Saturday, May 19, 2018

Alamance Battleground needs your help!



This week marks the 247th anniversary of the Battle of Alamance, featured in THE FIERY CROSS.

Here's part of an email that Diana Gabaldon posted on her Facebook page this morning:
The [North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources] has a unique but time-sensitive opportunity to purchase historically valuable land adjacent to our current Alamance Battleground State Historic Site (http://www.nchistoricsites.org/alamance/). The tracts of land for sale include the actual epicenter of where the Battle of Alamance was fought in addition to the lands utilized by the Regulators during the lead up to this pre-Revolutionary War Battle and their triage and retreat afterwards. Because these lands are already on the real estate market, the Department needs to raise funds quickly and has launched a crowd funding campaign (www.GoFundMe.com/SaveAlamance).
Many of you will recall how important the Battle of Alamance, and its aftermath, was in the lives of Jamie, Claire, Roger, and Brianna.  Please consider donating to the #SaveAlamance campaign through their GoFundMe page. Thanks!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day quotes from Diana Gabaldon's books



Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! Here are a few of my favorite quotes about motherhood from Diana Gabaldon's books. Hope you enjoy them!

*** SPOILER WARNING! ***

If you haven't read all of the OUTLANDER books, you will encounter spoilers below! Read at your own risk.

1) Marsali, in an advanced state of pregnancy, and five-year-old Germain:
She leaned back a little and pushed a hand firmly into the side of her mound. Then she seized Germain's hand and put it on the spot. Even from where I stood, I could see the surge of flesh as the baby kicked vigorously in response to being poked.

Germain jerked his hand away, startled, then put it back, looking fascinated, and pushed.

"Hello!" he said loudly, putting his face close to his mother's belly. "Comment ça va in there, Monsieur L'Oeuf?"

"He's fine," his mother assured him. "Or she. But babies dinna talk right at first. Ye ken that much. Félicité doesna say anything but 'Mama' yet."

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 27, "The Malting Floor". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
2) I like the realistic depictions of breastfeeding in these books, even though I've never had kids of my own. Here's Claire with Brianna, age three months:
Brianna burrowed into the front of my red chenille dressing gown making small voracious grunting noises.

"You can't be hungry again," I said to the top of her head. "I fed you not two hours ago." My breasts were beginning to leak in response to her rooting, though, and I was already sitting down and loosening the front of my gown.

"Mrs. Hinchcliffe said that a baby shouldn't be fed every time it cries," Frank observed. "They get spoilt if they aren't kept to a schedule."

It wasn't the first time I had heard Mrs. Hinchcliffe's opinions on child-rearing.

"Then she'll be spoilt, won't she?" I said coldly, not looking at him. The small pink mouth clamped down fiercely, and Brianna began to suck with mindless appetite. I was aware that Mrs. Hinchcliffe also thought breast-feeding both vulgar and insanitary. I, who had seen any number of eighteenth-century babies nursing contentedly at their mothers' breasts, didn't.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 3, "Frank and Full Disclosure". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
3) Jamie lost his mother at a very young age, but he hasn't forgotten her:
I had heard what he said to the plover he released. Though I had only a few words of Gaelic, I had heard the old salutation often enough to be familiar with it. “God go with ye, Mother," he had said.

A young mother, dead in childbirth. And a child left behind. I touched his arm and he looked down at me.

“How old were you?” I asked.

He gave me a half-smile. “Eight,” he answered. “Weaned, at least."

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 17, "We Meet a Beggar". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
4) Bree's reaction on the night before Claire goes back through the stones, when she thinks she'll never see her mother again:
"It's like--there are all these things I don't even know!" she said, pacing with quick, angry steps. "Do you think I remember what I looked like, learning to walk, or what the first word I said was? No, but Mama does! And that's so stupid, because what difference does it make, it doesn't make any difference at all, but it's important, it matters because she thought it was, and ... oh, Roger, if she's gone, there won't be a soul left in the world who cares what I'm like, or thinks I'm special not because of anything, but just because I'm me! She's the only person in the world who really, really cares I was born, and if she's gone..." She stood still on the hearthrug, hands clenched at her sides, and mouth twisted with the effort to control herself, tears wet on her cheeks. Then her shoulders slumped and the tension went out of her tall figure.

"And that's just really dumb and selfish," she said, in a quietly reasonable tone. "And you don't understand, and you think I'm awful."

