Tuesday, October 16, 2018

DRUMS OF AUTUMN TV tie-in paperback is now available!

The STARZ TV tie-in paperback edition of DRUMS OF AUTUMN is now available!

Like the previous STARZ tie-in editions, this paperback features the actors from the TV series on the cover, but the text of the book has not changed.

Check it out here:

Barnes & Noble

If you'd like an autographed copy, you can order from the Poisoned Pen bookstore in Arizona. The Poisoned Pen is Diana Gabaldon's local independent bookstore, and they ship all over the world.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

New opening title sequence for Season 4!

STARZ has posted the new opening title sequence for OUTLANDER Season 4!

As usual, they've changed the music somewhat, to give it a more Southern/Appalachian sort of feel. It's going to take a little time to get used to the singer's attempt at a Southern accent, but I'm really much more interested in the images.

The cabin looks perfect, very much as I've always imagined it! I laughed when I saw the Highland dancers.  And I like the bath scene. <g>

The shot of the gorgeous North Carolina scenery at the end made me go, "Ooooohhhh!!" and immediately put me in a good mood.  Then I looked closer, and what I saw made me like it even more! If you look really closely at the view of Fraser's Ridge at the end, you can make out Jamie and Claire in the center of the shot, looking out over the ridge, Jamie's arm around Claire, and Claire leaning in affectionately toward him.  I like that a lot, as a sort of evolution of the famous shot of the two of them riding across the Scottish landscape from Season 1.

I'm interested to hear what the rest of you think of the new opening sequence. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

OUTLANDER on the cover of Entertainment Weekly!

OUTLANDER is on the cover of this week's issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine!  The special issue features a look at OUTLANDER Season 4, including a photo shoot with Sam and Cait.

My reactions, in no particular order:

"Some like it Scot" -- really, is that the best they could do? Recycling a tagline from STARZ's Season 1 advertising from 2015?  How unoriginal. <sigh>

From their clothing and the background in some of the shots, this seems to be Jamie and Claire at Jocasta Cameron's plantation, River Run.  Talk about giving a misleading impression of what Season 4 will be all about!

Of the three covers shown above, I like the first one (with the two of them together) the best. On the other hand, I was really struck by the lifeless expressions on Sam and Cait's faces in many of these photos, as if to say, "We've spent the entire day posing for this ridiculous photo shoot, we're tired and bored, and we want to go home!"

I'm kind of underwhelmed, but that's all right. I don't think the diehard fans are the target audience for these covers.  The EW people who put this photo shoot together are trying to sell magazines and/or get clicks for their website, and to that end, they'll do whatever they think will appeal to casual readers/viewers, whether it bears the slightest relationship to the actual contents of Season 4 or not.

At least they got to keep their clothes on for these pics, unlike the very controversial EW cover which some of you may remember from 2016.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Which new character are you most looking forward to seeing in Season 4?

Less than five weeks to go now until OUTLANDER Season 4 premieres!

Which NEW character (excluding Jamie, Claire, Roger, Brianna, etc.) are you most looking forward to seeing in Season 4?  There are number of very important characters that will be introduced this season, and I'm excited to see all of them.

Please take a moment to vote in the October poll on Outlandish Observations. If your most-anticipated character isn't listed, you can always vote "Other" and write him/her in. Thanks!

September poll results

Here are the results of the September poll, which asked the question, "What are you doing to pass the time until the OUTLANDER TV series resumes?"
  • 29.88% - All of the above.
  • 16.99% - Reading (or re-reading) Diana Gabaldon's books.
  • 11.33% - Watching Seasons 1-3 again.
  • 10.74% - Reading books by other authors.
  • 6.05% - Listening to the OUTLANDER audiobooks.
  • 5.08% - Devouring any information I can find (trailers, photos, interviews, etc.) about the TV series.
  • 3.91% - Pursuing other hobbies or interests not related to OUTLANDER.
  • 3.71% - Following various OUTLANDER fan-sites, including Outlandish Observations.
  • 3.13% - Focusing on family, work, or other commitments.
  • 1.95% - Trying to get other people to read the books or watch the TV series.
  • 1.95% - I'm not interested in the OUTLANDER TV series.
  • 1.76% - Hanging out on Diana Gabaldon's Facebook page or TheLitForum.com
  • 3.52% - Other:
Here are the responses for "Other":
  • most of the above
  • watching, reading, devouring information
  • all of the above
  • Watching and re-reading the books and scouring the internet for Season 4 news
  • .attending the Fraser Ridge Homecoming in NC in two weeks!
  • Re-reading and re-watching and devouring any all information I can find about t
  • haven't seen the series, yet
  • 2, 5, and 10. Mostly 2.
  • Reading other histories from the same time period - both fiction and non-fiction
  • re-reading outlander books & re-watching outlander tv seriees
  • Travelling in UK - Especially Scotland September
  • Watching other series such as The Crown, Poldark,
  • Watching the series and reading the series
  • both choices 1 & 2.
  • Heading to Scotland for a three week holiday
  • Camping and canning!
  • Watching,reading,FBooking, Litforuming Outlander
  • I am re-reading some of books and listening to others.
There were 512 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated!

Please take a moment to vote in the October poll, which asks, "Which NEW character are you most looking forward to seeing in OUTLANDER Season 4?"

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

11,000 followers on Facebook!

I'm celebrating a blogging milestone today: My Outlandish Observations Facebook page now has more than 11,000 followers!!

THANK YOU ALL!! I really appreciate your support!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

My trip to Yorktown and Jamestown

My mom and I just returned from a trip to Yorktown and Jamestown, Virginia. The weather was great the whole time, much to our relief. It felt good to be out in the sun after all that rain with Florence!

