Archive for Sirens 2013

Where Are They Now: 2013 Guests of Honor

This fall will mark our tenth year of Sirens. With our conference theme of reunion, it’s the perfect chance to reflect on past conferences and revisit some old friends. In this series, we check in with our past Guests of Honor to see what they’ve been up to these days. If you attended Sirens that year, please share with us your memories of 2013 in the comments or on social media, and take a stroll with us down memory lane!

In 2013, our theme was reunion, and we revisited our first four themes 2009–2012. Our Guests of Honor were Guadalupe Garcia McCall (tales retold), Alaya Dawn Johnson (monsters), Ellen Kushner (faeries), and Robin LaFevers (warriors).

Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Guadalupe Garcia McCallShame the Stars

Attendees may remember Guadalupe’s Mexican American retelling of The Odyssey with five sisters, Summer of the Mariposas, which was translated into Spanish earlier this May. Her most recent publication is Shame the Stars, a historical fiction novel set in 1900s Texas with a Shakespearean twist, in 2016—a follow-up, All the Stars Denied, is coming out this September.

Guadalupe is experimenting with a number of different literary forms, including a picture book on submission, her first short story “Rancho Nido” which came out in the Kickstarter project Kaiju Rising, Age of Monsters II back in May, and a creative non-fiction writing piece based on the Texas flood of 1954. She is also working on a YA novel she’s labeled her “Borderlands Kaiju Novel.”

Early in 2018, Guadalupe was inducted in the Texas Institute of Letters —you can read her interview on that honor here.

Where She Is Now: Guadalupe recently moved to Oregon to work as an Assistant Professor of English at George Fox University.


Alaya Dawn Johnson

Alaya Dawn JohnsonLove is the Drug

We were fortunate enough to get a wonderful update from Alaya herself—we’ll let her tell you what she’s been up to!

“As some Sirens attendees from 2013 might remember, I was planning to move to Mexico City about a month after the conference. Well, the 9-month stay I was planning turned into a complete life overhaul for me, and I’m still down here! I’m absolutely in love with Mexico City and Mexico in general—my interest in ancient Mexican history has expanded to the point that I’m now finishing a master’s degree from UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) in Mesoamerican Studies. My focus is on the semiotics of fermented food in ancient Nahua and Otomí religious festivals. I am seriously eating fermented tamales and atole (a drinkable corn gruel that’s an important part of the traditional diet here) for research. It’s pretty heavenly. All of this research will eventually get turned into a novel, but for now I’m enjoying (and screaming, and then enjoying again) the unique challenges of writing a research paper in my second language (for the record, I barely spoke Spanish before moving here).

Since my last novel, Love Is the Drug, came out in 2014 my writing profile has been a little low-key, but it’s been wonderful and necessary to recharge and dedicate myself to my craft (also, uh, it turns out getting a master’s in your second language can kind of eat your writing time). I’ve been active, but more via short stories. My highest-profile project has been the serialized novel Tremontaine, published by Serial Box. It’s an interactive multi-authored prequel to friend-of-Sirens Ellen Kushner’s groundbreaking Swordspoint novels, and I was genuinely honored to be able to help develop the principal characters and some of the new aspects of the worldbuilding we were bringing to the prequel. Specifically, the role of the Kinwiinik chocolate traders was heavily based on an idea of trade with Mesoamerican societies (specifically Mayan) without a European conquest. So, that was pretty awesome and I’m very proud of my work on the first season. The writers have taken it to incredible places since I left, too.

Oh, and my novelette “A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i” won a Nebula award and my novel Love Is the Drug won the Norton! In the same year! Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford to attend the ceremony, and at the moment the announcement came in I was stuck in my room in an apartment that I was getting kicked out of the next day (due to the screw up of my roommates who ended up stealing my deposit). It was pouring outside. No one answered my calls. It was just one of these hilariously bittersweet moments in the writer’s life—the greatest professional achievement of my life and I find out on Twitter because that’s what gets through on my cell phone. I couldn’t even get online because the Internet had been cut off earlier that day. I got out of that situation and am in a great place now, but what a “best of times, worst of times” kind of night!

