Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Still time to vote in the April poll!

There's still one more day left to vote in this month's poll, if you haven't already. Judging from the results at this point, it's too close to call, and we might be heading for a three-way tie. <g> So please take a moment to vote. Thanks!

A new poll for May will be posted on Friday.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Update to Diana Gabaldon web site

Diana Gabaldon's official web site has been updated with some more information about what Diana has been doing lately, including:

  • a live radio interview that took place earlier today (I didn't know about that one until it was over, unfortunately.)
  • more details about the Final Frenzy of ECHO
  • the latest information about Diana's upcoming public appearances
  • "OUTLANDER: The Musical" (Now don't get excited, this is only at the idea stage at this point, nothing definite! <g>)
I would encourage all of you to check it out!

UPDATE 4/24/09 2:37 pm: Diana mentioned on Compuserve that a recording will probably be available within a week or two, for those who missed the live interview. And I have been informed that this interview included a brief excerpt from ECHO. I will post more information here if I hear anything.

UPDATE 4/24/09 2:51 pm: And Diana has now posted a link to an interview with her that was recently published in Scottish Memories magazine. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Some thoughts on re-reading

I'm currently making my way through the first part of DRAGONFLY IN AMBER yet again. (Listening to the unabridged audio on my iPod. <g>) The first half of that book, up to the end of the Paris section, is by far my least favorite part of the entire series. (I'm embarrassed to admit how much I missed, the first time around, because I skimmed over large parts of the Paris section, finding it incredibly boring and slow-paced compared to what I'd come to expect with OUTLANDER.)

And though the ending of DRAGONFLY more than makes up for the slow pace of the first part of the book, I still find this book difficult to get through on re-reading. The opening "frame" with Roger and Bree and Claire in the 20th century seems to take ages to get through -- though it contains occasional delightful nuggets like the scene with Roger and Brianna's first kiss, in the chapel at St. Kilda's. By the time I get to the beginning of the Paris section, I want to yell at the book, "Get on with it already! I want to see Jamie!" <g>

I have a similar reaction to the chapter "Mr. Willoughby's Tale" in VOYAGER. I understand its function in the story (to explain Willoughby's motives for his actions later in the book), but I still find it hard to believe that Jamie understands Chinese well enough to be able to translate a very long and complex story like that. And I've found that skipping that whole chapter doesn't detract much at all from my understanding or enjoyment of the rest of the book.

So I was just wondering if any of you have parts of the books that you find difficult to re-read? And by "difficult", I don't necessarily mean just boring or tedious, but the emotionally difficult scenes as well. Some people skip over the scenes like Claire's abduction/rape in ABOSAA, or the miscarriage in DRAGONFLY. I don't personally skip over ANY scenes, no matter how hard they are to get through, but I'd like to hear what the rest of you think about this.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Zombies

(No, really, this actually does have something to do with Diana Gabaldon's books!)

Diana mentioned on Compuserve today that she will be writing a story called "Lord John and the Plague of Zombies" for an upcoming anthology. (Of course the story won't even be started until she's done with ECHO, which we all hope will be soon!)

Here's what she said when I asked if she was just kidding about that title:

No, I wasn't kidding. <g> Though I do need to check the etymology of "zombie," and see whether the word would have been in use (not necessarily in English, just in existence) by 1760 or so. (Also have no idea whether this story takes place while Lord John is Governor of Jamaica, or during his earlier adventures.)

[Edited to add that this all started when my UK editor sent me--as a joke--the cover art for an upcoming book titled PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES, and my US agent in an unrelated email was talking about paranormal books and remarked that this seemed to be the year of the zombie, as there were several new titles he was aware of that dealt with same. Next thing I know, along comes an invitation to write for an anthology dealing with mad scientists, and bing! You know, serendipity. <g>]
You can see the rest of the discussion on Compuserve here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spring pictures

Whether you are celebrating Easter, Passover, or just the return of springtime this weekend, here are a few pictures of what spring looks like in the various places mentioned in the books.

(Please note, I didn't take any of these myself!)

Glenlivet and Cairngorms in spring, Scotland
Ben Rinnes from the Dufftown road

Gorse at Loch Morar, Scottish Highlands
Gorse at Loch Morar

Creek in springtime, near Asheville, NC
April in the woods of NC

Redbud tree in bloom, North Carolina
Redbud in bloom
Sunset on the Albemarle Sound, NC (near the Outer Banks)
Sunset on the Albemarle Sound

Monday, April 6, 2009

The next Lord John book

For those of you who have no interest in the furor over the Entrecard changes, here's a little tidbit I came across on Diana's blog the other day.
Somebody had asked her about the next Lord John book (LORD JOHN AND THE SCOTTISH PRISONER is the title, and we know very little beyond that -- except that presumably the Scottish prisoner is Jamie, at Helwater <g>). Here is Diana's reply:
With luck, I'll start work on SCOTTISH PRISONER sometime after ECHO is done. [g] No idea when it'll be finished/published, but _maybe_ late 2010 or early 2011. I won't have any idea how long it is until I'm well into it--nor yet how much ground it covers.
Now, obviously that date is not set in stone, and of course finishing ECHO is at the top of her priority list at the moment, but I think it's great that SCOTTISH PRISONER appears to be making its way up almost to the top of the pile.
Comments? Any other Lord John fans out there?

UPDATE 6/10/2011 12:36 pm:  Diana is currently in the final stages of writing LORD JOHN AND THE SCOTTISH PRISONER.  As of right now, we still don't have any information on a publication date, but it seems likely to be at least November, 2011, before we see SCOTTISH PRISONER in print.  Please watch the Release Dates FAQ page for the latest updates.  I will post here as soon as I hear anything definite.  Thanks!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Entrecard's new paid-ads system

We're all getting used to having paid ads on Entrecard. I have to admit I hated the idea at first, because I didn't like the idea of advertisers who had no interest in my site using its space to promote their own sites without giving me anything in return.

What I didn't realize until last night is that not all of the paid ads will be coming from outside of EC. Other EC members can also purchase paid ads. And now I see that this approach has definite advantages for new bloggers like me, who are still trying to increase exposure of our blogs. I purchased $10 worth of ads for Outlandish Observations last night about 8 pm, and almost immediately saw a huge jump in traffic on this site. And doing my normal EC dropping routine this morning, I saw my card on a number of different sites, none of which I would have considered buying ad space from under the old system.

So, at this point, I have to say that I like what I'm seeing, so far, despite the initial bugginess. And frankly, that surprises the heck out of me. <g>

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Poll results

Here are the results of the March poll:

Do you listen to the OUTLANDER audiobooks?

  • No, I would rather read the books than listen to them. (25.2%)
  • I have them loaded onto an iPod or similar device so that I can listen wherever I happen to be. (18.4%)
  • I own the whole set, and listen to them regularly. (17.5%)
  • I own one or more of the unabridged audiobooks, on CD or downloaded from audible.com or elsewhere. (14.6%)
  • I've listened to one or more of them, but I don't own any of them myself. (11.7%)
  • What are the OUTLANDER audiobooks, and where can I get them? (9.7%)
  • I have listened to all of them except for FIERY CROSS, which isn't available for purchase where I live. (2.9%)

I didn't really have any preconceived notions of how this poll would come out. I asked because I'm thoroughly addicted to the audiobooks myself (listening to OUTLANDER at the moment), and I wanted to see how many other addicts there were out there. So, thanks very much to everybody who participated!