Thursday, March 31, 2011

An announcement for German readers

Check out the new German version of Diana Gabaldon's official web site.

I don't speak or read German, but I wanted to pass this along for anyone who may be interested.  From Diana's announcement on her blog:
Thanks to Jeremy Tolbert for the design, and to Barbara Schnell, who is the German translator for the Outlander novels, for not only translating the relevant information from this site, but adding a lot of special bits, such as the many photographs she’s taken of German book-tours, fans, and readings.

You can see the pictures by clicking on the link that says "Diana" on the main page of the German site.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Authors' reactions to comments from readers

Some of you may have seen the firestorm that erupted this week on Twitter and elsewhere, when a self-published author named Jacqueline Howett took offense* at a review criticizing her book.  I just found out about this yesterday, via a post on All the World's Our Page (thanks, Kristen!)

* Well, no.  "Took offense" is far too mild a term.  "Started acting like a thirteen-year-old" is more like it.  Telling people who criticize your published writing to "f-ck off" doesn't sound like the response of a mature adult, let alone a (would-be) professional writer, does it? <rolling eyes>  But don't take my word for it.  Read the comments on that blog post and see for yourself.

I couldn't help but contrast Jacqueline Howett's reaction with the way that Diana Gabaldon responds to her readers, particularly on Compuserve.  For the most part, she's polite, tactful, and incredibly patient when responding to questions -- especially when you consider that she's answered most of them hundreds if not thousands of times before.  Diana genuinely enjoys talking to her readers and fans, and if you ask a serious question that shows you've at least read the books and given them some thought, she'll give you a serious, and sometimes very detailed, response.

Those insightful replies from Diana are one of the best things about the Compuserve forum, in my -- admittedly biased -- opinion.  I just love it when she takes the time to give a comprehensive answer to some question, like this explanation of the scene in the stable between Lord John and Jamie in BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE.

Yes, it's true that Diana occasionally responds with a "<rolling eyes>", when she's tired or frustrated (she's only human, after all), when she sees some particularly outrageous speculation, or when someone asks for the thousandth time if Jamie will ever time-travel (the answer to that is a definite NO).  But as she commented once on Compuserve, "I seldom roll my eyes with lethal intent."  Diana has a tremendous amount of respect for her readers, and I think she values our opinions a great deal, even if she doesn't let those opinions influence her writing.

As for her reactions to negative reviews:  Diana has said that she avoids reading the Amazon reviews.  As she commented last September on Compuserve, shortly after THE EXILE came out (to decidedly mixed reviews):
Like books themselves, some reviews will be valuable to some readers and not at all to others--and whether one has such value depends as much on the reader as on the reviewer.

Now, personally, Amazon reviews don't usually offer me much.   I do, after all, probably know more about the book than the reviewer does <g>, and I also by this time know a lot about book-buying audiences.   I have a pretty good idea how things will be received--and if by chance I didn't, I'd hear about it pretty dang quick, believe me. <g>

Ergo, I don't read the Amazon reviews.   Too much time (of which I have way too little anyway) and mental distraction for no appreciable return.  But that's me, and me only.

I'd never say anyone isn't entitled to an opinion or shouldn't state it wherever they like.
Diana has a standard response for people who write to her saying that they didn't like one of her books, for whatever reason.  She refers to this (and I'm not quite sure if she's joking or not) as "Form Letter #13":
Not all books are for all people.  I hope you enjoy whatever you read next.  Yours truly.....
I think that's a very professional response.  Polite, respectful, and very much in keeping with Diana's public image.  I think the unfortunate Jacqueline Howett could take some lessons from that approach.  (Not that it matters, because after what happened this past week, I can't imagine that anyone will ever buy her books.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Outlandish Adventures tour updates

Here's an update from David McNicoll, who runs Highland Experience USA's Outlandish Adventures tours of Scotland:
"There has been some positive response to the new tour, which has been encouraging. I have decided to schedule a monthly departure that any individual or small group can sign up to (as well as running the trip for groups at any time of the year). This is a departure from the other packages out there.

