Thursday, July 30, 2009

It's DONE!!

For those of you who have been wondering how the Final Frenzy of ECHO is going, I have some great news.

Diana posted this on Compuserve last night:

It's done! Or, as the cover email I sent my editor with the final section this morning (having stayed up all night in the Algonquin Hotel to finish it, and shipped it off just before rushing out the door to the airport) said--"Over to you, Ace--I'm fried." <g>
I am so thrilled for her, and very excited to hear that it's finally done!

And if Diana's editor's reaction on reading the last part is any indication ("I finished: thrilling, shocking, surprising, brilliant! Bravo!"), we are in for a real treat on September 22.

If you want to offer your congratulations to Diana, the thread on Compuserve is here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

OUTLANDER Contest!

Check out the latest news on Diana's web site: the publisher, Random House, is running a contest to spread the word about Diana's books, in preparation for the release of AN ECHO IN THE BONE on September 22.

All you have to do is fill out the entry form on the Random House web site on or before July 31, 2009, and they will randomly select 100 winners to receive a carton of 24 copies of OUTLANDER, with a special cover "just for the uninitiated" (really, this has to be seen to be truly appreciated, so go check out the picture on Diana's web site!).

Each winner will be sent a carton with 24 copies of OUTLANDER to give away for free to his/her friends, family, colleagues, etc. You know you'll be giving them an amazing novel, and people love to get free books!

AND, we'll randomly select 20 people from all of those who offer to participate, to receive a pre-publication copy of ECHO IN THE BONE.
But you have to act fast. The offer is only good through the end of July, so enter today!

Good luck!

UPDATE 7/28/2009 6:23 a.m. Please note, the contest is only open to residents of the U.S. or Canada.

UPDATE 8/7/2009 5:33 p.m. According to Diana's web site, "Winners will be notified by 9/1." There were more than 8,600 entries.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Book-tour locations

A schedule for Diana Gabaldon's upcoming ECHO book-tour has been posted on the web site of Random House, Diana's U.S. publisher. Thanks very much to Julie (operarose) at Compuserve for letting me know about this!

Now, before any of you get too excited, frustrated, disappointed, or whatever, I think we should all keep in mind what Diana has said before about:

a) How they choose where to send her (look here for the explanation on her web site)

b) These book-tour itineraries being prone to last-minute changes

c) What book-touring is actually like, from the author's point of view (if you haven't seen it already, read through Diana's very long explanation on Compuserve, here)

As for myself: I'm disappointed that it appears she won't be coming to North Carolina, but I am going to try to make it to one of the locations nearby. The logistics are complicated, but I'll try to work something out.

Finally, I wanted to pass along a comment that Diana made on Compuserve this week in response to someone's concern about obtaining a number (i.e., a place in line) for one of these book-signings:
Fwiw, y'all don't need to worry about getting a number--just about how low a number you can get. <g> I.e., I've never yet had to leave a signing without getting everyone's book signed, and I don't plan to.
For people like me who have not attended one of these events before, that's reassuring, and I told her so. I think comments like this demonstrate the concern Diana has for her fans. She is really a classy lady, very generous with her time, and amazingly patient and responsive to questions.

And by the way, as of yesterday Diana was STILL writing the last few pages of ECHO. Less than 5000 words to go, or so she says. So it appears the end is in sight, finally.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Favorite quotes, part 1

Here is a list of some of my favorite quotes from Diana Gabaldon's books. (Apologies to those of you who saw this when I posted it on Compuserve recently, but I thought others might be interested as well.)

These are not, of course, my ONLY favorite quotes from the books. It's just that I wanted to start off with one per book. I titled this post "part 1" because I think it could develop into a regular feature of my blog, if enough people are interested.

I'm always fascinated to see what other people's favorites are. So if you have a favorite quote or two, please post a comment!

1) OUTLANDER
A Highlander in full regalia is an impressive sight--any Highlander, no matter how old, ill-favored, or crabbed in appearance. A tall, straight-bodied, and by no means ill-favored young Highlander at close range is breath-taking.

