Monday, February 28, 2011

Do you speak Scots?

Check out this very interesting site about people who speak Scots.  (Many thanks to Carol at My Outlander Purgatory for the link!)

I haven't had time to explore much of it yet, but I like listening to all the various Scots accents from different parts of the country.  I have to admit, most of my exposure to Scottish speakers has been from listening to Davina Porter's recordings of the OUTLANDER audiobooks.  And I really don't know anything at all about Scots expressions (spoken or written) except what I've read in Diana Gabaldon's books.

For what it's worth, Diana has said that the answer to the question, "Is Scots a separate language, or a dialect?" depends on who you talk to. <g>  From the FAQ on her web site:
Scots is (more or less) English, but has quite a number of specific words and idioms not found in standard English, and also has its own peculiarly idiosyncratic sentence structures, which you notice if you start paying close attention.
If any of you are from Scotland, I'd be interested to know what you think -- both about the site I linked to above, and about the fact that the next Scottish census will apparently be counting Scots-speakers.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Diana's latest blog post

Check out Diana Gabaldon's latest blog entry, Language, Language....(Part I), on the subject of why there's so much "bad language" (particularly the use of the F word and the characters taking the Lord's name in vain) in her books.  Even if you've never been bothered by the use of such language in the OUTLANDER or Lord John books, Diana's thoughts on the subject are worth reading.

I thought this observation from Diana's blog post was particularly interesting:
A writer dealing with historical settings has a lot of things to consider, and one of these is how much “historical” language or figures of speech to use, and how to portray historical characters in such a way that they seem realistic and empathetic to a modern audience, but still belong plainly to their own time.

Well, one of the ways in which you do this is to use figures of speech that are extremely common, and likely always have been, as well as those particular to a specific age. And calling upon the name of the Almighty in moments of strong emotion and/or casual conversation has probably been part of human speech since people discovered the concept of a deity.
I'm not sure I would have been able to relate to Jamie as well if he didn't occasionally use such language. <g>  (An ex-soldier who never curses, even when provoked?  That just doesn't seem realistic to me.)  It's part of Jamie's character and personality, every bit as much as Claire's use of the F-word and "Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ" is part of hers.  And that's made clear fairly early on in OUTLANDER, when he describes how the monks at the Abbey attempted to break him of the habit of taking the Lord's name in vain.  So when he says, "Holy God", on their wedding night, I always have to smile -- because I see this as Jamie's natural personality coming through. <g>.

At the same time, I think it's perfectly natural and believable that Brianna, with her Catholic-school upbringing, doesn't use such language.  And that Roger consciously struggles not to, after he's decided he wants to be a minister.  The language they use is a reflection of their personalities, backgrounds, upbringing, life experiences, etc. -- just as the same is true for all of us who read these books.  Consider the following exchange between Roger and Bree in ABOSAA:
"Can ye not say 'whore', then?" he asked, amused. She felt the blood rise in her cheeks, and was pleased that it was dark; he teased her more when she blushed.

"I can't help it that I went to a Catholic school," she said, defensive. "Early conditioning." It was true; she couldn't say certain words, save when in the grip of fury or when mentally prepared. "Why can you, though? You'd think a preacher's lad would have the same problem."

He laughed, a little wryly.

"Not precisely the same problem.  It was more a matter of feeling obliged to curse and carry on in front of my friends, to prove I could."
(ABOSAA chapter 6, "Ambush", p. 40 in the hardcover)
I guess what I'm saying is, you can't separate the character from the language that character uses.  Claire would be a different person without her occasional use of phrases like "bloody fncking hell" and "Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ".  To me, it's part of what makes her a unique individual.  And it's part of what makes her seem real.  I can't imagine my grandmother (born six years before Claire, in 1912), ever using such language, under any circumstances -- but then, Claire has had any number of experiences that my grandma never dreamed of. <understatement!> 

Finally, I've always thought it was interesting that Diana herself doesn't use this sort of language, but she has no hesitation about letting her characters do so, when it's appropriate.

What about the rest of you?  Are you bothered by the amount of cursing and bad language in the books?  Does it make you hesitate to recommend the books to other people?  I would be interested in hearing what you think. 

