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Sirens Newsletter – Volume 7, Issue 8 (June 2015)

In this issue:

 

SIRENS SCHOLARSHIPS AND DEADLINES
This year, because of the generosity of the Sirens community, we are pleased to offer scholarships in three categories: via Con or Bust, for programming proposal merit, and for people with financial hardships. Each scholarship includes both a Sirens registration and a Sirens Shuttle ticket. Con or Bust is coordinating the first set of scholarships (and two were claimed at the time of this writing), and to be eligible for a programming merit scholarships, presenters opted in during the submissions process. Sirens is taking financial hardships scholarships applications until June 15, 2015. If you need assistance, we hope you’ll consider applying for a scholarship.

 

PROGRAMMING DECISIONS ARE COMING!
Notices regarding programming proposals will be sent no later than June 8, 2015 (and you should expect them close to or on that date, rather than sooner). Please note, however, that if we’re still tracking down your co-presenters, a decision may be delayed. Thank you in advance for making sure that all proposal collaborators have checked in! We’ll be sending programming scholarships decisions with the decisions on proposals. The vetting board and the scholarships committee both thank you for your participation, and are giving thoughtful consideration to your proposals.

 

REGISTRATION PRICE INCREASE AND PRESENTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE
The last day to register for Sirens for $195 is July 7; the price increases to $205 on July 8. July 7 is also the deadline to register for presenters; if you’re a presenter and need an extra day or two to register and pay, be sure to coordinate with (programming at sirensconference.org) so that your accepted presentation is not dropped from the schedule.

 

SIRENS STUDIO
For the first time, Sirens is delighted to offer a pre-conference option for readers, writers, scholars, and professionals! The Sirens Studio will start Tuesday morning and feature two days of workshop intensives, discussion, networking opportunities, and flexible time for you to use however you wish. Check out the schedule, workshops, and faculty here.

 

SIRENS SUPPER
If you’ll be in Denver on the evening of October 7, 2015, perhaps you’d like to join us for the Sirens Supper. Each year, our conference staff hosts a dinner for a limited number of attendees and friends, where we get to know each other before Sirens starts, and you’re welcome to come. The menu: petite greens with jicama, orange segments, cilantro-lime dressing and cornbread croutons; local corn and roasted poblano chili chowder; a medley of fresh, seasonal vegetables; black bean rice pilaf; fresh baked rolls and butter; baked salmon with Yucatan spices and coconut; cane sugar-rubbed roasted pork loin with Creole mustard sauce; quinoa-stuffed eggplant with roasted pepper marinara; margarita cheesecake; fruit empanadas; and coffee and hot tea. Tickets are $60, and those who also register for the Sirens Studio get $10 off the dinner price.

 

SIRENS SHUTTLE
Ground transportation in Denver is expensive, and Denver’s public transportation isn’t what it could be. In addition, the Inverness Hotel, the location for Sirens, is out of the way. Sirens offers discounted group transportation so that you can ride to and from Denver International Airport. We’ll pick you up and return you to the airport for $60, less than other vendors want for a one-way trip. You can add tickets for yourself or friends on a new registration or to an existing registration. Get more information and the Sirens Shuttle schedule here.

 

AUCTION AND BOOKSTORE DONATIONS
Each year, Sirens covers thousands of dollars in operating expenses with the proceeds from our conference auction and bookstore. While the bookstore does purchase its new inventory, Sirens attendees and supporters always generously donate both auction items and used fantasy books in order to help us raise these necessary funds. Auction items can—and have been—everything from custom artwork to professional services, advanced reader copies of fantasy books to t-shirts, pillows, and journals. Anything that might interest fantasy readers, writers, or professionals is welcome. Similarly, we accept gently used fantasy books by female authors or featuring complex female protagonists for the used section of the bookstore. If you are interested in donating an auction item, please email Amy Tenbrink at (donate at sirensconference.org) to let her know that you’ll be supporting our auction; if you are donating used books, please send them so they reach us at the following address no later than September 19, 2015 (and you can use media mail!):

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

Thank you for your support!

