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Archive for Sirens 2011

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 3, Issue 3 (January 2011)

A Whole New Year
Can you believe that it’s already 2011? We can’t! That’s only four months (and a little bit) to have your programming proposal submitted and only nine months (and a little bit) until Sirens. Our new year’s resolution? Get through the Sirens reading list before the conference!

We’ll get to books below, but let’s talk about programming first. If you’ve attended Sirens in the past, you know that the conference programming–all those wonderful presentations and panel debates and discussions–depends on attendee participation. While we create the schedule, events, and the conference as a whole, the presentations–the papers, panels, workshops, roundtable discussions, and afternoon classes–are presented by you. If there’s a topic you’d like to see on the schedule, design it–and then propose it, or nudge someone else to do so or to join you as a co-presenter. (You can even use the Tell a Friend feature to send a note via e-mail or use our message boards to brainstorm or find a collaborator.)

Start with a few big ideas: Sirens focuses on women in fantasy–as authors, as readers, as artists, as professionals, as characters of interest in fantasy works–so connect your presentation to this overarching idea. The 2011 theme is “monsters,” and we encourage you to dig into, analyze, and deconstruct the idea of women as monsters, so presentations related to the theme are of special interest, but in no way does your presentation have to be about monsters. You can get a sense of timelines and information you need to prepare on the call for proposals page. Proposals will be accepted until May 7, 2011.

Keep an eye out here for insider tips for preparing a proposal. We’ll start programming-focused posts on LiveJournal in February.

 

Chat
The next chat will be on February 12, 2011. We’ll make it a combined chat: lots of book talk, and lots of programming brainstorming talk. Questions welcome!

Date: February 12
Time: 3:00 p.m. Eastern/noon Pacific
Location: http://www.sirensconference.org/chat/
You don’t need any special software or programs to participate; the page will turn into a chat room at the appropriate time. (You may need to refresh the page.)

 

Fun Stuff
The Narrate CafePress store has new Sirens merchandise for sale–and haven’t you always wanted a monster water bottle? (Our team is presently debating whether this is a water bottle for monsters or a bottle with monster water.) Also, you can buy reading list books through our links to independent bookseller The Tattered Cover, which recently added Google eBooks to their offerings. Some proceeds from using these links are returned to Narrate Conferences, which we put back into funding Sirens. Check out our page here.

 

We’re Excited About…
We’re adding a new feature to our newsletter highlighting new and cool things related to Sirens. Do you have a fantasy book release in February? Will you have a short story out next month? Did you just sell your first novel? Does it have to do with women in fantasy in some way? Send your preferred name, a sentence or two about your news, and any important dates or links to (hallie at sirensconference.org) or leave us a comment, and we’ll feature you in next month’s newsletter.

In the meantime, this month, we’re super-excited about:

  • Slice of Cherry, Dia Reeves’s new book about Portero. If you haven’t read her first book, Bleeding Violet, what are you waiting for? Hanna, our heroine, shows up in Portero, Texas, talking to her dead father, about to meet her mother for the first time. Hanna, mentally ill, is strong, stubborn, clever and amazing–and she’ll need all of her wit and resourcefulness, since Portero is the new and improved Hellmouth. Bleeding Violet is a wild ride, and I can’t wait to get my hands on Slice of Cherry, also set in Portero. (Warning: Definite triggers in Bleeding Violet for self-harm.) –Amy
  • Sapphique, the sequel to Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, came out in the U.S. on December 28. Now I can strongarm more people into reading this fascinating dystopian YA duo that is both fantasy and science fiction. –Hallie
  • 2011 Guest of Honor Justine Larbalestier received the 2009 Carl Brandon Kindred Award, given to any work of speculative fiction dealing with issues of race and ethnicity by the Carl Brandon Society. Read more about the award, other awards, and winners here. –Hallie
  • Colorado author Hilari Bell’s new series, Trickster, is out this month. The Enchanted Inkpot LiveJournal community has an interview with the author here. –Sabrina

 

Sirens Review Squad
Please welcome thistleingrey and Jazz Sexton as guest reviewers for 2011. Keep an eye out here for their features on the Sirens reading list and other books.

 

Conference Planning Corner
We also wanted to add a monthly feature where we answer your questions about conference planning. Why is Sirens set in Vail? Why did we move to buffet meals in 2010? How many books do we read a year, anyway? If you have questions, whatever they may be, about Sirens and our planning process, please send them to (help at sirensconference.org). And in the meantime, let’s talk about Colorado, Vail, retreats, and altitude.