If you want to address your comments directly to Diana, you can post on her blog, or in the thread on Compuserve, here.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A little Stonehenge humor

I just saw this link on Facebook (thanks, Claire!) and I couldn't resist passing it along.

Ikea Stonehenge infographic

I thought it was hilarious.  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Traditional Scottish kilt and weaponry

Check out this video, which demonstrates how to put on a traditional Scottish kilt (the type known as a "great kilt", or "belted plaid").  It looks very much as described in Diana Gabaldon's books.  "Undignified" being a good word to describe the process of getting into one. <g>

There's also some demonstration in this video of traditional Scottish weaponry: sword, targe, and Lochaber axe.  Very entertaining! 

Thanks very much to Sini on Compuserve for the link! If you're fascinated, as I am, by what things mentioned in the OUTLANDER books really look like, you'll enjoy this video.

UPDATE 2/27/2010 8:58 am:  Here is another demonstration of how to put on a kilt, courtesy of Arlen, a Scot who recently started posting on Compuserve.  This video is definitely worth watching!

There's more discussion of traditional kilt-wearing on Compuserve here if you're interested.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

OUTLANDER Tours of Scotland

I saw the following link on Compuserve today (thanks, Sini!) and wanted to pass it along.

Highland Experience USA is offering an OUTLANDER-themed tour of Scotland.  Details here.  They are billing this as an "Outlandish Adventures" tour. Sounds like fun! 

I know of several other sites that offer tours of Scotland geared toward fans of Diana Gabaldon's books.  In addition to the one mentioned above, check out these other tour sites:

Clans & Castles Outlander Tour

Jamie and Claire Tour of Scotland

Celtic Journeys

Have any of you been on one of these OUTLANDER-themed tours?  If so, please post here and tell us about it.  Any tips for first-time visitors to Scotland would be appreciated!

Here's an article from 2008 about a group that went on the Celtic Journeys tour.  And check out the Outlandish Spirits blog, by Samantha MacKenzie, who runs the Jamie and Claire Tour along with her husband, Scot.

And no, I've never been to Scotland myself.  Still hoping to visit there some day!

UPDATE 3/11/2011 7:15 am:  Diana has posted some information about these OUTLANDER-based tours on her new web site.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I bought an e-reader!

I have always loved electronic gadgets of all sorts.  I can't do without my iPod or my GPS, and I have always enjoyed helping other people pick out their own electronic stuff (as when I helped my sister shop for a netbook last year).  But I had been restraining my natural gadget-buying impulses while I was job-hunting, for obvious reasons.  Meanwhile the e-book reading phenomenon has been growing and growing and growing....and I've been watching from the sidelines, waiting for the right moment to jump in.

Well, I woke up on Saturday morning with a very strong desire to go gadget-shopping. <g>  I've wanted an e-reader for a long time, and when I heard about the new Nook Color offered by Barnes & Noble, it sounded like just the sort of thing I've been looking for.  (Here's a review from PC Magazine, if you're interested.)

  • The Nook Color is primarily intended as an e-reader, so the functions are designed and optimized for reading books.
  • It comes with a fully functional web browser (hence the advantage of the color screen), so I can check email, read messages on Compuserve, or whatever, and then switch right back to the book I was reading, without losing my place.  It's a bit awkward and slow to type with the touch-screen keypad, but I'm sure I'll get used to that pretty quickly.
  • It's small (about 8"x5", with a 7" screen) and lightweight, comfortable to hold in one hand, easy to read in bed or lying on the couch.
  • Unlike the Kindle, I can use it to download e-books from the library for free.  (I ended up actually buying the Nook at my local B&N, and when I paid for it, the salesperson handed me an information sheet with instructions on how to connect to the county library's web site to download books.)
So far I'm really happy with it, and having a lot of fun playing around with the various functions.  The Nook Color connects to the Internet through Wifi, and I had no trouble connecting it to the wireless network from home.  (I had upgraded my router a few weeks ago in anticipation of just such a purchase, though at the time I didn't know if I wanted a laptop, netbook, e-reader, or tablet.)  There are supposed to be extra features available if you actually bring your Nook to a Barnes & Noble store, but I haven't had a chance to try that yet.