The dates would be June 18th, July 2nd, August 20th and September 10th."
I hope this information is useful to some of you.  Please pass it on to anyone else you know who might be interested in an OUTLANDER-themed tour of Scotland.

Also, David has offered to write a follow-up article to the piece he posted on my blog a few weeks ago.  The new article will cover the events of the '45.  I hope to be able to post it in mid-April, to coincide with the anniversary of Culloden.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Diana Gabaldon posted a picture of the UK cover art for LORD JOHN AND THE SCOTTISH PRISONER on Compuserve this morning.  The picture is here if you're interested.

I like this cover.  Very nice, and tastefully done. <g>

You can pre-order SCOTTISH PRISONER from here.  Release date for the hardcover says 10 November 2011.  (Thanks to Catherine on Compuserve for letting me know about this.)

Still no word on the U.S. cover art, but I'll post here as soon as I hear anything about that.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Thanks to a reader of my blog, Diana from Holland, here's the first cover art I've seen for LORD JOHN AND THE SCOTTISH PRISONER, in any language.  This is the Dutch edition, called LORD JOHN EN DE SCHOTSE GEVANGENE.

I like this cover art very much. Very striking! <g>  If you click on the picture and scroll down to where it says "SPECIFICATIES", you'll see that it says the Dutch edition of the book is due out on 9/29 and the length is listed as 512 pages.  Before anybody gets too excited, let me offer a word of caution here:  Considering that Diana is still not finished writing the book, and probably won't be done for several more months, there's no way that page count can possibly be accurate.  And publication dates are also subject to change.

Still, it's a good sign.  If the book is available for pre-order in the Netherlands, maybe the U.S. cover and release date will be announced soon.  I hope so, anyway, and I'll certainly let you know as soon as I hear anything further about that!

UPDATE 3/25/2011:  Diana Gabaldon likes this cover, too.  Her reaction on Compuserve is here if you're interested.

Thursday Thirteen: Things I like about Lord John

Thursday 13 Books

Thirteen Things I Like about Lord John Grey:

1) His use of language.  I'm in total agreement with Bree when she says, "I really like the way you talk."  Lord John's vocabulary often makes me laugh, as in this bit from his first appearance in DRAGONFLY:
"Whereas you, sir, are a conscienceless outlaw, with a reputation for thievery and violence!  Your face and description are on broadsheets throughout Hampshire and Sussex!  I recognized you at once; you're a rebel and an unprincipled voluptuary!" the boy burst out hotly, his face stained a deeper red even than the firelight.

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 36, "Prestonpans". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

2) His sense of honor.  This is one of the (many) things Lord John and Jamie have in common, and it's one of the things I like best about John's character.  Realizing that Jamie cannot and will not ever reciprocate his feelings, Lord John doesn't press the issue, but instead does everything he can to help Jamie and his family -- including taking Willie to raise as his own son when Jamie could not.

3) His relationship with Brianna.  I love their verbal fencing matches, and I think it's really a shame that we (probably) won't get to see them interacting again.
"Why did you marry Isobel?"

He sighed, but there was no point in evasion.

"In order to take care of William."

The thick red brows nearly touched her hairline.

"So you got married, in spite of--I mean, you turned your whole life upside down, just to take care of Jamie Fraser's illegitimate son?  And neither one of you ever talked about it?"

"No," he said, baffled.  "Of course not."

Slowly, the brows came down again, and she shook her head.

"Men," she said cryptically.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 116, "The Ninth Earl of Ellesmere". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

4) He's comfortable with his homosexuality, and doesn't waste time wishing things could be otherwise.  This is a major difference between Lord John and Percy:
"Do you ever wish that you were...not as you are?"

The question took him by surprise--and yet he was somewhat more surprised to realize that he did not need to think about the answer.

"No," he said.  He hesitated for a moment, but Percy's asking of the question was enough.  "You do?"

