Saturday, February 28, 2009

Top droppers for February

Here are the top 20 Entrecard droppers on my blog for February. Thanks to all of you!

Anything Goes W/ Pahn
Black holes and Astrostuff
What's On My Mind Today
Rocket Scientist
Pepper Spray, Stun Guns, and Tasers... Oh My!
Picture to People
Positive Real Estate Professionals
flitting on fiction
The Ad Master
Authority Directory
Marriage and Beyond
Glue 4 Families
Not Your Ordinary History
For Your Health
John Wright Art
Crotchety Old Man
Dallas Marketing Services

Please take a moment to vote in the February poll, if you haven't already done so. A new poll for March will be posted tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

OUTLANDER-themed jewelry

Some of you may be familiar with the Author's Attic site where you can buy your very own Claire's ring, Brianna's bracelet, and many other pieces of OUTLANDER-themed jewelry.

Michelle Moore (aka M&M), who came up with the designs for those items, announced yesterday on LOL that a running stag brooch (similar to the one on the cover of FIERY CROSS) is now available for purchase.

Isn't it gorgeous?

If you'd like to see this and the other items available for sale through The Author's Attic, here is a wonderful little video, complete with Scottish scenery and Celtic background music:

DISCLAIMER: Please note, I have absolutely no connection to the site selling these items! I'm just doing what I can to help spread the word to other OUTLANDER fans out there. If you have questions about the jewelry, please send an email to, or leave a comment for Michelle on the LOL page I linked to above.

UPDATE 2/25/09 1:15 pm: Here is what Diana had to say on Compuserve today regarding this announcement:

Thanks for letting folk know. I ought probably to add my own disclaimer here--in that I have nothing whatever to do with this (or any other OUTLANDER-themed) enterprise. I gave Michelle permission (with the additional permission of the original designer) to use the design for Claire's ring and the running-stag brooch (to which I own the copyright), but I have no control over her company nor do I have any kind of financial interest in it.

I'm pleased that people seem to like the jewelry and admire Michelle's good running of her company, but I don't have anything at all to do with it personally.

Just FYI <g>.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I won a blog award!

I received my first-ever blog award this week! Thanks so much to Rae of for giving me the Your Blog is Fabulous award.

The rules are: Write 5 things you are addicted to, and then nominate 5 other blogs to pass this award on to.

My addictions:

1) Reading. I've been a voracious reader since I was a child. I am a lifelong reader of both time-travel stories and Big Fat Historical Novels, which is why the OUTLANDER series is such a perfect fit with my natural inclinations as a reader.

2) OUTLANDER audiobooks. I am thoroughly addicted to Davina Porter's readings of the unabridged CD's, and in fact bought an iPod a few months ago specifically because I wanted a way to listen to them wherever I happen to be.

3) Needlepoint. I got back into doing needlepoint about six months ago, and just this past weekend finished my latest project, which is the pillow shown below. (I'm delighted by the way it came out!) I find it's very relaxing to do needlepoint for half an hour or an hour each evening.

4) Compuserve Books and Writers Forum. I can't deny it, that online community is definitely one of my top addictions, and has been for well over a year. If you haven't yet stopped by to take a look at Diana Gabaldon's section of the forum, I would encourage you to do so. Diana is always happy to meet new fans over there, and I have made a big effort, since becoming Section Leader in Diana's section of the forum last September, to encourage participation by new members.

5) The Sims 2. I'm not as addicted to the Sims as I used to be, but for three or four years starting in fall 2004, I really did play the game for several hours every day.

Here are five sites that I enjoy and would like to pass the award on to:

The Giving Tree

This is a relatively new blog with an interesting theme, featuring a different act of charitable giving every day. I would encourage you to check it out!

Not Your Ordinary History

Great site for historical trivia buffs! (OUTLANDER fans may be surprised by the author of the quote at the top right of this blog. I know I did a double-take, the first time I saw it!)


I am not a crafter or jewelry-maker myself, but I love this site for the spectacular colors in the photographs of the beads. Absolutely gorgeous!