The most exciting news I have is, unfortunately, nothing I can be too specific about. But I have two, count-’em two, new novels coming out next year. That makes it five years since my last novel, so I’m incredibly excited to finally have some novel-length work out in the world. One is my first adult novel in *mumblety* years, and the second is a new YA novel. One is historical fantasy and the other is far-future, mind-trippy science fiction. I can’t wait to share these with the world, but for now I’m busy on revisions.

I had an amazing experience at Sirens in 2013 and hopefully I’ll be able to return someday. For now, greetings from sunny (no, rainy) (wait, sunny again) Mexico City!”


Ellen Kushner

Ellen KushnerTremontaine

Ellen’s latest project has been creating and spearheading the oft-mentioned Tremontaine serial novels, which further develop the mannerpunk world of Riverside she created in Swordspoint. Tremontaine will be in its fourth season starting September 2018, and includes two other Sirens Guest of Honor alumnae, Alaya Dawn Johnson and Malinda Lo.

Ellen has also recently contributed to some short fiction collections, having published “When I Was a Highwayman” in The Book of Swords (2017), “When Two Swordsmen Meet” to the Samuel R. Delany tribute collection Stories for Chip (2015), and “The City in Winter” in Sleeping Hedgehog (2015).

Where She Is Now: With an envious glance at Ellen’s Twitter and Facebook pages, you’ll discover that she is on an extended stay in Europe with her wife and occasional creative collaborator Delia Sherman, having visited several towns and cities in France, Scotland, England and more.


Robin LaFevers

Robin LaFeversCourting Darkness

Fans of Robin’s His Fair Assassin books, rejoice! Robin shares:

“So basically I have a new duology coming out that is set in the His Fair Assassin world, the first of which is Courting Darkness and publishes February 5, 2019. The second book will follow a year later.”

To accompany Robin’s books’ new looks, the original His Fair Assassin covers are also being updated with some bonus content—Grave Mercy will have a deleted scene and a new epilogue, Dark Triumph will also have a new epilogue, and Mortal Heart includes an exclusive new Q&A with Robin.

Robin also has contracted a middle grade novel currently titled Wild Daughter of Ares, set in the world of Ancient Greece and the Amazons.

Where She Is Now: Recovering from quite a year at home in southern California: “It’s been a crazy year. We had to evacuate five times in four months due to raging wildfires, then floods, followed by mudslides. That I got any writing done, let alone finished a book, feels somewhat miraculous! But I’ve definitely been playing catch up for the last six months.”

Upcoming Appearances: We’re thrilled to welcome Robin back to Sirens for this year’s conference, including the Sirens Studio!


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 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 with your top three shift choices and the number of shifts for which you’d like to volunteer. Thank you in advance!


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 with what you plan to donate.


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 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, 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

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 5, Issue 11 (September 2013)

September’s newsletter includes information about upcoming emails, a call for volunteers, auction news, supporting registrations, and exciting fantasy book news.


Checking In
As we prepare for Sirens over the next few weeks, we’ll be sending emails with important reminders and information. Please keep an eye on your inbox to find out where to check in for the Sirens Shuttle, meet for the Sirens Supper, and how to pick up your registration materials when you arrive at Skamania Lodge.


Hotel Reservation Deadline
The deadline to reserve a room at Skamania Lodge at the Sirens rate is September 12. Please visit the Skamania Lodge page on the Sirens website for complete information.


We still need volunteers, especially room monitors. If you have some free time, or plan to be in one room for a couple of sessions in a row, we’d love for you to join the volunteer team. Room monitors stay in a room during presentations, help speakers get situated, and keep things running on time. We’ll have a quick volunteer training session after the Thursday keynote, and you can find out more and sign up to help on the Volunteers page of the Sirens website.


Books and Breakfast
One of our favorite Sirens programs is Books and Breakfast. You bring your breakfast (or just yourself), and you can join an informal book discussion (whether or not you’ve read any of the books on that morning’s schedule, though we encourage you to pick out a book or two to read in advance). It’s a great way to ease into the day’s programming, and we always hope that you’ll find new items for your reading list.

Usually, the Sirens staff and friends host all of the discussions, but this year, we’d like to invite you to take part as a Books and Breakfast discussion leader. Your challenge: read the book in advance, then be the friendly table host during Books and Breakfast. You don’t have to plan any questions or activities—just be able to explain the book in a few sentences, and have a few thoughts about what you read.