Anyway, I'm very excited about my first foray into the world of e-readers! This is, as you may have guessed, my way of celebrating the new job I started two weeks ago. <vbg>

I'm glad I held out this long, actually, because the Nook Color is a new model that only came out this past fall.  As the PC Magazine review says:
More than an ebook reader, less than a full-blown tablet, the Nook Color's artful compromises make for a compelling, color reading experience that is ideal for both books and magazines.
It has most of the functionality of an iPad, for half the cost, and I'm sure I'll get a lot of use out of it.

There's more about the Nook Color on the B&N web site here.  If any of you have e-readers, I would be interested to hear what you think of them!  And if you have a Nook Color or know someone who does, I would really appreciate any tips on using it.

(No, I haven't yet downloaded any of the OUTLANDER books. <g>  But I'll probably do that today.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Scottish deerhound wins at Westminster Dog Show

As some of you may have heard, a Scottish deerhound named Hickory (pictured above) won Best in Show at the 2011 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York earlier this week.

I'm not much of a "dog person", but I couldn't help noticing this particular bit of news, because deerhounds are mentioned in OUTLANDER.
"And this," he laid an affectionate hand on the enormous black head, which slobbered in appreciation, "is Bran."

"I'll take your word for it," I said, cautiously extending a knuckle to be sniffed.  "What is he?"

"A staghound." He scratched the pricked ears, quoting
"Thus Fingal chose his hounds
Eye like sloe, ear like leaf,
Chest like horse, hough like sickle
And the tail joint far from the head."
"If those are the qualifications, then you're right," I said, inspecting Bran. "If his tail joint were any further from his head, you could ride him."

(From Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 26 ("The Laird's Return"). Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Here's an article about deerhounds.  "Gentle and very friendly....good around the kids."  Yeah, that seems right, based on the way Jamie describes them. <g>

Here's the Wikipedia article about Scottish deerhounds.  They're beautiful dogs, but much too large for my taste!

Monday, February 14, 2011

OUTLANDER Virtual Book Tour starts today!

The Outlander Virtual Book Tour (sponsored by Pump Up Your Book) starts today, February 14.

Here is the schedule and list of participating sites:

Monday, February 14
Book spotlighted at Book Tours and More
Tuesday, February 15
Book spotlighted at The Book Connection
Wednesday, February 16
Book spotlighted at The Writer’s Life
Thursday, February 17
Book spotlighted at Teresa’s Reading Corner
Friday, February 18
Book spotlighted at Broowaha
Monday, February 21
Book spotlighted at American Chronicle
Tuesday, February 22
Book spotlighted at Paperback Writer
Wednesday, February 23
Book spotlighted at The Hot Author Report
Thursday, February 24
Book spotlighted at Slice of Life
Friday, February 25
Book reviewed at 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
Tuesday, March 1
Book reviewed at Review from Here
Wednesday, March 2
Book reviewed at Mandy’s Escape
Thursday, March 3
Book spotlight and giveaway at Smexy Books
Friday, March 4
Book reviewed at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
Monday, March 7
Book reviewed at Must Read Faster
Tuesday, March 8
Book reviewed at Books, Bags & Bon Jovi
Book reviewed at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Wednesday, March 9
Book reviewed at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, March 10
Book spotlighted at Outlandish Dreaming
Friday, March 11
Book reviewed and giveaway at A Cozy Reader’s Corner Reviews

Diana has stated on Compuserve that she will not be participating in the virtual tour.  But it sounds like a good way to draw attention to OUTLANDER in its 20th anniversary year.  Please take a moment to drop by these sites over the next few weeks, and leave a comment if you want to.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Some thoughts for Valentine's Day

Jo Bourne had an interesting post on her Historical Romance blog yesterday on the subject of why the hero loves the heroine in a romance novel, and I thought it was worth sharing.  Although Diana Gabaldon doesn't write romance novels, many of the points Jo Bourne makes in her post apply extremely well to the OUTLANDER books, and to Jamie and Claire's relationship in particular.

Why does the hero love the heroine?

1) Because of her strengths.

Jamie loves Claire for all her strengths, even when he's occasionally annoyed, angered, or inconvenienced by them.  I think he appreciates her medical skill and knowledge far more than Frank ever did, for one thing.