"No," Roger said quietly. "I think maybe not." He stood and came behind her, putting his arms around her waist, urging her to lean back against him. She resisted at first, stiff in his arms, but then yielded to the need for physical comfort and relaxed, his chin propped on her shoulder, head tilted to touch her own.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 22, "All Hallows' Eve". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
5) Mother Hildegarde is very perceptive:
"I have noticed,” she said slowly, “that time does not really exist for mothers, with regard to their children. It does not matter greatly how old the child is--in the blink of an eye, the mother can see the child again as it was when it was born, when it learned to walk, as it was at any age--at any time, even when the child is fully grown and a parent itself.”

“Especially when they’re asleep,” I said, looking down again at the little white stone. “You can always see the baby then.”

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 40, "I Shall Go Down to the Sea". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
6) Claire, in her farewell letter to Bree:
You are my baby, and always will be. You won’t know what that means until you have a child of your own, but I tell you now, anyway--you’ll always be as much a part of me as when you shared my body and I felt you move inside. Always.

I can look at you, asleep, and think of all the nights I tucked you in, coming in the dark to listen to your breathing, lay my hand on you and feel your chest rise and fall, knowing that no matter what happens, everything is right with the world because you are alive.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 42, "The Man in the Moon". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rightsreserved.)
7) Roger's mother saved his life in the moments before she died in the Bethnal Green tube station collapse in March, 1943.
"She let go my hand,” he said. The words came more easily now; the tightness in his throat and chest was gone. “She let go my hand ... and then she picked me up. That small woman--she picked me up, and threw me over the wall. Down into the crowd of people on the platform below. I was knocked mostly out by the fall, I think--but I remember the roar as the roof went. No one on the stair survived."

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 98, "Clever Lad". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
8) This is my favorite quote about motherhood from the whole series:
“Did I ever think to thank ye, Sassenach?" he said, his voice a little husky.

“For what?" I said, puzzled. He took my hand, and drew me gently toward him. He smelled of ale and damp wool, and very faintly of the brandied sweetness of fruitcake.

“For my bairns," he said softly. "For the children that ye bore me."

"Oh," I said. I leaned slowly forward, and rested my forehead against the solid warmth of his chest. I cupped my hands at the small of his back beneath his coat, and sighed. "It was ... my pleasure."

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 13, “Beans and Barbecue". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I hope you enjoyed these quotes. Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Exciting news about the OUTLANDER TV series!



Very exciting news today from STARZ!

OUTLANDER Season 4 will premiere in November, 2018 (we don't yet know the exact date)

And.....

The series has been renewed for Seasons 5 and 6!! 

From the official press release:
Starz will continue to partner with Sony Pictures Television on this multi-book, 24-episode pick-up for “Outlander.” Seasons five and six will each play out over 12 episodes respectively and will be based on material from the fifth book in the Outlander series, entitled The Fiery Cross, as well as the sixth book in the series, A Breath of Snow and Ashes.
This is fantastic news, and I'm very happy that the series will continue through ABOSAA.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Diana Gabaldon's upcoming releases



Diana Gabaldon has several upcoming releases in the next few months!



1) The paperback edition of the MATCHUP anthology, edited by Lee Child, will be published in the US on June 5, 2018. For those of you who don't know, this is the anthology that contains "Past Prologue", a wonderful short story co-written by Diana Gabaldon and Steve Berry.

For more about "Past Prologue" and why I think this story is a must-read for OUTLANDER fans, here's a blog post I wrote when the story was first published last year.

You can pre-order MATCH-UP here:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Poisoned Pen (autographed copies) - this is Diana Gabaldon's local independent bookstore in Arizona, and they ship all over the world



2) Diana Gabaldon's story collection, SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL, will be out in trade paperback format (that's the large size paperback) in the US on August 7, 2018.  You can pre-order here:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Poisoned Pen (autographed copies)

SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL is a collection of seven novellas that take place in the OUTLANDER universe:

"The Custom of the Army"
"A Plague of Zombies"
"A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows"
"The Space Between"
"Virgins"
"A Fugitive Green"
"Besieged"

The first five of these stories were previously published in other anthologies and as standalone e-books, but "A Fugitive Green" and "Besieged" are available only in this collection.

For more information about this book, see my SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL FAQ page.



3) A special 25th Anniversary hardcover edition of VOYAGER will be published on October 23, 2018.