The following is the status of books available for claiming by volunteers:

Friday, October 11
Prophecy by Ellen Oh (claimed)
A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton (available)
The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff (available)
Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord (claimed)

Saturday, October 12
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi (available)
Bronze Gods by A. A. Aguirre (claimed)
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (available)
Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi (available)

Books and Breakfast will be held on Friday, October 11, and Saturday, October 12, both sessions at 8:00 a.m. If you’re interested in leading a discussion, please email Suzanne Rogers Gruber (suzanne.gruber at as soon as possible with the book you’d like to host.


Every year, proceeds from the Sirens auction go a long way toward covering conference costs. We are so grateful for and humbled by the generosity of those who donate auction items, and those who bid on items.

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, so that we can create a comprehensive list of auction items by the end of the day on Thursday, October 10, and so that she can 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.


Supporting Registration
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 2013 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.)


What We’re Excited About This Month

The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal by Kate Elliott is now for sale!

Mette Ivie Harrison on Fairy Tales, Fan Fiction and Copyright.

Recommended reading from Terri Windling.

“On what basis, really, do we choose the books we read?” Challenging the Classics: Questioning the Arbitrary Browsing Mechanism by Foz Meadows.

Review of Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi at A Dribble of Ink.

Book Smugglers call for participants and topics for a new monthly feature called SFF in Conversation.

The Mary Sue covers N. K. Jemisin’s new series.

The Hollywood Reporter shows off the cover and title for last book in Laini Taylor’s series that began with Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

Via Nalo Hopkinson (who is on the cover of this month’s Locus!), Macmillan’s Island Fiction stories are all based around fantasy, science-fiction and the legends and folklore of the Caribbean.

Nominate works published in 2012 for Carl Brandon Awards, which honors works of speculative fiction created by a self-identified person of color.

September releases include…

Revenant Eve (paperback) by Sherwood Smith

Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White


If you have fantasy-related links—reviews, news, announcements, or something else that’s of interest to Sirens attendees—we welcome them! Please send them to (help at at any time.


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

Sirens is just over a month away! Don’t forget…

The deadline to register for Sirens is September 7. All registrations, Sirens Shuttle tickets, and Sirens Supper tickets must be made by this date.

Hotel reservations at Skamania Lodge must be made by September 12. After that date, the rest of our block is released and you won’t be able to get our conference room rates.

We have a few tickets left for the Sirens Supper. If you are arriving on Wednesday, we’d love for you to join us for our annual pre-conference dinner. It’s a great way to meet a few new people.

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (help at

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 5, Issue 10 (August 2013)

August’s newsletter includes registration deadline reminders, calls for used books and volunteers, notes about our schedule, and some exciting fantasy book news.


Registration Deadlines
Sirens is less than two months away! If you haven’t purchased your registration yet, including Sirens Shuttle and Sirens Supper tickets, please make sure to do so before registration closes on September 7. If you have any questions, please contact us at (registration at

All payments for registrations and tickets are due no later than September 13, 2013.


Hotel Reservations
If you haven’t yet made your hotel reservations, 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 12, 2013.

If you’d like a roommate (or two or three), please check out our Facebook page and website message boards.


Author Signings
Sirens hosts author signings on Friday and Saturday afternoons. If you are a published author attending Sirens and you’d like to participate in our author signings, please email us at (help at as soon as possible. We’d love to have you join us.


Used Book Donations
Beyond the selection of new books that we’ll be carrying by attending authors and others that we think you’ll enjoy (like the ones featured during Books and Breakfast, for example), the Narrate bookstore will sell some used books as well. If you have fantasy books written by or about women that you’d like to donate to the used section of our bookstore, and they are in good used condition, we’d love to have them. You don’t need to attend to donate; anyone can send books by regular or media mail to the following address:

c/o Narrate Conferences
P.O. Box 149
Sedalia, CO 80135

Be aware that media mail has restrictions, and that we must receive all packages and mail by September 12, 2013, in order to get your donations to Skamania in time for Sirens. And make sure to stop by and see us at the bookstore this fall! We’ll have plenty of recommendations.


Would you like to help out during Sirens? Volunteer shifts vary in length and responsibilities, but most are 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, 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. Many thanks in advance!


