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Books and Breakfast: September Giveaway

As Sirens veterans know, each year, Sirens selects a variety of popular, controversial, and just plain brilliant books related to our theme—and invites attendees to bring their breakfast during the conference and have an informal conversation about those books. Over the years, this program has highlighted the depth and breadth of each year’s theme and given early risers both company and book talk!

For 2016, we’ve kicked Books and Breakfast off early—so all of you have time to choose a couple books and read! This year, we’ve also launched a giveaway program to get these books into your hands prior to Sirens.

 

SEPTEMBER GIVEAWAY

For September, we’ll be giving away, to one lucky winner, two Books and Breakfast selections: Pantomime and Like Water for Chocolate. You can read more about the books below, but here are the rules:

To enter, you must tell us of your favorite female character in fantasy literature. All entries must be submitted by September 30, 2016, either by Tweeting them to @sirens_con or by emailing them to (help at sirensconference.org). Each individual may enter only once and you must currently reside in the United States in order to win. By entering, you grant Sirens the right to use your entry and to name you (by name or Twitter alias) in connection with that entry. The winner must provide their address to Sirens in order to receive the prize. This offer void where prohibited.

 

Pantomime

Pantomime by Laura Lam

Pantomime kicks off a remarkable series about an intersex protagonist, set somewhere between the world of the pampered and over-privileged and the gritty backdrop of a traveling circus. More important than the setting, and the uncertain magic that builds the fantasy thread, is the main character’s questioning—not only of who they are, but who they are going to become, and how they will become.

When Iphigenia—Gene—realizes that her social and class circumstances are forcing her into very strict rules of behavior (and gender expression), as well as continued medical examinations and secrets, she leaves home, joining the circus as Micah. While the secrets don’t exactly end, Micah can finally begin to explore what it means to be Micah, and to explore loving in Micah’s body, and to explore the magic that Micah can make. This leads into future books, so note that this is only the beginning of a series.

 

Like Water for Chocolate

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Like Water for Chocolate is a worldwide bestseller, a work that many in the US know only in translation, and has been adapted for film. It’s the sort of book that we include in Books and Breakfast because it has fantastical elements—and because we are always discussing and debating whether we can include magical realism as a part of the fantasy family (even if only as a beloved cousin).

Tita lives in Mexico of more than a hundred years ago, and she can’t marry; she’ll have to devote her life to caring for her mother. However, she’s in love with Pedro, her sister’s husband…. Her tumultuous feelings are expressed through the magic of food. Forbidden romance, recipes, family relationships, sex, and tradition all play a part.

 

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Books and Breakfast: August Giveaway

As Sirens veterans know, each year, Sirens selects a variety of popular, controversial, and just plain brilliant books related to our theme—and invites attendees to bring their breakfast during the conference and have an informal conversation about those books. Over the years, this program has highlighted the depth and breadth of each year’s theme and given early risers both company and book talk!

For 2016, we’ve kicked Books and Breakfast off early—so all of you have time to choose a couple books and read! This year, we’ve also launched a giveaway program to get these books into your hands prior to Sirens.

 

AUGUST GIVEAWAY

For August, we’ll be giving away, to one lucky winner, two Books and Breakfast selections: Joplin’s Ghost and There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories. You can read more about the books below, but here are the rules:

To enter, you must tell us a fantasy book, written by a woman or genderqueer author, that you think everyone should read. All entries must be submitted by August 31, 2016, either by Tweeting them to @sirens_con or by emailing them to (help at sirensconference.org). Each individual may enter only once and you must currently reside in the United States in order to win. By entering, you grant Sirens the right to use your entry and to name you (by name or Twitter alias) in connection with that entry. The winner must provide their address to Sirens in order to receive the prize. This offer void where prohibited.

 

Joplin's Ghost

Joplin’s Ghost by Tananarive Due

Joplin’s Ghost is, more than anything, a genre-busting, ambitious work of tremendous scope. It’s part historical re-creation, part contemporary bildungsroman, part complex ghost story, and part heated erotica. And in a year when Sirens is going to talk about lovers, an affirmation that, yes, sexual encounters with the ghost of Scott Joplin definitely fit the bill.

