Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pictures from the book-signing

Here are some of my pictures from the book-signing in Columbia, MD, on Tuesday:

I was SO happy with the way everything worked out. Diana recognized me immediately, and we joked a little about the "Czarina of Traffic" reference in ECHO's Acknowledgements. (I told her, "Now that my family knows about that, I'm never going to live it down." Just kidding, of course.)

I was nervous before the signing, worried that I wouldn't be able to talk coherently when I saw her in person. But we chatted a bit while she signed my books, and I relaxed right away.

I told her my role on Compuserve is turning into a full-time job since the book came out (which is only a slight exaggeration <g>), and she said she thought it would start to slow down in a couple of weeks. (I have my doubts about that, but we'll see.)

She very graciously signed EVERY book I brought. Here she's signing my OUTLANDISH COMPANION.

After she signed my books, Diana let me look through a folder containing pictures from the upcoming OUTLANDER graphic novel. I only browsed through the pictures very quickly (there were dozens and dozens of pages in the folder) but I have to say, the artwork is spectacular! I recognized quite a few scenes from OUTLANDER, including some from the oath-taking at Castle Leoch.

I love this. Of the thousands of people Diana's going to meet on this book-tour, how many do you suppose will get a hug? I feel VERY fortunate, believe me. I've worked hard over the past year on Compuserve, and it's clear that she appreciates my efforts very much.

I thoroughly enjoyed this whole experience! It was worth the effort to go and see her, and I will treasure these memories for a long time to come.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Going to see Diana!

I will be attending Diana Gabaldon's book-signing in Columbia, MD, on Tuesday. This will be my first chance to meet Diana in person (though we've known each other online for several years) and I am very much looking forward to it!

I just finished packing a small travel bag with books for the signing. Let's see:
  • two copies of ECHO (one for me, one for my sister)
  • All three Lord John books (BOTB and HAND OF DEVILS in hardcover, PRIVATE MATTER in the new trade-paperback edition that came out last year, with the matching blue cover)
  • The brand-new PHOENIX NOIR anthology, which includes Diana's story "Dirty Scottsdale"
I suppose I should be glad I already have signed copies of the other OUTLANDER books (ordered from the Poisoned Pen several years ago), so I don't have to bring those along as well. <g>

I'll post again in a few days with my impressions of the event.

Friday, September 25, 2009

UPDATE: Searching inside the books

I discovered today that AN ECHO IN THE BONE is already searchable through Amazon's "search inside this book" function. I was delighted to see the search available so soon after the book came out, since we had to wait three years to get a searchable version of ABOSAA.

For your reference, here is the complete list of Diana Gabaldon's books in searchable format, available on







AN ECHO IN THE BONE (Added 9/25/2009)





Hope you find these links as useful as I do! I believe they're all accurate, but if you find any problems, let me know.

And if you haven't yet finished ECHO, I'd recommend against using the "Surprise Me" function to go to a random page. You might stumble upon something that you really aren't meant to see yet!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Release day!

The big day is here at last!

My mom emailed me this morning to tell me that she saw a full-page ad for AN ECHO IN THE BONE, with Diana's picture, in today's New York Times.

For those of you on Facebook, Diana will be doing a chat on the Borders Facebook site today (Tuesday) from 12pm-2pm ET. The link is here.

Happy reading!

Monday, September 21, 2009

ECHO: Reactions

Feel free to post your comments, reactions, and questions about the book in general here.


If you haven't yet finished ALL of AN ECHO IN THE BONE, you may want to read the comments here with caution, because you will encounter spoilers.

ECHO: Part Seven

Feel free to post your comments, reactions, and questions about Part Seven here.


If you haven't yet finished Part Seven of AN ECHO IN THE BONE, you may want to read the comments here with caution, because you will encounter spoilers.

ECHO: Part Six

Feel free to post your comments, reactions, and questions about Part Six here.


If you haven't yet finished Part Six of AN ECHO IN THE BONE, you may want to read the comments here with caution, because you will encounter spoilers.

ECHO: Part Five

Feel free to post your comments, reactions, and questions about Part Five here.


If you haven't yet finished Part Five of AN ECHO IN THE BONE, you may want to read the comments here with caution, because you will encounter spoilers.

ECHO: Part Four

Feel free to post your comments, reactions, and questions about Part Four here.