If you’ve seen our recently released programming schedule, you may have noticed some changes to accommodate a fourth keynote presentation this year.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013
If you’re arriving on Wednesday and joining us for the Sirens Supper, we’ll email you about where to meet for dinner. If you’re riding the Sirens Shuttle, we’ll email you with the pickup point information in early October.

Thursday, October 10, 2013
Conference registration pickup opens at 3:00 p.m. (If you’re arriving early, please feel free to meet up at noon in the River Rock at Skamania Lodge for lunch.) We’ll have spaces where you can meet, chat, play games, and enjoy an afternoon tea. Look for your Sirens Shuttle email in early October for details on when and where to meet if you’ll be using it for transportation to Skamania.

Friday, October 11, 2013 and Saturday, October 12, 2013
Books and Breakfast begins at 8:00 a.m., followed by our three programming tracks at 9:00 a.m. Keynote luncheons begin at noon, followed by author signings at 2:00 p.m. (And if you’re an attending author who would like to participate, please get in touch at (help at as soon as possible.) Presentations resume at 3:00 p.m. and continue until evening. On Friday, we’ll begin Bedtime Stories at 8:00 p.m. On Saturday, the keynote reception begins at 7:00 p.m., with the Reunion Ball and Murder Mystery to follow.

Throughout the weekend, we’ll have spaces near the information desk and the Narrate bookstore for casual chats, auction book page creation, and write-ins. At 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, you can join our exploratory programming team if you’d like to go hiking on the resort golf course trails or go swimming/hot tubbing with other attendees. 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.

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. Please check the website schedule for available space. You can reserve a room and time once you arrive at Sirens.

Sunday, October 13, 2013
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.


What We’re Excited About This Month

Heiresses of Russ 2013, The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction was released August 10, and includes stories by Malinda Lo, Carrie Vaughn, and others.

Kate Elliott on worldbuilding.

Janni Lee Simner concludes her excellent series of posts on Writing for the Long Haul.

Blood of Tyrants, Naomi Novak’s latest Temeraire novel is out August 13! Read the first 50 pages on Suvudu.

The World Fantasy Awards ballot for 2013 can be viewed here. Maybe something new for your reading list?

“Fantasy… makes up worlds and cultures, but it doesn’t do this in a vacuum.” Read more of this interview with Kari Sperring here.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon is out August 20.

The paperback edition of Under My Hat is out, and according to reviews, it’s “an enjoyable witches’ brew of tales.”

Sherwood Smith’s short story collection, Whispered Magics, is out; get more information here.


If you have fantasy-related links—reviews, news, announcements, or something else that’s of interest to Sirens attendees—we welcome them! Please send them to (help at at any time.


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

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 5, Issue 9 (July 2013)

July’s newsletter includes news about the Sirens Bookstore, author signings (published authors wanted!), the lineup for this year’s Books and Breakfast, and more!


Programming Update
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the accepted programming page on our website. Many new presentations have been added over the past few weeks. We’ve also just released our schedule! We know it’s going to be very difficult for everyone to choose between so many fantastic offerings. Thank you again to everyone who proposed a presentation this year. We appreciate your willingness to participate in programming! Once again, we know we’ll all wish we could manage to be in multiple places at once.


Author Signings
If you are a published author, please let us know! We’d love to include you in our author signing times and have new books on hand. We have access to many books from major publishers; for those 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 let us know if you’d like to take part in the author signings by writing to (help at as soon as possible.


Book Donations
Narrate Conferences, our presenting nonprofit, will again run a new and used bookstore during Sirens. For everyone attending, and friends of women in fantasy literature as well, we hope you’ll help us stock the used section of the bookstore. If you have fantasy books written by or about women that you’d like to donate, and they are in good used condition, we’d love to have them. You don’t need to attend to donate; anyone can send books by regular or media mail to the following address:

c/o Narrate Conferences
P.O. Box 149
Sedalia, CO 80135

Be aware that media mail has restrictions, and that we must receive all packages and mail by September 12, 2013, in order to get your donations to Skamania in time for Sirens. And make sure to stop by and see us at the bookstore this fall! We’ll have plenty of recommendations.


We are starting to gather donations for the Sirens auction! This yearly fundraiser has gone a long way toward covering conference costs in the past, and we are always deeply grateful for our community’s participation and support. All sorts of items are welcome—past auctions have included artwork, crafts, character names in new works, signed advance reading copies, jewelry, and more.