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB

TheMirrorEmpire

Come read with us! Sirens co-founder Amy leads the Sirens Book Club each month. June’s book is The Mirror Empire (Worldbreaker Saga #1) by Kameron Hurley. Join the discussion here on Goodreads, starting on Saturday, June 6.

 

YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT…

Interesting Links:

We are saddened to hear of the passing of Tanith Lee (1945–2015)

Fairy tales, fantasy and dangerous female desire: Celebrating Angela Carter, the literary link between Bros. Grimm and ‘50 Shades’”

Subversive Pleasure”: On Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber

5 Black Women Authors Everyone Should Be Reading”

Dear Marvel and Sony: We Love Movies for Their Kick-Ass Female Heroes, Too, You Jerks”

Feminist Thor Selling Way More Comic Books Than Dude Thor”

2015 Locus Awards Finalists

2014 Shirley Jackson Awards Nominees

The 2015 Norton Award jury has convened and seeks entries; young adult and middle grade books with speculative content published in 2015 are eligible

Lumberjanes optioned for a live action movie

 

Recent Releases:
This month, we’re changing how we tell you about recent releases. In July’s newsletter, we’ll give you the June roundup. We love to hear about new books, whether yours or those you’re anticipating; please send the details to (help at sirensconference.org).

 

SIRENS REVIEW SQUAD
We’d love a few more volunteers to supply us with short reviews of works they have read and loved. If you think you could contribute a book review of at least 250 words sometime during the next year, we would be pleased to have your recommendation for the Sirens newsletter.

Review squad volunteering is flexible; we simply ask that you share information about books you’ve enjoyed. (We are, of course, especially interested in fantasy books by and about women, and we hope you’ll consider interesting, diverse selections.) You can contribute once or on an ongoing basis, and on a schedule that works for you. Please visit the volunteer system and, when we ask you what position you’re interested in, type in “Book Reviewer.”

 

This month, 2009 Sirens Guest of Honor Sherwood Smith offers us a look at two recent releases.

Crimson Bound, Rosamund Hodge
Uprooted, Naomi Novik

Some twenty, twenty-five years ago, I recollect a lot of scorn poured on the pastoral fantasy. Which is fine—no every subgenre pleases every reader, blah blah—but (as people will) the pastoral novel was derided as being not only twee but backward-looking, especially compared to the Cool New Cyberpunk, which was all about the edge of the future.

Of course there were readers who cheerfully admitted to liking both. I remember rolling my eyes and bailing discussions as soon as they devolved into if-this-is-good-that-has-to-be-bad. Especially when “pastoral” was narrowly defined as twee stories about sweetly eccentric English hedge witches and revampings of Beatrix Potter. (To which I once responded, have you actually reread Beatrix Potter recently? Or the poetry of William Blake?)

Anyway, for whatever reasons, pastoral fantasies largely went out of fashion, at least I hadn’t seen any until this month when two came out within days of each other. They contained a lot of similar elements, they were not set in an idyllic England, and they are very, very not twee.

These are Crimson Bound, by Rosamund Hodge, and Uprooted by Naomi Novik.

Before I talk about them, I want to address what I think pastoral fantasy is. This is an old form that resurfaces every few generations, in art, poetry, and fairy tales. It’s not always twee or cute, though there is an emphasis on natural beauties. But pastoral fantasy can explore beauty that is dangerous, inspiring but unsettling, powerful and even subversive because it has not been neatly clipped into box hedges, cemented over, and civilized into an urban pretense of order.

CrimsonBoundPastoral fantasy is not grimdark, which emphasizes the ugly and grinds down the dispossessed; it permits the tangle of the forest to get its roots and leaves into the urban walls and streets. Pastoral fantasy can be dark and dangerous but also full of beauty, hope, and tenderness: you can die in the same wilderness you go to experience peace, beauty, and calm. Alone in nature, you become aware that you are not the most powerful force there.

I think that that is the most important distinction of pastoral fantasy: that humans are not the most powerful force.

Neither of these two new novels takes place in fantasy England: Uprooted is set in a semblance of eastern Europe, and Crimson Bound in a fairy tale France circa the seventeenth century—which was a time of dynamic change.

In both, the woods play a fundamental role—a threatening, dangerous, horrific role. Some of the most evocative writing in both books is about the forest and its dangerous nature.

