Saturday, January 11, 2020

Happy Birthday, Diana Gabaldon!

Wishing a very happy birthday to Diana Gabaldon, author of the OUTLANDER series, who turns 68 years old today!

Diana, I hope you have a wonderful birthday! Thank you so much -- again! -- for creating this AMAZING story!! And many thanks for your friendship, which means a great deal to me.

If you're on Twitter, please join OUTLANDER fans worldwide in celebrating Diana's birthday with the hashtag #HappyBdayDG.

If you want to send birthday wishes directly to Diana, her Twitter id is @Writer_DG, or you can post on her Facebook page.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Diana Gabaldon explains the book production process

I'm sure many of you have been wondering when they'll announce the publication date for GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, Book 9 in the OUTLANDER series. (Not yet, is the short answer.)

Diana Gabaldon posted a detailed explanation on Twitter and Facebook of all the steps in the production process that occur after the manuscript is "finished". (Though, as her husband says, finished is a relative term!) It's well worth reading, and I encourage you to share it with any other OUTLANDER fans you may know.

For those of you who haven't seen Diana's list of all the (many!) steps in the production process, which she refers to at the beginning of that post, the most recent version (updated in 2015) is on her website here.  It was quite an eye-opener for me, the first time she posted it (back in 2008, before ECHO came out), and I imagine there are a lot of people who haven't seen it before.

In particular, please pay attention to this bit at the end of Diana's post:
Let it be noted that we did ALL of the above within five weeks, for each of the last two books.  This drove everyone to the verge of insanity (and was terribly expensive), and we Really Don't Want to Do That Again (any of us!), which is why you aren't getting a pub date until the manuscript is by-God Finished.
As much as I'm looking forward to BEES, I'm actually glad to hear this. It's always seemed such a shame (to put it mildly!) that Diana Gabaldon spends five years or more working on a book, taking such care over every word, only to have to rush through the final phases of copy-editing etc. at such a breakneck speed to meet the publisher's deadline(s). It's exhausting and stressful for everyone concerned, and I hope the decision to do things differently this time will make it somewhat less harrowing for her.

In the meantime, please try to be patient, and remember, "Fuirich agus chi thu!" That's "wait and see" in Gaelic, one of Diana's favorite phrases. I'm 100% sure that GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE will be worth the wait!

Friday, January 3, 2020

Season 5 key art!

STARZ has released the official OUTLANDER Season 5 key art! This is the image that will be used to promote Season 5 in the coming weeks.

I like it. It's vivid and dramatic. What do the rest of you think?

Now that the key art has been released, I expect we'll see the TV tie-in paperback of THE FIERY CROSS (with some variation of this artwork on the cover) coming pretty soon. I'll post an update when it's available for pre-order.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

December poll results

Here are the results of the December poll, which asked the question, "What is your favorite gift from the OUTLANDER books?"
  • 19.21% - The medicine box Jamie gave Claire for their anniversary
  • 19.21% - Fergus's last name
  • 14.26% - The pearl necklace Jamie gave Claire on their wedding day.
  • 10.95% - Claire's silver wedding ring
  • 9.30% - Adso the kitten
  • 8.26% - Brianna's photos
  • 6.40% - The poison ivy bouquet
  • 4.34% - The cherrywood snake Jamie's brother made for him
  • 4.13% - The rosary Jamie gave Willie as a farewell gift
  • 2.89% - The vrooms Roger made for the children
  • 0.41% - The dachshund puppy Stephan von Namtzen gave Lord John.
  • 0.62% - Other
There were 484 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated! Please take a moment to vote in the January poll, which asks, "Have you ever been to Scotland?

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone!

As we prepare to ring in 2020, it's time for another annual tradition here on Outlandish Observations: an old-fashioned Hogmanay celebration, as they might have celebrated it on Fraser's Ridge 250 years ago.
A firstfoot was to bring gifts to the house: an egg, a faggot of wood, a bit of salt--and a bit of whisky, thus insuring that the household would not lack for the necessities during the coming year.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 35, "Hogmanay". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I can't participate in a first-footing myself, even if I lived in Scotland (redheads being considered extremely bad luck on such an occasion), but I'd like to share these small tokens with you anyway.

