Thanks for stopping by! I'm newly returned from my fourth time attending Sirens Conference, a wonderful experience designed especially for readers and writers of women in fantasy. I've said a lot about this conference in the past and you can find those entries here: 2013, 2014, 2015. This time, I'll hit the highlights and just say that Sirens continues to be an affirming and centering weekend. I'm so grateful to all the staff, volunteers, guests of honor, presenters, and attendees who make each year incredibly special and important.
Darian, Lola, and I started our weekend on Wednesday at my mother's home in the foothills. We visited, sang, ate, sipped tea, and hiked a while in the red rocks nearby. (My mom and stepdad live in the foothills near Castlerock.)
My sweet mama at the piano:
Darian on a cliff:
Lola among the rocks:
On Thursday, refreshed and rested, we made our way to the Inverness Hotel in Denver where we registered and ate an early dinner with other beloved Sirens:
That evening, we enjoyed the first brilliant keynote by author Laurie J. Marks on imaginary friends, writing fiction, and catharsis. I can't say enough about this keynote. It moved me to tears of gratitude more than once and I told Laurie as much (though I was tremendously nervous speaking with her).
On Friday, I attended:
Writing the Fantastic: Love, Romance, Sex, and Humanity [Panel]
Guests of Honor Panel: Renée Ahdieh, Laurie J. Marks, Kiini Ibura Salaam.
Moderator: Amy Tenbrink
Can You Go Home Again?: Fantasy, Re-reading, Childhood Favorites, and Nostalgia [Rountable] Facilitated by: Faye Bi
Keynote: Renée Ahdieh spoke beautifully on writing diverse worlds, the dearth of diversity in children's lit, and the origins of her gorgeous book The Wrath and the Dawn.
Love Beyond Romance [Panel]
Panelists (in order from left to right below) Rosemary Clement, Jeffe Kennedy, Rosamund Hodge, Artemis Grey, Bethany Powell, Shveta Thakrar.
Potions, Poppets, or Poison: Plant Lore for Any Love Problem [Afternoon Class]
Presented by Erynn Moss & Bethany Powell
I also enjoyed a bit of colorful company:
Saturday's lunch Keynote was Kiini Ibura Salaam who spoke passionately on living our own adventures, answering our callings, and getting out of our own way. This speech was another profound and deeply moving part of the conference for me. Kiini's honesty with us, and with herself, was something that will inspire me for years to come.
Speaking of inspiring, these smart, kind, beautiful women were my company at lunch. <3
After lunch, I got to sign books for the first time in life. (A reminder that ,if you're interested, Queens and Courtesans: A Sirens Benefit Anthology is still available for purchase!) Then it was off to:
Consumer Reports: Readers Talk Books, Markets, and What They Really, Really Want [Panel]
Faye Bi, Daniella Bohill, Suzanne Rogers Gruber, Amy Tenbrink, and Hallie Tibbits
Love is a Battlefield: Weapons and Methods for When Love Goes WrongAmy Boggs
Saturday evening included a casual dinner with more incredible women. Then we dispersed and got ready for the Sirens Ball, a wear-what-you-want and dance-how-you-want affair. Always a blast.
Darian and I went as a famous pair of lovers from one of our favorite fantasy TV series. Can you guess?
And here's a larger group of Sirens decked out for the Ball. Please take a moment to note that Howl and Sophie are in the house...
I mean, seriously. No offense to the rest of us, but who wins? They win.
Also, please meet Jo O'Brien who also wins. In collaboration with her mother, Jo crafts the most divine coats I've ever seen and brings them to Sirens each year.
In case you haven't noticed yet, one of the best parts of Sirens is just how many diverse representations of "woman" there are
and how easy it is to dance like no one's watching.
This year's ball ended with an epic Hamilton sing-along. If there's a heaven, I hope it includes a Sirens Ball Hamilton sing-along. I really do.
So I wish I could better capture the magic of a Sirens weekend, the wisdom of its speakers, the supportive and creative energy of its crowd. I guess these photos will have to do.
Thank you, each and all, for the joy, friendship, discussion, laughter, and inspiration you shared this year at Sirens. If you weren't there, I hope you'll consider coming next year. I promise you, it's worth it.