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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 5, Issue 12 (October 2013)

Checking In at Sirens
You can pick up your registration starting at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 10, in the Baker room. If you’re coming from your hotel room, the conference space is past the main lobby and down a corridor; the Baker room is midway down that corridor. (There aren’t many corridors to worry about—Skamania Lodge is fairly compact!)

Remember to bring a photo ID and a copy of your registration. If you’re a presenter or a volunteer, you’ll also check in with our programming and volunteer coordinators for any last-minute communication and a copy of your schedule. Starting at 3:00 p.m., we’ll open the Rainier room for chatting, informal games, the Narrate bookstore, and an afternoon tea.

If you have a ticket for the Sirens Supper, we’ll bring your registration to you on Wednesday night. Please watch your email for information about where to meet for that event.

 

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 10, 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.

 

Driving to Sirens: Bridge of the Gods
If you’re driving to Sirens, please check out the information about the bridge closure at the end of the newsletter.

 

Reunion Ball
The Reunion Ball will begin after Ellen Kushner’s keynote presentation in the Cascade Locks Ballroom on Saturday, October 12. Ball gowns are always fun, as are glass shoes, but fantasy creations, cocktail dresses, jeans, and fuzzy bunny slippers are also welcome. Alongside the dancing, you can put in a last-minute bid at the silent auction or try to solve the Murder Mystery.

Do you have a request for the music playlist? Please leave it here as a comment or send it to (help at sirensconference.org) by October 4 and we’ll pass it on to the playlist organizer.

 

Volunteering During Sirens
We still have many openings for volunteers, and we’d love to have your help! The shifts range from 2-2.5 hours long on average, but we do have a handful of shifts that are only an hour each. (In fact, most of the remaining shifts are only an hour long.) We’re in particular need of room monitors this year. Room monitors 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 (volunteers2013 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.

 

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 10. All sorts of items are welcome! If you’d like to donate an item or you have questions, please email Amy Tenbrink (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!

 

Contacting Us During Sirens
Many of our staff will be traveling to Stevenson as early as Saturday, October 5, 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 10.

 

Sirens Shuttle Meet-Ups
Does your flight arrive early on Wednesday or Thursday, or are you driving to PDX and meeting the shuttle there? There will be meet-ups for attendees at Portland International Airport on Wednesday, October 9, and Thursday, October 10, 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:
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.

 

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 Friday evenings and Sunday mornings, the Cascade Dining Room hosts a buffet (and while we haven’t tried the Friday night offering, the Sunday champagne brunch might make a nice splurge if you’re leaving late; be sure to make reservations in advance). The hotel gift shop is set to provide expanded offerings, including quick bites (and we’d tell you more, but as they didn’t offer food in years past, we’ll need to check it out first). The lobby offers free tea, coffee, and cocoa most hours of the day. Room service is available from 7:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.

The hotel will also offer grab-and-go options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the Conference Center Lobby beginning with dinner on Thursday, October 10, and ending with lunch on Sunday, October 13 (excluding those meals that Sirens provides).

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. The hotel does not provide shuttle service to Stevenson.

 

Bridge of the Gods Closures
We’ve been informed that starting Friday, October 11, the Bridge of the Gods at exit 44 on Oregon I-84 will be closed between 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. for maintenance. This is the closest Columbia River crossing to Skamania Lodge. The next nearest crossings are at Hood River (25 miles east) or Portland (40+ miles west, depending on where you want to cross).

This closure won’t affect most of you, and it will not affect the Sirens Shuttle; however, if you plan an outing beyond Stevenson during Sirens, you will need to take WA-14 to and from Skamania Lodge.

  • To get to Hood River, follow WA-14 East from Skamania Lodge; you will cross the Columbia River via the Hood River Bridge at White Salmon. (This is a toll bridge, like Bridge of the Gods; the toll for cars is $1 each way.) Going to Portland, follow WA-14 West to I-205 South or I-5 South.

To arrive during the closure time:

  • If you’re coming from the east on I-84 in Oregon, cross at the Hood River Bridge and follow WA-14 West to and through Stevenson, turn right on Rock Creek Drive, and left at Skamania Lodge Way.
  • From the north via I-5, take exit 1B to WA-14 East (or take I-205 to exit 27 to WA-14 East), and shortly after the Bridge of the Gods, take a left onto Rock Creek Drive, and a left at Skamania Lodge Way.
  • From I-5 in the south, or Portland International Airport, follow signs to I-205 North, and take exit 27 to WA-14 East, then a left onto Rock Creek Drive, and a left at Skamania Lodge Way.

When on WA-14, please use extra caution—you may encounter wildlife, slow-moving vehicles, rain, and a multitude of sharp corners.

 

What We’re Excited About This Month

The Summer Prince, by guest of honor Alaya Dawn Johnson, is on the long list for the National Book Awards for Young People’s Literature.

Vanity Fair has an article on the “girls” behind some of Disney’s early animated fantasy films.