From Crimson Bound:

Erec led them through the Chateau, and it was almost the forest. Bleeding through the marble hallways, Rachelle saw labyrinthine paths between trees whose branches wove together overhead until they seemed like a single plant.

Birds called with warbling, half-human voices. The wind dug its fingers into her hair, burned at her eyes.

From Uprooted:

There was a falling tree stretching across the space, a giant, its trunk taller across than I was. Its fall had opened up this clearing, and in the middle of it, a new tree had sprung up to take its place.

But not the same kind of tree. All the other trees I’d seen in the Wood had been familiar kinds, despite their stained bark and the twisted unnatural angles of their branches: oaks and black birch, and tall pines. But this was no kind of tree I had ever seen.

It was already larger around than the circle my arms could make, even though the giant tree couldn’t have fallen very long ago. It had smooth gray bark over a strangely knotted trunk, with long branches in even circles around it, starting high up the trunk like a larch. its branches weren’t bare with winter, but carried a host of dried-up silvery leaves that rustled in the wind, a noise that seem to come from somewhere else, as though there were people just out of sight speak softly together.

I’d say both books are New Adult or above; both are centered around seventeen-year-old girls who gain terrific powers, tackle adult relationships, and fight their way against terrible odds. Uprooted is pastoral fantasy but also horror, and Crimson Bound, while not horror, is more of a dark fantasy; while it doesn’t have the Die Hard body count of Uprooted, it is no slouch in dealing with duels and death.

UprootedAnd in both the woods are compellingly dangerous.

In spite of these similar elements, they are very different books. To read one is not at all to have read the other. I talk about them more specifically on Goodreads here and here; though they head in different directions (and I’m not getting more specific lest I tread into spoiler territory), there is one important element they share: their exploration of female emotional growth, and agency.

These heroines are not looking backward, nor are the thematic elements of their stories. They are playing out, in entertaining format, what life will be like for young women moving into positions of authority. That includes the cost of moral and ethical choices, and the inexorable ramifications of decisions made when you have the power to effect others’ lives.

Both are immersive, compelling reads, and in spite of the retro-fantasy setting, have a great deal to say about issues right now. –Sherwood Smith


Questions? Concerns? Please email general queries to (help at sirensconference.org) and questions about programming to (programming at sirensconference.org).

 

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 6, Issue 8 (July 2014)

In this issue:

 

REGISTRATION PRICE JUMP
Registration for Sirens increases to $205 on July 6. Beat the deadline and save that money for books!

 

SIRENS SUPPER AND SIRENS SHUTTLE TICKETS
The price of tickets to the pre-conference Sirens Supper and for the shuttle from Portland International Airport won’t go up on July 6, but about half of the tickets for the Sirens Supper are already gone. You can find more information on the registration page.

 

BOOKS AND BREAKFAST
Books and Breakfast will be held on Friday, October 17, and Saturday, October 18. 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. It’s perfectly okay to join in Books and Breakfast if you haven’t read any of the books, but if you’d like to come prepared, the schedule is listed below.

This year, our reading list includes tales of hauntings and the haunted. Some of them are new, some of them were game-changing or controversial books, and some we just loved and wanted to share.

Friday, October 17, 2014
The Demon Catchers of Milan, Kat Beyer
The Diviners, Libba Bray
The Red Tree, Caitlín R. Kiernan
The Frangipani Hotel, Violet Kupersmith
A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar

Saturday, October 18, 2014
Long Lankin, Lindsey Barraclough
Anya’s Ghost, Vera Brosgol
Comfort Woman, Nora Okja Keller
White Is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi
My Real Children, Jo Walton

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB
One of Sirens’s chairs, Amy Tenbrink, is reading “hauntings and the haunted” books in preparation for October. Ghosts, specters, memories, visions, and other patterns show up across fantasy, horror, and non-genre fiction, and she keeps talking to us about them, so we thought she should talk to you, too! If you’d like to read along, there are discussions up for Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina García and Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, and the following books will be featured on the Sirens Goodreads Group in coming months.