(From LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 19, "Pictures at an Exhibition". Copyright© 2007 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
5) His sense of humor.  I really enjoy John's wry observations -- even when they're only his private thoughts.
Christ, was he going to die in public, in a pleasure garden, in the company of a sodomite spy dressed like a rooster?  He could only hope that Tom was nearby, and would remove his body before anybody noticed.

(From "Lord John and the Haunted Soldier", Part 3 ("The Hero's Return"), in LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS by Diana Gabaldon. Copyright© 2007 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

6) His relationship with Tom Byrd.  I think the two of them have great chemistry, and their interactions are often hilarious.  Here's one of my favorites, from "The Custom of the Army":
"Me lord?"

The voice at his elbow nearly made him swallow his tongue.  He turned with an attempt at calmness, ready to reproach Tom for venturing out into the chaos, but before he could summon words, his young valet stooped at his feet, holding something.

"I've brought your breeches, me lord," Tom said, voice trembling.  "Thought you might need 'em, if there was fighting."

"Very thoughtful of you, Tom," he assured his valet, fighting an urge to laugh.

(From "The Custom of the Army", by Diana Gabaldon, p. 245 in the WARRIORS anthology. Copyright© 2010 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
7) He may be physically smaller than average for the time (only about 5'6"), but he is also a career soldier who can be ruthless and violent when it's called for.  (As, for example, when he gouges out Adams' eye at the end of BOTB.)

8) He's fiercely loyal, just as Claire is.  I think this is one reason why Percy's betrayal hurt John so deeply.

9) He's a good friend, in every sense of the word.  He used his influence to have Jamie sent to Helwater rather than transported to the Colonies with the other Ardsmuir men -- an action that quite probably saved Jamie's life -- and continued to offer his friendship and support even years later, when it became clear that he and Jamie were going to be on opposing sides in the Revolution.

10) He's the son of a duke, born into an upper-class life of privilege, but he's not afraid to get his hands dirty (as during Olivia's childbirth scene in BOTB) or to mingle with the lower classes (as when he went to Tyburn to witness Bates' execution).  I think this makes Lord John seem more down-to-earth and easier to relate to than many upper-class English characters you find in historical novels.

11) He's not intimidated by strong-willed females.  I think this comes from a lifetime of experience dealing with his mother, Benedicta, who is a rather formidable woman in her own right.  No surprise to me that Lord John gets along so well with Brianna.  His relationship with Claire is obviously much more complicated, but clearly he's used to being around stubborn, intelligent women who are not afraid to speak their minds.

12) He's evidently been a good father to William.  I love this little glimpse in ECHO of Lord John's life as the father of a teenager:
When William was sixteen, his father had caught him and a friend engrossed in the pages of his friend’s father’s copy of Mr. Harris’s notorious guide to the splendors of London’s women of pleasure. Lord John had raised an eyebrow and flipped slowly through the book, pausing now and then to raise the other eyebrow. He had then closed the book, taken a deep breath, administered a brief lecture on the necessary respect due to the female sex, then told the boys to fetch their hats.

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 36, "The Great Dismal". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
13) As well as we think we know him, Lord John is still very much capable of surprising all of us, as we saw with his encounter(s) with Claire in ECHO.  I won't say more about that here; if you want to see more of my reactions to that incident, look here:

ECHO: Claire and Lord John (Part 1)

ECHO: Claire and Lord John (Part 2)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I see the moon....

In honor of the "supermoon" tonight (the brightest full moon in nearly 20 years!), here are some memorable moon references from Diana Gabaldon's books and stories:

No matter what unfamiliar circumstances Claire finds herself in, the sight of the full moon is comforting in its familiarity.
I found a pleasant private spot between two large boulders and made a comfortable nest for myself from heaped grass and the blanket.  Stretched at length on the ground, I watched the full moon on its slow voyage across the sky.

