Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!



Here are some of my favorite Halloween-themed quotes from Diana Gabaldon's books and stories.  I first posted a version of this collection in 2009, and it's become an annual holiday tradition. <g> Hope you enjoy them!

1) Roger's thoughts, on the eve of Claire's departure through the stones to find Jamie:
Hallowe'en had always seemed to him a restless night, alive with waking spirits. Tonight was even more so, with the knowledge of what would happen in the morning. The jack o'lantern on the desk grinned in anticipation, filling the room with the homely scent of baking pies.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 22, "All Hallows' Eve". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
2) This is one of my favorites from AN ECHO IN THE BONE:
Now there was nothing out there but the black of a moonless Highland night. The sort of night when Christians stayed indoors and put holy water on the doorposts, because the things that walked the moors and the high places were not always holy.

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 72, "The Feast of All Saints". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
3) Claire and Roger on Halloween night, 1968.  If you're not familiar with the story Roger is referring to, look here.
"No, I never could sleep on All Hallows'. Not after all the stories my father told me; I always thought I could hear ghosts talking outside my window."

She smiled, coming into the firelight. "And what did they say?"

"'See'st thou this great gray head, with jaws which have no meat?' " Roger quoted. "You know the story? The little tailor who spent the night in a haunted church, and met the hungry ghost?"

"I do. I think if I'd heard that outside my window, I'd have spent the rest of the night hiding under the bedclothes."

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 22, "All Hallows' Eve". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
4) I couldn't resist including a bit of Duncan's ghost story here:
"He said it was a figure like a man, but with no body," Duncan said quietly. "All white, like as it might have been made of the mist. But wi' great holes where its eyes should be, and empty black, fit to draw the soul from his body with dread."

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 1, "A Hanging in Eden". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
5) Even wee Jemmy is affected by stories of "things that go bump in the night".
"Scared? Of what?" A little more gently, she pulled the shirt off over his head.

"The ghost."

"What ghost?" she asked warily, not sure yet how to handle this. She was aware that all of the slaves at River Run believed implicitly in ghosts, simply as a fact of life. So did virtually all of the Scottish settlers in Cross Creek, Campbelton, and the Ridge. And the Germans from Salem and Bethania. So, for that matter, did her own father. She could not simply inform Jem that there was no such thing as a ghost--particularly as she was not entirely convinced of that herself.

"Maighistear arsaidh's ghost," he said, looking up at her for the first time, his dark blue eyes troubled. "Josh says he's been walkin'."

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 99, "Old Master". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
6) Here's one of the creepiest moments in the whole series, in my opinion:
"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.)
7) Roger's father, Jerry MacKenzie, on a long-ago Halloween night:
“Damn,” said the fair one, softly.  “There’s a light.”  

There was; a single light, bobbing evenly over the ground, as it would if someone carried it.  But look as he might, Jerry could see no one behind it, and a violent shiver ran over him.

Uisge,” said the other man under his breath.  Jerry knew that word well enough—spirit, it meant.   And usually an ill-disposed one.  A haunt.

“Aye, maybe.”  The dark man’s voice was calm.  “And maybe not.   It’s Samhain, after all."

(From "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows", by Diana Gabaldon, in A TRAIL OF FIRE. Copyright© 2010 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
8) I don't care how many times I've read this, it still sends a chill up my spine, every time.
"You asked me, Captain, if I were a witch," I said, my voice low and steady. "I'll answer you now. Witch I am. Witch, and I curse you. You will marry, Captain, and your wife will bear a child, but you shall not live to see your firstborn. I curse you with knowledge, Jack Randall--I give you the hour of your death."

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 35, "Wentworth Prison". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
9) Lord John's encounter with a zombie:
Bloody hell, where was the man?  If it was a man.  For even as his mind reasserted its claim to reason, his more visceral faculties were recalling Rodrigo's parting statement:  Zombie are dead people, sah.  And whatever was here in the dark with him seemed to have been dead for several days, judging from its smell.

He could hear the rustling of something moving quietly toward him.  Was it breathing?  He couldn't tell, for the rasp of his own breath, harsh in his throat, and the blood-thick hammering of his heart in his ears.

(From "Lord John and the Plague of Zombies" by Diana Gabaldon, in A TRAIL OF FIRE. Copyright© 2011 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
And last but not least, here's Bri's Pumpkin Homage to THE EXILE.  I think this is truly hilarious (particularly if you've seen page 5 of THE EXILE), not to mention extremely creative.  Can you imagine the amount of time and effort it took to do that?  Amazing!

Happy Halloween / Samhain / All Hallows' Eve to all of you!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

There WILL be a Book 9!



I created this image on keepcalmandcarryon.com the other day, in honor of Diana Gabaldon's recent announcement that there will be a 9th book in the OUTLANDER series!

Here are Diana's exact words, from an interview recorded on October 23, 2012 at the Poisoned Pen bookstore in Arizona:
"There will be nine books all told in the main series -- the big enormous ones -- so WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD is the eighth. There will be one more after that. But...I'm pretty sure that's the end."
You don't have to take my word for it! Go here to see the video. Diana's comments are at about 39 minutes into it.  She has also made similar comments on her Facebook page recently.

I'm trying not to think too much about the idea that Book 9 might be the last of the Big Books.  Right now I prefer to be in denial about that.  But I do like the symmetry of a "trilogy of trilogies".

In the meantime, it means we'll have at least four or five more years before the main series comes to an end.

If you want to pass this image around to other OUTLANDER fans, feel free. <g>  For those of you who are on Pinterest, the pin is here.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

"A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows" e-book!



