Saturday, October 30, 2010

"Leaf on the Wind" excerpt

Diana Gabaldon has posted an excerpt from the upcoming story, "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows", on her blog. This is not a new excerpt (I believe it was first posted on Compuserve about a year ago), but I wanted to mention it, in case you haven't seen it before.

Just a little more than two weeks to go until SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH comes out. If you haven't pre-ordered yet, there's still time!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Historical figures in the books

Here are some pictures of historical figures mentioned in Diana Gabaldon's books. Hope you enjoy these!

Charles Stuart (I love the way the artist caught the haughty, disdainful expression on his face)

Denis Diderot (French author, whom Lord John meets near the beginning of BOTB)

Governor William Tryon (colonial governor of North Carolina)

King Louis XV of France (as he looked in 1748, only four years after Jamie and Claire met him)

Lord George Germain (Secretary of State for America during the Revolution), whom Lord John goes to see near the beginning of ECHO

Andrew Bell, co-founder of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (the nose is unmistakable, isn't it?)

Flora MacDonald (pictured here as a young woman)

The Comte St. Germain (apparently dressed in the robes of an occultist)

If you like these, check out my blog post from October, 2009:

Historical Figures Mentioned in ECHO

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Halloween treat

I just saw this and could not resist passing it along.

A Pumpkin Homage to The Exile

Really, the creativity of OUTLANDER fans never ceases to amaze me! My mind boggles at the amount of effort and skill it must have taken to do that. <g> And this is just hilarious, especially if you've seen page 5 of THE EXILE.

Thanks to Blue Moon for putting that together, and to Carol at My Outlander Purgatory for the link.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Shoals of Herring

I have been listening this week to a collection of Alex Beaton's songs that I bought at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in July. The album (actually a 2-CD collection) is called Beaton's Personal Favorites.

One of my favorite songs on the album is called "Shoals of Herring". Look here for the lyrics. Every time I hear this song, I think of Roger's memories of the summers that he spent on a herring boat as a teenager.
"Come the summer I was fifteen, the Reverend signed me up on a fishing boat, and sent me to sea with the herring fleet. Couldna just say whether he did it to improve my character, keep me out of jail, or only because he couldn't stand me round the house any longer, but it did work. Ye want to meet hard men sometime, go to sea with a bunch of Gaelic fishermen."

(From A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 6 ("Ambush"). Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Anyway, I just wanted to share this, because I can't get the song out of my head. <g> Here is a version I found on YouTube, sung by Robert Lawrence. I like the photos interspersed with the video -- imagine Roger, circa 1955, on one of these herring boats.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Claire!

Happy Birthday

Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser would be 92 years old today, October 20th. Happy Birthday to Claire, and many thanks to Diana Gabaldon for creating such an unforgettable character!

If you're on Twitter, you can help celebrate Claire's birthday by tagging your tweets today with #Happy92Claire.

In honor of the occasion, here are some of my favorite Claire moments from the OUTLANDER series. It wasn't easy to limit myself to one per book. I hope you enjoy these!

1) After the "wife-beating" episode:
I whipped my hand from the concealed pocket in my skirt, and the dawn light struck sparks from the blade of the dagger pressed against his chest.

"If," I said through my teeth,"you ever raise a hand to me again, Jamie Fraser, I'll cut out your heart and fry it for breakfast!"

(From Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 22 ("Reckonings"). Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
2) On the eve of Culloden:
Then all at once, the fear left me. I could not leave him, and I would not.

"Jamie," I said, into the folds of his plaid. "I'm going back with you."

He started back, staring down at me.

"The hell you are!" he said.

"I am." I felt very calm, with no trace of doubt. "I can make a kilt of my arisaid; there are enough young boys with the army that I can pass for one. You've said yourself it will all be confusion. No one will notice."

"No!" he said. "No, Claire!" His jaw was clenched, and he was glaring at me with a mixture of anger and horror.

"If you're not afraid, I'm not either," I said, firming my own jaw. "It over quickly. You said so." My chin was beginning to quiver, despite my determination. "Jamie--I won't...I can't....I bloody won't live without you, and that's all!"

(From Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 46 ("Timor Mortis Conturbat Me"). Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
3) After she finds out about Jamie's marriage to Laoghaire:
The thought of Laoghaire turned shock and sorrow to rage in a moment. I rubbed a fold of green wool savagely across my face, leaving the skin red and prickly.

Damn him! How dare he? If he had married again, thinking me dead, that was one thing. I had half-expected, half-feared it. But to marry that woman--that spiteful, sneaking little bitch who had tried to murder me at Castle Leoch...but he likely didn't know that, a small voice of reason in my head pointed out.

"Well, he should have known!" I said. "Damn him to hell, how could he take her, anyway!"