If you haven't yet finished Part Four of AN ECHO IN THE BONE, you may want to read the comments here with caution, because you will encounter spoilers.

ECHO: Part Three

Feel free to post your comments, reactions, and questions about Part Three here.


If you haven't yet finished Part Three of AN ECHO IN THE BONE, you may want to read the comments here with caution, because you will encounter spoilers.

ECHO: Part Two

Feel free to post your comments, reactions, and questions about Part Two here.


If you haven't yet finished Part Two of AN ECHO IN THE BONE, you may want to read the comments here with caution, because you will encounter spoilers.

ECHO: Prologue and Part One

Feel free to post your comments, reactions, and questions about the Prologue and Part One here.


If you haven't yet finished Part One of AN ECHO IN THE BONE, you may want to read the comments here with caution, because you will encounter spoilers.

One more day!

I think the countdown above says it all. Just a few more hours!

EDITED 9/22/09 6:17 a.m. to remove the countdown clock, which had started to show negative numbers. That's just silly, in my opinion, so I took it down.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Lots of things to talk about today....

New ECHO Board on LOL

Judie at the Ladies of Lallybroch site has set up a new, temporary, discussion board specifically for discussions of AN ECHO IN THE BONE. Go here to see it. It will be open for posting starting on the 22nd.

I am really envious of Judie's ability to set up a temporary place for ECHO discussions on a moment's notice like that. It's something that we can't do on Compuserve (because there are only 16 folders, and adding a new one would mean eliminating one of the existing sections), and as a result, there has been a great deal of planning and discussion on Compuserve about how to let people talk about the book without spoiling things for those who haven't read it yet.

And on that note... <g>

Want to talk about ECHO here? Please read below!

I am really looking forward to hearing what you all think of the book! In the interest of fairness (so that people who've not yet read the book can still feel comfortable visiting my site), I am planning to set up 8 new blog posts, like this:

Starting on Tuesday, please feel free to talk about the book by commenting in any of these posts, without the need to use spoiler warnings. (If you are one of the lucky few who've managed to get a copy of the book BEFORE the 22nd, I would ask you not to talk about it here until the release date. Thanks.)


Some of you may be aware that Diana Gabaldon has ANOTHER story coming out: "Dirty Scottsdale", a contemporary mystery set in present-day Phoenix, Arizona, featuring a detective named Tom Kolodzi.

The story is part of an anthology called PHOENIX NOIR. I was startled to see that Amazon is already showing the book as "In Stock", even though it has a publication date of November 1. I've ordered my copy (in time to have it signed when I see Diana on the book-tour in Columbia, MD, on 9/29) and just wanted to pass along the information in case any of you are interested.

From what I've seen of it so far, "Dirty Scottsdale" is going to be a truly hilarious story. So even though it's NOT about Jamie and Claire and the rest, I would encourage you to check it out! (I'll post my impressions here later this week.)

Two days and counting....

And finally, here's the "two days and counting" picture from the Random Art site. Not as colorful as yesterday's, but I still think it looks pretty good!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Three days and counting

The picture above is what the Random Art site generated this morning when I typed in "three days and counting". <g>

I was really pleased with the way this one came out. It has a suitably excited and celebratory feel to it, don't you think?

Note to Kindle owners: The pre-order page on for the Kindle version of ECHO is working again!

Friday, September 18, 2009

New Gabaldon interview on Amazon

Check out the very interesting interview with Diana Gabaldon on It's rather long, 18 minutes, but well worth listening to!

No spoilers in this one, no excerpt-reading, just general information about the book that you'd already know if you've read the cover blurb on Amazon or elsewhere. But it's a pretty wide-ranging interview, covering a variety of different topics.

I was entertained by the fact that Diana mentions both Compuserve and LOL.

The link to this audio interview/podcast is also prominently displayed on Amazon's page for AN ECHO IN THE BONE, which is where I found it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Diana Gabaldon Web Site Updated

Diana Gabaldon's web site is back up, after being down all day yesterday. Check out the latest update, including pictures of some of the lucky recipients of the special-edition OUTLANDER paperbacks from the recent contest on the Random House site. And the Tours page on her site has also been updated with the latest information on Diana's book-tour.


In other news...I've started playing around with Facebook (got talked into it by my nieces when they visited this summer <g>) Just a bit, mind; I really don't have time to explore it in any detail just now. But if you are interested, visit my Facebook page here.