July: The Ghost Bride, Yangsze Choo
August: In the Shadow of Blackbirds, Cat Winters
September: The Woman in Black, Susan Hill
October: The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson

 

NARRATE BOOKSTORE AT SIRENS
Narrate Conferences, Sirens’s 501(c)(3) presenting organization, will again be running a bookstore during the conference in 2014. It’s a great fundraiser that helps Sirens continue, and it means that we get to share a great selection of books by and about women in fantasy.

We will have new books, of course, but a fun part of the bookstore is our used section. Readers can pick up copies of old, but perhaps out of print, favorites, or try new-to-them authors. Our attendees, our friends, our families, and sometimes people we don’t even know send us fantasy books by or about women, and each of these books will cost our attendees only $5, with the proceeds going toward the conference.

We hope you’ll consider donating your gently used books, both for the support it provides Sirens and also because our attendees are always great next readers. (We also take new books, if you’d like to augment our bookstore with some of our favorites, as donors have done in the past.) If you’d like to send books—new or used—please send them to us at:

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

The last day we can visit the box before Sirens is September 19, so please be sure to ship books in plenty of time. If you use the US Postal Service and only ship books, you will be eligible for media mail rates.

 

SIRENS AUCTION
Each year, a significant amount of our Sirens expenses are funded through our auction of always interesting, sometimes fun, sometimes important items during the conference. In the past, we have auctioned off everything from reader kits to first editions, from editorial development letters to custom artwork. All of our auction items come from friends and attendees of Sirens, and if you’d like to donate an item or two, please contact Amy at (donate at sirensconference.org).

 

YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT…

New and Recent Releases:

July2014Collage
Click the image for a closer look at the covers.

 

Guardian, Jo Anderton (June 6)
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, Vol. 6, Shinobu Ohtaka (June 10)
Edda: A Little Valkyrie’s First Day of School, Adam Auerbach (June 24)

Elisha Magus (The Dark Apostle #2), E. C. Ambrose (July 1)
Fireborn, Keri Arthur (July 1)
Unwept (The Nightbirds #1), Tracy Hickman and Laura Hickman (July 1)
The Seat of Magic: A Novel of the Golden City, J. Kathleen Cheney (July 1)
Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4), Maggie Stiefvater (July 1)
Through the Woods, written/.ill Emily Carroll (July 1)
The Vast and Brutal Sea (The Vicious Deep #3), Zoraida Cordova (July 1)

The Child Eater, Rachel Pollack (July 3)
The Mark of Cain, Lindsey Barraclough (July 3)

Demon Derby, Carrie Harris (July 8)
The Kiss of Deception, Mary E. Pearson (July 8)
Midnight Thief, Livia Blackburne (July 8)
The Queen of the Tearling, Erika Johansen (July 8)

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3), Deborah Harkness (July 15)
Dirty Wings (All Our Pretty Songs #2), Sarah McCarry (July 15)
Loretta Mason Potts (reissue), Mary Chase, ill. Harold Berson (July 15)
That Night, a Monster…, Marzena Sowa, ill. Berenika Kolomycka (July 15)

Endless, Kate Brian (July 22)
The Fire Wish, Amber Lough (July 22)
Poison Promise, Jennifer Estep (July 22)

The Four Seasons of Lucy McKenzie, Kirsty Murray (July 24)

Magical Cross Stitch Designs: Over 60 Fantasy Cross Stitch Designs Featuring Fairies, Wizards, Witches and Dragons, Various Authors (July 28)

Cast in Flame (Chronicles of Elantra #10), Michelle Sagara (July 29)
Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels #7), Ilona Andrews (July 29)
Oceanborn (The Aquarathi #2), Amalie Howard (July 29)
Silver Shadows (Bloodlines #5), Richelle Mead (July 29)

The Fourth Wish, Lindsay Ribar (July 31)

 

Interesting Links:

TU BOOKS has opened the review period for the New Visions Award, a path to publication for MG and YA books by authors of color writing speculative fiction, with entries due October 31.

The Sunburst Award Society for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic announced the shortlist for the 2014 Sunburst Award (including some great reads you just might have heard of).

The 2014 Mythopoeic Awards finalists have been announced.

The New Visions Award is accepting submissions until October 31.

Andre Norton’s young adult novels.