In the Swan's Shadow

A very interesting site for history fans, with a particular focus on the Civil War. If you've ever wanted to know what it's like to be a "re-enactor" or "interpreter" at a historical site, check out this blog.

Black Holes and Astrostuff

I love the pictures on this site. And since 2009 is the International Year of Astronomy, it seemed appropriate to single out this particular blog, which is one of my favorites.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Diana Gabaldon's YouTube channel

Diana Gabaldon now has a channel on YouTube, where you can find all sorts of OUTLANDER-related videos collected in one place: casting videos, interviews with Diana, the interview with Davina Porter that I mentioned here recently, and more.

The link is here.

Many thanks to Nikki Rowe on Compuserve for putting this together! Nikki asked me to pass on to you the following rules for using this site:

The Rules

1) DO NOT email Diana through YT! To circumvent a box full of email, they have created a new Yahoo account for YT mail and Diana has the password as well. So in theory she can check it, but in reality, Nikki would be the one answering the mails.

2) Folks can comment on the page and Nikki or Diana will respond.

3) If anyone has a video they want put on the channel, they can post a comment or send an email to This email address is to be used ONLY for things relating to the YT channel. This is NOT Diana's main email account.

If you'd like to leave a comment for Nikki on Compuserve, the thread that mentions the YouTube channel is here.


Friday, February 20, 2009

OUTLANDER Links, Part V: Castles and Palaces

One of the things that fascinates me about the OUTLANDER books is the detailed descriptions of places that I have never seen in real life. Here is a collection of links featuring famous places described in the books. Except for Versailles (which I saw on a trip to France almost 25 years ago), I have never seen any of these places myself. I'm still hoping to be able to visit Scotland some day!
1) Castle Leod - This castle, which belongs to the MacKenzie clan, is the one described in the OUTLANDISH COMPANION:
Among the scenes of Highland beauty and massed MacKenzies were several photographs of the clan seat--Castle Leod.
"You're kidding!" I said, seeing this. "You mean there is a place called Leod?"
They were surprised at this, having assumed that I not only knew about Castle Leod, but had seen it, since the description in Outlander matched the reality so well.
"Well, I have seen it," I said. "But not in a photograph."
(From The Outlandish Companion, by Diana Gabaldon, p. 343. Copyright© 1999 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
2) Tryon Palace, New Bern, NC - Built by Governor William Tryon of North Carolina as the colonial governor's residence; evacuated by Governor Josiah Martin in 1775.
They'd finished the place, and very nicely, too. William Tryon, the previous governor, had built the Governor's Palace, but had been sent to New York before construction had been finished. Now the enormous brick edifice with its graceful spreading wings was complete, even to the lawns and ivy beds that lined the drive, though the stately trees that would eventually surround it were mere saplings.
(From A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 92 ("Amanuensis"). Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
3) Beauly Priory - The priory attached to Beaufort Castle, where Claire meets Maisri the seer.
There was a small chapel in Beaufort Castle, to serve the devotional uses of the Earl and his family, but Beauly Priory, ruined as it was, remained the burying place of the Lovats, and the floor of the open-roofed chancel was paved thick with the flat tombstones of those who lay under them.
(From Dragonfly In Amber by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 41 ("The Seer's Curse"). Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
4) Beaufort Castle - Ancestral home of the Frasers of Lovat
We rode unchallenged into the courtyard of Beaufort Castle, a small edifice as castles went, but sufficiently imposing, for all that, built of the native stone. Not so heavily fortified as some of the castles I had seen to the south, it looked still capable of withstanding a certain amount of abrasion. Wide-mouthed gun-holes gaped at intervals along the base of the outer walls, and the keep still boasted a stable opening onto the courtyard.
(From Dragonfly In Amber by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 40 ("The Fox's Lair"). Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
5) Rose Hall, Jamaica - All right, this isn't precisely a castle or a palace, but I couldn't resist including this link, because it refers to the legend of the White Witch.
6) Holyrood Palace - This is the palace where Jamie and Claire lived for a few weeks during Charles Stuart's return to Edinburgh in the fall of 1745. It's also the place where Colum MacKenzie died.
The long, high-ceilinged room with its two vast fireplaces and towering windows had been the scene of frequent balls and parties since Charles's triumphant entry into Edinburgh in September. Now, crowded with the luminaries of Edinburgh's upper class, all anxious to do honor to their Prince--once it appeared that he might actually win--the room positively glittered.
(From Dragonfly In Amber by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 37 ("Holyrood"). Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
7) Versailles - I love the pictures on this site.
8) Finally, to put all these places in their proper context, take a look at Jari Backman's GoogleEarth OUTLANDER page, where you can download a file that lets you view the various places mentioned in the books in their proper locations around the world. Great job, Jari!