When she was ten, Phoenix Smalls was nearly killed in a freak encounter with a haunted piano. Shortly thereafter, her father found her in the middle of the night, playing ragtime melodies on the piano with a skill years beyond her training. Now in her early twenties, Phoenix is an up-and-coming R&B singer, one who incorporates ragtime syncopation into her work in a way heretofore unknown in the world. As Phoenix’s story weaves around Joplin’s—both his early 1900s history and his contemporary, erotic ghostly return—Joplin’s Ghost turns into a coming-of-age tale featuring Phoenix, her dreams, and her desires.

 

There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced

There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

Several years ago, when Sirens focused on Tales Retold, much of the Sirens community read another work of Petrushevskaya’s: There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales. In that work, Petrushevskaya uses fairy tale motifs, often in combination with ghostly happenings, to tell stories that should be, and yet too often aren’t, important to Mother Russia: stories of kitchens, of bedrooms, of gravesites. Stories important to women and featuring women.

The next translated collection of her work, There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories, features similarly important women’s stories. This time, however, Petrushevskaya approaches her stories not through fairy tale themes, but through contemporary romance tropes. There’s little fantasy to be found in this collection, but Petrushevskaya has much to say about romance, love, sex, and regret.

 

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Books and Breakfast: July Giveaway

As Sirens veterans know, each year, Sirens selects a variety of popular, controversial, and just plain brilliant books related to our theme—and invites attendees to bring their breakfast during the conference and have an informal conversation about those books. Over the years, this program has highlighted the depth and breadth of each year’s theme and given early risers both company and book talk!

For 2016, we’ve kicked Books and Breakfast off early–so all of you have time to choose a couple books and read! This year, we’ve also launched a giveaway program to get these books into your hands prior to Sirens.

 

JULY GIVEAWAY

For July, we’ll be giving away, to one lucky winner, two Books and Breakfast selections: Sorcerer to the Crown and Project Unicorn, Volume 1. You can read more about the books below, but here are the rules:

To enter, you must tell us your favorite fantasy book written by a woman. All entries must be submitted by June 31, 2016, either by Tweeting them to @sirens_con or by emailing them to (help at sirensconference.org). Each individual may enter only once and you must currently reside in the United States in order to win. By entering, you grant Sirens the right to use your entry and to name you (by name or Twitter alias) in connection with that entry. The winner must provide their address to Sirens in order to receive the prize. This offer void where prohibited.

 

Sorcerer to the Crown

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Set in England during the Napoleonic Wars, Sorcerer to the Crown is an alternate-history delight. Magic abounds, and England’s Sorcerer Royal (an important but stubbornly apolitical post) has just died under mysterious circumstances. The staff of office has chosen his successor: Zacharias, his adopted black son—a promising magician, but controversial choice. Meanwhile, in a school created to teach girls to suppress their magic (unless, of course, used in small ways around the house; think cooking and cleaning), Prunella longs for adventure. When Zacharias’s and Prunella’s paths cross unexpectedly, Prunella makes a series of audacious decisions that change her life, Zacharias’s life, and England forever.

Sorcerer to the Crown, when read with the right appreciation of its dry wit, is seriously subversive: Cho’s craft lends the reader a strong lens of our modern sensibilities through which to root for Zacharias and Prunella: both to revise England’s hopelessly sexist and racist policies with respect to magicians, and to finally, will they please finally, kiss already?

 

Project Unicorn, Volume 1

Project Unicorn, Volume 1 by Jennifer and S. E. Diemer

The subtitle of the first volume of Project Unicorn is 30 Young Adult Short Stories Featuring Lesbian Heroines. A couple years ago, wife-and-wife team, Jennifer and S. E. Diemer, began publishing two short stories a week: always young-adult, always speculative, always featuring lesbian heroines. As you might guess, the goal is to address the regrettable lack of lesbian heroines in young-adult speculative literature. While the project stalled—but has since been restarted—the authors did publish the first two volumes, a full six months of short stories, with some bonus stories that are included in only the published collections.

