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This is the official newsletter for Sirens, a conference dedicated to women in fantasy literature. The newsletter is published once a month to the Sirens message boards, mailing list, LiveJournal, and Facebook. Certain other updates are posted on the conference’s Twitter. Between regular editions, the Sirens LiveJournal also hosts special updates, in-depth information posts, and helpful hints for traveling, registering, and getting involved with programming. This newsletter is part of the Sirens website and is not presented under a cut on LiveJournal. Once a month, you’ll have a longer post on your LiveJournal friends list.


Sirens
Volume 7 – Issue 11
September 2015


In this issue:

REGISTRATION DEADLINE
Sirens is next month—and we can’t wait to see you! If you haven’t purchased your registration yet, please make sure to do so by September 12. When the clock strikes 11:59 p.m. on September 12, we’ll close our online registration system. After that, you must register at the door at an increased price.

If you have any questions, please contact us at (registration at sirensconference.org).


TICKETS
The registration deadline is also the deadline to purchase tickets for the Sirens Shuttle, Sirens Supper, and Sirens Studio. The Sirens Shuttle provides attendees and their guests affordable transportation to and from the Denver International Airport. The Sirens Supper is a wonderful way to connect with staff and attendees the night before the conference officially launches. And, new this year, the Sirens Studio offers two days of workshops, networking opportunities, discussions, and flexible time for writers, readers, and professionals. We’ll stop selling these tickets on September 12, and they’re very unlikely to be available at the door, so add them to your registration before the deadline.


TRAVEL AND HOTEL RESERVATIONS
No matter how you’re traveling to Sirens, we have information available for you on the transportation page of our website. Denver is a large and sprawling city, but the Inverness Hotel offers some fabulous amenities and dining options right at home. If you haven’t made your hotel reservations yet, please do so by calling the hotel directly at (303) 799-5800; rooms are filling up quickly. (Please do not call the toll-free number, since they don’t seem aware of our room block.) If you have any issues making a reservation and getting the Sirens discount rate, please do let us know at (help at sirensconference.org).


UPCOMING INSTRUCTION EMAILS
If you’ve registered for Sirens, please keep an eye on your inbox during the beginning of October. We’ll be sending you emails regarding, as appropriate, meeting the Sirens Shuttle, checking in for the Sirens Studio, finding the Sirens Supper, and claiming your Sirens registration.


SCHEDULE
If you’ve got all of your travel details set, it might be time to review the accepted programming and schedule for Sirens and daydream about owning a Time-Turner, or to volunteer (see below). It might also be time to review the Books and Breakfast list and pick out something to chat about before the day’s programming starts, or time to squeeze in a few more books from this year’s themed reading list. Remember, if you’ve finished this year’s Reading Challenge, please email us by September 12 to let us know of your victory; we’ll have a button suitable for gloating waiting for you at Sirens!


VOLUNTEERING
We’d love your help at Sirens! Volunteer shifts vary in length and responsibilities, but 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 that time is up, and gather lost and found items. See the volunteers page page on our website for more details. If you’re a returning volunteer, you don’t need to fill out the form—just follow the directions in the email sent through the Google Group. Thank you!


SUPPORT SIRENS
Each year, Sirens raises thousands of dollars in order to hold the conference and to keep registration costs as low as possible for everyone—even as the cost of hosting events skyrockets. If you can support Sirens through a donation of money, auction items, or used books, we’d be very appreciative.


GUEST OF HONOR INTERVIEW
Rae Carson

Read our in-depth interview with Guest of Honor Rae Carson, where she discusses inspirations, gold panning, Princess Leia, writing and more.


AMY’S BOOK CLUB
AnEmberintheAshes


Come read with us! Sirens co-founder Amy leads the Sirens Book Club each month. September’s book is An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Join the discussion on Goodreads.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

July Recap: Sirens News, Book Releases, and Interesting Links

Sirens Accepted Programming for 2015: Roundtable Discussions

Sirens Accepted Programming for 2015: Workshops

Sirens Accepted Programming for 2015: Afternoon Classes

Sirens Accepted Programming for 2015: Panels

Rae Carson: Five Young Adult Fantasy Works with Adult Crossover Appeal

Andrea Horbinski: Five Fantasies of the Roaring Twenties from the New Gilded Age

Erynn Moss: Eight Fantasy Works That Don’t Over-Explain

s.e. smith: Five Dark and Twisty Young Adult Works

Casey Blair: Six Secondary World Urban Fantasies

Testimonials: If you’ve attended Sirens more than once, why did you decide to come back to Sirens?

Sirens Support





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

The Sirens September 2015 Newsletter is available on sirenscon!


 
 
This is the official newsletter for Sirens, a conference dedicated to women in fantasy literature. The newsletter is published once a month to the Sirens message boards, mailing list, LiveJournal, and Facebook. Certain other updates are posted on the conference’s Twitter. Between regular editions, the Sirens LiveJournal also hosts special updates, in-depth information posts, and helpful hints for traveling, registering, and getting involved with programming. This newsletter is part of the Sirens website and is not presented under a cut on LiveJournal. Once a month, you’ll have a longer post on your LiveJournal friends list.


Sirens
Volume 7 – Issue 10
August 2015


In this issue:

INTERVIEWS WITH GUESTS OF HONOR
We recently posted Sirens interviews with two of our guests of honor for 2015: Kate Elliott and Yoon Ha Lee, and they’ve got some fascinating things to say about reading, writing, and women in fantasy. Coming soon, we’ll interview our third guest of honor, Rae Carson, as well!


REGISTRATION DEADLINE
The deadline to register for Sirens is fast approaching. If you haven’t purchased your registration yet, please make sure to do so before registration closes on September 12. After that, you must register at the door at an increased price. If you have any questions, please contact us at (registration at sirensconference.org).


TICKETS
Tickets for the Sirens Shuttle, Sirens Supper, and Sirens Studio are still available. The Sirens Shuttle offers discounted group transportation to and from Denver International Airport, for you and any friends or family who’d like a ride too. The Sirens Supper is our annual pre-conference dinner, and a great way to kick off the conference. Finally, our new offering, the Sirens Studio, features two days of workshop intensives (for readers, writers, and professionals), discussion, networking opportunities, and flexible time for you to use however you wish. If you’d like to join us for some—or all—of these, tickers can be added to a registration until registration closes on September 12 . Tickets for these events are unlikely to be available at the door.


HOTEL RESERVATIONS
Don’t forget to make reservations to stay with us at the Inverness Hotel in the south Denver metro area. Rooms are filling up quickly, especially for the Sirens Studio days (and nights)! If you’re seeking roommates, let us know on Twitter so we can retweet your search, or make a post on Facebook or our website message boards. If you have any issues making a reservation and getting the Sirens discount rate, please do let us know at (help at sirensconference.org); if we can help, we certainly will. Read more about why staying at the hotel helps us and why you will want to stay at the Inverness.


PROGRAMMING SPONSORSHIPS
You can see the presentations we’ve accepted from Sirens attendees on the accepted programming page. (The schedule is undergoing proofreading as you read this!) If you see a presentation you love, consider sponsoring the presentation under your name or on behalf of a group! Presentation sponsorships cost only $35, and the proceeds go entirely to Sirens’ expenses. We appreciate your donations, and if you sponsor a presentation by August 21, we’ll be able to list your donation not just on the website, but in the printed program book that all attendees receive.


VOLUNTEERING
Would you like to help out during Sirens? Volunteer shifts vary in length and responsibilities, but 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 that time is up, 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. We’ll be sending information about available volunteer shifts to group members. Thank you!


AMY’S BOOK CLUB
InGreatWaters


Come read with us! Sirens co-founder Amy leads the Sirens Book Club each month. August’s book is In Great Waters by Kit Whitfield. Join the discussion here on Goodreads.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

Books for Friday’s Books and Breakfast and Saturday’s Books and Breakfast have been announced.

Sherwood Smith: Influential Fantasy for Heroines

Hallie Tibbetts: Sirens Accepted Programming for 2015: Papers

You’re Excited About...has become its very own special feature, with links, book releases, and more. We’ve rounded up June, and July is on its way...

Yoon Ha Lee: Six Fantasy Works for Sirens

Shveta Thakrar: Seven Fantasy Books Featuring Non-Western Mythology and Folklore

Kate Elliott: Five Fabulous Epic Fantasy Works by Women

Hallie Tibbetts: Six Fantasy Books with Non-US Settings

Testimonials and a Love Letter





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

The Sirens August 2015 Newsletter is available on sirenscon!


 
 
This is the official newsletter for Sirens, a conference dedicated to women in fantasy literature. The newsletter is published once a month to the Sirens message boards, mailing list, LiveJournal, and Facebook. Certain other updates are posted on the conference’s Twitter. Between regular editions, the Sirens LiveJournal also hosts special updates, in-depth information posts, and helpful hints for traveling, registering, and getting involved with programming. This newsletter is part of the Sirens website and is not presented under a cut on LiveJournal. Once a month, you’ll have a longer post on your LiveJournal friends list.


Sirens
Volume 7 – Issue 9
July 2015


In this issue:


PRICE INCREASE
On July 8, 2015, the Sirens registration price increases from $195 to $205. Register now and save! Sirens registrations include access to everything that happens at Sirens between 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 8, and noon on Sunday, October 11: all guest of honor keynotes, all programming, all events, and a conference t-shirt. Tickets for the Sirens Shuttle, Sirens Supper, and Sirens Studio won’t increase in price, but remaining spots are limited. Registration closes September 12; after that, you must register at the door.


