Archive for 2013

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 5, Issue 6 (April 2013)

April’s newsletter features a book giveaway, programming reminders, an author spotlight on Robin LaFevers, and plenty of exciting book news!


Programming Reminders
The deadline to submit programming proposals to Sirens is May 10, 2013—just a month away! Whether you’re almost ready to submit, or still considering ideas, check out our annual series of programming how-to posts on our LiveJournal and our website. Next up is our brainstorming post—feel free to swap ideas and recruit co-presenters in the comment section.


On April 7 from 2-3 p.m. Eastern, we’re hosting a chat to talk about Sirens programming and the fantasy books we’re reading now. We’d love for you to join us!

If you’re looking for panelists or co-presenters, try our Facebook page, LiveJournal, or Sirens message boards.

If you have questions, email (programming at


We’re giving away one copy of Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers. To enter, leave a comment of at least two sentences on our blog telling us about your favorite unlikely ally (in fiction or life) by April 10, 2013. We’ll notify the winner by email.


Author Spotlight: Robin LaFevers
Dark Triumph, Robin LaFevers‘s second book in the His Fair Assassins series, was released April 2. In a starred review, Booklist called Robin “that wonderful sort of storyteller who so completely meshes events, descriptions, and characters that readers get lost in the world she’s concocted.” Grave Mercy, the first in her series of assassin nuns in medieval France, was called an “ambitious tapestry . . . [a] page-turner—with grace” in a Kirkus starred review. It was named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year, and a Booklist Editors’ Choice. Grave Mercy was recently announced as a 2013 RITA finalist in YA.

As R. L. LaFevers, Robin is also the author of several series for younger readers: Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist; Lowthar’s Blade; and the Theodosia books. Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos was a Junior Library Guild selection and a BookSense Summer Pick, and was nominated for the Malice Domestic’s Agatha Award.

Robin LaFevers joins Alaya Dawn Johnson, Ellen Kushner, and Guadalupe Garcia McCall as a guest of honor at Sirens. If you’re new to their works, see our Reading List for suggestions on where to start.


What We’re Excited About This Month

Kate Elliott asks, “Where Goeth Epic Fantasy?” on her blog and LiveJournal.

Laini Taylor is having a book trailer contest for Days of Blood and Starlight! Deadline is May 1.

Mary Robinette Kowal’s Without a Summer, the third Glamourist Histories book, was released April 2.

Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb (The Rain Wild Chronicles #4) is out on April 8.

“Guy Gavriel Kay’s new book River of Stars is out on April 2nd. It’s set about 400 years after his previous book, this time exploring the Northern Song dynasty before and after the fall of Kaifeng. One of the main characters was inspired by Li Qingzhao, arguably the most famous female Chinese poet, and her character is incredibly cool.” –CB

Mette Ivie Harrison’s latest, The Rose Throne, is out May 14. Check out her note on how ideas about gender and magic come into play in the book.

“Sleeping Beauties vs. Gonzo Girls” by Maria Tatar was featured in The New Yorker (we sense a heated roundtable discussion in this).

Malinda Lo’s Adaptation is a finalist in the Children’s/YA category for the 25th Annual Lambda Literary Awards.

Nalo Hopkinson is profiled in the Los Angeles Times.

The Shattered Mountain, a novella in the world of The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, came out March 26.

Skyler White’s and Falling, Fly is on Barnes and Noble’s list of the 20 Best Paranormal Fantasy Novels of the Last Decade.

Meg Belviso and Kate Larking are writing for Fight Like a Girl: A Short Story Anthology.

Do you have exciting book or fantasy-related news for us? Send it to (help at by April 26 and we’ll include it in the next newsletter. (Really! We appreciate hearing about links we might have missed.)

Until next time, happy reading!


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

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 5, Issue 5 (March 2013)

March’s newsletter features programming news, chat announcements, an author spotlight on Ellen Kushner, and lots of exciting book news.

Congratulations to Hannah Berry, who won our giveaway for Alaya Dawn Johnson’s The Summer Prince!

We’ll have another giveaway next month to celebrate the release of Robin LaFevers’s Dark Triumph, the sequel to Grave Mercy.


Programming News
During the month of March, we’ll be posting our annual guide to programming on the Sirens LiveJournal. If you’d like to submit a programming proposal, or you’d like to know more about the kinds of programming we offer, these posts are a great place to get started.

The deadline for programming proposals is May 10, 2013.

See the guidelines section of our website for more information on putting a proposal together. If you have ideas for programming you’d like to see others present, share them with us at one of our brainstorming chats. If you’re curious about past programming, check out our archive.