If you’d like to donate an item or if you have questions, please shoot us an email at (help at We’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 give you a shipping address, if you’d like. And, of course, thank you in advance for your support!


Books and Breakfast
Books and Breakfast will be held on Friday, October 11, and Saturday, October 12. 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.

This year, our reading list includes tales that are new and different takes on the themes of years past. Some of them are new, some of them were game-changing or controversial books, and some we just loved and wanted to share. We think it’s a pretty good start for a summer reading list. It’s perfectly okay to join in if you haven’t read any of the books yet, but if you’d like to come prepared, the schedule is listed below.

Friday, October 11, 2013
Prophecy by Ellen Oh
A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton
The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff
Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord

Saturday, October 12, 2013
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi
Bronze Gods by A. A. Aguirre
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi


Sirens Supper
If you’ll be in the Portland area on the evening of Wednesday, October 9, perhaps you’d like to join us for dinner. Each year our conference staff hosts a dinner for a limited number of attendees, and you’re welcome to come. We love having a chance to chat before the conference starts!

We hope to have news about our Sirens Supper menu soon—but you might not want to wait to buy your tickets, as there are only a handful of tickets still available.

Tickets for the Sirens Supper are $60, and may be added to a new or to an existing registration. Attendees may purchase additional tickets for the Sirens Supper for others who are at least 18 years old as of October 9, 2013.


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


Deadlines Approaching
The last day to pre-register for Sirens, to purchase a ticket for the Sirens Shuttle, or to purchase a ticket for the Sirens Supper is September 7, 2013. Between September 7 and the conference, we close registration so that we can finish ordering materials and making arrangements. We will have only a limited number of registrations available for purchase at Sirens, so we recommend that you register in advance.

The last day to make a reservation at Skamania Lodge at the Sirens rate is September 12, 2013. If you require a room with two beds, we recommend that you make a reservation soon; the lodge is a popular destination year-round, and last year, we used all of the rooms set aside for Sirens. Please see the linked page for complete details.


What We’re Excited About This Month

Disability in Kidlit posted Haddayr Copley-Woods’s review of Among Others. –SRG

Mette Ivie Harrison posted 12 tips on writing about grief. –Amy W.

Book Riot spotlights 10 Recent & Upcoming Queer Reads, including Malinda Lo’s Inheritance, the sequel to Adaptation! –Anonymous

Cool: The trailer for Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, which comes out on September 3. –Michelle

Romance Novels for Feminists discusses 1980s Feminism in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Shards of Honor. –Anonymous

Tanita Davis writes about revisiting Red Sonja and a comic book adaptation. –-Anonymous

Girls of Summer interviews Guadalupe Garcia McCall.

Check out the 2013 Mythopoeic Awards.

Check out the 2013 Locus Awards.

Here’s some nifty cover art for Marie Brennan’s upcoming Tropic of Serpents.

Cover art for Rosamund Hodge’s Cruel Beauty, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

Nalo Hopkinson shares discussion questions for Sister Mine. If you missed her guest appearance last year, you might be interested in her talk at the 2012 National Book Festival.

SF Signal shares the covers of 178 science fiction, fantasy, and horror books out this month. (Perhaps not necessarily “all,” but interesting to look at.)

Kate Elliott talks women in epic fantasy at RT Book Reviews.

Thirty years of King’s Quest, designed by Roberta Williams. I loved playing as Rosella and Valanice! –Hallie


If you have fantasy-related links—reviews, news, announcements, or something else that’s of interest to Sirens attendees—we welcome them! Please send them to (help at at any time.


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

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 5, Issue 8 (June 2013)

June’s newsletter includes a request for your used books, a spotlight on Guest of Honor Guadalupe Garcia McCall, information on traveling to Sirens, and exciting book news.


The Sirens Bookstore is back and looking for used books!
Our bookstore was very popular last year, and we’re delighted to tell you it will be back in 2013 with new books by attending authors, more new books we think you’ll be interested in, and used fantasy books donated to Sirens. Start putting aside your used fantasy books by women authors–we’ll have details on where to send them in a future newsletter.