PRESENTER REGISTRATION
July 7 is the deadline for presenters to be registered for Sirens. If you’re a presenter and need an extra day or two to register and pay, please be sure to coordinate with (programming at sirensconference.org) so that your accepted presentation is not dropped from the schedule.


SCHOLARSHIPS
All recipients of scholarships (and those who didn’t receive a scholarship this year) have been sent an email about how to claim their registrations and shuttle tickets. Thank you to everyone who applied!

And thank you again to everyone who donated to support our scholarship program! In the end, we were able to provide nine scholarships.


PROGRAMMING SPONSORSHIPS
As we finalize details, verify presenters, and tidy up descriptions, we’ll be posting presentations offered up by Sirens attendees on the accepted programming page. If you see one you love, we hope you’ll consider sponsoring the presentation, whether anonymously, under your name, or on behalf of a group! Programming sponsorships cost only $35, and the proceeds go to covering Sirens’s expenses. (You can sponsor a presentation by clicking the link that says “Sponsor Programming” on that page.) We appreciate your donations, and if you sponsor a presentation by August 21, we’ll be able to list your donation not just on the website, but in the printed program book that all Sirens attendees receive.

A schedule for the conference weekend will be posted soon; please keep an eye out on Twitter and Facebook for an announcement.


BOOKS AND BREAKFAST
Books and Breakfast will be held on Friday, October 9, and Saturday, October 10. For those of you who are new to Sirens, each year we select unusual, controversial, and popular books within our theme, and invite you to bring your own breakfast and join us for informal chats about books before programming begins 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 (and it’s a lot more fun if you come having read at least one book each day), here are the 2015 selections. Ready? Start reading!

Friday, October 9
Bitterblue, Kristin Cashore
The Book of Phoenix, Nnedi Okorafor
An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir
Fire Logic, Laurie J. Marks
The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson
2015BooksandBreakfast-Friday
Saturday, October 10
Alif the Unseen, G. Willow Wilson
The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison
The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, Ambelin Kwaymullina
The Mirror Empire, Kameron Hurley
The Young Elites, Marie Lu
2015BooksandBreakfast-Saturday



TRAVELING TO SIRENS
If you’re flying to Sirens, you’ll likely arrive at Denver International Airport. Denver International is a hub for air travel and most major airlines will take you there.

Ground transportation in Denver is expensive, but Sirens offers the Sirens Shuttle so that you can ride to and from Denver International Airport with other attendees for much less than it costs to travel alone! We’ll pick you up and return you to the airport for $60. We have Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday arrival options, and a Sunday departure; please make sure to check the Sirens Shuttle schedule before booking your flights. You can add tickets for yourself or friends on a new registration or to an existing registration.

It’s also time to make your reservations at the Inverness Hotel. The Inverness rate for standard rooms for Sirens attendees, regardless of occupancy, is $129 beginning the night of October 4, 2015, and ending the night of October 13, 2015. If you’re sharing, you might be especially pleased to know that there are cozy nooks on each floor that might make excellent places to hang out if your sleeping patterns don’t match those of your roommate(s).

Please note that, like most conferences, Sirens commits to filling a certain number of guest rooms at the Inverness in order to hold the event at the hotel. By staying at the Inverness, you’ll not only ensure that you’re part of Sirens around the clock, you’ll help us cover the costs of presenting Sirens as well!


1bed 2beds nook



AMY’S BOOK CLUB
RedQueen


Come read with us! Sirens co-founder Amy leads the Sirens Book Club each month. July’s book is Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Join the discussion here on Goodreads.


JUNE BOOK RELEASES AND INTERESTING LINKS
We’ll be sending these your way later this month. Keep an eye on our Twitter or Facebook for the good—and interesting—news.



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

The Sirens July 2015 Newsletter is available on sirenscon!


 
 
This is the official newsletter for Sirens, a conference dedicated to women in fantasy literature. The newsletter is published once a month to the Sirens message boards, mailing list, LiveJournal, and Facebook. Certain other updates are posted on the conference’s Twitter. Between regular editions, the Sirens LiveJournal also hosts special updates, in-depth information posts, and helpful hints for traveling, registering, and getting involved with programming. This newsletter is part of the Sirens website and is not presented under a cut on LiveJournal. Once a month, you’ll have a longer post on your LiveJournal friends list.


Sirens
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).

The Sirens June 2015 Newsletter is available on sirenscon!


 
 
This is the official newsletter for Sirens, a conference dedicated to women in fantasy literature. The newsletter is published once a month to the Sirens message boards, mailing list, LiveJournal, and Facebook. Certain other updates are posted on the conference’s Twitter. Between regular editions, the Sirens LiveJournal also hosts special updates, in-depth information posts, and helpful hints for traveling, registering, and getting involved with programming. This newsletter is part of the Sirens website and is not presented under a cut on LiveJournal. Once a month, you’ll have a longer post on your LiveJournal friends list.


Sirens
Volume 7 – Issue 7
May 2015



In this issue:


 

PROGRAMMING DEADLINE: MAY 15
Visit the programming section of the Sirens website.

The deadline to submit programming proposals to Sirens is May 15, 2015. That means you have less than two weeks to put together your proposal, to find co-presenters, and to offer your idea to the vetting board. Never fear, however: at the time of submission, you need only have a short summary for the program book and a short abstract (or lesson plan, or set of discussion questions) ready for review. You’ll still have until October to prepare! Not sure what to present? Here are a few ideas we’ve shared on Twitter for #SirensBrainstormMonday or during chats:

  • Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby: The Importance of Female Desire in Young Adult Fantasy Literature

  • Chat brainstorming: Crossovers between fantasy and other genres (reader expectations, clashing writing tropes, when they work really well).

  • Chat brainstorming: The sometimes success of non-traditional structures (shifting PoVs, unreliable narrators, non-linear storytelling).

  • Chat brainstorming: Older heroines who have some wisdom and leadership skills, but are still challenged in a book (e.g., Broken Monsters).

  • Bring It On: Are Girls More Fearless in Fantasy Literature?

  • Forgiveness and Revenge in Fantasy

  • Murder, Mistake, Rebellion, Revolution: Our Changeable Thresholds of Female Villainy in Fantasy Literature

  • Homicidal Asylum Prisoner to Practically Perfect Authorial Insert: The Many, Many Faces of Alice of Wonderland

  • “How about something with women-led societies and matriarchal lines: Sorrow’s Knot, The Demon King, Queen of the Tearling?”

  • “40+-year-old women in fantasy lit: Paladin of Souls, A Crown for Cold Silver, Granny Weatherwax...”

  • Handbook of Revolution: Deploying Your Dragons, Mages, Spies and Wannabe Queens


These folks are or were seeking presentations or collaborators. Please contact them directly; if you don’t use Twitter, and you email us ASAP at (programming at sirensconference.org), we’ll forward your contact information to them, if we can.

  • Bethany Powell/ @oh_gingersnap / Panel “Women in War: trauma & healing in SFF” looking for panelists! Would love counseling/medicine/healer perspectives. But: I would also just love perspectives of common sense and mature ladies! Anyone who’d like to chat these topics.

  • @morinotsuma is looking for co-panelists to discuss IRL heroines as inspiration for fantasy novels. Interested?

  • Panel on religion in fantasy seeks Buddhist and Muslim voices. If you’re attending #Sirens15 and want to join, let @sesmithwrites know!

  • Catherine Lundoff @clundoff has raised a hand for being part of programming—check out her Twitter for more information and interests.


And we have some facts, frequently asked questions, examples, and inspiration for you!

Staff talks about presenting different kinds of programming:

Attendees talk about programming:
 

HELP US FUND SIRENS SCHOLARSHIPS
Can you help us reach our goal of including more voices in Sirens?
 
Sirens Conference needs your help to include more voices in our community!

This year, we hope to offer more scholarships than ever before. You can donate any amount, and if you do—no matter the amount—we will feature you, under your chosen name (or anonymous), on our website and in our program book. More importantly, both our Sirens team and our community will be grateful for your commitment both to those who might not otherwise be able to attend Sirens and to the diversity and inclusiveness of our community.

We’ve already funded a third of our scholarships—the first three will benefit Con or Bust. Can you help us meet our goal of funding a total of nine scholarships? You can donate any amount, and any amount is much appreciated.

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB
SnowLikeAshes


Come read with us! Sirens co-founder Amy leads the Sirens Book Club each month. May’s book is Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch. Join the discussion here on Goodreads.

 

YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT...
Interesting Links:

Never-before-seen passage cut from an early draft of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.

Marvel hires a pair of women to write Captain Marvel.

Fairy tales that are backed by science!

Exploring the appeal of fantasy romance.

Five fantasy epics that would make for better TV than Game of Thrones, including Tamora Pierce’s The Immortals.

Four female Muslim superheroes countering stereotypes.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black is the 2015 Indies Choice Book Award Young Adult Book of the Year.

Another day, another erasure of women in the world of books.

Me and Science Fiction: What Are We, Chopped Liver?

April was Women in SF&F Month on Fantasy Café.

One Artist Rips Open Grimm’s Fairy Tales to Reveal Their Gruesome, Feminist Roots (note: graphic imagery that may be disturbing or NSFW).