Upcoming Chats
If you’re on Twitter, be sure to follow @sirens_con—we’ll be hosting a live Twitter Q&A on Friday, March 15th, 9:30-10 p.m. Eastern. Join some of the Sirens staff as we brainstorm programming ideas and answer your questions.

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.

Our chats are scheduled for:
Tuesday, March 26th, 9-10 p.m. Eastern
Sunday, April 7th, 2-3 p.m. Eastern


Author Spotlight: Ellen Kushner
Ellen Kushner’s career spans writing, editing, radio hosting, and performing. Her first novel, Swordspoint: A Melodrama of Manners, which began her Riverside series, was hailed as the progenitor of the “Mannerpunk” (or “Fantasy of Manners”) school of urban fantasy. Her second novel, Thomas the Rhymer, won both the 1991 World Fantasy Award and the Mythopoeic Award. With Delia Sherman she co-wrote The Fall of the Kings, and her most recent novel, The Privilege of the Sword, a genre-crossing, gender-bending novel published by Bantam Books and Small Beer Press, earned an eclectic range of honors from New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age to finalist for the Nebula and Tiptree Awards, and won the Locus Award.

Among Ellen’s many other projects are Welcome to Bordertown (co-edited with Holly Black), an anthology of new stories set in Terri Windling’s seminal shared-world series, and The Witches of Lublin, a musical audio drama written with Elizabeth Schwartz & Yale Strom for public radio. Ellen is also the co-founder of The Interstitial Arts Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports work that exists between genres.

We are very excited to have Ellen Kushner as one of our guests of honor at Sirens this year, along with Alaya Dawn Johnson, Robin LaFevers, and Guadalupe Garcia McCall. If you’re new to their works, check out our reading list for a place to start.


What We’re Excited About This Month:

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson was released on March 1! The author answers questions on NPR’s First Reads series and appears on PW KidsCast (podcast).

Guadalupe Garcia McCall is on a winning streak.

Malinda Lo: A Year of Thinking About Diversity.

Jasmine Richard’s The Book of Wonders is featured on Day 18 of The Brown Bookshelf’s 28 Days Later initiative.

Uma Krishnaswami takes on Thumbelina.

Horror, fantasy, and Nnedi Okorafor — and the cover for Kabu Kabu (out in October).

Rosamund Hodge on Sundered.

An excerpt of Sister Mine by Nalo Hopkinson (out March 12).

“Kyra, a 16-year-old Master Potioner (specialty: poisonous weaponry) is on a mission to kill her best friend, Princess Ariana.” Poison by Bridget Zinn.

Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, is out March 19.

Malinda Lo recommends five queer fairy tales.

Janni Lee Simner’s Faerie After (May 28) gets a website.

Ellen Kushner, Terri Windling, and Holly Black answer questions about Welcome to Bordertown.

Karen Healey (author of When We Wake) is doing a live chat with Malinda Lo (author of Adaptation) on March 23.

Do you have exciting book news for us? Send it to (help at by March 27th and we’ll include it in the next newsletter.

Until next time, happy reading!


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

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 5, Issue 4 (February 2013)

February’s Newsletter features a giveaway of The Summer Prince, our programming kickoff, and a lot of book news.


The Summer Prince Giveaway!
We have a copy of Alaya Dawn Johnson’s The Summer Prince to send to one lucky commenter! Here’s what it’s about:

The lush city of Palmares Tres shimmers with tech and tradition, with screaming gossip casters and practiced politicians. In the midst of this vibrant metropolis, June Costa creates art that’s sure to make her legendary. But her dreams of fame become something more when she meets Enki, the bold new Summer King. The whole city falls in love with him (including June’s best friend, Gil). But June sees more to Enki than amber eyes and a lethal samba. She sees a fellow artist.

Together, June and Enki will stage explosive, dramatic projects that Palmares Tres will never forget. They will add fuel to a growing rebellion against the government’s strict limits on new tech. And June will fall deeply, unfortunately in love with Enki. Because like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.

If you’d like us to send you a copy, tell us about your favorite piece of art—real or imaginary!—in a comment of at least two sentences by February 25, 2013, at this post on the Sirens blog.

We’ll choose one lucky winner from the participants and contact them for a mailing address. 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.


Programming Kickoff
The programming team at Sirens is ready to receive your proposals for this year’s conference! Programming at Sirens takes many forms: papers and presentations, pre-empaneled sets of papers, panels, workshops, roundtable discussions, and afternoon classes and the majority of programming for Sirens comes from proposals submitted by attendees. New and returning attendees alike are welcome to participate. We consider proposals from a range of perspectives, fields, and experiences. Anyone eligible to attend Sirens is eligible to submit a programming proposal.