We stayed in the same hotel as on our last visit in the spring of 2017, literally across the street from a small beachfront along the York River (more about that below), and ten minutes down the road from the American Revolution Museum (formerly known as the Yorktown Victory Center).

On Thursday we spent the day touring the American Revolution Museum, which was very interesting. They had a special exhibit on 18th century artillery (cannons, mostly), which I found absolutely fascinating!

I've been interested in 18th century weaponry since I first read OUTLANDER, and this was my first chance to really get a close look at how a cannon operates and what makes it so powerful.  And now I finally understand what, exactly, Lord John and the gun crew were doing during the Battle of Crefeld in BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE:
"Load!” he barked, and snatched the linstock from the bombardier, motioning the soldier to replace the man who had fled. Sponger and rammer fell to their work at once, with no more than a hasty glance at Grey, blood-soaked and vicious. The erstwhile bombardier was clumsy, but willing. Grey barked them through the maneuver, once, again, forcing them, guiding them, and then felt them begin to drop back into the accustomed rhythm of the work and pick up speed, gradually losing their terror in the encompassing labor of serving the gun.

His throat was raw. The wind whipped away half his words and what was left was barely intelligible--but he saw the crew respond to the lash of his voice, and kept shouting.

Cannon were firing close at hand but he couldn’t tell whether they were friend or foe; clouds of black powder smoke rolled over them, obscuring everything.

His soaked clothes had gone cold again, and it was raining. He had taken the coil of smoking slow-match from the bombardier and tied it in its bag to his own belt. His fingers were stiff, clumsy; he had difficulty forcing the lighted fuse into the linstock, but forced himself to keep the rhythm, shouting orders in a voice that cracked like broken iron. Sponge. Vent. Load cartridge. Ram. Load wadding. Ram. Check vent. Powder. Fall back! And the hissing small flame at the end of the linstock coming down toward the touchhole, sure and graceful, with no sense at all that his own hand guided it.

That moment of suspended animation and the crash and buck of the gun. The first one left him deafened; he knew he was still shouting only because his throat hurt.

(From LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 29, "Dawn of Battle". Copyright© 2007 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

If I'm not mistaken, the cannon that exploded during that battle and seriously injured Lord John was a 24-pounder, which is a very large cannon.  According to the information I saw in the museum exhibit, a cannonball shot from a 24-pound "siege cannon" like the ones used at Yorktown during the Revolutionary War would have the same amount of energy (1.3 million joules) as a truck going 75 mph.  So whatever it smashed into, it would do a lot of damage!

The ornately-carved handles on the large cannon shown above are called "dolphins". If you've read "Lord John and the Haunted Soldier", you may remember the piece of the dolphin that Lord John took from the remains of the destroyed cannon, part of the evidence of the cannon explosion.

The rest of the exhibits were interesting, too, but our favorite was the "immersive" theater showing a recreation of the Battle of Yorktown, complete with realistic sound effects and "cannon smoke" rising knee-deep inside the theater! (The smoke took us totally by surprise. Very effective!)

After lunch, we went to see the outdoor "living history" part of the museum: a Continental Army encampment (including a musket-firing demonstration) and a small 18th-century farming community. I had fun examining everything, from the cooking equipment to the surgeon's supplies. I asked to see the bayonet affixed to the musket the re-enactor used for the demonstration, and was disappointed to find that the blade wasn't sharp. I assume the real ones would be, though! (Lethally so, if the bayonet wound Jamie suffered at Culloden is any indication.)

The next morning (Friday) we drove to Jamestown Settlement, and spent the morning exploring the museum there. It was well done, but not as interesting as Yorktown, in my opinion. Still, I learned a few things.  Example: one reason the original colonists had such a hard time that first year was that the water sources nearby were brackish (too salty to drink), and they didn't have good access to fresh water.

The most interesting artifact I saw at Jamestown was this 17th-century bandolier, or ammunition belt. The little bottles all have individual corks. Each of the vials would have been filled with enough powder and shot to fire a musket.

Again, there was an outdoor "living history" area, which probably would have been more interesting if I hadn't seen the one at Yorktown just the day before. Also, we didn't have a lot of time to explore the outdoor areas in detail, since we wanted to get back to the hotel in time for our boat ride at 2pm.

We headed back to Yorktown, arriving just in time to make our way over to the dock (literally a 5 minute walk from our hotel!) where the schooner Alliance (pictured above) was waiting. They do sightseeing cruises three times a day through November. We had seen the ship the  last time we were there, in the spring of 2017, but didn't realize it was an actual cruise until we were leaving, so this is something we really wanted to try the next time we visited.

It was worth the wait.  This was definitely the highlight of our trip! The 2-hour cruise up the York River was a lot of fun.  The Alliance is a 105-foot, 3-masted sailing ship (the tallest mast is 64 feet), built in the style of ships used during the Age of Sail in the 18th century.   It was an unforgettable experience, watching at close range as the crew (two young guys who apparently live on board the ship) raised the huge sails, and carefully adjusted the ropes as needed to turn the ship as the wind changed.  The sails are raised and lowered sort of like ENORMOUS window-blinds, fifty or sixty feet tall. <g>

It was a gorgeous day to go sailing, sunny with just enough of a breeze to fill the sails.  Very peaceful and relaxing.  There were only about 15 or 20 people on board.  I used a folding manual wheelchair to get from the hotel to the dock, and they stowed the chair on board with no problem at all.  All in all, a lovely experience that was well worth doing!

You can see more of my trip photos in my public Facebook album here. (I think the link should work even if you're not on Facebook.) Most of the photos are of things that would be of interest to anyone who enjoys the historical details in the OUTLANDER books. <g>

I would definitely recommend the American Revolution Museum to anyone visiting the Yorktown or Williamsburg area!