(From Voyager by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 34 ("Daddy"). Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
4) Arguing with Jamie about the fact that he didn't tell her the overseer, Byrnes, was dying:
"I am not a young girl who needs protection, nor yet an idiot! If there's some reason for me not to do something, then tell me and I'll listen. But you can't decide what I'm to do and where I'm to go without even consulting me--I won't stand for that, and you bloody well know it!"

(From Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 13 ("An Examination of Conscience"). Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
5) After Roger's hanging, when she inserts the breathing tube that will save his life:
The cartilage here was U-shaped, the esophagus behind it soft and vulnerable; I must not stab too deeply. I felt the fibrous parting of skin and fascia, resistance, then the soft pop as the blade went in. There was a sudden loud gurgle, and a wet kind of whistling noise; the sound of air being sucked through blood. Roger's chest moved. I felt it, and it was only then that I realized my eyes were still shut.

(From The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 69 ("Hideous Emergency"). Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
6) After her rescue in ABOSAA:
"I have lived through a fncking world war," I said, my voice low and venomous. "I have lost a child. I have lost two husbands. I have starved with an army, been beaten and wounded, been patronized, betrayed, imprisoned, and attacked. And I have fncking survived!" My voice was rising, but I was helpless to stop it. "And now should I be shattered because some wretched, pathetic excuses for men stuck their nasty little appendages between my legs and wiggled them?" I stood up, seized the edge of the washstand and heaved it over, sending everything flying with a crash--basin, ewer, and lighted candlestick, which promptly went out.

"Well, I won't," I said quite calmly.

(From A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 29 ("Perfectly Fine"). Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
7) Saying goodbye to Adso the cat:
I cried until my throat hurt and I couldn't breathe, then sat in the grass, curled into myself like a dried leaf, tears that I couldn't stop dropping on my knees like the first fat drops of a coming storm. Oh, God. It was only the beginning.

I rubbed my hands hard over my eyes, smearing the wetness, trying to scrub away grief. A soft cloth touched my face, and I looked up, sniffing, to find Jamie kneeling in front of me, handkerchief in hand.

"I'm sorry," he said, very softly.

"It's not--don't worry, I'm...He's only a cat," I said, and a small fresh grief tightened like a band round my chest.

(From An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 12 ("Enough"). Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Happy Birthday Claire!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New scriptwriter for the OUTLANDER movie

I just saw this and wanted to pass it on: According to an article in today's Variety, the OUTLANDER movie has a new scriptwriter, Ann Peacock. Anybody know anything about her?

I started a thread on Compuserve about this, so please feel free to post there if you have comments or questions about the choice of Ann Peacock. I personally don't have any opinion about her, yet.

Thanks to Tracey from My Outlander Purgatory for the heads-up! <g>


Attention Twitter users!

The lasses from My Outlander Purgatory have suggested that we tweet #Happy92Claire on Wednesday, October 20, in honor of a certain Sassenach's 92nd birthday. <g> So, if you'd like to participate, just tag your tweets on Wednesday with #Happy92Claire. Let's see how many people will join us.

By the way, if you are interested in following Diana Gabaldon on Twitter, she's Writer_DG. You can follow me on Twitter here.

SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH is coming soon!

By request, I've added a countdown widget for SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH to the top left corner of my blog. It's counting down until 8 am ET on Tuesday, November 16. Hope you like it!

For those of you who don't know, SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH is the anthology containing Diana Gabaldon's story, "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows", about Roger MacKenzie's parents. Look here for more information about this story, including links to excerpts.

Please note that the Kindle edition of the book is also available for preorder.

*** WARNING ***

The Amazon description of "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows", as brief as it is, contains a major spoiler! Don't read the description on that site if you are sensitive to spoilers! (It didn't bother me, because I already knew about it, but some of you may not want to know yet.)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A suggestion for the Methadone List

ROOM, by Emma Donoghue

Jack is five years old, a lively, intelligent, curious little boy who lives with his mother in a place they call Room. He can count to 100, he knows how to read, and his favorite TV show is "Dora the Explorer".

At first Jack seems like a completely normal child, until you realize: he has never seen a car, or a tree, or a telephone, or a house, or a window, or a child his own age -- except on television. He has never felt the wind on his face, never jumped in a puddle of rainwater, never walked up a flight of stairs. Everything he has ever known in his entire life is right there in the eleven-foot-square confines of Room, where he and his Ma eat and sleep and bathe and play. This is Jack's reality. The world of Outside is so foreign to his experience that he doesn't even believe it actually exists.

ROOM is told entirely from five-year-old Jack's point of view. Seeing everything through his eyes, the horrific nature of their predicament is not apparent at first, but gradually the reader becomes aware of many small details that have added significance when viewed through adult eyes. There's no explicit sex and very little violence in this book, but it is still very chilling, even terrifying, in an understated sort of way.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes the depiction of children in the OUTLANDER books. Emma Donoghue has created a very memorable character in Jack, and an unforgettable story.