Just so had I watched the moon rise from the window of Castle Leoch, on my first night as Colum's unwilling guest.  A month, then, since my calamitous passage through the circle of standing stones.

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 11 ("Conversations With A Lawyer"). Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Bree and Jamie, talking about the first moon landing:
"Your mother did tell me once that men meant to fly to the moon," he said abruptly.  "They hadna done it yet, that she knew, but they meant to.  Will ye know about that?"

She nodded, eyes fixed on the rising moon.

"They did.  They will, I mean."  She smiled faintly.  "Apollo, they called it--the rocket ship that took them."

She could see his smile in answer; the moon was high enough to shed its radiance on the clearing.  He tilted his face up, considering.

"Aye?  And what did they say of it, the men who went?"

"They didn't need to say anything--they sent back pictures."

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 42 ("Moonlight"). Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Jerry MacKenzie, in "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows".
He thought he could even smell the moon, a faint green sickle above the horizon; he tasted cheese at the thought, and his mouth watered.

(From "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows" by Diana Gabaldon, p. 459 in the SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH anthology.  Copyright© 2010 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I laughed the first time I read that, because I'm just barely old enough to understand the reference to the old-fashioned, fanciful notion that the moon was "made out of green cheese".

This next quote, from the scene in ABOSAA where Jamie and Roger have gone off in pursuit of Stephen Bonnet, leaving Claire alone with the captain of the boat that brought them to Ocracoke, always makes me laugh.
"Oh.  Well, ma'am--I believe I did hear one o' the young men say as how there was a rondayvooz to occur, at dark o' moon?"

"Yes," I said a little guardedly.  We had told the captain as little as possible, not knowing whether he might have some association with Bonnet.  "The dark of the moon is tomorrow night, isn't it?"

"It is," he agreed.  "But what I mean to say is--when one says 'dark o' moon,' most likely one does mean nighttime, aye?"

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 106 ("Rendezvous"). Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.) 
I can't talk about moon references in the OUTLANDER books without mentioning Fanny Beardsley's story:
"We should go before moonrithe, she said softly.  "She cometh out then."

An icy ripple ran straight up my spine, and Jamie jerked, head snapping round to look at the darkened house.  The fire had gone out, and no one had thought to close the open door; it gaped like an empty eye socket.

"She who?" Jamie asked, a noticeable edge in his voice.

"Mary Ann," Mrs. Beardsley answered.  "She was the latht one."  There was no emphasis whatever in her voice; she sounded like a sleepwalker.

"The last what?" I asked.

"The latht wife," she replied, and picked up her reins.  "She thtands under the rowan tree at moonrithe."

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 29 ("One-Third of a Goat"). Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
This is Jamie, immediately after Malva's accusation in ABOSAA:
He rubbed a hand over his face, wondering what it was about young girls these days.  It was a full moon tonight; perhaps they truly did run lunatic.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 80 ("The World Turned Upside Down"). Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.) 
And finally, here's Claire watching the full moon from the deck of the Artemis:
The moon rose huge and fast and golden, a great glowing disc that slid upward, out of the water and into the sky like a phoenix rising. The water was dark now, and the dolphins invisible, but I thought somehow that they were still there, keeping pace with the ship on her flight through the dark.

It was a scene breathtaking enough even for the sailors, who had seen it a thousand times, to stop and sigh with pleasure at the sight, as the huge orb rose to hang just over the edge of the world, seeming almost near enough to touch. 
(VOYAGER, Chapter 42, "The Man in the Moon")
Hope you enjoy these!  (And in case you're wondering, yes, I did go out and get a good look at the "supermoon" this evening, both with and without binoculars, and it was pretty impressive.)

P.S.  The title of this post comes from an old children's rhyme, "I see the moon and the moon sees me".

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Diana's reaction to the General Hospital scene

For those of you who saw the brief mention of OUTLANDER on "General Hospital" a couple of weeks ago, check out Diana Gabaldon's latest blog post, As Seen on TV!, for her reaction.