Many of you will remember the Hogmanay celebration in OUTLANDER Episode 308 ("First Wife"), a very festive occasion celebrated with plenty of food, music, and dancing.

Here's an article about Hogmanay Traditions in Scotland. From what I can tell, the Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh are an even bigger deal than New Year's Eve in New York's Times Square.

Happy New Year, and best wishes to all of you in 2020! It's going to be an amazing year for OUTLANDER fans, and I'm very much looking forward to it.

Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 Year in Review

2019 was a relatively quiet year in OUTLANDER fandom, but there were still a number of notable events. Here are some of the highlights of the past year:

January 2 - 2019 opened on a sad note, as Diana Gabaldon's beloved dachshund, JJ, died as the result of an injury.

January - early February - The Great Thread Explosion of 2018-19 (aka Season 4 discussions on, where I manage the Diana Gabaldon section) comes to an end at last. My Season 4 episode recaps are here if you're interested:

Episode 401: America the Beautiful
Episode 402: Do No Harm
Episode 403: The False Bride
Episode 404: Common Ground
Episode 405: Savages
Episode 406: Blood of My Blood
Episode 407: Down the Rabbit Hole
Episode 408: Wilmington
Episode 409: The Birds and the Bees
Episode 410: The Deep Heart's Core
Episode 411: If Not For Hope
Episode 412: Providence
Episode 413: Man of Worth

March 14 - Diana Gabaldon receives a special “International Contribution to Scottish Tourism” award from VisitScotland at the Scottish Thistle Awards.

April 8 - Season 5 filming begins!

April 27 - My mom and I went to see Diana Gabaldon at an appearance in Burlington, NC. It really was a perfect day, and I was delighted to come away with this wonderful photo of the two of us!

May 24 - Adso joins the cast of OUTLANDER Season 5!

May 27 - OUTLANDER is finally available on Netflix in the US. (As of right now they only have Seasons 1-3 available.)

May 28 - The OUTLANDER Season 4 Blu-ray and DVD are released in the US.

July 14 - I posted my ABC's of Young Ian, the latest in a series of blog posts looking at the major characters in the OUTLANDER series. The idea is to list one word pertaining to the character for each letter of the alphabet, along with a brief explanation. Hope you enjoy it!

July 23 - The standalone e-book edition of Diana Gabaldon's story, "Past Prologue", co-written with Steve Berry, is now available in the US and Canada. This is a terrific story with lots of potential for speculation, and I'm glad more people will have access to it now. Highly recommended! Look here for more information.

August 22 - Diana Gabaldon made some intriguing comments about the shape of Book 9, GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE. She says it's shaped like a snake.

August 28 - Congratulations to Diana Gabaldon and her family on the birth of her second grandchild, Leo! His mother is Diana's younger daughter, Jenny.

August 29 - STARZ announces the premiere date for OUTLANDER Season 5: Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020!

September 14 - Sam Heughan wins a Saturn Award for Best Actor in a Television Series. He's been nominated five times but this is his first time winning the award. Congratulations!

October 7 - Diana Gabaldon announces that she has written an episode of OUTLANDER Season 5! This will be Episode 511, the next-to-last episode of the season, and we don't know anything yet about what will be in it. (Yes, of course she's still working hard on finishing BEES! She always says she likes to work on multiple projects at once, to keep from getting writer's block.)

October 15 - THE MAKING OF OUTLANDER: The Official Guide to Seasons Three & Four, by Tara Bennett, is now available!

November 22 - Last day of filming for OUTLANDER Season 5! They started on April 8, 2019, so it took a little more than 7 months to film 12 episodes, not counting the post-production work that will take several more months to finish.

November 30 - Very sad news. My mother, Helene Henry, passed away at the age of 82, after a short illness. She died at home, with her family around her, and it was very peaceful at the end. She just quietly stopped breathing. I am heartbroken and still grieving, but comforted by all the kind words of support from OUTLANDER fans. Many thanks to all of you who've offered condolences! Here's my blog post about my mom and OUTLANDER.

December 25
- STARZ releases the new opening credit sequence for OUTLANDER Season 5!

Thanks to ALL of you who take the time to visit Outlandish Observations, and I wish you all the best in 2020!

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Season 5 opening credit sequence (SPOILERS!)

STARZ has released the new opening credit sequence for OUTLANDER Season 5!

What do you think?