(From Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 14, "A Marriage Takes Place". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
This is the point at which, on my very first reading of OUTLANDER, it suddenly, belatedly, dawned on me that a) Jamie and Claire were going to be together, and b) the story was going to be at least as much about the relationship between the two of them as about Claire's adventures in the 18th century, and c) Jamie Fraser is an amazingly attractive man. <vbg>

2) DRAGONFLY IN AMBER
"I'll leave it to you, Sassenach," he said dryly, "to imagine what it feels like to arrive unexpectedly in the midst of a brothel, in possession of a verra large sausage."

(From Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 12, "L'Hopital des Anges". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
One of the funniest lines in the whole series, in my opinion.

3) VOYAGER
I looked up at his face; it was absolutely blank with shock. He held the pictures close to his chest, unmoving, wide-eyed and staring as though he had just been transfixed by a crossbow bolt through the heart--as I supposed he had.

(From Voyager by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 24, "A. Malcolm, Printer". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
One of my favorite parts of the reunion scene in VOYAGER: Jamie's utter shock, and his joy, at seeing the pictures of Brianna. <g>

4) DRUMS OF AUTUMN
The English had always thought the Scottish Highlanders barbarians; I had never before considered the possibility that others might feel likewise. But these men had seen a ferocious savage, and approached him with caution, arms at the ready. And Jamie, horrified beforehand at the thought of savage Red Indians, had seen their rituals--so like his own--and known them at once for fellow hunters, civilized men.

(From Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 15, "Noble Savages". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I think this is a very interesting point. And it's proof, yet again, that Jamie is not infallible.

5) THE FIERY CROSS
"Tell her...I meant it."

(From The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 90, "Danger in the Grass". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I love this quote, as brief and cryptic as it is <g>, because it's Jamie's reaffirmation of what he told Claire in the scene in DRUMS where they discovered the site of Fraser's Ridge, that he will love her forever, even after he is dead.

6) A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES
Then he cried, soundless, muscles strained to aching that he might not shake with it, that she might not wake to know it. He wept to emptiness and ragged breath, the pillow wet beneath his face. Then lay exhausted beyond the thought of tiredness, too far from sleep even to recall what it was like. His only comfort was the small, so fragile weight that lay warm upon his heart, breathing.

(From A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 29, "Perfectly Fine". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
As difficult as this part of the book is to get through, the bit from Jamie's POV at the end of the chapter is what always brings me to tears on re-reading. We tend to think of the abduction/rape mostly in terms of what happened to Claire, but Jamie was very deeply shaken by what happened, too. I love the way he pushes his own feelings aside in the face of Claire's need, waiting until she is asleep before he will let himself cry.

7) LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER
Tom gave him a look of mingled bewilderment and suspicion, obviously suspecting that Grey had made up the word upon the moment for the express purpose of tormenting him.

(From Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon, p. 60 in the paperback. Copyright© 2003 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
As a word-lover myself, this bit always makes me laugh. (Especially now that I understand how much Diana herself likes those obscure or unusual words. <g>)

8) LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE
"Your brain's like to burst, Major, and ye dinna give over thinking so much."

(From Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 20, "Ye Jacobites by Name". Copyright© 2007 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Jamie, addressing Lord John. A quote for those of us who tend to indulge in too much Deep Thinking about these books <g>, especially with regard to things like the paradoxes of time-travel.

9) LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS
I love you, he wrote, the strokes light and fast, making scarcely a mark upon the paper, with no ink. I wish it were not so.

(From Lord John and the Hand of Devils, Lord John and the Haunted Soldier, by Diana Gabaldon, p. 248 in the hardcover. Copyright© 2007 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Even if Lord John never, ever says these words out loud, there it is, acknowledged at last. Both his love for Jamie, and the fact that he can't stop loving him, no matter how much he might wish to.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Entrecard announces end to paid ads

Entrecard's new management has been in place only a few days, and already we are seeing major changes. Today they announced the end of the paid-ads system, as well as the end of the "credit cash-out" that allowed members to exchange EC's for cash.