Terri Windling talks about the Handless Maiden.

Nalo Hopkinson and Lesley Livingston are 2013 Copper Cylinder Award winners.

More August and September book releases that we didn’t celebrate last month:

August 27:
The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

September 3:
The Woken Gods by Gwenda Bond

September 17:
Delia’s Shadow by Jamie Lee Moyer

September 24:
Inheritance by Malinda Lo
Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan
The Real Boy by Anne Ursu
Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce

September 26:
Shadows by Robin McKinley

Some October book releases:

October 2:
Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor
The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente

October 22:
Allegiant by Veronica Roth

October 29:
Parasite by Mira Grant
Horde by Ann Aguirre

 

Twitter Schedule
Beginning on Thursday, October 10, 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 14. (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 5, Issue 1 (November 2012)

THANK YOU!

Sirens: Tales Retold was a huge success, and we would like to thank you all for making our first year at Skamania Lodge such a fantastic one. We enjoyed hot drinks and spirited conversations by the fireplace with this stunning view of the Columbia Gorge, animated discussions and debates and classes, and thought-provoking keynote addresses by guests of honor Nalo Hopkinson and Malinda Lo. And, of course, we loved the costumes and dancing at the Midnight Ball.

Thank you for another amazing year. We can’t wait to do it again.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Next year will be Sirens’s fifth, and our theme is “reunion.” We’ll revisit all of our previous themes–warriors, fairies, monsters, and storytellers–and so we’ve invited Alaya Dawn Johnson, Ellen Kushner, Robin LaFevers, and Guadalupe Garcia McCall to represent those themes as our guests of honor. If you are new to their works, please check out our reading list for suggestions on where to start. We’ll be spotlighting each guest in future monthly newsletters, beginning in January.

Sirens will be held from October 10–13, 2013, again at Skamania Lodge outside of Portland, OR. Registrations for Sirens are $175 until January 1, 2013. Our Sirens Supper and Sirens Shuttle tickets are also available, and our gift certificates are a lovely way to encourage your friends to join you. If you have any questions, please see our Questions page or e-mail us (registration at sirensconference.org).

Every year, we are delighted by how welcoming, enthusiastic, and insightful the Sirens community is. The energy and ideas you bring to our events inspire us, and we want to recognize and celebrate the community you’ve all helped to build over the last four years. We hope you’ll join us, and encourage your friends to join us, whether they’ve attended in previous years or are only just learning about us. We welcome anyone interested in fantasy literature by or about women; readers, writers, educators, publishing professionals, librarians, and scholars are all welcome.

 

GET INVOLVED

If you’d like to help us make our reunion year even more fantastic, we have many ways for you to get involved:

 

THINGS WE’RE EXCITED ABOUT THIS MONTH:

  • Laini Taylor’s Days of Blood and Starlight is out November 6! Laini is sponsoring a Book Trailer Contest on her blog. Details are here. (Send us links to your entries—we’d love to see them!) -SRG
  • Nnedi Okorafor’s Zahrah the Windseeker won the Black Excellence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature (Fiction). See Nnedi’s blog for details. -HT
  • Also out November 6: Sherwood Smith’s Revenant Eve. –AL

Do you have book-related news for us? Send us your links and announcements (help at sirensconference.org) by November 30 and we’ll add them to the December newsletter.

Until next month, happy reading!

 


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

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Sirens Newsletter – Volume 4, Issue 12 (October 2012)

Checking In at Sirens
You can pick up your registration (and a snack) starting at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 11, in the Conference Center Lobby. Remember to bring a photo ID and a copy of your registration. If you’re a presenter or a volunteer, you’ll also check in with our programming and volunteer coordinators for any last-minute communication and a copy of your schedule. Starting at 4:00 p.m., we’ll open the Rainier room nearby for chatting, informal games, and relaxation.

If you have a ticket for the Sirens Supper, we’ll bring your registration to you on Wednesday night.

 

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 11, 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 are a few still 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 range from 2-2.5 hours long on average, but we do have a handful of shifts that are only an hour each.

Claiming even one shift would be a huge help to the conference, and it’s easy! For instance, if you’re already planning on attending the programming during a particular shift, you can sign up to cover that room. Room monitors 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 at http://www.sirensconference.org/connect/volunteers.html and e-mail us at (volunteers2012 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 to support both Sirens and female fantasy authors, 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.

 

Auction
Just a reminder–our auction format is changing a little this year, and because of this we’ll need to have a comprehensive list of auction items by the end of the day on Thursday, October 11. All sorts of items are welcome! If you’d like to donate an item or you have questions, please e-mail Amy Tenbrink (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!

 

Midnight Ball
On our last evening of Sirens, we invite you to our very own Midnight Ball! Ballgowns are always fun, as are glass shoes, but fantasy creations, cocktail dresses, jeans, and fuzzy bunny slippers are also welcome. Dancing is de rigueur, of course, but our Murder Mystery and our silent auction will run during the Midnight Ball as well. The ball will begin at 9:00 p.m. in Stevenson Ballroom B, and will end at the stroke of midnight.

