Archive for August 2012

Registration, Tickets, Hotel, and Volunteering Reminder

Registration for Sirens ends three weeks from today. (We’re getting so close!) The deadline for registration is Friday, September 7, and we very much recommend registering by then. Though we’ll have a few registrations available at the door, it will be only a few, and they will be sold to the first buyers who request them. If you’ve been waiting to register, please don’t miss the deadline! Our at-the-door costs are higher, and yours will be too.

Also, we’ve got a handful of Sirens Supper and Sirens Shuttle tickets remaining. We’d love to have you join us for our pre-conference staff dinner or on our shuttle trip to and from the airport. All payments for registrations and tickets are due no later than September 14.

Hotel reservations for Skamania Lodge can be made until September 18. And, of course, if you’re looking for roommates or travel buddies, please feel free to visit the forums and to post on the Sirens Facebook:

If you have a little time free during Sirens—or just time when you’re planning to be in one room for a couple of sessions in a row—we’d love to have you join our volunteer team for 2012. Typically, volunteers stay in a room during presentations, help the speakers get situated, and keep things running on time. You can find out more on the Sirens Volunteers page.

Questions? Please feel free to ask them here or via (help at See you in October!

Sirens News – Volume 4, Special Edition: Conference Schedule

Conference Schedule
The complete conference schedule for Sirens is now available on the Schedule page of the Sirens website. We’re sure that you’ll wish you had a Time-Turner so that you could be in three places at once; we always do! That’s a testament to this year’s presenters, and a challenge we’re extremely grateful to have.

If you are a presenter, you should have received a notice regarding the time and location for your presentation(s), as well as information about the audio-visual equipment available to you, if any. If you did not receive this e-mail, please check your bulk folder, and if you still can’t find a notice for one of your presentations, please write to (programming at


Schedule Notes
Because we’ve moved to a new location for 2012, we’ve adjusted our overall schedule to work with the space we have available to us. That’s affected the schedule in ways that might seem odd at first glance! Here’s what you need to know about this year’s changes.

Wednesday, October 10
If you’re an early arrival for the Sirens Supper, we’ll send you an e-mail about where to meet for dinner. If you’re taking the Sirens Shuttle on this day, we’ll e-mail you with the pickup point information in early October.

Thursday, October 11
You’ll notice that this year, we’re opening conference registration pickup at 3:00 p.m., a little later than we normally do. (If you are arriving early, let’s meet up for lunch at noon in the River Rock at Skamania Lodge.) Starting at 3:00, we’ll have our Information Desk in the Skamania conference center lobby, and we’ll have another room just down the hall where you can meet, chat, play games, and have afternoon tea. We’ve listed a location for the Sirens Shuttle on this day, but please do check your Sirens Shuttle e-mail in early October if you’ll be riding on Thursday; the bus vendor might change our meeting point. All shuttle riders will be at Skamania in time to grab dinner in the River Rock or the Cascade Dining Room before the dessert reception; the hotel is also planning to offer inexpensive grab-and-go meals in the conference center lobby, so that’s another option.

Friday, October 12, and Saturday, October 13
This year, we accepted more presentations than ever! We’ll still run three tracks of programming, but our programs will stretch later into the afternoon and evening. Also, we don’t have a separate ballroom to which we can adjourn for keynote lunches, so we’ll be clearing and repurposing one of the rooms we’re using for presentations during the middle of the day, and we’ve decided to put a break at this point in the schedule for 2012. At 11:00 a.m., you can join our exploratory programming team for writing challenges, and if you’d like to go hiking on the resort golf course trails or go swimming/hot tubbing with other attendees, we’ve put those on the schedule as suggestions. It’s also a good time for borrowing a bike at the fitness center, visiting the gift shop, squeezing in a pedicure, grabbing that forgotten item from your hotel room, or just relaxing in the main lobby.

After lunch, the hotel staff needs time to reset our space, so we’ll host author signings during that time. (And if you’re an attending author who would like to participate, please get in touch with Amy Tenbrink at (amy.tenbrink at as soon as possible.)

All of that said, we’ve squeezed in some free space for meet-ups and those discussions that just weren’t ready for programming proposals yet. There are five hours available as sign-up space; you can reserve a room once you arrive at Sirens.