From the publisher's description on Amazon:
A beautifully designed collector's edition of the third book in Diana Gabaldon's blockbuster Outlander series featuring a brand new introduction and bonus material to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its original publication.
This will be similar to the Anniversary Editions of OUTLANDER and DRAGONFLY IN AMBER (pictured below) -- deluxe hardcover editions, complete with "faux-leather" binding and a ribbon bookmark -- and I think they'll look terrific as a matched set!



You can pre-order the 25th Anniversary Edition of VOYAGER here:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Poisoned Pen (autographed copies)

4) Last but not least, I'm sure there will be a "TV tie-in" paperback edition of DRUMS OF AUTUMN published at about the same time that OUTLANDER Season 4 premieres later this year -- but I have no information beyond that.  Check back later for further updates!

And finally, no, I have no information about when GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, Book 9 of the OUTLANDER series, will be published.  Not this year, at any rate.  Diana is still busy writing!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Happy Birthday, Jamie Fraser!



Wishing a very happy birthday to our favorite red-heided Scot, James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, who turns 297 years old today! He was born on May 1, 1721.

If you're on Twitter, please tag your tweets today (Tuesday, May 1) with #HappyBDayJAMMF, in celebration of Jamie's birthday.

In honor of Jamie's birthday, I'm reposting the "ABCs of Jamie Fraser" list that I originally posted here in 2011. I hope you enjoy them!

ABCs of Jamie Fraser

I borrowed this idea from a writer's exercise that was posted on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community (now TheLitForum.com) a few years ago. The idea is to list one word pertaining to the character for each letter of the alphabet, along with a brief explanation. Here's my alphabet for Jamie Fraser.

All quotes from the OUTLANDER books are copyright © Diana Gabaldon, of course.

* * * SPOILER WARNING!! * * * 

If you haven't read all of Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER books, you will find spoilers below! Read at your own risk.

A - Ardsmuir. As difficult as those three years in prison were for Jamie, caring for the other men gave him something to live for.

B - Boats. Sheer torture, for someone who suffers from seasickness as acute as Jamie's. "I hate boats," Jamie said through clenched teeth. "I loathe boats. I view boats with the most profound abhorrence." (DRUMS, Chapter 6, "I Encounter a Hernia")

C - Claire
, of course. And his children -- all of them, whether they're born of his blood or not.

D - Duty.
Jamie takes his duty seriously, even when it means doing things he doesn't want to do, like raising a militia company to fight against the Regulators in FIERY CROSS.

E - Eloquence.
Jamie's way with words takes my breath away sometimes. "And when my body shall cease, my soul will still be yours. Claire--I swear by my hope of heaven, I will not be parted from you." (DRUMS, Chapter 16, "The First Law of Thermodynamics")

F - Finger.
Jamie's much-abused fourth finger on his right hand, which caused him so much pain and trouble for years, and now lies buried at Lallybroch, with Ian. "I'll keep it safe 'til ye catch me up." (ECHO, Chapter 81, "Purgatory II")

G - God.
Jamie's Catholic faith is very important to him, even if he's rarely in a position to go to Mass or have a priest hear his confession. And sometimes God answers his prayers. ("Lord, that she may be safe. She and the child.")

H - Humor.
I love Jamie's sense of humor, especially when he teases Claire. "I'll gie ye the rest when I'm ninety-six, aye?" (FIERY CROSS, Chapter 40, "Duncan's Secret")

I - Intelligence.
Jamie is a very smart man, and a logical thinker. And he learns very fast!

J - Jenny.
Say what you will about her, but Jamie loves his sister as deeply as he does Claire.

K - Killing.
Jamie kills when he must, in self-defense or in defense of his family or loved ones. But it bothers him. "I am a violent man, and I ken it well," he said quietly. He spread his hands out on his knees; big hands, which could wield sword and dagger with ease, or choke the life from a man. (DRUMS, Chapter 13, "An Examination of Conscience")

L - Lallybroch.
I don't think you can fully understand Jamie's character without appreciating how much Lallybroch influenced him. It's sad to think that he might never go back there.

M - Memories.
Will Jamie ever recall more of Culloden, and what happened with Jack Randall?

N - Nephew.
Jamie bonded with Young Ian when he was only minutes old, and they've been through quite a lot together.

O - Outdoors.
Jamie has lived a good part of his life outdoors, as a farmer, hunter, outlaw, and soldier -- not to mention living in a cave for seven years!