I think both of these changes are a necessary first step in getting Entrecard moving back in the right direction. It's a shame that it took such a long time for them to realize that the paid ads were a mistake.

I am still active on Entrecard, though not as regular a dropper as I used to be. I do think there's some benefit to it, in giving wider exposure to new blogs such as this one, and I want to thank those of you who've found my blog as a result of Entrecard.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Autographed copies of Diana's books

I had an email this week from Will Hanisko at the Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona (Diana Gabaldon's home town). For those of you who don't know, the Poisoned Pen is the local independent bookstore that ships autographed copies of all of Diana's books (in any format) to fans around the world.

Hi Karen,

I wanted to pass along a little known fact about The Poisoned Pen...we take orders in advance for Diana's latest book "An Echo in the Bone" and have been for several months now.

All thanks to Diana for making the effort to consistently stop into our store and sign all the books, and generate revenue for an independent.

If you would be willing might you pass this information along to your readers?

We have stood by the policy that all books signed on site sell for the same as the cover price. So, to get a signed, first-edition copy of Echo in the Bone, it's only $30 plus the shipping (which is around $7-9)

We take orders by email sales@poisonedpen.com, and over the phone 480.947.2974.

Thank you,

Will Hanisko

Please note: I am not affiliated with the Poisoned Pen bookstore in any way! Just helping to spread the word to other OUTLANDER fans. But speaking from my own personal experience, I think the Poisoned Pen does a great job. I ordered a set of autographed OUTLANDER hardcovers from them in January 2008, and the staff seemed very helpful and knowledgeable about Diana's books.

In addition to ECHO, of course, you can order any of Diana's previous books through the Poisoned Pen. (Including hardcover editions, as Diana explained to me on Compuserve in December 2007.)

The online order form is here. Also, Will didn't mention it in his email, but the toll-free number for the Poisoned Pen is 1-888-560-9919 (according to their web site).

I think this is a great opportunity for those of you who live in places that Diana is unlikely to visit on her upcoming book-tour. While she is always happy to sign books for people who attend her public appearances, not all of us are fortunate enough to get to meet her in person. (And in case you're wondering, no, Diana and I have never met in person! We're unlikely to do so anytime soon, either -- unless her ECHO book-tour brings her to North Carolina -- because I don't travel a great deal.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

OUTLANDER Links, Part VII: Gemstones

Here are some pictures of the various types of gemstones described in the OUTLANDER books, along with my favorite gemstone-related quotes. Hope you enjoy them!
Black Diamond
1. Black diamonds. Here's an article (and short video) on the possible origins of the black diamond ("carbonado"), referred to in the OUTLANDER books as an "adamant":
"You have the adamant," I said, touching it gently. It was still cool to the touch, in spite of being worn so close to his body.

"I have," he said, but he was looking at me, not at the stone, a slight smile on his face. "What is it an adamant gives ye? The knowledge of joy in all things?"

"So I was told." I lifted my hand to his face and stroked it lightly, feeling hard bone and lively flesh, warm to the touch, and joyful to behold above all things.

(From Voyager by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 63, "Out of the Depths". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

2. Chrysoberyl
Jamie seized my neglected forceps from the table, plucked the object delicately from my hand, and dropped it into my glass of water. A delicate plume of ash and soot floated up through the water to form a dusty gray film on the surface. Below, the object glittered up at us, serene and glowing, its beauty at last revealed. A faceted clear stone, the color of golden sherry, half the size of my thumbnail.

"Chrysoberyl," Jamie said softly, a hand on my back. He looked at Mandy's basket, the silky black curls lifting gently in the breeze. "D'ye think it will serve?"

(From A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 115, "Nosepicker". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

3. Emerald (image © Gemological Institute of America)
[Jamie] took a deep breath and picked up the emerald, a crudely faceted stone the size of his thumbnail. "Put out your hand, a bhailach."

Brianna looked as though she wanted to protest, but bit her lower lip, and encouraged Jemmy to do as his grandfather asked. He took the stone, still looking suspicious, but then the look of wariness faded into a smile as he looked down at the stone.