Sunday, October 14
Finally, on Sunday, we’ll start the morning early to ensure that attendees catching mid-day flights to the East Coast have plenty of time to get through security lines. (Our tips: Bring your luggage to breakfast, and use the business center in the conference area to print your boarding pass for free before you leave.) If you’re not taking the Sirens Shuttle, we’ll provide meet-up points for creating and crafting with others, or squeezing in a few last minutes outside (in Washington, that means rain or shine) or in the pool until it’s time to check out.


If you’ll be attending Sirens, we could use a few extra hands! Volunteer shifts vary in length and responsibilities. If you’re a presenter who feels confident in managing the room while presenting, you may volunteer to monitor the shift that overlaps your presentation.

Most volunteer shifts are low-key, and nearly all of them are within waving distance of the Information Desk should you encounter a problem and need help. In general, because of Sirens’s size, our greatest need is for people to monitor a morning or afternoon’s worth of presentations. You might help people find seats, turn microphones on or off (or up or down), give presenters their five-minute warning to wrap up, and collect lost and found items. This kind of help goes a long way toward making Sirens run smoothly, and is much appreciated.

To volunteer, please visit the Volunteers page and fill out the volunteer form. You’ll be invited to join a Google Group with a light volume of informational e-mails. If you’re a returning volunteer, you don’t need to fill out the form—just keep an eye out for e-mail from the Google Group. Many thanks in advance!


Questions? You can comment here or write to us at (help at

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 4, Issue 10 (August 2012)

Registration and Ticket Deadline
Registration for Sirens, including the purchase of tickets for the Sirens Shuttle and Sirens Supper, ends on September 7, 2012. All payments are due no later than September 14, 2012, even if this means you have fewer than the usual 30 days to complete your payment. Any registrations or tickets that are still unpaid after September 14 will be canceled. We will have only a handful of on-site registrations available on a first-come, first-served basis. Since we can’t hold them for any particular potential attendee, we strongly recommend registering in advance!

As we get closer to Sirens, please keep an eye on your inbox for e-mails from us about where to check in for the Sirens Shuttle and how to pick up your registration materials when you arrive at Skamania Lodge.

If you can’t make it this year, please consider purchasing a supporting registration. This helps us present Sirens this year and offer Sirens in future years, and you’ll receive a 2012 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.)


Sirens Supper
There are only about a dozen tickets remaining for the Sirens Supper, our annual pre-conference staff dinner. If you’ll be in the Portland area on the evening of October 10 and would like to join us for a laid-back evening of chat before the conference begins, we suggest you get your ticket before they’re gone! Tickets are $60, and this year’s Pacific Northwest menu will include: house green salad with Northwest organic greens, heirloom cherry tomatoes, English cucumbers, and housemade herb vinaigrette; forest mushroom soup with almond milk vermouth; wild rice and Hood River cherry pilaf; roasted asparagus; tenderloin of pork with pear-brandy demi-glace; grilled salmon with lemon butter sauce and tomato-artichoke ragout; tofu and vegetable curry with coconut milk; rolls and butter; huckleberry crème brûlée; three-berry cobbler; and coffee, iced tea, and lemonade.

Tickets for the Sirens Supper can be added to a new or an existing registration. Family or friends who are traveling with you but not registered for Sirens are welcome to join us for the Sirens Supper, too—just add their ticket to your registration!


Sirens Shuttle
Tickets are still available for the Sirens Shuttle. You can add them to a new or an existing registration even if you don’t have your flight details yet. A round-trip ticket on the shuttle, at $75 per person, is less than half the cost of a commercial van service, and your trip to Skamania will include a brief stop at Multnomah Falls on the Columbia River. The Sirens Shuttle is also a great chance to meet others, decompress, and enjoy the beautiful Columbia Gorge scenery.


Dietary Information
All conference registrations include a dessert reception, two keynote lunches, an afternoon tea, and Sunday breakfast. At this time, we have finalized our buffet menus, which are available on the Featured Events page of our website. (We’ve also sent all registered attendees an e-mail with the menu information.) We know that people have a variety of food allergies and other dietary restrictions, and we’d like to know what your restrictions are so that we may work with the hotel’s catering department to make your Sirens experience as enjoyable as possible.

If you have questions or concerns about the menus or the ingredients, please e-mail us at (registration at If we don’t know the answer, we’re happy to ask the hotel.