Author Spotlight: Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Guadalupe Garcia McCall’s second novel, Summer of the Mariposas, retells The Odyssey with five Mexican-American sisters and La Llorona as a ghostly guide. Summer of the Mariposas was one of the “Best Books of 2012” selected by School Library Journal, is on the 2013 Amelia Bloomer Project List, and was nominated for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy in 2013. The Kirkus Review says of Summer of the Mariposas “Originality and vibrancy shine through…” and The School Library Journal Review notes “the unusual qualities of mythical characters and the sense of adventure that lies behind every twist and turn of the girls’ revelatory journey.”

Her first novel, Under the Mesquite, is not fantasy, but is a tour de force work of verse that tackles the subject of cancer. Under the Mesquite received the Pura Belpré Author Award and a 2012 International Latino Book Awards Honorable Mention, and was a William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist (YALSA). Guadalupe has a BA in Theatre Arts and English from Sul Ross State University.

We’re so excited to have Guadalupe Garcia McCall join Alaya Dawn Johnson, Ellen Kushner, and Robin LaFevers as our guests of honor at this year’s Sirens. If you’re new to their work, our reading list is a great place to start getting acquainted.


Travel Tip: Flying to Sirens
If you’re flying to Sirens, the closest major airport–and the one from which the Sirens Shuttle will depart–is Portland International Airport in Portland, Oregon, also known as PDX. It’s a major west coast airport, and many airlines can get you there. Once you arrive, you’ll find a selection of shops and restaurants inside and outside of the security area, and the airport makes an effort to keep the prices–sales-tax free–the same as you’d find anywhere else in town. Other great amenities include free WiFi, a luggage storage desk, and a direct connection to downtown Portland via the MAX Red Line train.


Travel Tip: Sirens Shuttle
As in past years, we are offering the Sirens Shuttle, a charter bus which will depart from Portland International Airport (PDX) at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 9, and Thursday, October 10, and return to PDX on Sunday morning, October 13, departing Skamania Lodge at 9:45 a.m. The shuttle will travel along the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Highway, and both the Wednesday and Thursday shuttles will make a brief stop at Multnomah Falls. Don’t forget your camera!

The Sirens Shuttle costs $75 per person, round trip, which is less than a one-way ticket on a commercial shuttle service. Shuttle tickets can be purchased when you register for Sirens, or if you’ve already registered, you can log in to add tickets to your existing registration by clicking here.


Travel Tip: Hotel Reservations
Skamania Lodge, which is located in Stevenson, Washington, is once again the home for Sirens in 2013. Built in the style of a Pacific Northwest lodge, Skamania has a cozy, welcoming atmosphere with a fireplace and rocking chairs in the lobby and views of the surrounding forest and the Columbia River Gorge. The health club, pool, and hot tub all are included in the resort fee, as is wireless Internet access. For more information on Skamania, please visit the hotel page of the Sirens website.

To reserve a room with the Sirens discount rates, please click here to reserve online, or to make a reservation by telephone, please call 800-221-7117 and mention the code Sirens2013 to reservations staff.

If you would like to find roommates, you can post a message on the Skamania Lodge section of our message boards.

We recommend making your hotel reservation as soon as possible, especially if you want a room with two beds. Last year, we used all of the rooms set aside for Sirens, and we expect to fill our room block in 2013, too.


Sirens Supper
If you’ll be at Skamania on Wednesday, October 9, we invite you to join us for our traditional pre-conference Sirens Supper. It’s a great way to unwind from travel, meet other attendees, and enjoy a fabulous buffet dinner with friends new and old. We’ll be announcing the menu soon, but in the meantime, we wanted to note that there are only 10 tickets remaining for this event.


What We’re Excited About This Month

Guest of Honor Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint audiobook won a 2013 Audie award for Audio Drama. Congratulations!

Time has an excerpt from 2009 Sirens Guest of Honor Tamora Pierce’s upcoming novel Battle Magic, which is set two years before the events of The Will of the Empress and Melting Stones. –Michelle

Tamora Pierce talks about winning the Edwards Award, writing female characters, and more. –Z

Richelle Mead’s Gameboard of the Gods was released on June 4, as was Steadfast by Mercedes Lackey. –Anonymous

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes was released on June 4. –Suzi

Mur Lafferty’s The Shambling Guide to New York City was out June 4.