One of my favorite scenes in ABOSAA is the one where Jamie enumerates Claire's "womanly virtues".
"Ye're proud as Lucifer," he said, interrupting.  He was still smiling, but the words were more serious.  "And ye're brave.  Ye were always bolder than was safe; now ye're fierce as a wee badger."
"D'ye want to know what it is, really?" he asked, and I could see from the dark blue of his eyes that he meant it.  I nodded, mute.

"Above all creatures on this earth," he whispered, "you are faithful."

(From A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 20 ("Dangerous Gifts"). Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
2) Because of her weaknesses.

Jamie is a born leader who needs people to protect and care for.  As a Sassenach and a time-traveler, Claire's unfamiliarity with the customs and culture of the 18th century -- not to mention her tendency to speak and/or act impulsively! -- often gets her into trouble, and she ends up needing Jamie's help to get out of various dangerous or awkward situations.

I've always thought it was sweet that the very things that Claire seems to dislike the most about her own body (her wild, unruly hair and her "generous" bottom) are precisely the same things that Jamie seems to appreciate the most. <g>

3) Because she has something he needs.

I love the scene just after Jamie returns from visiting Laoghaire in ECHO:
"Have ye ever been in the slightest doubt that I need ye?” he demanded.

It took roughly half a second of thought to answer this.

“No,” I replied promptly. “To the best of my knowledge, you needed me urgently the moment I saw you. And I haven’t had reason to think you’ve got any more self-sufficient since."

(From An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 79 ("The Cave"). Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
That makes me laugh every time I read it, because it's so true.

4) Because together they do what neither can do alone.  The two are greater than the sum of their parts.

This is certainly true of Jamie and Claire.  I love watching them as a team, attuned to one another's slightest movements -- for example, in the scene in ABOSAA when they team up to defend the Big House from Richard Brown and his men.

And on a deeper level, Jamie and Claire both complement and complete one another.
"You are my courage, as I am your conscience," he whispered.  "You are my heart--and I your compassion.  We are neither of us whole, alone.  Do you not know that, Sassenach?"

"I do know that," I said, and my voice shook.  "That's why I'm so afraid.  I don't want to be half a person again, I can't bear it."

(From Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 16 ("The First Law of Thermodynamics"). Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
At one point in ABOSAA, someone (Lizzie?) refers to the Beardsley twins as "one soul in twa bodies", or words to that effect.  I have always thought of Jamie and Claire like that.  One soul, two bodies, joined so deeply that not even death itself can separate them.

5) Because it is natural for him to love.

Here's one of my favorite Jamie-quotes of the whole series:
"To have ye with me again--to talk wi' you--to know I can say anything, not guard my words or hide my thoughts--God, Sassenach," he said, "the Lord knows I am lust-crazed as a lad, and I canna keep my hands from you--or anything else--" he added, wryly, "but I would count all that well lost, had I no more than the pleasure of havin' ye by me, and to tell ye all my heart."

(From Voyager by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 27 ("Up in Flames"). Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Jo concludes, "These are the same reasons the heroine loves the hero."

I couldn't have put that better myself.  (Oh, and do take the time to read Jo's original post.  It's worth reading at least as much for the pictures, which are terrific, as for her comments about heroes and heroines.)

Wishing all of you a very happy Valentine's Day tomorrow!

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Plague of Zombies" coming in October!

Diana Gabaldon's upcoming Lord John story, a novella titled "Lord John and the Plague of Zombies", finally has an official publication date!

According to George R.R. Martin's blog, the DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS anthology containing "Plague of Zombies" will be published in October, 2011.  (No, I don't know the exact date.  I'll post here when I find out.)

Here is the table of contents, courtesy of George R.R. Martin's blog:

- "The Bastard Stepchild" (introduction), by George R.R. Martin
- "Death by Dahlia," by Charlaine Harris
- "The Bleeding Shadow," by Joe R. Lansdale
- "Hungry Heart," by Simon R. Green
- "Styx and Stones," by Steven Saylor
- "Pain and Suffering," by S.M. Stirling
- "It's Still the Same Old Story," by Carrie Vaughn
- "The Lady Is a Screamer," by Conn Iggulden
- "Hellbender,"by Laurie R. King
- "Shadow Thieves," by Glen Cook
- "No Mystery, No Miracle," by Melinda Snodgrass
- "The Difference Between a Puzzle and a Mystery," by M.L.N. Hanover
- "The Curious Affair of the Deodand," by Lisa Tuttle
- "Lord John and the Plague of Zombies," by Diana Gabaldon
- "Beware the Snake," by John Maddox Roberts
- "In Red, With Pearls," by Patricia Briggs
- "The Adakian Eagle," by Bradley Denton

For more information about "Zombies", look here.  There are excerpts on Compuserve here, if you're interested.