DC and Mattel team up to create superhero action figures for girls.

Aniko Kolesnikova’s 3-D fantasy book covers.

A peek at how maps get made for fantasy books.

New audio adaptation of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin on BBC Radio 4.

2014 Tiptree Award Winners.

2014 Aurealis Awards.

Magical 3-D art made from abandoned books.


 

Recent Releases:
PLEASE NOTE: We will soon be transitioning to reporting on books that are out in the previous month, so we’ll be skipping new books in the June newsletter. In July, we’ll bring you a list of June’s releases. As always, we’re happy to hear about new releases—please send them to (help at sirensconference.org)!


2015MayMiniCollage-12015MayMiniCollage-22015MayMiniCollage-32015MayMiniCollage-42015MayMiniCollage-5

Click each image for a closer look at the covers.

From April:
Back, Belly, and Side: True Lies and False Tales, Celeste Rita Baker
Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1), Jennifer Estep
Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel (Tyme #1), Megan Morrison
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 2: Generation Why, G. Willow Wilson, ill. Jacob Wyatt and Adrian Alphona
Once Upon a Time: Out of the Past, Kalinda Vazquez, ill. Corinna Bechko, Pascal Campion, Betsy Peterschmidt, Vanesa Del Rey, and Janet Lee
SuperMutant Magic Academy, Jillian Tamaki

May 1:
Lois Lane: Fallout, Gwenda Bond
Mermaids and Other Mysteries of the Deep, ed. Paula Guran
Song for a Scarlet Runner, Julie Hunt

May 5:
Alien Separation, Gini Koch
Archivist Wasp, Nicole Kornher-Stace
Blood Sisters: Vampire Stories by Women, ed. Paula Guran
The Book of Phoenix, Nnedi Okorafor
Cat’s Lair, Christine Feehan
A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah J. Maas
Crimson Bound, Rosamund Hodge
Day Shift, Charlaine Harris
Grave Phantoms, Jenn Bennett
The Heir, Kiera Cass
Ice Kissed, Amanda Hocking
Isle of the Lost, Melissa de la Cruz
Oracle, Michelle West
The Perilous Princess Plot (Buckle and Squash #1), Sarah Courtauld
Seriously Wicked, Tina Connolly
The Waterborne Blade, Susan Murray
Witches With the Enemy, Barb Hendee

May 7:
City of Fae, Pippa DaCosta
Marked, Sue Tingey

May 8:
Avalon Rising, Kathryn Rose

May 12:
5 To 1, Holly Bodger
Bayou Magic, Jewell Parker Rhodes
The Big Fix: A Novel, Linda Grimes
Born of Defiance (The League #8), Sherrilyn Kenyon
The Boys of Fire and Ash, Meaghan McIsaac
Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge
Defiant, Karina Sumner-Smith
Dreams of Shreds and Tatters, Amanda Downum
End of Days, Susan Ee
Love Is Red, Sophie Jaff
Points of Departure: Liavek Stories, Patricia C. Wrede and Pamela Dean
The Telling Stone (Time Out of Time #2), Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Todas las Hadas del Reino, Laura Gallego García
Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, Kelly Jones
The Wrath and the Dawn, Renée Ahdieh

May 19:
Chantress Fury, Amy Butler Greenfield
Dangerous Deception, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Eighth Grave After Dark, Darynda Jones
The Gracekeepers, Kirsty Logan
The Hanged Man, P. N. Elrod
Illusionarium, Heather Dixon
Lion Heart, A. C. Gaughen
Nimona, Noelle Stevenson
Off the Page, Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer
Thor’s Serpents, K. L. Armstrong and M. A. Marr
Uprooted, Naomi Novik
Women of Wonder: Celebrating Women Creators of Fantastic Art, edited by Cathy Fenner

May 26:
The Awesome, Eva Darrows
Beauty (Tales from the Kingdoms #3), Sarah Pinborough
Charmed, Michelle Krys
The Death Code, Lindsay Cummings
The Eternal City, Paula Morris
I Am Princess X, Cherie Priest
The Talon of the Hawk (The Twelve Kingdoms #3), Jeffe Kennedy


 

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 love to have your recommendation for the Sirens newsletter.

Review squad volunteering is quite 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.”

 

TheWitchofPaintedSorrowsThe Witch of Painted Sorrows
M. J. Rose

There are no words for how much I loved this book.

The Witch of Painted Sorrows is the tale of a young American woman who flees to her grandmother’s mansion in Paris to get away from her tyrant husband. When she gets there, however, Sandrine finds more than she bargained for in the form of La Lune, a woman of family lore who may still be haunting the house. Through her influence, Sandrine learns to paint, exert her own willfulness, and perhaps most shockingly (to herself at least) embrace her sexuality and sensuality.

This book was incredibly atmospheric evoking the glamour and mystery of La Belle Epoch Paris, nearly gothic in places—it gave me shivers! The house and city become characters as much as the people in the book.

Though Sandrine isn’t much developed as a character before her first encounter with La Lune, the changes wrought in her serve to show the reader what she must have been like before. (And I have to say, go La Lune! A woman before her time.) I wish Julien had been a little more developed, but he still served as the perfect pairing of the empowered Sandrine, and foil to her husband. Sandrine’s courtesan grandmother may have been the most developed of all the characters. Watching what happens to her was heartbreaking.

And the sex! *fans self* This is not erotica by any means, but in the hands of a skilled author like M. J. Rose, the sex scenes are amazing. Give me this over 50 Shades any day.

As a fan of all things mystical and occult, this book was right up my alley. I loved the reference to the fire opals and rubies (I hope she does more with the stones’ symbolism in later books) and the depiction of spiritualism and the occult rites toward the end was spot on from research I’ve done. Plus, the idea of a ghost possibly possessing someone always lends an air of the uncanny.

I have to say I’m wondering what she’s going to do with the rest of the series. The ending was well tied up, save for one shocker that made me sit back and say, “Okay, bring on book 2! ” – Nicole Evelina




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

The Sirens May 2015 Newsletter is available on sirenscon!


 
 
 
This is the official newsletter for Sirens, a conference dedicated to women in fantasy literature. The newsletter is published once a month to the Sirens message boards, mailing list, LiveJournal, and Facebook. Certain other updates are posted on the conference’s Twitter. Between regular editions, the Sirens LiveJournal also hosts special updates, in-depth information posts, and helpful hints for traveling, registering, and getting involved with programming. This newsletter is part of the Sirens website and is not presented under a cut on LiveJournal. Once a month, you’ll have a longer post on your LiveJournal friends list.


Sirens
Volume 7 – Issue 6
April 2015



In this issue:


 

PROGRAMMING DEADLINE APPROACHING
The deadline to submit programming proposals to Sirens is May 15, 2015.

We look forward to receiving your proposals. Remember, all programming at Sirens is created and presented by attendees. Submit your proposal now!

You can get information on how to put together a programming proposal on our website, and we’ve posted our annual programming series on our blog. Check it out for help turning your idea into a presentation, as well as for thoughts and experiences from others who’ve presented and how they made a proposal.

If you’re looking for co-presenters, why not place an ad on Facebook or the Sirens message boards?

If you’re still thinking about what to present, please join us for a chat. We’ll be talking about programming ideas on Sunday, April 19, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Eastern. This link will take you to a chat on the Sirens website during that time; no software or downloads are required, but you may need to refresh the page.

#SirensBrainstormMonday on Twitter has topics free for the taking (and if you have too many ideas, please feel free to contribute your extras). We recently held a chat on Twitter, too, where ideas were floated for anyone to take. Here are just a couple examples:
  • Bring It On: Are Girls More Fearless in Fantasy Literature?
  • Forgiveness and Revenge in Fantasy
  • Murder, Mistake, Rebellion, Revolution: Our Changeable Thresholds of Female Villainy in Fantasy Literature
  • Homicidal Asylum Prisoner to Practically Perfect Authorial Insert: The Many, Many Faces of Alice of Wonderland
  • “How about something with women-led societies and matriarchal lines: Sorrow’s Knot, The Demon King, Queen of the Tearling?”
  • “40+-year-old women in fantasy lit: Paladin of Souls, A Crown for Cold Silver, Granny Weatherwax...”
  • Handbook of Revolution: Deploying Your Dragons, Mages, Spies and Wannabe Queens


We believe involving everyone in the dialogue of the conference is critical, and that’s why our only presenter requirement is that you be old enough to attend. Please know that we value hearing from everyone—and if a topic interests you, it probably interests other attendees, too. If you have any questions about programming, please write to (programming at sirensconference.org).

 

REGISTER
Staff members recently visited the 2015 site for Sirens. We’re happy to report that the lobby space at the Inverness Hotel has been renovated! Now better than ever, the hotel boasts ample natural light, outlets for all your power needs, a new fireplace, and plenty of cozy seating. In addition, the dining locations have been renovated, and a new coffee bar serves your favorite caffeinated drinks until early afternoon. We can’t wait to share this lovely space with you.

InvernessLobbyRenovated


Register now for Sirens in Denver, Colorado.

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB
TheYoungElites


Come read with us! Sirens co-founder Amy leads the Sirens Book Club each month. April’s book is The Young Elites by Marie Lu. Join the discussion here on Goodreads.