And yes, I realize that Diana blogged about her own new Facebook page earlier this week. Coincidence?, actually, that's what prompted me to start fiddling with mine. <g>

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What are your plans?

We've made it to the final week. Only six more days before ECHO's release!

What are the rest of you doing to pass the time in these last few days?

Do you have any special plans for the release day? Anybody planning to stake out their local bookstore on Tuesday, to get a copy of ECHO the moment it's available? Are you taking time off from work to read the book?

For those of you who've been through this before with Diana's other books, do you do anything special when you get your hands on a new OUTLANDER book? If you have a favorite ritual, even if it's something as simple as turning off the phones in your house or curling up in your favorite chair with a glass of wine, let us know.

As for myself, I mentioned on Compuserve the other day that my job as Section Leader there comes with "benefits". In other words, YES, Diana was generous enough to send me an early copy of the book. (By e-mail. I haven't seen it yet in printed form.) And no, you WON'T pry anything out of me. <g> Sorry.

So on the release day itself, I will be able to sit back and enjoy watching others' reactions. And I am really looking forward to hearing what the rest of you think of the book!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Graphic novel update

Great news, from Diana's blog:

The artwork for the graphic novel is done (bar little tweaks here and there) and it looks terrific! We don't have a specific pub date for this yet—sometime in 2010—but we do at least have a title. This is called THE EXILE (An OUTLANDER graphic novel).

Check out the two new sample pages of artwork from the graphic novel, here.

The first shows Claire being pulled from the water by one of Black Jack Randall's men -- catch the glimpse of BJR himself in the doorway in that last frame, holding a riding crop? <shudder> I love the look on Claire's face in that last frame.

The second is a scene we did not get to see in OUTLANDER, but it's easy enough to see what's going on here. Jamie and Murtagh are in a barn and Jamie is washing himself. This appears to be just before the wedding, because Murtagh is handing Jamie the pearl necklace that Jamie will later give to Claire when they meet just before the ceremony.

I have to say, based on that first frame, I think the artist got Jamie's build JUST right -- long, lean, and muscular. His eyes aren't always perfect - I think the eyebrows aren't right in the third frame - but overall, yes, this is unmistakably Jamie.

Please note what Diana says about sharing these images:

Please don't nab these pictures and go posting them all over the net. I don't own the copyright; that belongs to the artist, Hoang Nguyen, and these are posted here by his kind permission and that of the Ballantine editor. If you'd like to share these with your friends—and I'm all for it [g]—please just send them a link to this page.

What about the rest of you? What do you think of the pictures?

If you want to comment on Compuserve, by the way, the thread is here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Diana's blog has been updated!

After a hiatus of about five months for the Final Frenzy of AN ECHO IN THE BONE, Diana Gabaldon has finally started updating her blog again.

Go to Voyages of the Artemis to see all the new blog entries posted this week:

  • An account of the last days of writing ECHO, including a bit of verrry interesting news at the end that I haven't seen her mention anywhere before, even on Compuserve: "I'm going to tell the story of Roger MacKenzie's parents."

  • Two posts with detailed information on her book-tour appearances in the U.S. and Canada.

  • UPDATE 9/11/09 5:55 am: And another with information on the New Zealand part of her book-tour.

  • UPDATE 9/12/09 5:19 am: Wow, this is really feast-or-famine, isn't it? Diana just posted two more blog entries: information on her Australia book-tour, and a graphic novel update (with pictures!) See my reaction to the pictures here.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Re-examining the battle of Alamance

I'm sure you all remember the battle of Alamance, in FIERY CROSS, after which Roger was hanged.

Here's an interesting article from today's Raleigh [NC] News & Observer, about the battle, describing how historians and archaeologists are re-examining the site.

(Note the sidebar where it mentions that some of the Regulators were hanged after the battle.)

I thought this was fascinating. I'd never seen this battle mentioned anywhere outside of Diana's books before.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

More on Diana's book-tour itinerary

More updates to Diana Gabaldon's itinerary for her upcoming book-tour for AN ECHO IN THE BONE:


The Random House web site with Diana Gabaldon's U.S. and Canadian book-tour information has been updated to show more specifics about the Canadian book-tour events and locations.


Thanks very much to Claire on Compuserve for passing along the link to the Australian publisher's site showing the stops on Diana's Australian book-tour.