"Pretty rock!"

(From The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 109, "The Voice of Time". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

4. Garnets (image © Gemological Institute of America)
Garnets rest in love about my neck. I will be faithful.(From Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 40, "Virgin Sacrifice". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

5. Moonstones (image © Gemological Institute of America)
He held the dirk by the blade, upright so that the rising sun caught the moonstone in the hilt and made it glow. Holding the dagger like a crucifix, he recited something in Gaelic. I recognized it from the oath-taking ceremony in Colum's hall, but he followed it with the English translation for my benefit:

"I swear on the cross of my lord Jesus, and by the holy iron which I hold, that I give ye my fealty and pledge ye my loyalty. If ever my hand is raised against you in rebellion or in anger, then I ask that this holy iron may pierce my heart."

(From Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 22 ("Reckonings"). Copyright © 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

6. Opal (image © Gemological Institute of America)
"They do say that opals are unlucky stones, Sassenach." I thought he was joking, but he looked uneasy. A widely traveled, well-educated man, still he had been born a Highlander, and I knew he had a deeply superstitious streak, though it didn't often show.

Ha, I thought to myself. You've spent the night with a ghost and you think he's superstitious?

"Nonsense," I said, with rather more conviction than I felt. "It's only a rock."

(From Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 23 ("The Skull Beneath the Skin"). Copyright © 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

7. Ruby

"Oh, I forgot! I still have your ring." I drew it out and gave it back to him. It was a heavy gold circlet, set with a cabochon ruby. Instead of replacing it on his finger, he opened his sporran to put it inside.

"It was my father's wedding ring," he explained. "I dinna wear it customarily, but I...well, I wished to do ye honor today by looking as well as I might."

(From Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 15 ("Revelations of the Bridal Chamber"). Copyright © 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

8. Sapphire (image © Gemological Institute of America)
[Lord John] glanced at his left hand, which bore a broad gold band, set with a brilliant, faceted sapphire. Hector's ring. Given to him by his first lover at the age of sixteen....Without hesitation, but with some difficulty--the ring had been worn a long time, and had sunk a little way into the flesh of his finger--he twisted it off and dropped it into Jamie's hand.

(From A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 118, "Regret". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

9. Turquoise (image © Gemological Institute of America)
"Stones of protection; amethyst, emerald, turquoise, lapis lazuli, and a male ruby."

(From Voyager by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 60, "The Scent of Gemstones". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
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 VI: Wildlife
OUTLANDER Links, Part V: Castles and Palaces
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?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

Thursday 13 Books

13 questions I'd like to see answered in ECHO:

1) Who is Laoghaire's "mystery lover", mentioned in Jenny's letter to Jamie in FIERY CROSS?

2) Will William find out who his real father is, and what will he do if and when he does find out?

3) Will Roger stick with his decision to become a minister, now that he's back in the 20th century?

4) What psychological effects will Claire's experiences in ABOSAA have on her in the long-term?

5) In general, how have all the major characters changed since the last book? (Because one of the most striking things about Diana's writing is that these characters do change, and evolve, from one book to the next.)

6) How will the date on the newspaper clipping (February 13, 1776) be explained? Is it just another printer error, saying 1776 when it should have been 1777?

7) How is Jemmy adjusting to life in the 20th century?

8) Will Roger sing again?

9) What happened to Mary and Alex Randall's child?

10) Will Ian find some personal happiness? He seemed so lonely in ABOSAA, I'd like to see things get better for him.

11) Will Lord John decide to abandon his property in Virginia? It can't be easy for him to remain there, as a Loyalist, with the Revolution heating up.

12) Will Jamie remember any more about what happened at Culloden with Jack Randall?

13) What else is in those mysterious boxes -- Jemmy's box, and also the boxes in the garage in the Manse, and the ones Brianna left?

What about the rest of you? Is there anything in particular that you're really interested in finding out in ECHO?