Why Vail?
When we were designing Sirens, we were looking to create a retreat: a place where people could relax, certainly, but particularly a place where women could escape the expectations placed on them by the world at large. We wanted a safe space where people could engage in lively discussions, but also leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, ready to take on the world.

For us, that meant that we needed to find an escape. We considered locations in large and even mid-sized cities, of course. (Our two conferences prior to Sirens were set in New Orleans and Chicago!) But setting a conference in a city comes with a wealth of (yes, fun!) distractions: great places to eat; lots of museums, arts and sporting events; alternate hotels; and so forth. To us, that looked like a blast, but not necessarily relaxing and, in a lot of ways, even detrimental to forming a community at Sirens. If our attendees are all out sightseeing, what happens to the lively discussions that are so much a part of Sirens?

So we looked elsewhere, smaller places, sometimes off the beaten path. We considered lots of locations, from upstate New York to the dunes of South Carolina, the north woods of Minnesota to the Colorado Rocky Mountains, the deserts outside Tempe to the wilds of the Cascade Mountains east of Seattle. It was a lovely exploration of some of the best of America, actually, and you might still see some of these places for future Sirens.

But Vail won, at least for our first three years, for lots of reasons. Denver is a major airline hub, and its central location means that people from the east coast, the west coast and everywhere from Minnesota to Texas can get here in a couple hours. It’s small enough to have a centralized airport system, as opposed to, say, New York or even Los Angeles, which makes it possible for us to offer the Sirens Shuttle. The scenery is gorgeous, so the trip from the airport can be awe-inspiring, and we know that many people find a weekend high in the Rockies to be relaxing in just the way that we wanted.

And, of course, Sirens is presented by Narrate, a Colorado company. Sirens is a local conference for us, and something we can offer people who live in the middle of the country. We are exempt from sales tax in Colorado, which brings our costs down significantly (not only is catering taxed, the catering service charge is taxed!), and several members of our team live in Colorado, which also brings our costs down significantly (no shipping!). The Rocky Mountains also come with an off-season, which a lot of resorts in sunnier climates don’t have, which helps us reduce our costs even further. For a start-up conference, cost management is essential to success–and being able to continue offering Sirens in future years. To be honest, moving Sirens out of Colorado will probably increase our costs 20%, and finding a way to make that up, either through reduced expenses or additional registration or donation revenue, is a challenge.

But the altitude, you say! Oh, we know. We live here! The altitude can be tough, but it’s also manageable for most people. Did you know that most airplane cabins are pressurized at about Vail’s elevation? Did you also know that many of the issues that people attribute to altitude–headaches, tiredness, insomnia–usually result from dehydration? When our families and friends visit, we greet them at the airport with Gatorade and aspirin. And then we tell them to slow down, take a nap, sit on the porch and watch the scenery for a while, read a book–and relax already!

And that’s why we started Sirens in Vail. Sirens won’t necessarily stay in Vail, but we’ll be there at least for 2011. And we have lots of tips and tricks for managing both travel and the altitude, so if you have concerns, please e-mail us at (help at sirensconference.org) and we’ll pass them along!

 


Have questions? You can leave them here in the comments section or e-mail them to (help at sirensconference.org).

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 3, Issue 2 (December 2010)

Updates
December is usually a quiet month for us, and it’s a busy time for many of you. But we do have some Sirens and Narrate Conferences news to share before we go into hibernation until the new year!

 

Chat
There is no December chat, but we’ll schedule one in January.

 

Art!
The downloads page on the Sirens website has buttons, banners, icons, and more with our 2011 monster artwork.

If you’re using a Sirens button, banner, or another download on your personal site, check out our banner exchange page to see if you’re eligible to trade links. We’d love to feature you as a supporter!

 

Narrate Conferences Boot Camp
For those of you interested in staffing a conference, now or in the future, boot camp is a great way to learn about the planning that goes into even a small event. More information can be found here. The application deadline is December 15, 2010, and we’d love to have you.

 

Sirens Review Squad
We asked if you’d like to be more involved in reading and sharing reviews at the end of this year’s Sirens, and we were encouraged by your response! We’d like to move forward with this project, so if you’re interested in reading and reviewing fantasy books by women authors or that include important female characters, please read on.