P - Prestonpans.
The location of Jamie's fateful encounter with the sixteen-year-old Lord John Grey.

Q - QED.
Three letters that symbolize Jamie's short-lived career as a printer in Edinburgh.

R - Red-heided.
All teasing about "the nameless and abominable colour of his hair" aside, this is one of the things I liked best about Jamie from the beginning, because I'm also a left-handed redhead. :-)

S - Stubbornness.
"Jamie was a sweet laddie, but a stubborn wee fiend, forbye." Jenny's voice by her ear startled her. "Beat him or coax him, it made no difference; if he'd made up his mind, it stayed made up." (DRUMS, Chapter 34, "Lallybroch")

T - Tone-deaf.
One of Jamie's more endearing traits, in my opinion, and proof that he's not perfect.

U - Uxorious.
Roger refers to Jamie as "deeply uxorious" in ABOSAA. It's an archaic word that according to Diana Gabaldon means "a man who was clearly and obviously in love with his wife."

V - Vows.
The blood vow at Jamie and Claire's wedding, for one. Jamie's promise never to beat her again, for another. "I don't make idle threats, Sassenach," he said, raising one brow, "and I don't take frivolous vows." (OUTLANDER, Chapter 22, "Reckonings")

W - Will-power.
Jamie has an amazing strength of will. Whether it's submitting to rape and torture at the hands of Jack Randall without fighting back, or not reacting to the presence of a pair of naked Indian girls in his bed in ABOSAA, his self-control is impressive.

X - eXample.
Jamie doesn't lead by sitting back and giving orders. He leads by example, as when he takes the punishment for Angus MacKenzie's possession of a scrap of tartan at Ardsmuir. No wonder his men will follow him anywhere.

Y - Youthful.
It's hard to remember just how young Jamie was in OUTLANDER, barely 22. Even in his mid-50's, he still looks remarkably good for his age. As Claire remarks, "Do you know, you haven't got a single gray hair below the neck?" (ECHO, chapter 8, "Spring Thaw")

Z - Zippers
, and other oddities of 20th-century life that Claire has had to explain to Jamie over the years.

Happy Birthday, Jamie, and Happy Beltane to all of you!  Many thanks to Diana Gabaldon for creating such an amazing character, and to Sam Heughan for bringing him to life on TV.

Here are the other posts in my "Character ABC's" series:

ABC's of Claire Fraser
ABC's of Roger
ABC's of Brianna
ABC's of Lord John Grey
ABC's of the OUTLANDER TV Series

April poll results

Here are the results of the April poll, which asked the question, "Which of Diana Gabaldon's books are you currently reading or listening to?"
    There were 812 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated!
    • 4.43% - OUTLANDER / CROSS STITCH
    • 3.45% - DRAGONFLY IN AMBER
    • 4.56% - VOYAGER
    • 19.33% - DRUMS OF AUTUMN
    • 13.18% - THE FIERY CROSS
    • 9.24% - A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES
    • 7.39% - AN ECHO IN THE BONE
    • 8.00% - WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD
    • 1.11% - LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER
    • 1.60% - LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE
    • 0.62% - LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS
    • 2.34% - THE SCOTTISH PRISONER
    • 1.72% - THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION (Volume 1 or 2)
    • 6.03% - SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL
    • 14.78% - I'm reading other things right now.
    • 2.22% - Other
    I didn't vote in the poll myself, but I recently started listening (again!) to WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD.

    Please take a moment to vote in the May poll, which asks, "Have you tried to get other people to read the OUTLANDER books, or watch the TV series?"

    Wednesday, April 25, 2018

    What would you ask Diana, if you could?

    So this happened today, on TheLitForum.com, which is the new online home of the former Compuserve Books and Writers Community....

    Diana Gabaldon was talking about the questions she's been asked by interviewers over the years, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to mention something I've been thinking about for a long time:  I'd love to interview her myself some day.  And I was thrilled to see this response from Diana. (Click on the image for a bigger view.)



    Wow! "Extremely Perceptive and articulate" is high praise indeed, coming from Diana, and the sort of comment I'll treasure for a long time.

    So, clearly she'd be happy to answer any questions I can come up with, within reason. <g>  As for what to ask...?  That's the hard part, and I plan to spend some time thinking about it.  I have a few ideas, but I'm not going to share them ahead of time.

    Instead, I thought I'd ask the rest of you:  What would you like to ask Diana Gabaldon, if you could?