As soon as I see that DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS is available for pre-order on Amazon, I'll post the link here.

It looks like this is going to be a busy fall, with "Zombies" and hopefully also LORD JOHN AND THE SCOTTISH PRISONER to look forward to!

Please spread the word to anyone else who may be interested.  Thanks!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Book Review: INTO THE WILDERNESS by Sara Donati


I've heard many OUTLANDER fans talk about Sara Donati's novel, INTO THE WILDERNESS, and finally decided to read it for myself.  The book tells the story of a twenty-nine-year-old Englishwoman, Elizabeth Middleton, who travels to a remote area of New York State in 1792, to take up residence there with her father and brother.  She soon meets and falls in love with Nathaniel Bonner, a white man who was raised by Native Americans.  The novel follows the adventures of Elizabeth and Nathaniel, as they elope, flee together into the Mohawk lands, and try to stay one step ahead of Nathaniel's arch-rival, Richard Todd.

I liked the main characters, for the most part.  Elizabeth is nearly as outspoken and stubborn as Claire is, but she is at times far too modern in her attitudes.  I never got the impression that she thought like someone born and raised in the 18th century.  And her attitude toward both the Indians and the black people she encounters seems far too late-20th-century-P.C. for my taste.

Nathaniel seems more of a typical romance-novel hero, tall and strong and handsome, but without the flaws and weaknesses that make Jamie Fraser such an intriguing character.  I liked him, but he seemed a little too perfect.

I liked the descriptions of life among the Kahn'yen'kehaka.  If you like the parts of DRUMS OF AUTUMN that deal with Native American culture and customs, you'll enjoy these details in INTO THE WILDERNESS, too.

I thought the descriptions of nature and the wilderness through which they traveled were well done, but it was hard to keep my attention on the story past the halfway point of this book.  I admit I read the second half much too fast.  It reads more like a series of vignettes than a coherent story that pulls the reader along.  Elizabeth and Nathaniel have a number of adventures, both separately and together, but I never really felt drawn into their lives on an emotional level, the way that I do when reading Diana Gabaldon's books.  This made it difficult to empathize with the characters or care about what happens to them.

I noticed that one of the Amazon reviewers commented on the lack of humor in this book, and that's true, for the most part.  Elizabeth is a pretty humorless character, although Nathaniel teases her now and then.

And with rare exceptions, like the Scottish character, Robbie, most of the characters sound exactly alike.  Even the Native Americans speak perfectly fluent, grammatical English, which seems unrealistic.  Also, there are a great many characters in this book, and it's nearly impossible to keep them all straight (though the list of characters at the beginning of the book does help with that).

For those of you who are wondering:  yes, this is indeed the book that mentions Jamie, Claire, and Young Ian as though they were real historical figures. It's only a brief reference (p. 320 trade paperback edition) but I was pretty entertained by it.  Here's Nathaniel, describing his encounter with Claire (known as "The White Witch") and Ian at Saratoga in 1777:
"No, a white woman, and English by the sound of her.  Ian fetched her, and then it turned out she was his Auntie Claire.  Brought her into camp just when I was thinking we couldn't do much for the boy.  And she hunkers down next to him and listens to his chest and then she forces something down his gullet, and she bundles him up."
Jamie is also mentioned:
"A big red-haired Scot, wounded at Freeman's farm.  I ran into him later again on the Heights, and I was glad of it, too.  I've thought of them many times since that day."
The reference to these characters is very brief and matter-of-fact, and it doesn't have any bearing on the rest of the story.  To me as an OUTLANDER fan, it was both fun to see them mentioned, and more than a little bit jarring.  My understanding is that Diana has said she allowed Sara Donati to "borrow" her characters for this scene (because the author is a personal friend) but that it was a one-time thing, and Diana won't do it again.