In March, we’ll be running a series of how-to guides for new and experienced presenters, and soon we’ll be announcing our brainstorming and question-and-answer chats. In the meantime, here is some essential information to get you started:

Deadline: All proposals must be submitted through our online system by May 10, 2013.

Theme: This year’s theme is “reunion.” Remix and revisit any of the themes from the first four years of Sirens or explore other topics related to women in fantasy literature.

Requirements: You don’t have to be registered at the time you make your proposal, but accepted presenters must be registered by July 1, 2013, to confirm attendance.

For more information: The programming section of the Sirens website has information on presentation formats and lengths, things to consider, and the support the conference may be able to provide (projection services, easels, etc.).

If you have a question that’s not answered by the website, the programming team can be reached at (programming at


Registration Price Jumps March 31
The next price increase for Sirens will happen on March 31, 2013.

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 for more information or to register now.


What We’re Excited About This Month:

Holly Black revealed the cover for The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.

Guadalupe Garcia McCall’s Summer of the Mariposas is on the 2013 Amelia Bloomer list recognizing “well written and illustrated books with significant feminist content, intended for young readers from birth to 18 years old.”

Alaya Dawn Johnson is featured in a profile at The Brown Bookshelf.

If you purchased Malinda Lo’s Adaptation as an e-book, check out her announcement to see if you need to update it. She has announced the title and cover for the sequel.

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan is featured in Publishers Weekly. It was released on February 5.

Speaking of dragons, Seraphina by Rachel Hartman won the 2013 Morris Award, which “honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature.”

Tamora Pierce won the 2013 Edwards award, which “honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature.”

Cindy Pon on virgin saviors and murderous succubi.

Nalo Hopkinson’s Sister Mine, out in March, will also be released as an audiobook.

Laini Taylor has news on the film producer for Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

Have exciting fantasy book news for us? Send it to (help at by February 27th and we’ll include it in our next newsletter!

Until next time, happy reading!


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

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 5, Issue 3 (January 2013)

Happy New Year! January’s newsletter features the first of four author spotlights, programming information, and book news that excites us this month.


Author Spotlight: Alaya Dawn Johnson
Alaya Dawn Johnson’s first young adult novel, The Summer Prince, set in a futuristic Brazil, will be published in March 2013. She is the author of Racing the Dark and The Burning City, the Spirit Binders series, which explore a fantastic South Pacific and a world of elemental spirits, and the Zephyr Hollis novels, Moonshine and Wicked City, in which vampires and djinni rub shoulders with humans in Prohibition-era New York City. Alaya graduated from Columbia University with a BA in East Asian Languages and Cultures in 2004.

The School Library Journal review of Racing the Dark compared it to work by both Paolo Coehlo and Ursula K. LeGuin, and a Locus review of the Spirit Binders books called her writing “eloquent and unflinchingly vivid.” Alaya’s short stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Fantasy Magazine,, and in the anthologies Zombies vs. Unicorns and Welcome to Bordertown. Her novella “Shard of Glass” was shortlisted for the Carl Brandon Society Parallax Award.

We are very excited to have Alaya Dawn Johnson join Ellen Kushner, Robin LaFevers, and Guadalupe Garcia McCall as our guests of honor at this year’s Sirens. If you are new to their work, see our reading list for suggestions.


The deadline for programming proposals is May 10, 2013, which means you have just under four months to design a paper (or set of papers), panel, workshop, roundtable, or informal afternoon class. All of Sirens’s programming is presented by our attendees and our guests of honor, and we encourage any potential attendees to submit proposals for programming. Please visit the programming page and our call for proposals for more information.

While each of the first four Sirens themes considered a particular aspect of women in fantasy literature, this year’s theme of “reunion” offers us an opportunity to revisit any of our previous themes of warriors, fairies, monsters, and retellings. We also consider proposals focusing on other works and issues that address women in fantasy literature. Collaborative presentations such as pre-empaneled papers, joint presentations, and workshops are especially welcome.

In the coming months, we’ll host brainstorming sessions, discuss specific types of programming, and walk you through the process of creating and submitting your proposal.

If you’re looking for ideas or inspiration, please browse our archive, or check out our 2009—2011 compendium to explore some of our programming from previous years. Discuss ideas and invite collaborators with friends, colleagues, and fellow attendees on our message boards or Facebook page. You may wish to take another look at our reading list, too; it contains many new and lesser-known works that might spark your imagination. We’re looking forward to your submissions!


What We’re Excited About This Month:

Prophecy by Ellen Oh was released on January 2. –SG

Rise by Andrea Cremer was released on January 8. –KM

There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya is due out on January 29. –SC

Do you have exciting fantasy links or book news? Send it to (help at by January 31 and we’ll include it in February’s newsletter. Happy reading!


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

Presented by Narrate Conferences, Inc.


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