coraa: (sirens 2011)
Thursday is the first "real" day of the conference--it's when most attendees arrive, and the first keynote is that evening. We spent the day doing some setup and then welcoming attendees in the Creekside Room, which had doors leading to the back porch are (which in turn had a beautiful view of the creek—hence the name—and the aspen-covered slopes beyond).

Unfortunately, the skies produced 'wintry mix,' which IMHO is a far prettier word for 'a mushy combination of icy rain and soft snow' than the phenomenon deserves. Not so much fun to go hang around in. But that was all right: everyone hung out inside instead, playing games and having tea and desserts.

I wasn't able to participate in the games (I was doing presenter and volunteer check-in), but I got to watch, and it looked like people were having a blast. First there was a homemade pictionary-ish game, but with fantasy keywords like 'witch' and 'Beka Cooper' and 'legion' instead of the usual. Then, after that, was Books to Books--a modification of the game Apples to Apples, but with a bunch of fantasy characters and concepts mixed in. [ profile] jmpava went to play that, and seemed to be having a good time despite not knowing a lot of the characters. (He reads a lot of SFF, but not quite the same set as was common among Sirens attendees.) In fact, the whole group seemed to be having a good time. They played straight through the dinner break, and kept breaking into uproarious laughter.

Then to dessert, where my friends had saved me a seat, and we talked about the best book we'd read all year. (My choice was When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead.) The Thursday keynote speaker was Justine Larbalestier, who gave an interesting (and very funny) talk about monsters, YA lit, Elvis, cultures and cultural appropriation, music, terrible music, camp (in the sense of "that movie was pure camp" rather than the sense of "summer camp"), and travel.

I didn't get a lot of photos at Sirens this year (I was busy and kept forgetting to take my camera places with me), but here's a pic from Vail of the aspens, which were in full glorious color while we were there:

From Sirens 2011

Next: Day 2: Books and Breakfast (including my review of my B&B book, Nightshade), a ton of presentations, Laini Taylor's keynote, and Bedtime Stories!
coraa: (sirens 2011)
So I'm back from Sirens! Which is pretty much my favorite event of the year.

For those of you who don't know, Sirens is a yearly conference about women in fantasy literature. For an eloquent explanation of why I love Sirens, you should read what [ profile] praetorianguard has to say, here.

My feelings can be summed up by this image, which features a quote by Nnedi Okorafor, one of our guests of honor, and which is part of a monster bag I won at the auction on the last day:

From Sirens 2011

(But more about the monster bag later.)


This year's theme was "monsters," with Justine Larbalestier, Nnedi Okorafor, and Laini Taylor as Guests of Honor. Which was a pretty exciting lineup!

I came in early to help with setup, so I was already there before the Sirens Supper on Wednesday. The Supper is an optional event, the night before the conference proper begins, where people who come in early (staff, sometimes guests, and a handful of attendees--often repeat attendees) come in early to share a meal. Since the Sirens supper is smaller than the conference as a whole (I think it had around twenty people this year?), it allows for smaller, more intimate discussions.

I brought my husband, [ profile] jmpava, to Sirens for the first time this year. I know he was a little nervous, but I think the Supper helped a lot, because it was a place he could get to know a few people before the whole conference fell on his head.

Anyway, I wound up sitting with Artemis and Marie Brennan, and we talked about all kinds of things, from books to travel to sleep to dealing with RSI. It was great to catch up. Then Amy asked an icebreaker question, and we all went around the table answering it: name one book that changed your life.

I chose Howl's Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones, which was the book that taught me that you could make friendships through books. And I don't think that I've ever told the story of how it changed my life here, so now I will!

How "Howl's Moving Castle" Changed My Life )

We lingered a while, chatting, and then I went to bed earlyish in preparation for the first "real" day of the conference.


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