As Diana commented in 2009 on Compuserve:
Well, to be precise, she asked me about the two-paragraph bit in which she refers to Jamie, Claire, and Young Ian as though they were real historical characters (she doesn't "use" them _as_ characters in her book), and I said sure, I thought that would be funny; let's see if anybody notices. <rolling eyes>
There is a lot more discussion of INTO THE WILDERNESS, Sara Donati's books, and the connection to Diana Gabaldon, on Compuserve here, if you're interested.)

I admit to being rather disappointed in this book.  I've long been a fan of Big Fat Historical Novels, but this one wasn't as engaging as I'd hoped it would be.

If you've read INTO THE WILDERNESS or any of Sara Donati's other books, feel free to post your reactions here (whether positive or negative).

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My new job!

I have a new job!!

I have accepted an offer from a small non-profit organization (about 115 employees) that provides credit counseling and debt management services for consumers.  The job title is Data Analyst, which basically means they need someone with strong database and analytical skills, to help with analyzing and reporting on their data.  It's a very close fit with my skills and experience.

This is a permanent, salaried position.  The pay is exactly what I wanted, and the benefits are excellent, on a par with what I had at my last job, but much less expensive. 

The location is good, about 15-20 minutes from my house.  I'll have my own office, which seems like quite a luxury after almost a decade working in a cubicle.  I've never worked for a smaller company before, having spent my whole career until now working for big corporations.  I'm hoping it will be a less stressful environment than my last job, but we'll see how it goes.

Anyway, I am tremendously excited, as you can imagine!  I keep having to pinch myself to see if this is really happening.  But it is -- I have the offer letter in writing -- and I start first thing on Monday. 

I'm delighted to have found a position that meets all the criteria I was looking for.  Wish me luck as I start this new phase of my career!

I will probably be blogging and hanging out on Compuserve somewhat less in the coming weeks, as I get up to speed in the new position, but I promise to continue posting any OUTLANDER-related news here on my blog as soon as I hear about it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

OUTLANDER Virtual Book Tour 2/14-3/11

I just saw this announcement on the OUTLANDER Book Club site and wanted to pass it along:

The Pump Up Your Book site is sponsoring an "Outlander Virtual Book Tour" from February 14 - March 11.

Details here.  (Scroll down to where it says "Outlander Virtual Book Tour Schedule" for a list of participating sites.)  I'm not quite sure what a "virtual" book-tour involves, nor whether Diana will be actively participating in this or not.  But it sounds like a great way to spread the word about the books, don't you think?

UPDATE 2/18/2011 6:15 pm: I asked on Compuserve, and Diana says she's not going to be involved in this. Apparently no one told her about it or asked her if she wanted to participate. Too bad.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January poll results

Here are the results of the January poll. What is your favorite opening line from the OUTLANDER books?
  • 35.8% - "It wasn't a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance." (OUTLANDER)
  • 26.7% - "He was dead." (VOYAGER)
  • 22.1% - "I woke to the patter of rain on canvas, with the feel of my first husband's kiss on my lips." (THE FIERY CROSS)
  • 7.0% - "I heard the drums long before they came in sight." (DRUMS OF AUTUMN)
  • 3.2% - "Roger Wakefield stood in the center of the room, feeling surrounded." (DRAGONFLY IN AMBER)
  • 2.5% - "The dog sensed them first." (A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES)
  • 2.1% - "The pirate's head had disappeared." (AN ECHO IN THE BONE)
  • 0.7% - Other
There were 285 responses to this poll. Thanks VERY much to everyone who responded, especially those of you who had to re-cast your votes due to the technical difficulties last week. I'm very gratified by the results!

I didn't vote in the poll myself, but my favorite opening line is the one from VOYAGER.  "He was dead."  Intriguing, paradoxical (if he's dead, how can he be telling the story?), and at the same time, a heartbreaking reminder of the end of DRAGONFLY.

The February poll is all about your reactions to "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows".  Please take a moment to vote and let me know what you thought of the story.  And if you haven't read it yet, I would really encourage you to do so.