 

YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT...
Interesting Links:

Marvel is spotlighting female heroes in their new bi-monthly anthology.

Awesome: Women SFF artists redesign female characters.

Ursula K. Le Guin on Kazuo Ishiguro: “Are they going to say this is fantasy?

From Harper Voyager: Fiona McIntosh remembers Sara Douglass.

Princess Rap Battle: Cinderella vs. Belle.

From Esquire: A look at genre vs. literary fiction.

From NPR: A Girl, A Shoe, A Prince: The Endlessly Evolving Cinderella.

From The Guardian: Kapow! Attack of the feminist superheroes.

Matrilines: The Woman Who Made Fantasy: Katherine Kurtz.


 

Recent Releases:
2015AprilCollage

Click the image for a closer look at the covers.


March 1:
The Mermaid’s Sister, Carrie Anne Noble

March 3:
Dead Heat (Alpha & Omega #4), Patricia Briggs

March 10:
The Doll Collection, Ellen Datlow
Persona, Genevieve Valentine

March 17:
The Witch of Painted Sorrows (The Daughters of La Lune #1), M. J. Rose

March 19:
The Glorious Angels, Justina Robson

March 24:
Medicine for the Dead (Children of the Drought #2), Arianne “Tex” Thompson

April 1:
By Tooth and Claw (Clan of the Claw), S. M. Stirling, Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, Jody Lynn Nye

April 2:
The D’Evil Diaries, Tatum Flynn

April 7:
Awakening, Shannon Duffy
Dark Heir (Jane Yellowrock #9), Faith Hunter
Emissary: The Second Book of the Seven Eyes, Betsy Dornbusch
Empire of Night (Age of Legends #2), Kelley Armstrong
Every Breath You Take (Jensen Murphy, Ghost for Hire #3), Chris Marie Green
Garden of Dreams and Desires (Crescent City #3), Kristen Painter
Genuine Sweet, Faith Harkey
Miss Mayhem, Rachel Hawkins
Palace of Lies, Margaret Peterson Haddix
Rolling in the Deep, Mira Grant
Tracker: A Foreigner Novel (Foreigner #16), C. J. Cherryh
Vengeance of the Demon (Kara Gillian #7), Diana Rowland

April 9:
Lumberjanes #1, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson, and Brooke A. Allen (Art)

April 10:
Lagoon (U.S. edition), Nnedi Okorafor

April 14:
Bloodkin (The Maeve’ra Trilogy #2), Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Dream a Little Dream, Kerstin Gier
Forged (Taken #3), Erin Bowman
Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk, Liesl Shurtliff
The Second Guard, J. D. Vaughn
The Water and the Wild, K. E. Ormsbee and Elsa Mora (Illustrations)
Window Wall (Glass Thorns #4), Melanie Rawn
The Wondrous and the Wicked (The Dispossessed #3), Page Morgan

April 15:
Vermilion, Molly Tanzer

April 21:
Beauty’s Kingdom, A. N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
Becoming Jinn, April Goldstein
Castle Hangnail, Ursula Vernon
The Decaying Empire (The Vanishing Girl #2), Laura Thalassa
Desert Rising, Kelley Grant
Red Girls: The Legend of the Akakuchibas, Kazuki Sakuraba
Pirate’s Alley (Sentinels of New Orleans #4), Suzanne Johnson
The Silver Witch, Paula Brackston
Stolen Magic, Gail Carson Levine
War of Shadows (Ascendant Kingdoms #3), Gail Z. Martin

April 28:
Charm, Sarah Pinborough
Deception’s Pawn, Esther Friesner
An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir
The Eternity Key, Bree Despain
The Game of Love and Death, Martha Brockenbrough
The Girl at Midnight, Melissa Grey
Hunted Warrior, Lindsey Piper
The Jumbies, Tracey Baptiste
Legend: The Graphic Novel, Marie Lu, Leigh Dragoon, and Kaari (Art)
Magonia, Maria Dahvana Headley
Medusa the Rich, Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
The Memory Painter, Gwendolyn Womack
Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures, Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce
Rogue, Julie Kagawa
The Shattered Court, M.J. Scott
Of Noble Family (Glamourist Histories #5), Mary Robinette Kowal
Rook, Sharon Cameron
Valiant, Sarah McGuire


 

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 love to have your recommendation for the Sirens newsletter.

Review squad volunteering is quite 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.”

 

InterrogationofAshalaWolfThe Interrogation of Ashala Wolf
Ambelin Kwaymullina
Candlewick

When I started The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, I kept flipping to the flap copy—was this book two? At the beginning, Ashala aks her captor philosophical questions and refers to past events in a way that feels very much like a sequel. Yet, this was Kwaymullina’s first novel, so I knew I had to read on. Over the course of the first fifty pages, I gathered a handful of ideas. The world we know has ended, and 300 years after that, the scant human population shares space with sentient cats and saurs, and is asking a great question: Should all humans be allowed to live freely, and are all humans included in the old definition of human? Soon after, I realized that the story didn’t start in the wrong place—instead, I had a mystery to unravel.

In the time of rebuilding, there are humans who have developed abilities, most of them related to manipulating the natural world. The government won’t allow them to be citizens, for the most part, and too often, children found to have abilities die during the identification process. Ashala, leader of a Tribe of children with abilities who hide in the Firstwood, has been captured and taken to a detention center, where new technology, a computer, can look into her brain for information about rebels. If anyone can fight the interrogation, it’s Ashala, who can Sleepwalk and perform amazing feats while she dreams. Soon, however, all her stories begin to unravel, and her ability to protect the Tribe, and herself, is endangered. The problem is that her memories are suspect, and it’s not clear who she can trust.

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is a fascinating example of both near-future fantasy and of nonlinear storytelling. Kwayamullina, an Aboriginal writer and illustrator from the Palyku people in Australia, is shaping a series about the Tribe, and an author’s note at the end of The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf explains a bit of how her cultural beliefs influenced the story. If you’re looking for a page turner, I recommend trying this book. – Undusty New Books




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

The Sirens April 2015 Newsletter is available on sirenscon!


 
 
This is the official newsletter for Sirens, a conference dedicated to women in fantasy literature. The newsletter is published once a month to the Sirens message boards, mailing list, LiveJournal, and Facebook. Certain other updates are posted on the conference’s Twitter. Between regular editions, the Sirens LiveJournal also hosts special updates, in-depth information posts, and helpful hints for traveling, registering, and getting involved with programming. This newsletter is part of the Sirens website and is not presented under a cut on LiveJournal. Once a month, you’ll have a longer post on your LiveJournal friends list.


Sirens
Volume 7 – Issue 5
March 2015



In this issue:


 

REGISTRATION PRICE INCREASE
The next price increase for Sirens will happen on March 31, 2015.

It is currently $185, and jumps to $195 at the very end of March. Visit http://www.sirensconference.org/attend/ for more information or to register now.

Registrations for Sirens include access to all of our conference programming and events, including the keynote addresses by our guests of honor (and accompanying meals or receptions), as well as a conference T-shirt available only to attendees.

 

PROGRAMMING NEWS
Starting next week, we’ll be posting our annual guide to programming, with information applicable to all types of presentations. If you’d like to submit a programming proposal, we hope you’ll take a peek at our tips.

The deadline for programming proposals is May 15, 2015.


Offering opportunities to discuss and debate the remarkable work of women in fantasy literature is vital to Sirens, and the voices of our attendees—including your voice—are critical to those discussions and debates. Therefore, as you know, Sirens’s programming—the presentations, panels, roundtables, and workshops that make up most of our daytime schedule—is created, submitted and presented by our attendees, for our attendees. Our schedule can be as extraordinary as our collective brilliance, but also, as you might expect, when we receive more programming proposals, the Sirens conversation, and our programming schedule, becomes more diverse and more vibrant.

We know that presenting a programming topic isn’t for everyone, but we very much hope that, as you consider whether to do so, you know that your voice is essential, your thoughts are unique, and you are just as welcome to submit and present programming as anyone else attending Sirens. Please see the guidelines section of our website for more information on putting a proposal together. If you’re curious about past programming, check out our archive.

 

PROGRAMMING BRAINSTORMING!
If you’re looking for programming ideas—or you have ideas for programming you’d like to see others present—why not share them on Facebook or on Twitter using #SirensBrainstormMonday. Or why not come to one of our programming chats or Twitter brainstorming sessions? They are a great way find co-presenters or just think out loud.

Our first programming chat will be March 16 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern here: http://www.sirensconference.org/chat/.

Our first Twitter programming brainstorming session will be March 28 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern; our Twitter is @sirens_con and our hashtag is #Sirens15.

In the meantime, why not put together a proposal for one of the topics from #SirensBrainstormMonday, listed below? You can find more via the hashtag—and you can contact people other than @sirens_con if you might want to collaborate with them on a topic they’ve shared. (We didn’t want to give away any ideas you contributed to the hashtag here, just in case they were already in progress as proposals.)

