Archive for July 2016

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.



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 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.


Seven Inclusive Fantasy Books Publishing in 2016 to Add to Your To-Read Pile

By Shveta Thakrar (@ShvetaThakrar)

As you may know, inclusivity in books—particularly fantasy—is extremely dear to my heart, so I put together a list of books published in 2016 by and about women of color. I’ve read some of these already and can’t wait for the rest. I hope you’ll check them out!


1. The Girl From Everywhere, Heidi Heilig (February 16)
As long as Nix’s father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix. But the end to it all looms closer every day.
2. The Door at the Crossroads, Zetta Elliott (April 8)
The Door at the Crossroads is the long-awaited sequel to A Wish After Midnight, in which Genna Colon makes a fateful wish that sends her and her boyfriend Judah spiraling through time.
3. The Rose and the Dagger, Renée Ahdieh (April 26)
The sequel to The Wrath and the Dawn, a lushly told retelling of One Thousand One Arabian Nights.
4. The Star-Touched Queen, Roshani Chokshi (April 26)
Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen? (Hindu/Vedic mythology and folklore.)
5. The Reader, Traci Chee (September 13)
The only clue to both Sefia’s aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object Sefia comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society.
6. Sacrifice, Cindy Pon (September 27)
Sacrifice, the sequel to the delicious (and ending on a cliffhanger!) Serpentine, plunges Skybright into the terrifying underworld where demons are bred and whisks her up to the magnificent Mountain of Heavenly Peace where the gods dwell. (Chinese mythology.)
7. When the Moon Was Ours, Anna-Marie McLemore (October 6)
When the Moon Was Ours follows two characters through a story that has multicultural elements and magical realism, but also has central LGBT themes—a transgender boy, the best friend he’s falling in love with, and both of them deciding how they want to define themselves. (It also has roses that grow out of wrists and witch girls and a town full of moons.)

Shveta Thakrar is a writer of South Asian–flavored fantasy, social justice activist, and part-time nagini. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Flash Fiction Online, Interfictions Online, Clockwork Phoenix 5, Mythic Delirium, Uncanny, Faerie, Strange Horizons, Mothership Zeta, Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories, and Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold. When not spinning stories about spider silk and shadows, magic and marauders, and courageous girls illuminated by dancing rainbow flames, Shveta crafts, devours books, daydreams, draws, travels, bakes, and occasionally even plays her harp.


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