.

If you think you could contribute a book review of at least 250 words sometime during the next year, please visit the volunteer system and on the third page, where you are offered different volunteer team choices, indicate that you’d like to be a book reviewer in the section that says “Please tell us of any specific position you are interested in” (or let us know in any volunteer system text box—we’ll sort you out). Review squad volunteering is very flexible; we simply ask that you share information about books you’ve enjoyed. You can contribute once or on an ongoing basis, and on a schedule that works for you.

If you have recently volunteered, thank you! More information will be on its way shortly. If you’re with a publisher and are interested in providing review copies or similar, please contact us at (help at sirensconference.org). On to this month’s reviews!

 

White Is for Witching (New York: Doubleday, 2009; print)
The Icarus Girl (London: Bloomsbury, 2005; OverDrive epub)
Helen Oyeyemi

Having signed up to review Helen Oyeyemi’s White Is for Witching for the newsletter, I began reading The Icarus Girl for authorial context . . . and found that it fits this year’s theme of hauntings as well. Two for one.

TheIcarusGirl The Icarus Girl begins with an eight-year-old girl in a small confined space—a cupboard in the British sense, a linen closet in the US one—as she listens to her mother calling her from oddly far away. When Jess emerges, she realizes she’s been ensconced for half the day without noticing time’s passage. This realization is key yet easy for both Jess and the reader to forget, since Jess leaves almost immediately to visit her mother’s family in Nigeria for the first time. As she sidles uneasily around her mixed Nigerian and English heritage, her Nigerian cousins ignore her. Her grandfather watches the girl he calls Wuraola, but not closely enough: her curiosity about lit candles in a long-neglected wing of his small estate leads to a dangerous breakthrough, one that bends time and fractures Jess’s relationships, including her grasp of herself.

WhiteisForWitching Icarus is Oyeyemi’s debut novel (2005), written before she’d finished school. White Is for Witching is her third book and was published in 2009. Its UK title, Pie-kah, gives the reader clear expectations: the narrative revolves around a fraternal twin named Miranda, whose homophonic pica habit leads her to consume local Devon chalk instead of the apple pies baked by her father. The story’s multiple narrators are labeled at first, then left to pass narrative segments to each other silently, often mid-sentence. Perhaps the most important is the house, marked as “29 barton road” alongside fellow narrators “eliot,” Miranda’s twin, and “ore,” a key character introduced later. Miranda and Eliot’s mother died a few years before Eliot’s present time, which is not a spoiler, and indeed the story opens with Miranda’s subsequent disappearance, the house’s certainty that her location is known (to it), and Eliot’s concern that his strong wish to find his sister—to conjure her up from the air if need be—won’t suffice this time. From the reader’s perspective, White is a mystery whose large middle is to be undone, though one begins by disbelieving the house’s unreliable offer of a starting point: “what happened to lily silver,” the twins’ mother?

To read these two unrelated, psychologically complex novels together illuminates certain tensions that they share: the importance of place alongside the impossibility of understanding one’s personal origins, the points of slippage between views of reality, the uncertain power (too much, too little) of ritual observances. Are the hauntings here real or imagined, each narrative asks the reader, and to whom—or what—does the distinction matter?

Did I like the stories? I find Icarus creepily effective, not only in its nightmarish journey but especially in its conveyance of Jess’s several senses of (not) belonging; White for me is more clever than compelling. Both repay the time spent, certainly, and I mean to look for Boy, Snow, Bird. – thistleingrey


Questions? You can comment here or write to us at (help at sirensconference.org).

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Sirens Newsletter – Volume 6, Issue 5 (April 2014)

In this issue:

 

PROGRAMMING DEADLINE APPROACHING
The deadline to submit programming proposals to Sirens is May 12, 2014.

We look forward to receiving your proposals! If you’re still thinking about what to present, please join us for one of our upcoming chats (more information below) or check out this year’s brainstorming post. You can get an overview of how to put together a programming proposal on our website, and we’ve posted our annual programming series—a more informal approach to the same information—on our blog.

Looking for someone to join you as a presenter? Please post an ad on our Facebook, message boards, brainstorming post, or any LiveJournal or blog post.

If you’ve got your best idea (or two) ready to go, you’re welcome to submit it now.

As you probably already know, the programming at Sirens is created and presented by attendees. We think that involving everyone in the dialogue of the conference is critical, and that’s why our only presenter requirement is that you be old enough to attend. In the past, we’ve received excellent presentations from students, grandmothers, professors, musicians, readers, and teachers, among others. Please know that we value hearing from everyone—and if it interests you, it probably interests other attendees, too.

If you have any questions about programming, you can comment here or write to (programming at sirensconference.org).

 

UPCOMING CHATS
We’re hosting two chats on our website to talk about programming ideas, travel plans, and the books we’ve been reading. Everyone is welcome! Please feel free to stop by for a minute or an hour. You don’t need to download anything or make an account, or have any special software for the chat, but you may need to refresh the page after the chat’s start time to participate.