Note that she says it was NOT deliberate product placement by her publisher!

If you haven't yet seen the brief video clip, it's available on Diana's blog.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I don't have a drop of Irish blood myself, but I'm reliably informed that everybody's Irish on St. Patrick's Day!  So, in celebration of the day, here are a few of the Irish characters who have appeared in Diana Gabaldon's books.

1) Aloysius O'Shaughnessy Murphy.  Ship's cook aboard the Artemis, in VOYAGER. He makes a truly memorable (or should we say infamous?) turtle soup! <g>

2) Stephen Bonnet. One of Diana's most memorable villains.  I think Brianna gave him a more merciful death than he deserved.

3) Jeffries, the Dunsanys' coachman in VOYAGER.  Besides Jamie, and Lord and Lady Dunsany, he's the only other eyewitness to the death of the Eighth Earl of Ellesmere.  I wonder if we'll see him again in a future book?

4) Seamus Hanlon.  One of the musicians who played at Jocasta and Duncan's wedding in FIERY CROSS.  Despite his very brief appearance in the story (chapter 41, "Music Hath Charms"), he seemed to have a genuine appreciation for Roger's musical talents.

5) The O'Higgins brothers, Rafe and Mick, who helped to smuggle Percy Wainwright out of prison near the end of BOTB.  They played only a relatively minor role in that book, but I thought they were pretty entertaining.

6) Father Donahue, the priest who baptizes Germain, Jemmy, and Joan in FIERY CROSS.  He seemed a very pragmatic, adaptable sort of person, perfectly willing to baptize the children with whisky instead of water if that was the only option available.  (And IMHO he gets extra points for managing to keep a straight face while listening to Jamie's confession involving Claire and the butter churn. <g>)

Have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day, everybody!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Why are these books so addictive?

[I posted these comments on Compuserve this morning, in response to a first-time (male) reader of OUTLANDER who asked "why this series has such a following".  After I wrote all this down, I thought the readers of my blog might also find my reactions interesting.  Feel free to add your own thoughts and reactions, too, of course.]

First of all, I should note that I am not, and never have been, a reader of romance novels.  I am one of those readers who "wouldn't be caught dead in the Romance section of a bookstore". <g>  Nothing wrong with romance as a genre, of course -- and no offense meant to Jo and Eve and other romance writers here on the forum -- but it's just not the type of story that appeals to me all that much as a reader.  If OUTLANDER had had a romance-novel-type cover, featuring a barechested Fabio-type and a swooning female, I can assure you I would never have picked it up in a million years.

I read OUTLANDER the first time, in 2006, because I'm a longtime fan of both time-travel stories and Big Fat Historical Novels.  The idea of a time-travel story set in 18th century Scotland (a place and a historical period that I knew nothing about) intrigued me.  I had no idea, on the first reading, that the relationship between Claire and Jamie would become the main focus of that book.  In fact, on my first reading of OUTLANDER, I paid relatively little attention to Jamie in the first part of the book <wry g>, and I was reading so fast the first time (eager to find out what happened next, to Claire) that it didn't occur to me that Jamie and Claire were going to be together until just before the wedding.  That sounds ridiculous in retrospect, but it's true.

OK, so what was it about OUTLANDER (and the other books in the series) that got me hooked?

1) The characters. 

The people in these books are very human, and the way they react (in any number of situations) is both realistic and true to their personalities.  They have vices and faults and flaws, and I think those imperfections are what make them seem like real people.  Yes, Jamie is larger-than-life, but he also has his share of flaws.  He makes mistakes, sometimes with devastating consequences.  (Beating up Ronnie MacNab, for example, which led directly to Ronnie betraying him to the Watch, which led eventually to Wentworth and everything that happened there.)  And Claire's unfamiliarity with the culture and customs of the 18th century gets her into trouble on multiple occasions in OUTLANDER, as well as in some of the later books. 