If you find these links interesting, check out my previous "OUTLANDER Links" blog entries:

OUTLANDER Links, Part 14: 18th Century Clothing

OUTLANDER Links, Part 13: Plants and Herbs

OUTLANDER Links, Part 12: Standing Stones
OUTLANDER Links, Part 11: Science and Technology
OUTLANDER Links, Part 10: Weaponry
OUTLANDER Links, Part 9: Historical Events
OUTLANDER Links, Part 8: 18th Century Medicine
OUTLANDER Links, Part VII: Gemstones
OUTLANDER Links, Part VI: Wildlife
OUTLANDER Links, Part IV: Native Americans
OUTLANDER Links, Part III: All Things Scottish
OUTLANDER Links, Part II: Colonial North Carolina
OUTLANDER Links, Part I: Culloden
What Do These Things Look Like?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Davina Porter interview

Here is a very interesting interview with Davina Porter, who narrates the unabridged audio versions of the OUTLANDER books. (Thanks very much to Jari Backman on Compuserve for finding this!)

Part 1:

Part 2 (you may want to skip the first bit; the part relating to her work starts around 2:20)

I was quite amused to hear her reaction, in part 2, to the fact that she'd messed up Donner's voice in ABOSAA (making him sound like a Liverpudlian instead of a Native American). Oh, well, we can hope she'll be more careful with the minor characters in ECHO!

Hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Update to Diana Gabaldon web site

Diana Gabaldon's official web site has been updated with, among other things, a new excerpt from ECHO and some more information on the Amazon pre-order for ECHO. In Diana's own words:

" does not actually have the faintest idea when the pub date is, until the publisher tells them (at which time, the publisher presumably would also tell me, and I would tell you). This does not stop them from listing a date; they seem to think it encourages people to place pre-orders if the listing looks more official. They are, however, pulling these dates out of their collective rear end, for the most part."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Diana Gabaldon makes the comic pages!

This is the "Mallard Fillmore" comic strip from Feb. 11. Thanks to Margaret Campbell on Compuserve for pointing this one out.

I think this is hilarious. What about the rest of you?

UPDATE 2/11/09 1:20 pm: Diana has posted her reaction on Compuserve. Check it out!

Wordless Wednesday: OUTLANDER Places

Here's a selection of photos I found on, showing some of the places described in the OUTLANDER books. Enjoy!

landscape and highlands of Scotland (30)
Levishie Forest, Glen Moriston, Scottish Highlands

Heather in bloom
Heather in bloom, Scotland

Gorse in Spring
Gorse in spring, Scotland

Sunset at Ocracoke, NC
Sunset on Ocracoke Island, NC

Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone, NC
Blue Ridge Mountains near Boone, NC

If you like these, please check out my other Wordless Wednesday posts:

Wordless Wednesday: Places in the Books

Wordless Wednesday: Standing Stones

Wordless Wednesday: Men in Kilts!

Friday, February 6, 2009

U.S. Cover Proof for ECHO

Diana just posted on her blog a picture of the proposed cover art for the U.S. edition of AN ECHO IN THE BONE. I would strongly encourage you all to go take a look at it!

That's a caltrop on the cover, in case you were wondering. Diana says the "shape" of the book looks like this. For more on caltrops, book covers, and the shape of the book, look here for some of my previous blog entries:

ECHO's Shape: It's a Caltrop

ECHO's Cover Design

UK Cover Design for ECHO

I think it looks fantastic, about as good as I could have hoped for. In fact I'm quite excited to see it!