MIND MELD: When Genre Intersects Classical Literature and Myth.

Erynn Kerwin has been accepted to present “Graphic Fantasy Femme Fair,” an interactive offering for sharing comics and other graphics-oriented work. If you would like to share your collection during the presentation, contact Erynn through the sign-up form.

Do you have exciting book news or fantasy links to share? Send it to (help at sirensconference.org) and we’ll include it in the next newsletter. We appreciate your contributions!

 

SIRENS REVIEW SQUAD
In the not-so-distant past, we had a review squad: volunteer readers reviewing books that they would recommend to others interested in women in fantasy. We’re pleased to bring back the review squad, and to feature their book reviews in the Sirens newsletter. If you think you could contribute a book review of at least 250 words sometime during the next year, please visit the volunteer system and on the third page, where you are offered different volunteer team choices, indicate that you’d like to be a book reviewer in the section that says “Please tell us of any specific position you are interested in.” Review squad volunteering is very flexible; we simply ask that you share information about books you’ve enjoyed. You can contribute once or on an ongoing basis, and on a schedule that works for you.

If you’re with a publisher and are interested in providing review copies or similar, please contact us at (help at sirensconference.org). On to this month’s reviews!

 

TheLostThe Lost
Sarah Beth Durst
Harlequin MIRA (2014)
eBook edition

A silver hoop earring. The other black flip flop. A recipe for blueberry coffeecake. I’ve lost other more important things. My way in my early twenties. A belief in love after the demise of a relationship. Trust in a friend.

Sarah Beth Durst’s The Lost introduces us to the place where all of these things go when they are lost, including people who have lost their way physically, mentally and emotionally. Stuck in a rut professional, twenty-seven-year-old Lauren Chase, Durst’s narrator, is facing a reality at home she just doesn’t want to deal with. So, she does what we’ve all thought about doing at some point: getting in the car and just driving. She wants to get as far as she can on one tank of gas.

It’s in the first two chapters Durst develops a claustrophobic, arid atmosphere which helps the reader to feel Lauren’s panic. When she finds herself on a stretch of road with no exits, no towns and a sandstorm, Durst’s power of imagery chokes the reader with alarm. Then we meet the strangest character of the whole book—and that’s saying a lot because there are some odd ones—the town of Lost.

If the claustrophobic imagery of this book hits you in the gut, then Durst’s character development is a perfect knockout. She forces you to scrape the veneer of trash and dirt from her cast and begin to peer into the broken humanity in Lost. Beauty emerges in the brokenness. And Lauren Chase evolves from fugitive on the run from her mother’s illness to discovering that she’s “interesting.” And, of course, we get to meet “The Finder” of Lost, who just happens to be a mysterious, tattooed man who spouts passages from literature. Swoon!

Durst, author of both adult and YA novels, offers a journey full of cacti, trash and beauty. It’s an unexpected combination and it works in this adult novel. When I picked it up I had no idea it was the first in a trilogy. Now, I’ll be waiting for the void to spit out the second in this series. That will make sense once you read this stellar novel, which you should do now. – Courtney Marquez

 

ApparitionsMiyuki Miyabe, Apparitions: Ghosts of Old Edo (first published as あやし = Ayashi, 2000; English trans. Daniel Huddleston, 2013)*

Apparitions includes nine tales threaded by the supernatural. It could have been on the official Sirens reading list this year if not for publication timing, given its multifarious engagement with hauntings and situation of female characters. The one commonality amongst the stories, aside from their early nineteenth-century setting in Edo—now Tokyo—is shopkeeping. Each story features a shop’s family, employees, and the unspoken rules that bring individual and communal voices into conflict. The collection’s first two stories, “A Drowsing Dream of Shinjū” and “Cage of Shadows,” are perhaps the most straightforward; from there the tales become more complex. My favorite story of the set is “The ‘Oni’ of the Adachi House,” in which two women who have married into a shopkeeping family muse upon the mother-in-law’s unusual past in ways that encircle the shop’s fortunes yet stand somewhat apart from them, at once independent and dependent.