If any of you have read ROOM, I would be interested to hear what you thought of it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Diana Gabaldon's Canadian book-tour

Diana Gabaldon has just posted updated information on the Canadian book-tour for THE EXILE on her blog. The dates are October 20-25.

I sincerely hope that this Canadian trip doesn't turn out to be as grueling as the last one!! Let's all hope that Diana stays healthy and doesn't end up catching the flu as she did last year on the Canadian tour for ECHO.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Videos for Diana Gabaldon's YouTube channel

The following message was posted yesterday on Compuserve by Nikki Rowe, who manages Diana Gabaldon's YouTube channel.
Hi Everyone,

Could you guys do me a favor? New videos seem to come in bunches shortly after Diana goes on tour. If you upload a video to YouTube, please be sure to tag it with Diana's name or the words Outlander or Exile so I can find it on a simple search and link it to Diana's YT channel.

Someone sent me a link today to a video that despite being properly tagged has been up for several weeks but did not show up in my daily search. In order to keep the channel fresh and interesting, I need to know about every new video. Sometimes even if a vid had the proper tags it gets lost in the YT shuffle. Videos with Diana's name in the title get seen 100% of the time. If a video is properly tagged, I should be able to find it, but things do slip through the cracks.

If you or someone you know has uploaded a video and you don't see it in the favorites playlist on the right side of the screen on Diana's YT channel, please send me a note so I can get it linked into the channel.

Thanks for your help!

The thread on Compuserve is here, if you want to contact Nikki directly. If you are not a Compuserve member and you need to let Nikki know about a video that's tagged improperly, please post the link to the video here and let me know, and I'll be happy to pass it on to her.

Meanwhile, please keep the videos coming! Did any of you who were at ComicCon get anything interesting on video that you'd like to share with the rest of us?

And speaking of ComicCon, and YouTube, apparently one of the videos in which the MyOutlanderPurgatory lasses discuss THE EXILE was shown during Diana's talk on Friday at ComicCon. Congratulations to Carol and Tracey! (I'm not positive which video it was; if somebody can let me know, I'll put the link to it here. Thanks.)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A little entertainment

I hope all of you who went to ComicCon yesterday in New York had a wonderful time seeing Diana. Sounds like the dinner for 45 Compuserve forum members and friends was a big success -- apparently both Diana and her husband Doug were there as well? -- and I can't wait to hear all about it.

Here's a little entertainment with a Scottish theme to start off your weekend. Enjoy!

Monday, October 4, 2010

If you live outside the U.S.

Diana Gabaldon's latest blog post explains why the various special offers that Random House has been running lately (the free OUTLANDER book giveaway, and the free Kindle edition of OUTLANDER) are not available to readers outside the U.S., and why THE EXILE hasn't been published in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Germany.

I would really encourage you to go and read what Diana has to say. Please pass the word to anyone you know outside the U.S. who might be interested.

If you have any questions about this, don't ask me -- I really don't know anything at all about international publication of Diana's books! Post your question on Diana's blog, or in the thread on Compuserve here. Thanks.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Facebook group: Cast UK actress as Claire!

I just noticed that someone has started a Facebook group, Cast UK Actress as Claire Fraser, presumably in reaction to the recent rumors about American actress Katherine Heigl being considered for the role of Claire in the OUTLANDER movie.

"Description: We believe the part of Claire Fraser in the forthcoming film of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander should be played be a UK actress."

(Yes, I joined this group. Even if ultimately it makes no difference.)

Please feel free to pass this along to anyone you know on Facebook who might be interested.

Oh, and speaking of Facebook, I saw the new movie, "The Social Network", today, and I really enjoyed it. I would highly recommend it to Facebook members, but it's also very enjoyable for people who don't participate in social-networking sites at all. (Or so says my brother, who wouldn't be caught dead on FB, Twitter, or similar sites, but emailed me last night with an enthusiastic recommendation after seeing this movie.)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

OUTLANDER on Kindle....FREE!

Diana Gabaldon's latest blog post mentions a special offer that Random House is running in honor of the 20th anniversary of OUTLANDER's publication.

The Kindle edition of OUTLANDER is now available on absolutely free!

I'm not sure how long this offer will last. If anybody knows for sure, please let me know and I'll update this post with that information.

This Kindle edition comes with "bonus content", which includes a reader's guide suitable for book-club discussions, and possibly other items as well. If you've seen this bonus material, please post here and let us know what it is, and whether you think it's worth reading.

I don't have a Kindle myself, but I just wanted to pass along the information in case you're interested. It sounds like a great opportunity for Kindle owners!