Our chats are scheduled for:
Wednesday, April 2, from 9 to 11 p.m. Eastern
Saturday, April 5, from 2 to 4 p.m. Eastern

 

YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT…

New and Recent Releases:

April2014Collage
Click the image for a closer look at the covers.

 

Gilded, Christina L. Farley (March 1)

Laura’s Wolf, Lia Silver (March 5)

The Violet Hour, Whitney A. Miller (March 8)

Promise of Shadows, Justina Ireland (March 11)

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story, Vol. 1, Magica Quartet, Hanokage (March 25)

The Mark of the Dragonfly, Jaleigh Johnson (March 25)

The Stone Boatmen, Sarah Tolmie (April 1)

Dorothy Must Die, Danielle Paige (April 1)

The Frangipani Hotel, Violet Kupersmith (April 1)

West of the Moon, Margi Preus (April 1)

The Bird Eater, Ania Ahlborn (April 1)

Gilded Ashes, Rosamund Hodge (April 1)

The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (April 1)

Dreams of Gods & Monsters, Laini Taylor (April 8)

Sea of Shadows, Kelley Armstrong (April 8)

Valour and Vanity (Glamourist Histories #4), Mary Robinette Kowal (April 8)

Horizon (Above World #3), Jenn Reese (April 8)

Steles of the Sky (Eternal Sky #3), Elizabeth Bear (April 8)

The Collector of Dying Breaths, M. J. Rose (April 8)

Lagoon, Nnedi Okorafor (April 10)

House of Ivy & Sorrow, Natalie Whipple (April 15)

The Forbidden Library, Django Wexler (April 15)

The Kraken King Part I: The Kraken King and the Scribbling Spinster (Iron Seas #4.1), Meljean Brook (April 15)

The Inventor’s Secret, Andrea Cremer (April 22)

Deception’s Princess, Esther Friesner (April 22)

The Islands of Chaldea, Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Jones (April 22)

Heaven’s Queen, Rachel Bach (April 22)

Peacemaker, Marianne de Pierres (April 29)

In the Shadows, Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo (April 29)

 

Interesting Links:

2014 Arthur C. Clarke Award Finalists.

Ursula K. LeGuin, Queen of America (and Ken Kesey Award winner).

Nahoko Uehashi (whose Moribito series has been a Books and Breakfast pick in the past) is on the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award shortlist, and was named as one of two winners.

Sailor Moon 20th anniversary site (maybe you read this for Books and Breakfast?).

Misfits of Avalon, the comic.

Fantasy Book Cafe is hosting Women in SF&F Month again this April.

Sarah Rees Brennan writes a poem about recognition for women’s writing.

Do you have exciting book news or fantasy links to share? Send it to (help at sirensconference.org) and we’ll include it in the next newsletter. We appreciate your contributions! Thanks for helping us expand this month’s news. Special thanks to Kate and Casey for their additions.

 

BOOK GIVEAWAY
Post a comment of at least two sentences on our blog or LiveJournal by April 18, 2014, and tell us which April release you’re most excited about and why. We’ll choose one lucky winner from the participants and contact them for a mailing address, and that person will win a copy of the book they chose. (U.S. addresses only, please!) Current Sirens staff members are not eligible to win, though they may leave a comment, but all volunteers, attendees, and I-wish-I-could-attendees are welcome to tell us their favorites.

 

MARCH’S GIVEAWAY WINNER
No one entered the March giveaway, so no winner has been named. (We’d say that future entrants may find the odds are highly in their favor.) That said, the March giveaway is open until April 4, so that’s a hint.


Questions? You can comment here or write to us at (help at sirensconference.org).

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Sirens Newsletter – Volume 6, Issue 4 (March 2014)

In this issue:

 

PROGRAMMING NEWS
During the month of March, we’ll be posting our annual guide to programming on the Sirens LiveJournal and blog. The first post and the second post in the series are up, with information applicable to all types of presentations. If you’d like to submit a programming proposal, we hope you’ll take a peek at our tips.

The deadline for programming proposals is May 12, 2014.

Please see the guidelines section of our website for more information on putting a proposal together. If you’re curious about past programming, check out our archive.

 

BRAINSTORMING!
If you have ideas for programming you’d like to see others present, why not share them on our brainstorming post? We’re happy to have you offer and exchange ideas, to seek out co-presenters, and to think out loud.

 

UPCOMING CHATS
We’re also hosting two chats on our website to talk about programming ideas, travel plans, and the books we’ve been reading. Everyone is welcome! Please feel free to stop by for a minute or an hour. You don’t need to download anything, to make an account, or have any special software for the chat, but you may need to refresh the page after the chat’s start time to participate.

Our chats are scheduled for:
Wednesday, April 2, from 9 to 11 p.m. Eastern
Saturday, April 5, from 2 to 4 p.m. Eastern

 

GUEST OF HONOR SPOTLIGHT
Within our focus on fantastic women, each year Sirens features a fantasy-related theme—and in 2014, that theme is “hauntings.” The traditional ghost story, of course, has decidedly feminist roots, but we’ll also be examining the topic more broadly: namely, what it means to be haunted. To further our discussion, we have invited three guests of honor, each of whom writes powerfully and reflectively about hauntings: Kendare Blake, Rosemary Clement-Moore, and Andrea Hairston. This month, we’d like to highlight Andrea Hairston.