Haikasoru, publisher of the English translation, has taken pains to include Masao Higashi’s learned yet pithy introduction to the original publication. Higashi asserts that Miyabe balances a Japanese spirit tradition with a slightly dizzying array of anglophone influences. These stories may also be read as slice-of-life historical fiction, however, evocative of times and places when sane adults talk to dead relatives and when spirits (kami) are adjacent to everyday existence. If the reader doesn’t mind the stories’ absence of trains, motor vehicles, and telephones, then several of the stories could nearly be set today, with multiple ways to construe their interest in the nuances of social convention, socioeconomic barriers, and transgression.

Huddleston’s translation reads smoothly for someone who (like me) doesn’t read Japanese. He expects the reader to be minimally familiar with Japanese culture, however, which means that some key terms are left unglossed, such as shinjū (double suicide), the annual Obon festival, woven floor mats called tatami, -cho to indicate a location, and the O- prefix on women’s names (not matched in the volume by -san or similar). One may look these things up easily via the internet, of course, and they help to maintain the sense of a slightly opaque setting. In a few places it seems that Huddleston or the editor has decided to take pity upon the unwary reader; after someone addresses a character named Yonesuke as “Mr. Rice,” for example, the narrative adds a bit clumsily, “using a nickname based on the first kanji of Yonesuke’s name” (p. 241).

I’ve enjoyed Apparitions well enough to want more, and it turns out that Miyabe is not only prolific but relatively well translated into English. Available to me are Crossfire (1998, English trans. 2005) and Shadow Family = R.P.G. (2001, English trans. 2004), whose original publication dates bracket Apparitions neatly. Both have contemporary thriller settings from a US-inflected genre perspective, Crossfire with a paranormal bent and Shadow Family a police procedural. Three others—ICO: Castle in the Mist, The Book of Heroes, and Brave Story—are available from Haikasoru. Miyabe’s first translation into English, All She Was Worth, should also be mentioned. There is a single-volume treatment of Apparitions = Ayashi in manga form, Oedo Fushigi Hanashi Ayashi (お江戸ふしぎ噺 あやし, published 2010), but it appears not to be translated into English, whether officially or by fans.

* Throughout this review, Japanese names are written surname last; if the review were in Japanese, names would appear surname first.– thistleingrey

 

BOOK GIVEAWAY
Post a comment of at least two sentences on our blog or LiveJournal by July 20, 2014, and tell us which June release you’re most excited about and why. We’ll choose one lucky winner from the participants and contact them for a mailing address, and that person will win a copy of the book they chose. (U.S. addresses only, please!) 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.

 

JUNE GIVEAWAY WINNER
Congratulations to Kate Larking, who picked Rain! Please email us at (help at sirensconference.org) to arrange for your book to be sent.


Questions? You can comment here or write to us at (help at sirensconference.org).

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 sirensconference.org).

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 sirensconference.org) 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 sirensconference.org).

Registration, Tickets, Hotel, and Volunteering Reminder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you can’t make it this year, please consider purchasing a supporting registration. This helps us present Sirens this year and offer Sirens in future years, and you’ll receive a 2012 program book following the conference. Supporting registrations cost $50; $35 of each supporting registration is a donation to Sirens, and because Narrate Conferences, Inc. is a charitable organization, that amount is eligible for tax deduction in the United States. (The other $15 covers the cost of the program book and our mailing costs.)

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

You’re Excited About…

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Nifty:
Her website can be found at http://www.nalohopkinson.com/.

Her blog is at http://nalohopkinson.com/blogmain

She can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nalohopkinson.

A few compelling book covers:

 

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

Many thanks in advance!

 


Questions? You can comment here or write to us at (help at sirensconference.org).

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 4, Issue 9 (July 2012)

Programming
Have you checked out the accepted programming page lately? Many new presentations have been published since June 1. The deadline for presenters to register and confirm their participation at Sirens was July 1, so the complete list will be available soon. Then, we’ll publish this year’s schedule, which will be packed with fantastic presentations.