The title for the last book in Laini Taylor’s trilogy that began with Daughter of Smoke and Bone has been revealed. Spoiler: It’s Dreams of Gods and Monsters. –Anonymous

Cassandra Claire’s Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale, part three of The Bane Chronicles, will be out on June 18! –Anonymous

Kate Elliott’s Cold Steel, the final book in the Spiritwalker Trilogy, was out on June 25! –Sabrina

An NPR piece titled “Scheherazade: From Storytelling ‘Slave’ To ‘First Feminist'” includes an interview of Lebanese author Hanan al-Shaykh, and her thoughts about her retelling One Thousand and One Nights. –Anonymous

Janni Lee Simner wants to know if you… Know Your Faeries: Friendly, Fierce, or Fatal? –Anonymous

A meditation on Gender, Ambivalence & the Women of Westeros. –Anonymous

Seen all over Twitter: Karen Lord talking about Redemption in Indigo.

SFWA recently announced the the 2012 Nebula Awards (we recognize some of you on that list!). We also recognize some favorites on the 2013 Mythopoeic Awards list.

Check out these illustrations of East of the Sun, West of the Moon from 1914.


Do you have exciting fantasy book news or links you’d like to share? Email us at (help at by June 27 and we’ll include it in next month’s newsletter!


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

Programming Tip

Tip: The programming submissions system will be open through Sunday night in case of technical glitches and to allow the programming team to take care of business. If you have a last-minute burst of inspiration, please know that as long as we receive your proposal before the programming coordinator wakes up on Monday morning, we’ll consider it.

There’s still time to get your proposal together—and people are looking for co-presenters and co-panelists on our Facebook page and LiveJournal entries!

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 5, Issue 7 (May 2013)

May’s newsletter includes one last programming proposal reminder, programming chat announcement, and exciting fantasy book news.

Congratulations to Kristin, our Dark Triumph giveaway winner!


Programming Proposal Deadline: Friday, May 10, 2013!
The deadline for submitting your proposal is just 9 days away. We hope that you’ll consider participating as a presenter—we truly value the contributions of attendees. If you’re hesitating, remember that you have until October to finish your paper or presentation, polish your panel, refine your workshop, firm up your roundtable discussion questions, or add the finishing touches to your afternoon class.

Where to Get More Information:
The programming section of the Sirens website
This is where we go over our requirements for programming, and where you can find the submissions system to provide us with your proposal.

The archive section of the Sirens website
For all of your questions about whether something has ever been presented before.

The Sirens LiveJournal programming tag
For a series of informal posts on how to put together a proposal.

(programming at
Email us for more specific questions or for clarification.

Where to Find Collaborators:
This brainstorming post
The Sirens Chat LiveJournal
Sirens message boards


Programming Deadline Chat
Join Sirens staff for our last programming chat! Get last-minute feedback from others, ask questions, or just hang out to be a cheerleader and talk about books.

Date: Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Time: 9 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. Pacific), lasting about two hours

Remember, you won’t need any special software or a login; the page will turn into a chat room during the chat time. (You will need to refresh the page if it isn’t in chat mode when you arrive.)


What We’re Excited About This Month:

Fantasy Cafe devoted all of their April posts to women in SF/F, and we couldn’t pick a favorite.

SF Signal asks about favorite women genre writers.

The National Post reviews Sister Mine by Nalo Hopkinson.

Hodder & Stoughton acquires Nnedi Okorafor’s science fiction novel Lagoon in a three-book deal.

The sequel to Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons has a title.

Juliet E. McKenna talks about talks about visibility for women writers on Fantasy Cafe.

Reliance Entertainment to develop a movie of Kristin Cashore’s Graceling.

Kate Elliott’s Cold Steel gets a (slightly spoilery) starred review from Publishers Weekly (out in June).

Book Release Dates:

A Cup of Smoke: stories and poems by Rachel Manija Brown is out now.

Doll Bones by Holly Black is out May 7.

The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison is out on May 14; see the book trailer here.

Sold for Endless Rue by Madeleine E. Robins is also out on May 14.

Faerie After by Janni Lee Simner is out May 28.

Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell is also out May 28.


We love receiving interesting fantasy links and book news to share—and we can’t read the entire internet, so your contributions are appreciated! Send links and information, yours or news you’ve seen, to (help at


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

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

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