And because these characters are portrayed so realistically, many of us have come to think of them as real people, and to react to what happens to them as though it were happening to a close friend or family member.  You laugh and cry with these characters, you're afraid for them when they're in danger, and so on.  I'm not a person who normally cries over fictional characters, but on my first reading of the series, when I found myself crying through the last part of OUTLANDER, and again at the end of DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, I was just stunned by the emotional power of Diana's writing, that it can make me react like that.  (To this day, I don't know how she does it.  I've heard her explain this, more than once, but I still marvel at the way she can cause such strong emotional reactions among her readers.)  This is another reason why I became so thoroughly addicted.

2) The conflicts.

I love watching the sparks fly when Jamie and Claire argue -- for example, during the infamous wife-beating scene.  Two very stubborn people, each absolutely convinced of the moral rightness of their own positions -- and both of them are right, in their own way.  They have to learn to make compromises, as any married couple does.

Some of the decisions Claire faces in OUTLANDER are just heart-wrenching.  Return home to Frank and leave Jamie forever?  Leave Jamie in Wentworth to die at the hands of Black Jack Randall, or find some way -- against impossible odds -- to get him out?  Maybe it's different, reading these parts of the book from a guy's perspective, I don't know. <g>  But I always have to ask myself, what would I do in those circumstances?

3) Diana's wonderful writing.

Diana's use of language in these books continually amazes me, even after multiple re-reads. <g> The lyrical descriptions, the humor (I don't think I would enjoy these books half as much without the occasional flashes of humor, both in dialogue and in the characters' thoughts), the use of obscure or unusual words, just for the fun of it <g> -- all of these things add immensely to my enjoyment of the series.  And the vast amount of detail in each book means that these are books that stand up incredibly well to re-reading.  You can't possibly pick up all the tiny details the first time through, no matter how slowly or how carefully you read.

4) Jamie and Claire's relationship.

I can't deny that Jamie and Claire's love for one another is the aspect of these books that appeals to me the most.  The idea of a love so powerful that it can outlast death itself is a very compelling one, at least to me.  No matter what happens, no matter what adventures they go through or what traumatic events they endure, Jamie and Claire's love for each other never wavers, and I don't think it ever will.  (That sounds mushy and romantic, and I don't intend it that way. <g>  It's just that there's no way to explain the appeal of their relationship to me without using words like that.)  Both of them have risked their lives to save the other.  Jamie was willing to sacrifice his life (literally) to save Claire's.  And Claire pulled Jamie back from the brink of death (and out of a severe depression) at the Abbey, using a combination of prayer, desperation, stubbornness, and sheer force of will.  Such absolute devotion to one another is something I've rarely seen in fiction, and to me, it's absolutely irresistible.

5) The sex.  Which is fun, no question about it <vbg>, and I enjoy those scenes as much as anyone else here, but IMHO it's a secondary aspect of Jamie and Claire's relationship.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The order of the Lord John books and stories

One of the more frequently asked questions in the Diana Gabaldon section on Compuserve is, "What is the order of the Lord John books/stories?"  This is something that confuses a lot of people, and it's only become more complicated and difficult to keep straight in the last couple of years.

Diana posted some more information on Compuserve yesterday about where her upcoming stories fit into the overall chronology, and I thought I'd pass it on for the benefit of everyone who doesn't follow the discussions on Compuserve.  (WARNING to spoiler-avoiders: the link above goes to a discussion of a SCOTTISH PRISONER excerpt, so you may encounter spoilers there!)

Here is the full list, in the order that the books are meant to be read -- which is not necessarily the order of publication (just to make things even more confusing!)  Diana's recent comments are in blue.  In her words, "The parentheticals being the historical events that background each book/novella."