We’re seeking a small group of reader-reviewers to contribute to pilot this project. Each contributor will be part of the online project from January to October 2011, and will write 6-12 book reviews of 300–600 words each. Here are the parameters:

  • Contributors’ reviews can be written in advance, and must be complete two weeks ahead of their scheduled publication so that the project coordinator can ensure that they’re lightly edited. (We expect that there might be a few typos.)
  • About half of the reviews should be drawn from the Sirens reading list or Books and Breakfast reading list, and the other half selected with input from the project coordinator to ensure that there isn’t too much overlap.
  • You can revamp a previously written review, but it’s nice if you put together new content. Once your review is published, we’ll ask that you give us an exclusive for one month before you can re-post it.
  • Reviews need not be wholly positive, but contributors are encouraged to review books that they’d recommend rather than books they wouldn’t.
  • Books reviewed should be women-authored or feature female characters; reviewing books that analyze fantasy literature is an option as well.

We’d love to be able to include everyone who’d like to contribute, but the reality of starting a new project prompts us to keep the pilot group small until we know how many people we can realistically include. If you’d like to be considered as a contributor, please write to (help at sirensconference.org) by December 31, 2010, with the following information:

  1. The name (and pen name, if that applies) that you’d like to review under
  2. Your e-mail address
  3. Three books you’d like to review from the Sirens reading list, and why (a sentence or two about each is fine)
  4. How you’d like to focus your non-reading list/contributor’s choice reviews (for example, would you be interested in focusing on picture books, or short stories available online, or novels written in the 1980s, or anthologies, or…)
  5. If you’re open to receiving advance copies of books, please let us know and provide your mailing address
  6. If you’re familiar with any particular blogging platforms or similar software
  7. A link to three book reviews you’ve written and posted online OR the text of two sample reviews that we can read, pasted in the e-mail

Thank you for your interest! If you have any questions, please feel free to post them here or to write to (help at sirensconference.org).

 


Have questions? You can leave them here in the comments section or e-mail them to (help at sirensconference.org).

Have a happy holiday season, everyone!

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 3, Issue 1 (November 2010)

The Recap
Thank you for making Sirens so incredible again this year! You can see updates from the conference here on our LiveJournal. Guests and presenters wowed us with their thoughtful presentations, and attendees in the audience wowed us just as much with their insightful contributions. It was great to talk books, themes, projects, and favorites with all of you, and great to have generated dozens of books for our personal reading lists. Your participation and enthusiasm made Sirens so very special for us–and, we hope, for everyone who attended.

 

Website Open for 2011!
Check it out: The Sirens website is updated with information for 2011–including guests of honor Justine Larbalestier, Nnedi Okorafor, and Laini Taylor–and a new design to reflect next year’s theme of monsters and the monstrous. Please take a few minutes to look around, to note updates, to grab a new icon/desktop image/banner, to use the Tell a Friend feature, or to check out the updated reading list.

 

Monsters
And speaking of the updated website, we’ve updated information about the theme. Specifically, the theme is “monsters,” but we hope you’ll stretch beyond that to explore ideas around being “monstrous” in literature, especially as it applies to female characters and women-authored stories, and to ask questions about what it means to be monstrous, to be a monster, and so on.

Once you’ve had a chance to read and to think, we hope you’ll be interested in putting together a paper, a panel, a workshop, a roundtable, or an afternoon class; presentation proposals are due May 7, 2011.

 

Chat
If you’d like to start the brainstorming now, Sirens will have an open chat on Saturday, November 6, at noon Eastern. You’re welcome to bring thoughts about women in fantasy literature or questions about Sirens, and we’ll happily discuss our recent reads, monster or not. No particular software or programs are necessary to join in: this page will turn into a chat room at the appropriate time on November 6.

 

Registration
With the website open, registration is open as well. Registration is currently at $165, and it includes all of Sirens’s programming, events, keynote presentations (with a dessert reception and two lunches), one breakfast, afternoon teas, a conference t-shirt, and all the mountain air you can breathe. You can also purchase Shuttle and Supper tickets at this time.

 

Presenter Recordings and Compendium
We’ve retrieved all of the recordings that we captured this year, and we will e-mail presenters with a link to download them soon. These are unedited .mp3s. Some recordings came out beautiful and crystal clear, and others did not, unfortunately. Please accept our apologies if yours includes some interference. (Please note that these recordings are only available to presenters; Sirens does not have the authorization from all the presenters to distribute these more widely, though presenters may choose to make their recordings available.)

Also, compendium submissions for presentations from 2010 are due by November 7, 2010. We will publish a combined collection with presentations from 2009 and 2010. If you’ve lost your link for making your compendium submission, please write to (programming at sirensconference.org) and we’ll send it to you again.

 


Have questions? You can leave them here in the comments section or e-mail them to (help at sirensconference.org).

Presented by Narrate Conferences, Inc.

 

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