As Tess pointed out on Compuserve, if we're talking about jewel-tone covers, this one is apparently the black diamond. I like that idea a lot.

What do the rest of you think? Feel free to comment here, or on Diana's blog, or join the discussion on Compuserve, here.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

Thursday 13 Books

I've seen the "Thursday Thirteen" meme on a number of sites recently, so I thought I'd give it a try myself.

13 Things I Didn't Know Before I Read Diana Gabaldon's Books

1) I didn't know that there had been Scottish settlers in colonial North Carolina, let alone that they were so influential.

2) I'd heard of Stonehenge, of course, but I had no idea that there were stone circles elsewhere in the world.

3) I knew nothing at all about Scottish history before I read these books. "Culloden", to me, was a brand of water faucet I'd seen advertised on TV, and nothing more.

4) Mammoths roaming around the mountains of what would someday become western North Carolina? I had no idea. (And frankly, it's still pretty mind-boggling to me.)

5) I didn't know that I could come to appreciate, let alone be addicted to, audiobooks. I've been a voracious reader all my life, but never listened to audiobooks except on long car trips, until I found the OUTLANDER unabridged CDs. Davina Porter's readings are just wonderful!

6) I had no idea that the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum existed. Finding that online community has changed my life, and I am not exaggerating when I say that.

7) I'd never heard of a great many of the strange and unusual words Diana has used in her books: "raillery", "niff", "chisping", "coccygodynia", and "poltroon", to name just a few of my favorites. These books have done wonders for my vocabulary!

8) The whole concept of the "fiery cross", and how it relates to the KKK, was completely new to me....

9) was the "hanged men's grease" mentioned in DRAGONFLY. <shudder>

10) I wasn't aware that anybody in Scotland spoke Gaelic.

11) I didn't know that wolf-dog crossbreeding was possible, let alone that people could keep them as pets.

12) I knew nothing whatever about the lifestyles of gay men in 18th century London.

13) And would never have occurred to me that best-selling authors are people too. <g> Diana is remarkably down-to-earth and easy to talk to online, once you get over the fact that you are talking to a famous author.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

New poll for February

January Poll Results

Results of the January poll are as follows:

What do you think about the OUTLANDER graphic novel?

  • I'm looking forward to getting a different perspective on the events of OUTLANDER. (42.2%)
  • I just want to see more of Jamie and Claire's story, and I don't care how we get it. (17.4%)
  • I can't wait to see Diana's vision of what Jamie and Claire really look like. (11.0%)
  • I'm not crazy about the idea, but I'll probably buy it anyway. (10.1%)
  • I'm glad that Diana is writing the script and working closely with the artist. (6.4%)
  • It's a terrible idea. I don't want to see Jamie and Claire turned into comic book characters. (6.4%)
  • Not sure yet. I want to see more of the sample artwork first. (3.7%)
  • What's a graphic novel, and what does it have to do with OUTLANDER? (2.8%)

Thanks so much to everyone who participated! I find the results very interesting, and more or less in line with my own views on the subject. (I didn't vote in it myself, but if I had, I probably would have gone with the majority on this one.)

For those of you who chose that last option: If you want to find out more about the OUTLANDER graphic novel, look here for Diana's explanation of what it is, and here and here for sample pages of the script and artwork.

February Poll

This month's poll features a selection of my favorite romantic quotes from the books. (The fact that all of them are Jamie-quotes is not a coincidence. <vbg>) I had a hard time choosing only one per book! (Page numbers are from the hardcover editions, and as always, the quotes are copyright© Diana Gabaldon.)

If you have a different quote that you would have liked to see in this list, feel free to post it here. I'm always interested to hear what people think.

February's "Notable Dates"

Finally, I would like to thank Jari Backman for his continuing help with the "Notable Dates This Month" feature on my blog. Jari provided most of the dates listed here for February, as he's done for the last few months. Please keep it up, Jari, you know I appreciate it very much!