  • Rebellious Reading Choices: Diversity, Representation, Revolution
  • That's Logistics: Operations of a Successful Revolution
  • Covert Operations: Spies, Assassins, and Guerrillas in Fantasy Fiction
  • Rise Like a Girl: Hallmarks of Women-Led Revolutions
  • Whispers of Dragons from Across the Sea: Propaganda, Rumors, and Lies in Revolution
  • Writing as an Act of Revolution
  • Lessons Fantasy Literature Learned from The Art of War (or The Prince)
  • If I Only Had a Brain: The Role of Strategists and Tacticians in Revolution


 

2015 SIRENS READING CHALLENGE
As many of you know, each year Sirens posts a reading list featuring works by that year’s Guests of Honor and other thematic works by and about women in fantasy literature. The list generally tops 60 books, and we never thought of it as a reading challenge—more of a place to go to start with your thematic reading for the year.

But it turns out that you want a reading challenge—so now we have one! Each year, our staff reads widely in women in fantasy literature, partly within our theme and partly more broadly, and we’d love for you to join us. So we present the 2015 Sirens Reading Challenge. Just like our staff challenge, it’s 25 books, some that are required and some that you’ll select from a variety of lists. Finish it by September 12, and we’ll give you a special button at Sirens, suitable for gloating. Game on.

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB
Sunbolt In our revolutionary year, why not join us in reading some revolutionary books? Each month leading up to Sirens, co-founder Amy will read a fantasy book, written by a woman, about revolutionary women—and will then post thoughts on our Goodreads group. This year, she has already read Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine, The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, and for this month, Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani.

As Amy said in her review of Sunbolt, “Give me a disobedient girl who makes her own decisions, and I’ll give you a revolutionary.” Come read with us!

We also continue to post our weekly reading on our Sirens Twitter feed, using #FridayReads. We hope you’ll share with us what you’re reading; until we’re completely buried in our to-be-read pile, we’re looking for more recommendations!

 

GUEST OF HONOR SPOTLIGHT
Each year Sirens features a fantasy-related theme—and in 2015, that theme is rebels and revolutionaries. Women are revolutionary in countless ways, whether their interests lie in political, domestic, scientific, creative, or divine arenas. To further our discussion, we have invited three guests of honor, each of whom writes powerfully and provocatively about rebellion and revolution: Rae Carson, Kate Elliott, and Yoon Ha Lee. This month, we’d like to highlight Yoon Ha Lee.

ConservationofShadowsAVectorAlphabetofInterstellarTravel
FAndSF
Clarkesworld


Yoon Ha Lee is a Korean-American science fiction and fantasy writer who majored in math and finds it a source of continual delight that math can be mined for story ideas. Yoon’s fiction has appeared in publications such as F&SF, Tor.com, and Clarkesworld, as well as several year’s-best anthologies, and has ranged from military science fiction to fairy tales. Yoon’s work includes 2010 WSFA Small Press Award finalist “The Pirate Captain’s Daughter,” Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award nominees “Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain” in 2011 and “Ghostweight” in 2012, and 2014 World Fantasy Award finalist “Effigy Nights.” Conservation of Shadows, a debut collection of short fiction, integrates tropes of science fiction with elements of myth and is a finalist for the William L. Crawford Award. Yoon graduated from Cornell University, majoring in mathematics, and earned a master’s degree in secondary math education at Stanford University.

For more information about Yoon, please visit Yoon’s website, blog, or Twitter.

 

YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT...
Interesting Links:

Obituary: We regret to hear of the passing of Suzette Haden Elgin (1936-2015).

The Finnish National Opera performs a ballet of Comet in Moominland.

Under the Radar spotlights Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean, a collection of speculative feminist short stories featuring writers, illustrators, and editors from India and Australia.

Via Ellen Kushner (@EllenKushner): My Winter Queen Story: “The City in Winter.”

To the Best of Our Knowledge highlights African Genre Fiction.

Gender on The Mirror Empire and Ancillary Justice.

For Steampunk Hands 2015: The Raj Revised: Steampunking History.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America announce the 2014 Nebula Award nominees!

A Webcomic About A Sworn Maiden, Raised As A Boy, And A Deadly Trial.

Colleen Atwood wins the Excellence in Fantasy Film award at this year’s Costume Designers Guild Awards.

Short film Oya, Rise of the Orisha, an African superhero film with two Black women protagonists, is available to stream.

Disney is launching a Latin-inspired Sofia the First spinoff.


 

Recent Releases:
2015MarchCollage

Click the image for a closer look at the covers.


February 10:
The Glass Arrow, Kristen Simmons
The Oathbreaker’s Shadow, Amy McCulloch
Sword, Amy Bai

February 12:
Banished: Book One of The Grimm Laws, Jennifer Youngblood and Sandra Poole

February 17:
Unseen (Unborn Series #2), Amber Lynn Natusch
Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy (Tales From Shadowhunter Academy #1), Cassandra Clare

February 23:
Mantle of Malice (The Tudor Enigma), April Taylor
Unicorn Seasons, Janni Lee Simner

February 24:
Who Needs Magic?, Kathy McCullough
A Wicked Thing, Rhiannon Thomas
The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales, Franz Xaver Von Schonwerth, ed. Erika Eichenseer

March 1:
Prairie Fire (Dragon Slayer of Trondheim #2), E. K. Johnston

March 3:
Bone Gap, Laura Ruby
The Forgotten Sisters (Princess Academy #3), Shannon Hale
Razorhurst, Justine Larbalestier
Flunked, Jen Calonita
Infinity Bell (House Immortal #2), Devon Monk
The Boy Who Lost Fairyland (Fairyland #4), Catherynne M. Valente, ill. Ana Juan
The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy #2), Marie Rutkoski
Of Silk and Steam (London Steampunk #5), Bec McMaster
Vision in Silver, Anne Bishop
The Storyspinner, Becky Wallace
Death Marked, Leah Cypess
Kin, Lili St. Crow

March 10:
Burning Kingdoms, Laura DeStefano
Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2), Rachel Hartman
The Orphan Queen, Jodi Meadows
Nightbird, Alice Hoffman
The Infinite, Lori M. Lee
The Exile, C. T. Adams

March 17:
Prudence, Gail Carriger
Dr. Critchlore’s School for Minions, Sheila Grau, ill. Joe Sutphin

March 24:
Catalyst, Lydia Kang
Half Wild, Sally Green
Shadow Study, Maria V. Snyder
The Walls Around Us, Nova Ren Suma
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, Paige McKenzie with Alyssa B. Sheinmel
In the Time of Dragon Moon, Janet Lee Carey
The Door in the Moon (Chronoptika #3), Catherine Fisher

March 31:
The Cemetery Boys, Heather Brewer
King (The Dragon King Chronicles #3), Ellen Oh
Sisters of Blood and Spirit, Kady Cross
Voyage of the Basilisk: A Memoir by Lady Trent, Marie Brennan
The Lost Track of Time, Paige Britt, ill. Lee White
The Wicked Will Rise, Danielle Paige


 

SIRENS REVIEW SQUAD
We’re looking for 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 love to work with you to publish your critique right here in our Sirens newsletter.

Review squad volunteering is quite 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.”

 

PropheciesLibelsDreamsProphecies, Libels, and Dreams: Stories
Ysabeau Wilce
Small Beer Press (Oct 2014)

Prophecies, Libels, and Dreams: Stories is a collection of seven tall tales and brief adventures from the brilliant Ysabeau Wilce. Fans, like myself, of Wilce’s Flora Segunda series, will quickly recognize the magical world of Califa represented here, but even readers who have never visited Califa before will be swept up in this dark, gritty, yet sparkling world. Califa is a thoughtful and highly original mash-up of modern California, the Wild West, Victorian Europe, and Mexican myth, among other cultures and times. The swash-buckling characters who inhabit this kaleidoscopic world are as magnetic as they are complex.

Take, for example, the devastatingly gorgeous Hard Hands, reluctant keeper of his small niece (and fiancée), Tiny Doom, a bouncing and mischievous young lady who attracts abundant trouble. Hard Hands wants nothing more than to conjure a bad-ass demon drummer, rock out in front of his adoring hoardes, and then ka-noodle with one of his lovers, but, much to his chagrin, Tiny Doom consistently lures him into misadventure and mayhem. As gruff and self-absorbed as he is loving and brave, Hard Hands is featured in four of these stories and frankly, I couldn’t get enough of him.

Although the Flora series was marketed as young adult, Wilce has brought Califa soundly into adult literature with this collection. Califa is rife with tarts, dandies, and demons of frightening lust and hunger. In the arid lands outside the city, there are re-animated corpses and monsters who terrorize the foolish or smug. Wilce has a background as a scholar of military history and has lived and traveled in many regions of the world. Her mastery of language and character is extraordinary and I highly recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys their fantasy with some grit and intrigue. – Edith Bishop



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

The Sirens March 2015 Newsletter is available on sirenscon!


 
 
This is the official newsletter for Sirens, a conference dedicated to women in fantasy literature. The newsletter is published once a month to the Sirens message boards, mailing list, LiveJournal, and Facebook. Certain other updates are posted on the conference’s Twitter. Between regular editions, the Sirens LiveJournal also hosts special updates, in-depth information posts, and helpful hints for traveling, registering, and getting involved with programming. This newsletter is part of the Sirens website and is not presented under a cut on LiveJournal. Once a month, you’ll have a longer post on your LiveJournal friends list.


Sirens
Volume 7 – Issue 4
February 2015



In this issue:


 

PROGRAMMING: COME ONE, COME ALL!
February is here! Time to think about what papers, panels, workshops, roundtable discussions, and afternoon classes you’d like to submit to Sirens this year. Sirens’s programming is proposed and presented by attendees—and regardless of your age, profession, or experience with Sirens, your voice is vital to our community. Readers, industry professionals, scholars, librarians, teachers, and writers have all submitted brilliant, successful presentations in the past, and we would love for you to submit a proposal this year.