"Lord John and the Hellfire Club"
short story - 1756

novel - 1757

"Lord John and the Succubus"
novella - 1757

novel - 1758
(Battle of Krefeld, 1758)

"Lord John and the Haunted Soldier"
novella - November 1758 (follows immediately after the end of BOTB)

"The Custom of the Army"
novella, published in August, 2011, in the WARRIORS 3 anthology (see the "Custom of the Army" FAQ for more information)
(Battle of Quebec, 1759)

novel, to be published November 29, 2011
(1760 (ish)  Irish invasion of England (failed))

"Lord John and the Plague of Zombies"
novella, will be published in the DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS anthology in October, 2011
(1761 - slave rebellion, Jamaica)

As you'll notice if you look at the dates, all of the Lord John books and stories take place during the period described in VOYAGER when Jamie was at Helwater.

I hope you find this information helpful.  Please feel free to pass it on to anyone else who might be interested.

UPDATE 3/12/2011 8:00 am:  I suggested to Diana yesterday that she include a version of this list in the beginning of SCOTTISH PRISONER, because I think a lot of readers would find it helpful.  She replied, "Splendid idea!"  (I hope she does decide to do this, and naturally I will be thrilled if my suggestion actually makes it into the printed book. <g>)

UPDATE 8/6/2011 1:22 pm:  Diana has confirmed that there will indeed be a list of the LJ books and stories included in SCOTTISH PRISONER!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


From Diana Gabaldon on Compuserve this morning, in response to a question about whether LORD JOHN AND THE SCOTTISH PRISONER would be published soon:
I hope to come somewhere close to finishing _writing_ the book by the end of May-ish.  Assuming I succeed <g>, it'll be out this fall.
Let's hope the writing continues to go well!  I will, of course, let you know if I hear anything about a possible release date.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

WARRIORS paperback and audio versions

I have been checking Amazon every few days to see if they had more information on which volume of the WARRIORS paperback Diana Gabaldon's Lord John story, "The Custom of the Army", will be in.  (They've split the book into three volumes for the paperback edition.)

Today, for the first time, I see that WARRIORS 3 has a cover picture, listing Diana Gabaldon as one of the authors included.

So, it looks like we finally have confirmation that "Custom" will be out in mass-market (small size) paperback on August 2, 2011.  You can pre-order from Amazon here.

As for the cover art....I was startled to see that it's, um, PINK. <g>  (Or maybe magenta?)  Which is not really Lord John's color, nor particularly warrior-like, but whatever.  Much easier to carry around a mass-market paperback of 300 pages than that 700+ page hardcover, at any rate!

Also, the unabridged audio version of WARRIORS will be out on March 29, according to Amazon (in both CD and mp3 versions).

Please pass this information along to anyone else you know who might be interested.  If you didn't want to pay the price of a hardcover for the whole book when it came out a year ago, maybe this is your chance to read "Custom of the Army"?  It's a very enjoyable story, particularly for Lord John fans.

There's more information about "The Custom of the Army" on the FAQ page.

Friday, March 4, 2011

GUEST POST: The Road to the '45

I'm delighted to have my first-ever guest blogger on Outlandish Observations! David McNicoll was born and bred in the Scottish Highlands, but now lives in New York where he runs Highland Experience USA, a travel company specializing in Scottish vacation packages, including an Outlander-based tour.

David contacted me recently to ask if readers of my blog might be interested in learning more about the historical background of the OUTLANDER series, with a particular focus on Scotland and Scottish history. Naturally I jumped at the chance. <g>  I hope you all enjoy this article as much as I did. And thanks very much to David for taking the time to share his knowledge and love of Scotland with us!

UPDATE 4/15/2011 7:38 pm:
  If you find this article interesting, please check out the second post in the series, The Failure of the '45.

THE ROAD TO THE '45, by David McNicoll

The Jacobites 

Over the course of 1688/89 the so called ‘Glorious Revolution’ swept away the autocratic Stuart monarchy of James VII (II of England); and, replaced it with a fresh constitutional agreement laid out between the new king, William of Orange and his Parliaments. In England this new arrangement was called the ‘Bill of Right’, and in Scotland, the ‘Claim of Right’. It ushered in a new age, where the king was subject to his people and forced to defend the law, not arbitrarily create it.