RedwoodandWildfire Mindscape COVER1

Andrea Hairston’s second speculative novel, Redwood and Wildfire, won both the James Tiptree, Jr. Award for 2011 and the Carl Brandon Kindred Award for 2011. Her first novel, Mindscape, won the Carl Brandon Parallax Award and was shortlisted for the Phillip K Dick Award and the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. She is the artistic director of Chrysalis Theatre and has created original productions with music, dance, and masks for over thirty years. Andrea is also the Louise Wolff Kahn 1931 Professor of Theatre and Afro-American Studies at Smith College. Her plays have been produced at Yale Rep, Rites and Reason, the Kennedy Center, StageWest, and on public radio and television. Andrea has received many playwriting and directing awards, including several National Endowment for the Arts grants for playwrights, new works, to work as a dramaturge/director with playwright Pearl Cleage; a Ford Foundation grant to collaborate with Senegalese master drummer Massamba Diop; and a Shubert Fellowship for playwriting. Since 1997, her science fiction plays produced by Chrysalis Theatre included Soul Repairs, Lonely Stardust, Hummingbird Flying Backward, and Dispatches. Archangels of Funk, a sci-fi theatre jam, garnered her a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship for 2003. Her next book, Lonely Stardust: Two Plays, a Speech, and Eight Essays, will be released by Aqueduct Press this spring.

For more information about Andrea, please visit her website or her blog.

 

REGISTRATION PRICE INCREASE
The next price increase for Sirens will happen on March 31, 2014.

Registration cost includes entry to conference programming and events, including the three keynote presentations by our guests of honor and a conference T-shirt available only to attendees, as well as four meals or receptions. Currently, the cost of registration is $185. It jumps to $195 at the very end of March. Visit http://www.sirensconference.org/registration/ for more information or to register now.

 

BOOK REVIEWS
In past years, we’ve been fortunate to host fantasy book reviews as part of our newsletter. We’d love to revive this tradition and feature more readers and writers of women in fantasy. If you think you could contribute a book review of at least 250 words (and perhaps no more than 1,500, at the longest—though we could talk) sometime during the next year, please visit the volunteer system and on the third page, where you are offered different volunteer team choices, indicate that you’d like to be a book reviewer in the section that says “Please tell us of any specific position you are interested in” (or let us know in any volunteer system text box—we’ll sort you out).

For those of you who have volunteered, thank you!

If you’re with a publisher and are interested in providing review copies or similar, please contact us at (help at sirensconference.org).

 

YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT…

March and Recent Releases:

The Kindred of Darkness, Barbara Hambly (March 1)

The Tropic of Serpents: A Memoir by Lady Trent, Marie Brennan (March 4)

Murder of Crows, Anne Bishop (March 4)

The Winner’s Curse, Marie Rutkoski (March 4)

The Ghost Train to New Orleans (The Shambling Guides #2), Mur Lafferty (March 4)

Half-Off Ragnarok (InCryptid #3), Seanan McGuire (March 4)

Emilie and the Sky World, Martha Wells (March 4)

Death Sworn, Leah Cypess (March 4)

Boy, Snow, Bird, Helen Oyeyemi (March 6)

Night Broken (Mercy Thompson #8), Patricia Briggs (March 11)

The Lascar’s Dagger (The Forsaken Lands #1), Glenda Larke (March 18)

The Midnight Witch, Paula Brackston (March 25)

Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki, Mamoru Hosoda and Yuu

 

Links:

Cover reveal for Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan.

Jane Yolen, Ellen Datlow, Kate Elliott, Elizabeth Hand and N. K. Jemisin talk about being women writers, writing female characters, and the role models they look up to on SF Signal.

Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, and Terri Windling teaching at Hollins University in 2015.

Special edition of Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor.

The 26th Annual Lambda Literary Awards finalists have been announced, and you’ll recognize at least a few, we think.

An article from The New Yorker on Tove Jansson, creator of the Moomins.

The 2013 Nebula Award Nominees have been announced, and a number of the works will be of interest to Sirens attendees (our congratulations to many of you who’ve joined us in the past!).

Do you have exciting book news or fantasy links for us? Send it to (help at sirensconference.org) and we’ll include it in the next newsletter.

 

GIVEAWAY!
Post a comment of at least two sentences on our blog or LiveJournal by April 4, 2014, and tell us which March release you’re most excited about and why. We’ll choose one lucky winner from the participants and contact them for a mailing address, and that person will win a copy of the book they chose. (U.S. addresses only, please!) Current Sirens staff members are not eligible to win, though they may leave a comment, but all volunteers, attendees, and I-wish-I-could-attendees are welcome to tell us their favorites.

 

FEBRUARY’S GIVEAWAY WINNER
Rachel R., who was excited about Grim, is February’s winner. Please write to (help at sirensconference.org) to give us your mailing address. Congratulations!


Questions? You can comment here or write to us at (help at sirensconference.org).

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