We appreciate thoughtful topics and proposals that are focused on fantasy literature, particularly the remarkable women of fantasy, and related issues of interest. This year, we’re especially excited by our theme of rebels and revolutionaries. Bring on the aspiring queens, brilliant strategists, military tacticians, and crafty spies! How about a panel on “Writing as an Act of Revolution”? Or a roundtable discussion on “The Role of Strategists and Tacticians in Revolution”? Other examples of possible topics can be found in our Twitter feed using #SirensBrainstormMonday. Jump in with your own ideas!

Our annual series on preparing a proposal for submission to our vetting board begins in March. Proposals are due May 15, 2015. Time flies and the more proposals we have, the stronger our program will be. So whether you are a returning attendee or new to Sirens, we welcome your proposals. Please feel free to brainstorm ideas and seek collaborators on our Sirens Twitter feed, message boards, Facebook, or in the comments here. If you have questions, please contact us at (programming at sirensconference.org).

 

GUEST OF HONOR SPOTLIGHT
This month, we are delighted to highlight Kate Elliott. Ms. Elliott has attended our Sirens conference before and this year we welcome her as an esteemed Guest of Honor as Sirens focuses on rebels and revolutionaries.

ColdMagicColdFire
ColdSteelTheVeryBestofKateElliott


Kate Elliott writes fantasy, steampunk, and science fiction, all with a romantic edge. Kate’s most recent work, the Spiritwalker trilogy (Cold Magic, Cold Fire, and Cold Steel), is an Afro-Celtic post-Roman icepunk Regency adventure fantasy with airships, sharks, and lawyer dinosaurs. Kate completed the Crossroads trilogy (Spirit Gate, Shadow Gate, Traitors’ Gate), which is an “HBO-style” fantasy with a focus on character and landscape, and an epic plot. Kate also wrote the seven-volume epic fantasy series Crown of Stars, set in an alternate European landscape where magic has been (literally) woven through the land. The first volume, King’s Dragon, was a Nebula Award finalist in 1998. Set in a speculative future, the Novels of the Jaran follow the nomadic people known as the jaran after their first contact with the technologically more advanced society of Earth. Kate co-wrote the bestselling fantasy novel The Golden Key with Melanie Rawn and Jennifer Roberson, a 1997 World Fantasy Award finalist. Forthcoming for Kate are The Very Best of Kate Elliott, a short story collection, which will be released by Tachyon Publications in February 2015; Court of Fives, a YA fantasy, which will be released by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in August 2015; and Black Wolves, volume one of a new epic fantasy series, which will be released from Orbit Books in fall 2015.

For more information about Kate, please visit Kate’s website, blog, or Twitter.

 

REGISTRATION PRICE INCREASE
The next price increase for Sirens will happen on March 31, 2015. Registration at the current price is available until midnight Eastern on March 30.

Registration cost includes entry to conference programming and events, including the three keynote presentations by our guests of honor and a conference T-shirt available only to attendees, as well as four meals or receptions. Currently, the cost of registration is $185. It jumps to $195 at the very end of March. Visit http://www.sirensconference.org/attend/ for more information or to register now.

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB
Come read with us! As we prepare for Sirens this year, Sirens co-founder Amy has selected nine new-to-her fantasy books to read over the coming months. All her selections are written by women, and feature rebels or revolutionaries prominently—though not always in an overthrow-the-queen sort of way (women are, of course, revolutionary in many, many more ways than that!). Amy will post on our Goodreads group each month, and we hope you’ll read along with her as she tackles critically acclaimed works, popular works, diverse works, and not-yet-released works. This month’s selection? The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison.

We also continue to post our weekly reading on our Sirens Twitter feed, using #FridayReads. We hope you’ll share with us what you’re reading; until we’re completely buried in our to-be-read pile, we’re looking for more recommendations!

 

YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT...
Interesting Links:

Indian comic creates female superhero to tackle rape.

DC announces Vixen, the first animated series starring a Black female superhero.

Sneak peek at character art from the upcoming illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes to be adapted as a television drama!

If Hermione were the main character in Harry Potter.

From BookRiot: 2015 Is the Year of the Feminist YA Novel.

Kirkus lists 100 Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror books to watch for in 2015.

Panel Conversation on Afro-futrism between Nnedi Okorafor and Sofia Samatar.


 

Recent Releases:
2015FebruaryCollage

Click the image for a closer look at the covers.

Hostage, Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith (January 6)
Wildalone, Krassi Zourkova (January 6)

All the Answers, Kate Messner (January 27)
Chaos, Lanie Bross (January 27)
A Cold Legacy, Megan Shepherd (January 27)
The Empty Throne, Cayla Kluver (January 27)
The Mime Order, Samantha Shannon (January 27)

The Storm, Virginia Bergin (February 1)

Beastkeeper, Cat Hellisen (February 3)
Cherry Bomb, Kathleen Tierney (February 3)
Dearest (The Woodcutter Sisters), Alethea Kontis (February 3)
Get in Trouble: Stories, Kelly Link (February 3)
Karen Memory, Elizabeth Bear (February 3)
Shadow of the War Machine (The Secret Order), Kristin Bailey (February 3)
Shutter, Courtney Alameda (February 3)
Soulprint, Megan Miranda (February 3)
Villain Keeper, Laurie McKay (February 3)

The Price of Blood (Emma of Normandy Trilogy), Patricia Bracewell (February 5)
The Shadow Cabinet, Maureen Johnson (February 5)
Worry Magic, Dawn McNiff (February 5)

The Country of Ice Cream Star, Sandra Newman (February 10)
The Diabolical Miss Hyde, Viola Carr (February 10)
The Eterna Files, Leanna Renee Hieber (February 10)
One Witch at a Time, Stacy DeKeyser (February 10)
Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard (February 10)
The Ruby Circle, Richelle Mead (February 10)
Seeker, Arwen Elys Dayton (February 10)
Signal to Noise, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (February 10)
The Very Best of Kate Elliott, Kate Elliott (February 10)

The Bargaining, Carly Anne West (February 17)
Emissary: The Second Book of the Seven Eyes, Betsy Dornbusch (February 17)
Find Me: A Novel, Laura van den Berg (February 17)
Fortune’s Blight, Evie Manieri (February 17)

A Darker Shade of Magic, V. E. Schwab (February 24)
Dreamfire, Kit Alloway (February 24)
Echo, Pam Munoz Ryan (February 24)
Feral Pride, Cynthia Leitich Smith (February 24)
Fields of Wrath: A Renshai Novel, Mickey Zucker Reichert (February 24)
Grave Matters (Night Owls #2), Lauren M. Roy (February 24)
Mark of the Thief, Jennifer A. Nielsen (February 24)
Salt & Stone, Victoria Scott (February 24)
Shadow Study, Maria V. Snyder (February 24)
The Sin Eater’s Daughter, Melinda Salisbury (February 24)
Touch, Claire North (February 24)
The Uncanny Reader: Stories from the Shadows, ed. Marjorie Sandor (February 24)
Unleashed, Sophie Jordan (February 24)

The Fire Sermon, Francesca Haig (February 26)


 

SIRENS REVIEW SQUAD
Did you fall in love with a book recently? Are you excited for a new release in the coming months? If you think you could contribute a book review of at least 250 words sometime during the next year, we would love to work with you to publish your critique right here in our Sirens newsletter! Review squad volunteering is quite 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.”

 

TheMirrorEmpireThe Mirror Empire
Kameron Hurley
Angry Robot (August 2014)

When all of the 2014 “YOU MUST READ” lists appeared, I kept noticing The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley. I have a deep seated reluctance to read things that everybody says I should, which probably stems from having a bachelor's degree in English. Nevertheless, I was intrigued enough to read this huge novel recently.

I'm not going to go as far as MUST READ for this title, but I now understand why it made so many lists. I had to give the book a solid 150 pages before I was fully invested in the characters and the plot. Some of my ambivalence stems from being thrown head-first into a seriously alien culture, with many characters introduced quickly amid aggressively malignant flora and fauna. I appreciate books that demand the reader exercise her literary skills and do some of the work, but this novel goes to extremes. Eventually, however, I was hooked by political intrigue, alien invaders, strange celestial bodies that govern the magical system, and romantic entanglements. Added into that mix, Hurley's world posits more than a binary understanding of gender and females tend toward dominance. The world-building for The Mirror Empire is immense and impressively well developed.

Some philosophies suppose that anything is possible, and that maybe multiple variations actually co-exist over many planes of existence. Essentially, if it didn't happen in this version of the world, it could happen in some other one. In The Mirror Empire, the world's variations collide with the appearance of a dark satellite in their skies. The meetings historically have led to great upheaval and military solutions. Many factions (from different planes of existence) advance their own solutions to the coming turmoil—none of which are facile and nearly none are peaceful.

If you feel the desire to immerse yourself in a completely foreign environment, with no clear-cut “good v. evil,” and you can engage both time and effort in your reading, this is a great title. If you are looking for easy entertainment values (my favorite kind of reading when stressed), this might need to wait for another time. – Kristen Blount



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

The Sirens February 2015 Newsletter is available on sirenscon!