*** Please Note ****

I don't read excerpts from ECHO. So if you happen to know the answers to any of my questions above, please don't tell me! I really don't want to know what happens until the book comes out. (Speculation is fine, of course. <g>) Thanks for your cooperation.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Good news for UK fans

Happy Independence Day!

First of all, I'd like to wish all my readers in the U.S. a very happy 4th of July! Hope you're enjoying the holiday.

Important Announcement for UK Fans

I saw an announcement on the Ladies of Lallybroch site yesterday that will definitely be of interest to UK fans.

Diana's UK editor, Bill Massey, is offering to send a FREE copy of the trade paperback of ECHO -- available September 22, the same day as the U.S. release date -- to UK readers who pre-order the hardcover edition (due out in January) through amazon.co.uk. Look here for the details.

Here's the link to Amazon's pre-order page for the UK edition.

I think this is a great opportunity for UK fans. You won't have to wait until January to get your hands on the book, and at the same time you can help boost sales of ECHO in the UK.

I asked Diana whether this is a legitimate offer, and she said yes. Well, actually, she said a good deal more than that! <g> You can see her reply on Compuserve here.

Look for an official announcement on Diana's web site in the next few days.

UPDATE 7/7/2009 6:37 pm: I just saw a follow-up announcement on LOL:

Orion, Diana’s publishers in the UK , are happy to make the following offer so that all her UK fans can enjoy An Echo in the Bone at the earliest opportunity. If you pre-order the Orion hardcover edition (publishing on 21 January 2010) from Amazon, Play.com or Waterstone’s.com and send the invoice/receipt, which includes your delivery address, to dianagabaldonorders@orionbooks.co.uk, we will then send you a copy of our export trade paperback edition absolutely free on 22 September, the first date the book is available anywhere in the world.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

ECHO audio version available for pre-order

For those of you who, like me, are fans of the unabridged audio recordings of Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER books (narrated by the very talented Davina Porter), I wanted to pass along something I found out today.

The audio version of AN ECHO IN THE BONE (unabridged only; there will NOT be an abridged version of this book, I'm happy to say!) is now available for pre-order.

Recorded Books pre-order page

Amazon.com pre-order page (UPDATE 8/2/2009 8:45 am - Amazon has lowered the price of the ECHO CDs to $50.39)

The release date listed on both of these sites is September 30, 2009, just over a week after the U.S. release date for the book itself. List price is $79.99. (Expensive, but worth the investment, in my opinion at least.)

Please note, I have no idea whether or not this date is accurate! If I find out any further information, I will post it here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

June poll results

June Poll Results

Here are the results of the June poll:

Do you read excerpts from Diana Gabaldon's upcoming books?

  • 59.4% - Absolutely! I will gladly devour any excerpt I can get my eyeballs on.
  • 15.2% - No, I would rather wait and see those bits of the story in their proper context, when the book comes out.
  • 10.9% - I read the ones Diana posts on her web site and/or blog, but that's all.
  • 10.1% - I used to read them, but I don't anymore.
  • 0.7% - I read excerpts, but only for certain books.
  • 0.7% - I read excerpts, but only the shorter ones that are not posted as attachments.
  • 1.5% - What excerpts? Where can I find them?
  • 1.5% - Other
There were a total of 138 votes in this month's poll. Thanks to everyone who participated!

As usual, I didn't vote in the poll myself, but if I had, I would have gone with "I read excerpts, but only for certain books." I have been avoiding excerpts from ECHO for about a year and a half now, but I will gladly read excerpts from anything else. <g>

And if you are one of the people who chose the "What excerpts? Where can I find them?" option, look here.

New Poll for July

The July poll is about your favorite female characters from the books. There are so many strong-willed, self-confident, memorable women in these books, I thought it would be interesting to see what you think. Please take a moment to vote in the poll, and leave a comment, if you want to explain your choice.

Diana's Latest Blog Entry at Panalba

Diana has posted a new blog entry at www.panalba.com. (You have to sign up to view the articles, but it's free.) This one is about how she discovered an unexpected Celtic link in her own ancestry.