If you’ve read S. E. Diemer’s The Dark Wife, a re-telling of the Persephone myth with a genderbent Hades, you’ll have some idea what you might find in Project Unicorn: smart, defiant lesbian heroines who challenge expectations and make bold decisions. Additionally, a great lot of Project Unicorn is about kissing, so much kissing, so many awesome girls kissing each other.

 

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Books and Breakfast: June Giveaway

As Sirens veterans know, each year, Sirens selects a variety of popular, controversial, and just plain brilliant books related to our theme—and invites attendees to bring their breakfast during the conference and have an informal conversation about those books. Over the years, this program has highlighted the depth and breadth of each year’s theme and given early risers both company and book talk!

For 2016, we’re kicking Books and Breakfast off early! So often, attendees haven’t had a chance to read the selected books in time for Sirens—but not this year. Today, we’re not only announcing all eight books for 2016, we’re also launching a giveaway program to get these books into your hands prior to Sirens.

 

2016 BOOKS AND BREAKFAST SELECTIONS

Friday, October 21

About a Girl by Sarah McCarry
Pantomime by Laura Lam
Joplin’s Ghost by Tananarive Due
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Saturday, October 22

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
Project Unicorn, Vol. 1 by Jennifer and S. E. Diemer
Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope
There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

 

JUNE GIVEAWAY

For June, we’ll be giving away, to one lucky winner, two Books and Breakfast selections: About a Girl and Song of Blood and Stone. You can read more about the books below, but here are the rules:

To enter, you must tell us your favorite fantasy book written by a woman. All entries must be submitted by June 30, 2016, either by Tweeting them to @sirens_con or by emailing them to (help at sirensconference.org). Each individual may enter only once and you must currently reside in the United States in order to win. By entering, you grant Sirens the right to use your entry and to name you (by name or Twitter alias) in connection with that entry. The winner must provide their address to Sirens in order to receive the prize. This offer void where prohibited.

 

About a Girl

About a Girl by Sarah McCarry

Tally is quite certain of her life—and its trajectory—thank you very much. Despite abandonment by her mother, and never knowing her father, she’s got it all figured out: her substitute family, her rock-solid best friend, and her unwavering commitment to a PhD in astronomy. Until her friend throws her for a loop, a friendly acquaintance pulls the right string, and the tidy boxes into which she’s stored her life start to collapse. She sets off—as all the best adventurers do—in search of one thing, but finds another something entirely: a mesmerizing girl who steals her heart.

About a Girl is for anyone who likes a strong authorial voice, a bit of a mystery, or a book that seems to be entirely grounded in reality until the magical realism smacks you upside the head. It’s bold, unpredictable, inclusive, and surprisingly dreamy.

 

Song of Blood and Stone

Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope

An outcast orphan girl. An injured spy. Enemy soldiers—and mages. What would lovers year be without a bit of fantasy romance?

Jasminda is an outcast in her country, a child of a bicultural marriage that visibly marks her both as different and as a magic-worker. She keeps to herself, living in the remote mountains and only traveling to town when necessary. As the book opens, she travels back from town to her home, only to encounter an injured spy held by enemy soldiers—enemy soldiers who should have been blocked from entering her country by a magical shield. Jasminda is forced to shelter both the soldiers and the spy in her home. [Trigger warning for rape.] She and Jack, hopeless smitten, escape together, and Jack is forced to reveal his true identity. (If you’re a regular romance reader, you’ve already guessed that identity.)

In a world of armies, politics, and magic, Penelope makes her characters and their evolution intimate and personal. The racism against Jasminda is never handled lightly; nor is her lesser status than Jack’s. But love (and sex) conquer all, even prejudiced politicians and evil mages.

 

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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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Sirens Newsletter – Volume 6, Issue 3 (February 2014)

In this issue:

 

PROGRAMMING
Yes, it’s February, which means it’s time for programming! The papers, panels, workshops, roundtable discussions, and afternoon classes for Sirens are proposed and presented by attendees. We encourage you to focus on fantasy, particularly women in fantasy, and related issues of interest. We also hope that you’ll consider the idea of hauntings—not just the idea of ghosts, but echoes of the past, visions of the future, prophecies, dreams, visions, spirits, and persistent memories. Our annual series on preparing a proposal begins in March.