 
 
This is the official newsletter for Sirens, a conference dedicated to women in fantasy literature. The newsletter is published once a month to the Sirens message boards, mailing list, LiveJournal, and Facebook. Certain other updates are posted on the conference’s Twitter. Between regular editions, the Sirens LiveJournal also hosts special updates, in-depth information posts, and helpful hints for traveling, registering, and getting involved with programming. This newsletter is part of the Sirens website and is not presented under a cut on LiveJournal. Once a month, you’ll have a longer post on your LiveJournal friends list.


Sirens
Volume 7 – Issue 3
January 2015



In this issue:

 

THE PROGRAMMING COUNTDOWN BEGINS
It’s hard to believe, but it’s already 2015—and that means you have just four short months to prepare programming proposals, which are due May 15.

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU.


Sirens is designed specifically as a space where you can discuss fantasy literature and its remarkable women. We hear you asking questions and having discussions, so we know you have something to say. It’s particularly great when it’s something related to women authors, characters, or professionals, or when it’s related to the Sirens theme for the year (this year, rebels and revolutionaries!). We hope you also know that you can discuss fantasy more generally, as well as all topics that always—should, must—come up when we take a look at what we’re reading and writing, like gender, sexuality, diversity and intersectionality, politics, economics, business, art... We could go on, but that’s where you come in.

Most programming for Sirens is conceived and presented by attendees. You create it, you submit it, and when approved by our vetting board, you present it. We’re able to support presentations in a number of styles; you can see more about what those are on the guidelines page of the Sirens website.

While you’re pondering topics and presentation styles, please feel free to check out the entire programming section of the Sirens website, our 2015 suggested reading list, and the conference archives for inspiration. We’ll be hosting brainstorming Mondays on our Twitter account (#SirensBrainstormMonday), and we hope you’ll use that medium to throw out ideas or find collaborators. Keep an eye out here for more helpful preparation information in the coming months.

And while you’re pondering, you might also like to know...

  1. We ask you to submit proposals so that we can get an idea of what we need to plan for at the conference—and to help us get a sense of what people want to discuss. We hope the proposal process also helps you organize your thoughts!

  2. We have a vetting board choose presentations from among the proposals you make. The more, the merrier! That said, we’d love for you to focus on the proposal or two that’s closest to your heart; not only does the vetting board like to see a well thought-through proposal, we like to see lots of people presenting once or twice, instead of once person presenting a dozen times.

  3. If you’re saying oh, I couldn’t, we encourage you to say yes, I can! If you have more questions than answers, maybe you’d make a great moderator for a panel or roundtable discussion. If you feel more comfortable reading from prepared notes, consider a paper. If you have resources or a skill to share, consider a workshop or an afternoon class.

  4. We’re here to help! Reach us at (programming at sirensconference.org).



 

FACEBOOK
You’ll probably see us around Facebook a little less in the coming months; we’ve discovered that you don’t actually see our posts unless we pay Facebook to show them to you.

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB
And speaking of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg is starting a book club, but did you know that Sirens conference founder Amy has one—that’s much more fun—on Goodreads? Come over to read with Amy about rebels and revolutionaries!

The upcoming schedule includes these books:

JANUARY: Of Metal and Wishes, Sarah Fine
FEBRUARY: The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison
MARCH: Sunbolt, Intisar Khanani
APRIL: The Young Elites, Marie Lu
MAY: Snow Like Ashes, Sara Raasch
JUNE: The Mirror Empire, Kameron Hurley
JULY: Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard
AUGUST: In Great Waters, Kit Whitfield
SEPTEMBER: An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir


 

GUEST OF HONOR SPOTLIGHT
Within our focus on fantastic women, each year Sirens features a fantasy-related theme—and in 2015, that theme is “rebels and revolutionaries.” In fantasy literature, women are revolutionary. They are queens, soldiers, assassins, and monsters. They are clever, kind, bold, and daring. They adventure, they conjure, they rule, and they rise. These diverse women inhabit worlds different from our own, where women authors have given them extraordinary opportunities: to grow, to lead, to fight, and sometimes to save the world.

To further our discussion, we have invited three guests of honor whose work inspires us to consider acts of rebellion, large and small. This month, we’d like to highlight Rae Carson.

TheGirlofFireandThornsTheCrownofEmbers
TheBitterKingdomTheGirlofFireandThornsStories


Rae Carson’s debut novel, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, was a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Award and the Andre Norton Award, the winner of the Ohioana Book Award for Young Adult Literature, and selected as 2012 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults by Young Adult Library Services Association. Rae followed The Girl of Fire and Thorns with the rest of Elisa’s story in The Crown of Embers and The Bitter Kingdom, and has published The Girl of Fire and Thorns Stories, which contains the three novellas: The Shadow Cats, The Shattered Mountain, and The King’s Guard. The Girl of Fire and Thorns series was a New York Times bestseller. Forthcoming for Rae is Walk on Earth a Stranger, volume one of a new series, which will be released in fall 2015.

For more information about Rae, please visit Rae’s website or Twitter.

 

YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT...
Links of Interest:

The 2014 Cybils Awards finalists lists.

Tangled, Brave, and Frozen All Made the Same Critical Mistake.
*Have something like this on your mind? Why not turn it into a paper for Sirens? If you have a piece of just a bit longer than this one, you’d easily have a 25-minute presentation!

Of the Death of Kings,” Rosamund Hodge.

The Fox,” Malindo Lo.

Ursula K. Le Guin talks to Michael Cunningham about genres, gender, and broadening fiction.”

Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall is included in The Spirit of Texas Reading Program for high school.

Fairy tale illustrations, manhwa-style.

Miriam Weinberg is now editor at Tor. Congratulations!

 

New Releases:
2015JanuaryCollage

Click the image for a closer look at the covers.

Ignite, Sara B. Larson (December 30)

The Just City, Jo Walton (January 1)

Dead of Winter, Kresley Cole (January 6)
Ensnared, A. G. Howard (January 6)
Gideon, Alex Gordon (January 6)
Save Me, Jenny Elliott (January 6)
The Galaxy Game, Karen Lord (January 6)
Rogue Wave, Jennifer Donnelly (January 6)
First and Last Sorcerer, Barb and J. C. Hendee (January 6)
The Witches of Echo Park, Amber Benson (January 6)
Frostfire, Amanda Hocking (January 6)
Dreamer’s Daughter, Lynn Kurland (January 6)
Carousel Seas, Sharon Lee (January 6)
Ever After High: Next Top Villain, Suzanne Selfors (January 6)
Marked, Sarah Fine (January 6)

The Accidental Alchemist, Gigi Pandian (January 8)

The Darkest Part of the Forest, Holly Black (January 13)

The Porcelain Dove, Delia Sherman (January 21, ebook)

The Dragon Conspiracy, Lisa Shearin (January 27)
Tear You Apart, Sarah Cross (January 27)
Fairest, Marissa Meyer (January 27)


 

SIRENS REVIEW SQUAD
The Sirens Review Squad is made up of volunteer readers who review books that they would recommend to others interested in women in fantasy. 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.

 

TheHeirofNightThe Heir of Night (Book 1, The Wall of Night)
Author: Helen Lowe
EOS (September 2010)
Mass market
ISBN-13: 978-0061734045

If Night Falls, All Fall. And Night doesn’t seem so strong...

The House of Night is the first and oldest of the main houses of the Derai Alliance, which stands in opposition to the Darkswarm. An old prophecy reinforces the importance of the House of Night, but the members of the house have dwindled to the Earl and his Heir.

The book opens with Malian exploring the Old Keep, much against rules and expectations. We are quickly introduced to this volume’s cast of characters: Malian, Heir of Night, and her stern father Tasarion, the Earl; Steward Nhairin; Honor Captain Asantir, the minstrel Haimyr the Golden; and a pair of heralds, Tarathan and Jehane Mor, from far away. Added into the mix, ancient heroes and strange powers from the Gate of Dreams seem to take undue interest in Malian and her friend Kalan.

The Derai Alliance fights a long-standing war of attrition with the mysterious, malign Darkspawn. This has led to a warrior culture that is highly insular, xenophobic, and divided against itself. Given the prophecy, it seems that the Darkspawn powers have opted to murder the Heir of Night as its first step in bringing down the entire House. The story careens through multiple action sequences, which while exciting, truly serve to further the reader’s understanding of the many, many troubles facing the Derai, the House of Night, and Malian herself.

This book, and its sequel The Gathering of the Lost, have quickly become favorites. None of the characters remain one dimensional, and understanding that the characters have a lifetime of history brings an authenticity to the novel. Malian’s adventures offer familiar coming of age tropes but nonetheless surprise me with a depth of world building, a sense of real people dealing with problems the best they can, and a story I can invest in again every time I read it. The third in the series is scheduled for publication some time in 2015. I suspect Malian will fit comfortably into Sirens’s cast of rebels and revolutionaries before her tale is done. – Kristen Blount



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

The Sirens January 2015 Newsletter is available on sirenscon!


 
 
This is the official newsletter for Sirens, a conference dedicated to women in fantasy literature. The newsletter is published once a month to the Sirens message boards, mailing list, LiveJournal, and Facebook. Certain other updates are posted on the conference’s Twitter. Between regular editions, the Sirens LiveJournal also hosts special updates, in-depth information posts, and helpful hints for traveling, registering, and getting involved with programming. This newsletter is part of the Sirens website and is not presented under a cut on LiveJournal. Once a month, you’ll have a longer post on your LiveJournal friends list.