Do you have a request for the music playlist? Please send it to (help at sirensconference.org) by October 8 and we’ll pass it on to the playlist organizer.

 

Contacting Us During Sirens
Many of our staff will be traveling to Stevenson as early as this Friday, October 5, 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 e-mails 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 Conference Center Lobby starting at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 11.

 

Sirens Shuttle Meet-ups
Does your flight arrive early on Wednesday or Thursday, or are you driving to PDX and meeting the shuttle there? There will be meet-ups for attendees at Portland International Airport on Wednesday, October 10, and Thursday, October 11 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. 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
Please note there is no event host!

Sirens Shuttle check-in point:
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.

 

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 more comfortable. Sturdy closed-toe walking shoes are recommended, as is a raincoat or umbrella. And don’t forget your identification! For more packing tips, please check out the Travel page of our website at http://www.sirensconference.org/travel/gorge.html#packing.

Driving Directions
Directions for those driving to Skamania Lodge from the north, south, or east can be found on our website at http://www.sirensconference.org/travel/transport.html#driving.

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. Room service is available from 7:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.

The hotel will also offer quick grab-and-go options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the Conference Center Lobby beginning with dinner on Thursday, October 11, and ending with lunch on Sunday, October 14 (excluding meals that Sirens provides).

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 at http://cityofstevenson.com/dining.html.

 

You’re Excited About…

Sirens is next week!!! –Amy

Both The Crimson Crown, the last book in the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima, and Beautiful Redemption, the last book in the Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, are due out October 23rd. –Sabs

Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith sold Stranger to Viking Childrens. –J.

2011 Guest of Honor Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death won the Carl Brandon Society Kindred Award for Best Speculative Fiction Dealing with Race/Ethnicity, and she has a new novella out called African Sunrise. –KP

The Guardian has a piece on Phillip Pullman’s new book: retellings of 50 of the stories of the Brothers Grimm. –Simon

Seen on @nalohopkinson: The #audiobook of my novel Midnight Robber is out, narrated by the extraordinarily talented Robin Miles http://t.co/Wwm3Ks93

 

Twitter Schedule
Beginning on Thursday, October 11, 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 Sunday, October 14. (The schedule will not be cross-posted to 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 Site Visit Update

Happy spring! Our Sirens team, on a visit to Skamania last week, had a beautiful mix of sunshine and temperamental rain, much like you might expect from the Pacific Northwest in April. Which means that our pictures from our rooms at Skamania range from this:

To this:

But don’t let me get ahead of myself with the amazing pictures of the Columbia River and the Cascade Mountains! We were there to do things other than gawk, and I promise we did.

As many of you know, moving a conference takes a lot of time, consideration, and care. Things that we’ve long since figured out about Vail – the conference schedule, the marketplace, Jake the Bus Driver – have to be reconsidered and reconfigured. So off we went to Skamania to meet with our hotel team.

You’ll be pleased to know that Skamania remains simply wonderful: cozy public spaces, thoughtful staff, glorious views. Our team has voted, and we think it’s actually prettier than Vail. (Seriously, take a look at the pictures above.) And it’s only 207 feet above sea level!

The lobby has all-day coffee, tea, and cocoa; a Forest Service office with advice about surrounding trails and wildlife; and a fabulous sitting area that offers a three-story real-wood fireplace:

And, oh, the view from the lobby looks like this:

The hotel has two restaurants, though, alas, no marketplace, so item number one was to discuss how to offer attendees quick-shop meal options throughout the day. I’m happy to report that we’re well on our way to not only doing so, but doing so with locally sourced food. The new chef – who stopped by our breakfast – is charming, fun, and best of all, interested in continuing Skamania’s commitment to local food sourcing. Here are some of his creations:

Green eggs and ham:

And winter desserts:

We’re also well on our way to rolling out custom catering menus for our Sirens meals. We’ve emphasized our desire for local, creative options, so we’re waiting to see if that means Columbia River Gorge fish, pasta with local vegetables, the most fabulous tofu curry, or something entirely different! (Can you tell I’m pulling for the tofu?)

By the way, if you’re taking the Sirens Shuttle, more information is coming soon! But the views along the shuttle route to Skamania look like this:

The view from Vista House:

To the view of Multnomah Falls, the second-highest, year-round waterfall in the United States at 620 feet:

If I were you, I might think about taking the shuttle just so I could gawk without becoming a hazard!

If you feel like relaxing, Skamania – of course! – has a spa and some amazing pools and hot tubs! (We did not take pictures, since there were people, but the outside hot tub is especially fun.) And if you’re feeling more adventurous, there are hiking trails…with evidence of a sasquatch:

Now that we’ve met with the Skamania team, we’ll have more information about our schedule, our menus, our shuttle, and other programs coming in the next couple months. In the meantime, though, remember that our programming submissions deadline is May 6, 2012. And if you have any questions or concerns, just ask!

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