Proposals are due May 14, 2014, which will come up sooner than you think, so while you’re pondering, why not reach out to possible co-presenters on the Sirens message boards, on Facebook, or in the comments of the Sirens LiveJournal or blog?

 

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 Rosemary Clement-Moore.

TexasGothic SpiritandDust PromDatesFromHell HellWeek HighwaytoHell TheSplendorFalls

Rosemary Clement-Moore’s Texas Gothic, about the Goodnight family of witches in Texas, received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal, was included on Kirkus’ Best Teen Books of 2011, and appeared on ALA’s 2012 List of Best Books for Young Adults. Her most recently published work, Spirit and Dust, introduces readers to Daisy, another member of the Goodnight family. She is also the author of the Maggie Quinn: Girl vs. Evil series (Prom Dates from Hell, Hell Week, and Highway to Hell), which is about a mystery-loving school newspaper reporter who inherited her grandmother’s sixth sense, and The Splendor Falls, about a ballerina who can’t dance and may be losing her mind.

For more information about Rosemary, please visit her website, which includes her blog, or her Twitter.

 

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! More information will be on its way to 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…
We love to get news about fantasy book sales and new releases, links of interest (especially links we might have missed), interesting art, and so on. Your contributions are very much appreciated, and they help us find out about stuff we missed! Please send your news, or news that you’re excited about, to (help at sirensconference.org).

 

February and Recent Releases:

House of Sand and Secrets by Cat Hellisen (January 8)

What Makes This Book So Great: Re-Reading the Classics of Science Fiction and Fantasy by Jo Walton (January 21)

Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tahereh Mafi (February 4)

Falling Light (Game of Shadows #2) by Thea Harrison (February 4)

Mistwalker by Saundra Mitchell (February 4)

Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier (February 4)

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer (February 4)

Teen Spirit by Francesca Lia Block (February 4)

Red Delicious (Siobhan Quinn #2) by Caitlin R. Kiernan writing as Kathleen Tierney (February 4)

Reaper’s Touch by Eleri Stone (February 10)

Fates by Lanie Bross (February 11)

Fool’s Gold by Philippa Gregory (February 11)

Lady Thief (sequel to Scarlet) by A.C. Gaughen (February 11)

Feral Curse (Feral #2) by Cynthia Leitich Smith (February 11)

The Tinker King (The Unnaturalists #2) by Tiffany Trent (February 11)

The Glass Casket by McCormick Templeman (February 11)

Perfect Lies by Kiersten White (February 18)

Moth and Spark: A Novel by Anne Leonard (February 20)

Blades of the Old Empire (Majat Code #1) by Anna Kashina (February 25)

Grim, including stories by Malinda Lo, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Dia Reeves, among others (February 25)

Labyrinth of Stars by Marjorie M. Liu (February 25)

 

Links:

The Cybils Awards: The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson wins the 2013 YA speculative fiction award. Other finalists, including Robin LaFevers.

Alaya Dawn Johnson is on the Tiptree Award Honor List. See it and other honors here.

Cover reveal for The Magic Thief: Home by Sarah Prineas.

Via @Nnedi: My novel Akata Witch has been optioned (for film/tv) by producer Donna Lamar. 😀

Con or Bust’s annual auction is over, but a matching donation drive is underway until February 28.

This might spark some discussion—How Disney’s ‘Frozen’ Gets Its Bad Prince Charming Right.

Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier has a release date.

Sofia Samatar wins the 2014 Crawford Memorial Award for A Stranger in Olondria.

ALA 2014 Youth Media Awards, including plenty of genre fiction.

Cover reveal for Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers.

This might also spark some discussion—what books do you recommend to convert readers to genre fiction?

 

GIVEAWAY!
Post a comment of at least two sentences on our blog or LiveJournal by March 7, 2014, and tell us which February 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.

 


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

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