Sirens
Last-Minute Shopping Edition!

Volume 7 – Issue 2
December 2014



In this issue:

 

SIRENS GIFT CERTIFICATES
Sirens gift certificates are always apropos! (Seriously, we give them for the holidays, but also for birthdays, coffee dates, and Mondays.) You can buy them in any amount, and they can be used for 2015 Sirens registrations or tickets. We, of course, provide a certificate suitable for printing and gifting. If you have a friend thinking of making the trip to Denver in October, help her out!

 

REGISTRATION PRICE JUMP
You might also consider, especially if you’re giving gift certificates, that the registration price for Sirens will increase on January 1. Right now, the price for all programming, events, and meals (excluding only the pre-conference Sirens Supper and the Sirens Shuttle) is $175. On January 1, that becomes $185.

 

CAFEPRESS FLASH SALES
Until it’s too late to ship for Christmas, we’ll be running flash sales on our CafePress store. Sometimes that means discounts, and sometimes it means products that aren’t available the rest of the year. If you’re looking for hoodies, water bottles, colored t-shirts, pajamas, or other fun things, check out the store and keep an eye on our Twitter for flash sales. (Also, we expanded our store in November to feature a lot more products, including some with our 2015 rebel logo!)

 

WHAT IS AMY GIVING THIS YEAR?
Books! Amy, a founder of Sirens, gives books year-round, but never so enthusiastically as at the holidays, when she happily drops stacks in the laps of unsuspecting recipients. If you’re at a loss as to what to give a family member, a friend, a co-worker, or a toy drive, here are some ideas:
This year Amy is giving her mom: The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes. Mom is a huge mystery and thriller fan, and while she doesn’t often read fantasy works, Amy’s positive that she’s going to love Beukes’ breathtakingly clever story about a time-traveling serial killer and the girl he thought he killed who tracks him down...through time.

This year Amy is giving her best friend: Conservation of Shadows by Yoon Ha Lee. Yoon is, of course, a guest of honor for Sirens in 2015, but Amy will blissfully tell you that Conservation of Shadows is, despite a long list of brilliant books read, the best book she’s read since Code Name Verity. Since the last book Amy and her BFF both loved was Code Name Verity, she’s crossing her fingers for a repeat.

This year Amy is giving her grandma: The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith. Amy’s grandma loves history, and while she tends to read American history, Amy thinks that The Frangipani Hotel, with its deft weaving of history and legend in ghost stories about Vietnamese identity in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, will appeal.

This year Amy is giving her co-worker: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Amy’s co-worker, today an immensely successful businesswoman, once toiled away as an English literature major. Since The Night Circus skillfully walks the very thin, very porous line between genre fiction and literary fiction—and ingeniously combines a dazzling love story with an exquisite ruthlessness—Amy thinks this will be just the fantasy book to turn a literature fan on to the wonderful world of genre fiction.

This year Amy is giving her three-year-old niece: Dangerously Ever After by Dashka Slater. Princess Amanita laughs in the face of danger. She loves her brakeless bicycle and plants flowers such as grenapes (which explode three seconds after being picked) and heckle-berries (which...you know). When Prince Florian arrives with roses, Princess Amanita loves their thorns, but of course, things go downhill and a danger-loving princess must save herself from what might be too much danger after all.

 

YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT...
Keep reading for interesting articles, and covers and dates for new releases. We love to have your contributions—and we are happy to hear about things we might have missed. Please send the news to (help at sirensconference.org).
Interesting Links:

How fairytales grew up,” Marina Warner in The Guardian.

Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards 2015.

A discussion about the Arabian Nights stories, via SurLaLune.

The History and Modern Relevance of Fairy Tales,” an interview with Ellen Kushner, Maria Tatar, and Marina Warner.

Omenana, for speculative fiction writers from across Africa and the African Diaspora.

The Radical Joanna Russ.”

Ursula LeGuin presented with Lifetime Achievement Award, and then SPEAKS.

Top Ten Reasons Girls Should Read Fantasy” by Cinda Williams Chima.

2014 World Fantasy Awards.

How Sleeping Beauty is Accidentally the Most Feminist Animated Movie Disney Ever Made.”

Fall 2014 issue of Interfictions.

 
New Releases:
December2014Collage

Click the image for a closer look at the covers.

Stitching Snow, R. C. Lewis (October 14)
The Future Falls, Tanya Huff (November 4)
The Retribution of Mara Dyer, Michelle Hodkin (November 4)
The Halcyon Bird, Kat Beyer (November 11)
The Name of the Blade, Zoë Marriott (November 11)
The Last Changeling, Jane Yolen (November 28)

Ticker, Lisa Mantchev (December 1)

Boundary, Heather Terrell (December 2)
The King’s Deryni, Katherine Kurtz (December 2)
Wickedly Wonderful, Deborah Blake (December 2)
Darkness Falls, Keri Arthur (December 2)
No True Way: All-New Tales of Valdemar, Mercedes Lackey (December 2)
The Vault, Emily McKay (December 2)
Seduction, Molly Cochran (December 2)
City of Eternal Night, Kristen Painter (December 2)
Ravencliffe, Carol Goodman (December 2)

Suspicion, Alexandra Monir (December 9)
The Lady, K. V. Johansen (December 9)
Gathering Darkness, Morgan Rhodes (December 9)
Princess of Thorns, Stacey Jay (December 9)

Myth and Magic: Queer Fairy Tales, ed. Radclyffe and Stacia Seaman (December 16)
Cold Hillside, Nancy Baker (December 16)

No Life But This, Anna Sheehan (December 18)

The Dress Shop of Dreams, Menna Van Praag (December 30)
Stonehill Downs, Sarah Remy (December 30)

 

SIRENS REVIEW SQUAD
SeaofTimeMortal Heart
Robin LaFevers

There aren’t enough stars in the sky to show much I loved Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers (no way is five enough)! I haven’t had a book touch me so personally since reading The Mists of Avalon back in 1998.

But before I get into why this book affected me the way it did, a little explanation of the story. Mortal Heart is the third and final book in the His Fair Assassin trilogy. The trilogy centers on a convent of nuns in medieval France who are devoted to one of the nine old gods of Brittany, Mortain, the god of death. As Death’s handmaidens they are trained to be assassins to carry out His will. This fictional setup is blended seamlessly with actual historical events of the time, namely a 13-year-old duchess’ fight to keep Brittany independent from the French.

Each book is told from a different character’s point of view, but is part of a continuing story. The first book, Grave Mercy, is told from Ismae’s point of view and is very much about politics and court intrigue. The second, Dark Triumph, is Sybella’s story, one of adventure and heart-pounding action. In Mortal Heart, Annith finally gets to tell her story, one of romance, love, and faith. (If you haven’t read the rest of the series, start with Grave Mercy. You’ll be lost if you pick up with Mortal Heart.)

Throughout all of the other books, Annith has patiently waited in the convent where she was raised for her turn to be sent out to do Mortain’s work, which is her life-long dream. She’s watched Ismae and Sybella be sent out before her, even though she is the most skilled. When she finds out that the abbess has other plans for her, ones that involve her never leaving the convent, she must make a decision whether to obey the rules as she has always done, or seek Mortain’s will on her own. Her choice leads her on a journey not even the convent seeresss could have predicted, revealing long-held secrets that threaten to unravel everything she’s ever believed about herself and the convent and send her straight into the arms of Death himself.

Being a fan of love stories and fantasy, as well as someone who is fascinated by religion, it probably shouldn’t be surprising that this my favorite book of the series. It delves much more deeply into the religion and mythology of the series, placing a truly devoted nun, Annith, at the fore. As someone who used to want to be a nun (although, not the assassin kind), I deeply related to Annith. I understand what it’s like to "be in love with" your God, to want to do his will more than anything else in the world, as well as the frustration of not understanding how you’re supposed to bring this cherished dream to fruition. Add to this that the old gods are based on the Celtic pantheon (which is near and dear to my heart), and that this book deals with the intersection of the old religion and Christianity, and how the gods and mortals interact, and you have what is personally for me, a life-changing book.

But I also realize that most people won’t have this personal connection to the book. Even if you don’t relate to it on the level I do, I believe you will be moved by the themes of love, trust, faith, and hope—things we all struggle with, no matter what our personal beliefs are. Mortal Heart is also very much about the lengths to which we are willing to go for those we love, and the impact of the secrets that each and every one of us carry around with us. There is something for everyone in this richly layered tale of devotion, love, and adventure.

Maybe it’s because this is the final book in the trilogy, but I felt like I was much more a part of the world of this book than in the previous books. It was a joy to see Ismae, Sybella, and Annith together again and learn the final resolution of the political situation I’ve been invested in since the first book. I also loved getting to see the inner workings of some of the other orders devoted to the old gods.

There is so much more I want to say about this book, but I can’t because it involves spoilers for key plot points. Please trust me on how wonderful this book is and give it, and the series, a chance. Even though it’s marketed as YA, it certainly doesn’t read like a YA book. To me it’s a wonderful historical fantasy perfect for those who love their fantasy with strong female characters, unlikely love, a bit of mystery, and a dash of danger. – Nicole Evelina



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