 

Presentation Sponsorships
If you–or your group, or your website, or your business–would like to sponsor a presentation, we welcome your support! To help defray the cost of Sirens, including the cost of providing audio-visual support for presentations, we are always accepting general donations at http://www.sirensconference.org/support/. This year, you can also show your support of specific presentations. To sponsor one, visit the accepted programming page, and follow the link to donate. You’ll select the presentation to sponsor (if it’s not on the list, it’s been claimed), give us the sponsor name you’d like to have listed publicly, and follow the instructions. We’ll list your name on the website and with the presentation summary in the program book.

 

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

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

 

Book Donations
For everyone attending, and frankly, friends of women in fantasy literature as well, we hope you’ll help us with our used bookstore, because all proceeds will go to Sirens. 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–though you’ll need to attend to buy all the amazing fantasy works we’ve already collected for sale. We’ll have information on getting your books to us available later this summer.

 

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

 

Sirens Supper
If you’ll be in the Portland area on the evening of October 10, 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 with folks before the conference starts!

We’re thrilled to finally be able to share our Pacific Northwest menu for the Sirens Supper: house green salad with Northwest organic greens, heirloom cherry tomatoes, English cucumbers, and housemade herb vinaigrette; forest mushroom soup with almond milk vermouth; wild rice and Hood River cherry pilaf; roasted asparagus; tenderloin of pork with pear-brandy demi-glace; grilled salmon with lemon butter sauce and tomato-artichoke ragout; tofu and vegetable curry with coconut milk; rolls and butter; huckleberry crème brûlée; three-berry cobbler; and coffee, iced tea, and lemonade.

Tickets for the dinner are $60, and may be added to a new registration (http://www.sirensconference.org/registration/) or to an existing registration (http://www.sirensconference.org/registration/changes/). Attendees may purchase additional tickets for the Sirens Supper for others who are at least 18 years old as of October 10, 2012.

 

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

 

Books and Breakfast Reminder
Books and Breakfast will be held on Friday, October 12, and Saturday, October 13, first thing in the morning. You can grab a to-go breakfast from the River Rock restaurant—they’ll have light items on hand—and join any of these discussions. It’s perfectly okay to turn up 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 12
Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins by Emma Donoghue (HarperTeen, 1999)
The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden by Catherynne Valente (Spectra, 2006)
The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (Doubleday, 2008)
Roses and Bones: Myths, Tales and Secrets by Francesca Lia Block (HarperTeen, 2010)
Sailor Moon manga, being re-released as Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi (any release of Acts 1-5, which was released in the U.S. by Tokyopop in 2003; other versions also available)
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2011)

Saturday, October 13
A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Scholastic, 2008)
The Dark Wife by Sarah Deimer (Createspace, 2011)
Mella and the N’anga: An African Tale by Gail Nyoka (Sumach Press, 2006)
Peaceweaver by Rebecca Barnhouse (Random House, 2012)
The Sigh by Marjane Satrapi (Archaia Entertainment, 2011)
There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (trans. Keith Gessen and Anna Summers) (Penguin, 2009)

 

Spotlight: Guest of Honor Kate Bernheimer
Kate Bernheimer has been called “one of the living masters of the fairy tale” by Tin House, and is the author of four books of fiction, most recently the final novel in a trilogy, The Complete Tales of Lucy Gold (FC2 2011), and Horse, Flower, Bird, a collection of stories with illustrations by Rikki Ducornet (Coffee House Press 2010). She has edited three anthologies including the World Fantasy Award winning My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales (Penguin 2010). Her fiction and critical essays have appeared in The Los Angeles TimesFence MagazineBookforumPuerto del SolBomb MagazineMarvels & Tales: The Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies, and elsewhere. She teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Arizona, and is founding and acting editor of Fairy Tale Review.

Nifty:
Her website can be found at http://www.katebernheimer.com/.

Her blog is at http://www.katebernheimer.com/news.php, where you can find out the story behind the AIANY Unbuilt award for Baba Yaga’s house.

Hear her “loving homage to and deconstruction of Hansel and Gretel” at http://catranslation.org/blogpost/two-voices-a-night-of-fairy-tales.

And a few beautiful book covers…

 

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

 

Travel
Diana needs a roommate. Do you? Visit the message boards to join her or to post your own request for a share.

 


Questions? You can comment here or write to us at (help at sirensconference.org).

Presented by Narrate Conferences, Inc.

 

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