It takes time to arrange alternatives with the hotel, and we want to make sure that we have time to do so. If we have not heard from you by September 7, we will assume that you are able to eat from our standard menus.


Hotel Reservations Deadline
Have you made your reservation yet? Skamania Lodge, like the Vail Cascade Resort and Spa, operates a little differently from most hotels. One of those differences is that you must make or change reservations earlier than you might for other venues. You can reserve the discounted Sirens rate from October 7-16, in case you’d like to extend your stay before or after Sirens, but reservations and changes must be made by September 18, 2012. For more about Skamania’s policies, including how to reserve a room, please visit the Skamania Lodge page on the Sirens website.

If you would like to find a roommate (or two or three!) to share the cost of a hotel room, you can connect with other attendees on our message boards.


Programming Sponsorships
Another way to support Sirens is by sponsoring a presentation. To do so, visit the accepted programming page at, and follow the link to donate. You’ll select the presentation you wish to sponsor (if it’s not on the list, it’s been claimed), give us the sponsor name you’d like to have listed publicly, and follow the instructions. We’ll list your name on the website and with the presentation summary in the program book.

In addition to individual programming sponsorships, we are always accepting general donations at Your support helps to defray the cost of Sirens, including the cost of providing audio-visual support for presentations. Thank you in advance!


Author Signings
Narrate Conferences, our presenting nonprofit, will run a new and used bookstore during Sirens. Our goal is to support both Sirens and female fantasy authors by selling new and used books, and we hope you’ll help us out.

If you are a published author, please let us know! We’d like to include you in our author signing time and have new books on hand. We have access to many books from major publishers; for those books we don’t have access to, like out-of-print titles or books that aren’t available through a major distributor, we have suggestions for how to make sure that your books are available at Sirens. Please contact Amy Tenbrink (amy.tenbrink at to take part.


You’re Excited About…

The first four chapters of Malinda Lo’s Adaptation are available on Little Brown School’s Facebook page!!  –Anonymous

The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan comes out on August 14!  –Amy

The third book in Kiersten White’s Paranormalcy series is out! Endlessly was released on July 24th. And Girl of Nightmares, the sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood, by Kendare Blake is due out August 7th!  –Sabrina


Last year, we were so overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity of those donating auction items and those bidding on them. It was a great fundraiser for Sirens and went a long way in covering our conference costs–so let’s do it again! We’re changing our auction format a bit this year, so we’ll need to have a comprehensive list of auction items by the end of Thursday, October 11, and all sorts of items are welcome. If you’d like to donate an item and you have questions, please write to Amy Tenbrink (amy.tenbrink at (She’d love to hear what you’re planning and address any concerns you might have.) Also, for those of you with bulky items, we can provide a shipping address, if you’d like. And, of course, thanks in advance for your support.


Spotlight: Guest of Honor Nalo Hopkinson
Nalo Hopkinson has published five novels and numerous short stories, and has edited or co-edited four anthologies, most in the realms of science fiction and fantasy. She is a recipient of the Locus Award for Best New Writer, the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and the Ontario Arts Council Foundation Award for Emerging Writers. Her works have won a World Fantasy Award, a Gaylactic Spectrum Award, an Aurora Award, and the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic (twice), and have been nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award, the James R. Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award, the Hugo Award for Best Novel, and the Nebula Award for Best Novel. Brown Girl in the Ring was also a finalist in Canada Reads. Nalo holds an MA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, and is currently an associate professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. She has served as faculty for Clarion East, Clarion West, and Clarion South, and she is a founding member of the Carl Brandon Society.

Her website can be found at

Her blog is at

She can be found on Twitter at

A few compelling book covers:


Volunteering at Sirens
Sirens will be here before you know it, and we’d love to have your help. Typically, we need people to be the point of contact during presentations—they welcome and introduce presenters, help latecomers find a seat, collect forgotten items, and call for help when audio-visual equipment goes on the fritz. (Some folks choose to volunteer for presentations to ensure that they have a seat for their favorite items!) We can sometimes use extra hands to direct traffic, carry boxes, and so on as well. If you’re interested, please visit this page to join the volunteers group (if you’ve joined in the past, there’s no need to re-apply). You’ll be the first to know about volunteer opportunities.

Many thanks in advance!


Questions? You can comment here or write to us at (help at

Presented by Narrate Conferences, Inc.


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