Constitutional change was only part of the revolution, for at its heart lay religion. Great Britain was a Protestant nation with little stomach for a Catholic king, and certainly not one as arrogant as James VII. The defeat of James’ Scottish followers, known as Jacobites, at Dunkeld in 1689, and then of his main army in Ireland the following year, seemed to cement the Protestant succession and the new regime; but in reality the storm clouds were only beginning to gather.

(Click on "Read more" below to see the rest of the article.)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Scotland travel tips

Check out the detailed list of travel tips for visitors to Scotland, posted on Compuserve today by Scot AnSgeulaiche, whose wife, Samantha MacKenzie, runs the Jamie and Claire Tour.

There's a lot of information there, especially for first-time visitors to the Highlands.  Be sure to click on View Full Message at the bottom of the message window so you'll see all of it.

Many thanks to Scot for taking the time to put that together!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

OUTLANDER on General Hospital

I just saw this on Compuserve and thought I'd pass it on.  OUTLANDER was mentioned on "General Hospital" today!

I don't watch the show myself (haven't watched the soaps since I was in high school), but apparently one of the characters gave another one a copy of Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER!

According to Diana D. on Compuserve, who saw the episode in question:
The book was given by a little girl to her big sister in the hospital so that she'd have something to do while she gets better.  They mentioned some other books too, [Sookie] Stackhouse and something else, but Outlander was mentioned, critiqued 'really long, but really good' AND they showed the big blue cover.
I think that's pretty neat.  I don't think I've seen OUTLANDER mentioned in a pop-culture reference like this since the Mallard Fillmore cartoon several years ago.  And who knows how many new fans will be drawn to the series as a result of hearing about it on GH today?  That can only be a good thing. <g>

The thread on Compuserve is here if you're interested.  Diana's immediate reaction to the news was, "Rof,l!   Well, I certainly appreciate the publicity! <g>"  

UPDATE 3/3/2011 12:48 pm: Here's the video (thanks to Pamela P. on Compuserve for the link!) The relevant bit starts at about 13:50 into this video.

UPDATE 3/16/2011 8:10 pm: Diana commented in a little more detail about the General Hospital clip on her blog today, here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Results of the February poll

Here are the results of the February poll:

What did you think of "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows"?
  • 21.3% - I enjoyed it, but I wish it had been longer.
  • 20.4% - Intriguing! The story raises at least as many questions as it answers.
  • 20.0% - I loved it!
  • 13.8% - I haven't read it yet, but I'm planning to do so soon.
  • 9.6% - I haven't read it. I don't want to buy a whole book just for one story.
  • 5.8% - I enjoyed seeing Roger's parents, and Roger as a small child.
  • 5.0% - The ending was wonderful.
  • 2.1% - What's that? Never heard of it.
  • 0.8% - I was disappointed, or the story wasn't what I expected.
  • 0.4% - I didn't like it.
  • 0.8% - Other
There were 240 responses to this poll.  Thanks so much to everyone who participated!

Several people commented that they wished they could have chosen multiple answers -- "I loved it! Intriguing! The ending was wonderful!"  If you're one of those people, I can only repeat what I've said before.  It's possible to set these Blogger polls up so that people can pick multiple answers.  I prefer not to do that.  I think the results of these polls tend to be more interesting if people are forced to choose the best answer.

Besides, I wanted to encourage people to be more specific in their responses.  The question I was really trying to get at, for those of you who liked the story, was:  "Yes, it was a wonderful story, but what aspect of it did you like the best?"  And I am fascinated, and very pleased, by the results.

I didn't vote in the poll myself, but if I had, I think I probably would have chosen "Intriguing", because this story has given us plenty to speculate about.  After reading "Leaf", I'm more worried about Roger now than I was at the end of ECHO.

If you haven't yet read "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows", I highly recommend it!  You can find more information about the story here.

Please take a moment to vote in the March poll, which is all about visiting Scotland.