UPDATE 10/4/2010 6:26 am: Unfortunately, the Kindle offer is only valid in the U.S. But there is a similar free offer for OUTLANDER on the Sony e-reader.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Katherine Heigl as a possible Claire?

Some of you may have seen the NY Times article where Katherine Heigl is mentioned as a possible candidate to play Claire in an OUTLANDER movie.
If all goes well, Ms. Heigl will then turn toward sharply dramatic work, starring as a Scottish heroine in an adaptation of "Outlander", the novel by Diana Gabaldon. “Scotland? 2012? What do you think?” she said.
This news broke last night and has, quite understandably, caused an uproar among OUTLANDER fans online. (You can see my own initial reaction here.)

UPDATE 10/2/2010 8:31 am: Diana has posted her reaction on her blog. Her initial comments have been deleted from Compuserve -- and before you ask, no, I didn't do it, she did. Look here for the explanation in Diana's own words.

I won't attempt to repeat most of what she said here. Go read it for yourselves! But I will say this:
  • I suppose we can discount the "Scottish heroine" reference above as sheer ignorance on the part of the person who wrote that NY Times article. <shrug>
  • OK, so Heigl's mom is a huge fan of the series, and Heigl herself is also a fan. That doesn't mean she is the best choice to play Claire. (In my opinion, of course.)
  • On the question of an American actress playing Claire, Diana said, "They assured me that Claire _is_ English and stays English." (I'm personally relieved to hear that, but still very skeptical that Heigl can pull it off.)

  • For those of you who doubted what I said the other day about Diana's opinion of Allan Scott-Douglas, look at item #6 in Diana's post. [UPDATE 10/2/2010 8:31 am: This part of Diana's post has since been deleted. Let's just say she had some positive things to say about him, and leave it at that.]
Opinions? What do you all think of this latest development, and/or Diana's comments?

Poll results, and more

September Poll Results

Here are the results of the September poll:

What do you think about "OUTLANDER: The Musical"?
  • 20.48% - I like some of the songs, but not all of them.
  • 13.81% - I love it! I've listened to the CD more than once.
  • 13.33% - It's a silly idea. Jamie can't sing!
  • 9.52% - I'm not interested in musicals.
  • 9.05% - I like what I've heard so far, but I don't want (or can't afford) the CD.
  • 9.05% - I want to see it made into a full-length musical.
  • 8.57% - I've ordered the CD or plan to do so soon.
  • 5.71% - What's that? Never heard of it.
  • 4.29% - I'd like to order the CD, but I don't have a PayPal account.
  • 3.33% - I don't like any of the songs.
  • 2.86% - Other
There were 210 votes in this month's poll.

I didn't vote in it myself, but I would have gone with the second group myself. I still listen to the CD frequently, both at home and in the car, and I'm enjoying it quite a lot.

If you were one of the people who said they wanted to order the CD but didn't have a PayPal account, please note that "OUTLANDER: The Musical" is now available on (It says "temporarily out of stock", but they can take orders, and my understanding is that the stock has been sent to Amazon, so it's just a matter of time before they'll have the CDs available there, too.)

I think the results of this poll are very interesting. Thanks so much to everyone who participated!

The October poll is a reprise of one that I did in March, 2009, all about the audiobooks. Please take a moment to vote.

Katherine Heigl as Claire?!?

And now I'd like to address a rumor that surfaced online yesterday as a result of a New York Times article on actress Katherine Heigl:
If all goes well, Ms. Heigl will then turn toward sharply dramatic work, starring as a Scottish heroine in an adaptation of "Outlander", the novel by Diana Gabaldon. “Scotland? 2012? What do you think?” she said.
What do I think? As I said on Compuserve this morning, I really, really, REALLY hope this is just a rumor and not a done deal! An American Claire would be SO wrong, on so many levels. I have insisted for a long time that I don't want to hear ANY American accents in an OUTLANDER movie, period.

And as for "starring as a Scottish heroine" -- I really hope that was just ignorance on the part of the person who wrote this NYT article, because I would much rather see this movie NOT get made at all, than turn Claire into a "Scottish heroine".

Judging from Diana's comments on Twitter last night ("Nope. Hadn't seen that! #blinking" and "No! Are you sure about that?"), she seemed just as surprised as we are to hear about this. Maybe it's just wishful thinking on Heigl's part. I certainly hope so! I am hoping that Diana will respond to it on Compuserve when she gets a chance -- she's in the middle of her book-tour for THE EXILE, and has very little free time -- just to keep the rumor mill from blowing this completely out of proportion.

Don't anybody panic, that's all I'm saying. Unless and until we have confirmation from Diana that Katherine Heigl has indeed been cast as Claire, this is all just speculation!

UPDATE 10/1/2010 12:42 pm: Diana has now posted her reaction on her blog. Very interesting comments, and I would urge you to take a look at them!