New Zealand: (update 9/11/09 5:52 am)

Diana has posted details of the New Zealand events on her blog, here.

Please keep in mind that Diana says these book-tour schedules are prone to last-minute changes! Keep checking these sites for further updates.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My first blogoversary!

This month marks the one-year anniversary of Outlandish Observations! Thank you so much to all my readers, especially those who've left comments here or contacted me by email to offer their support. I'm still having fun with this blog, and I hope you'll continue to visit here in the coming months, especially after AN ECHO IN THE BONE comes out.

A few brief comments about my blog:

  • In this first year, I've had more than 57,000 hits and 77,000 page views. I think that's amazing, considering that I am a first-time blogger.
  • This site averages about 150-200 hits per day.
  • I've had visitors from many different countries, all over the world.
  • Diana knows about my blog (and I didn't actually die of embarrassment when I found that out!) I have no idea if she has actually visited this site or not, but I am sure she knows it exists.
  • It's helped bring many new members to the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum (the online community where Diana Gabaldon hangs out). That wasn't my primary reason for creating this blog, at all, but it's been very gratifying to see new members pop up on Compuserve who mention having seen my blog. Thanks to all of you!

Some of my most popular posts over the past year include:

What Jamie Fraser Looks Like

Diana's comments on a possible OUTLANDER movie

Confessions of an OUTLANDER Audiobook Addict

What do these things look like? (and the other OUTLANDER Links posts)

By way of celebrating this milestone, I thought I'd offer my first MckLinky list. I've been noticing these on other sites recently and wanted to give it a try myself. Please enter your site's name and URL below. And if you want to leave a comment, that would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

WARRIORS anthology available for pre-order

WARRIORS Anthology and "Custom of the Army"

As some of you may be aware, Diana Gabaldon has written a new Lord John story, titled "The Custom of the Army", to be published in an anthology called WARRIORS, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.

I found out today that WARRIORS is now available for pre-order on Amazon. The publication date is March 16, 2010. I asked about this on Compuserve this morning, and Diana confirmed that the date shown on the Amazon listing is accurate. (The thread on Compuserve is here, if you're interested.)

Diana also had this to say about the book:

I would note that there are a lot of excellent authors included in that anthology, so even if you _do_ primarily want "Custom of the Army," I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy a lot of the other stories, too.

The table of contents for the WARRIORS anthology can be found here, along with a list of authors.

I'm not sure whether I will pre-order, or wait until the book comes out so I can browse through it in the bookstore. It's a hardcover, with a cover price of $27.99, which is pretty expensive if you're mainly interested in the Lord John story. But I thought I'd pass the information along in case any of you are interested.

You can find more information about "Custom of the Army" on Diana's blog, here, and an excerpt from the story is here. From what I have seen of it so far, it looks like a fun story, and a must-read for Lord John fans!

Heartfelt Award

Thanks to Laura at Laura's Reviews for the Heartfelt Award.

"Do you reach for a cup of cocoa or tea when you're relaxing, seeking comfort, sharing a plate of cookies with family and friends? You know the feeling you get when you drink a yummy cup of cocoa, tea, or a hot toddy? That is what the Heartfelt Award is all about, feeling warm inside."

I'm not in a position to be able to pass it on just at the moment, unfortunately; this is the fourth blog award I've received in the past two weeks, and I just don't have that many high-quality blogs that I follow on a regular basis. But thanks for thinking of me!

September is here at last!

So we've made it to September, finally! Three weeks and counting until the publication of AN ECHO IN THE BONE!

Here are the results of the August poll:

Have you pre-ordered AN ECHO IN THE BONE?

  • 37.6% - Yes, I pre-ordered through Amazon or some other bookstore.
  • 18.1% - No, I will buy it on or after the release day.
  • 12.1% - No, because I don't want to risk it not arriving on September 22.
  • 11.4% - I haven't yet, but I intend to put in an order soon.
  • 8.7% - Yes, I pre-ordered a SIGNED copy from the Poisoned Pen bookstore.
  • 4.0% - No, I will get it from the library.
  • 1.3% - No, because someone else is buying it for me as a gift.
  • 0.7% - I pre-ordered the audio version, but not the printed book.
  • 6% - Other

There were 149 responses to this poll. Thanks so much to everyone who participated. I think the variety of results are very interesting.

Please take a moment to vote in the September poll. I'm curious to see what the answers are to this one.