Diana Gabaldon announced this week that her story "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows" (the one about Roger MacKenzie's parents) will be released as a standalone e-book on December 3, 2012 in the US and Canada.  It will sell for $1.99, and it will be available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, etc.

UPDATE 11/12/2012 6:38 pm:  Here are the pre-order links:

Kindle edition

Nook edition

Diana also posted the cover art for the "Leaf" e-book.  I don't know about the rest of you, but I love this cover!  I like the shades of orange on the cover.  If you look closely you can see the swirling wind in the background <g>, and the colors in the center remind me of firelight.  Which makes me think of jack-o'-lanterns (especially at this time of year!), and that in turn ties into the title very effectively, I think.

Notice the curlicues in the corners, matching the other recent covers (like THE SCOTTISH PRISONER, for example) and subtly reinforcing the point that all these stories are part of a vast interconnected whole.

It's a very warm, inviting cover.  I think they did a wonderful job!  I'm looking forward to adding this e-book to my collection.

Please note, this e-book is going to be available ONLY in the US and Canada!  Why?  Here is Diana Gabaldon's explanation in her own words, from a post on Compuserve earlier today.  Among other things, she says,
"A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows" is ALSO available in print form, in the book A TRAIL OF FIRE (which includes four "Outlander" novellas).

HOWEVER...owing to international rights issues, A TRAIL OF FIRE is only able to be published in the UK/Australia/NewZealand right now (it will be published in print form in the US/Canada, but not until early 2014).  You CAN get this book, even if you live in the US or Canada, but it's necessary to order it from www.amazon.co.uk, The Book Depository, or The Poisoned Pen bookstore in Arizona (this is my local bookstore, which handles all my autographed book sales; I go by once a week or so to sign/personalize/inscribe all their orders, and they'll ship books anywhere in the world, including APO addresses).

Owing to the rights issues, you can NOT presently buy the standalone ebook version of "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows" if you don't live in the US or Canada.

I hope this helps!
"A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows" is a wonderful story, and I'm glad that more people will have access to it soon.  As Diana mentioned, it's one of the four stories included in A TRAIL OF FIRE, which was published on November 8, 2012, in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.  For more information about A TRAIL OF FIRE, see my TRAIL OF FIRE FAQ page.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Fun Facts - 10/26/2012



Here are this week's Friday Fun Facts about Diana Gabaldon's books.



This is a special edition of the FFF in honor of the upcoming release of Diana's latest book, A TRAIL OF FIRE.  All of the items on this week's list are related to the stories in A TRAIL OF FIRE.

Milecastle 37, Hadrian's Wall



1) Here are two views of Milecastle 37 of Hadrian's Wall, in Northumbria, England. Click on the photos to enlarge them.  (Photo credits: Top: Sharon & Rick, on Flickr.  Bottom: rogerk124 on webshots.com.)
Mile-castle 37.

A stone rectangle, attached to Hadrian's Wall like a snail on a leaf.  The old Roman legions had made these small, neat forts to house the garrisons that guarded the wall.  Nothing left now but the outline of the foundation, but it made a good target.

He circled once, calculating, then dived and roared over it at an altitude of maybe fifty feet, cameras clunking like an army of stampeding robots.  Pulled up sharp and hared off, circling high and fast, pulling out to run for the imagined border, circling up again…and all the time his heart thumped and the sweat ran down his sides, imagining what it would be like when the real day came.

(From "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows" by Diana Gabaldon. Copyright© 2010 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
If you want to get a sense of what Jerry saw from the cockpit that day in 1941, here's an aerial view of Mile-castle 37, from Google Maps.  For more about the milecastles, look here.



2) "The Custom of the Army" tells the story of Lord John's experiences in Quebec in 1759, including the famous battle on the Plains of Abraham on Sept. 13, 1759.  The painting above is from the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada.  (Click on it for a bigger view.) I think it's fascinating to look at, as a sort of time-compressed view of the events surrounding the battle.
The Highlanders had surprised the guard, shot their fleeing captain in the heel, and made all of them prisoner. That was the easy part. The next thing was for the rest of the landing party to ascend to the cliff top, now that the trail--if there was such a thing--had been cleared. There they would make preparations to raise not only the rest of the troops now coming down the river aboard the transports but also seventeen battering cannon, twelve howitzers, three mortars, and all of the necessary encumbrances in terms of shell, powder, planks, and limbers necessary to make this artillery effective. At least, Grey reflected, by the time they were done, the vertical trail up the cliffside would likely have been trampled into a simple cow path.

(From "The Custom of the Army" by Diana Gabaldon. Copyright© 2010 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Can you imagine the amount of effort it must have taken to get not just the troops, but all that heavy equipment, cannons, etc., up the cliff, at night -- and to do it quietly enough that the French never heard them coming?  It's just mind-boggling.

Here's a very interesting and informative site about the Battle of Quebec, including pictures of what the various regiments' uniforms looked like.



3) Adolph ("Sailor") Malan was a real historical figure.  Born in South Africa, he became one of the most famous RAF fighter pilots during World War II.  (The photo above shows Sailor Malan in his Spitfire.)
Malan was Group Captain and a decent bloke overall. South African, a great tactician--and the most ferocious, most persistent air fighter Jerry’d seen yet. Rat terriers weren’t in it. Which was why he felt a beetle skitter briefly down his spine when Malan’s deep-set eyes fixed on him.

"Lieutenant!" Malan rose from his seat, smiling. "The very man I had in mind!"

(From "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows" by Diana Gabaldon. Copyright© 2010 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Here's the full list of Malan's rules for air fighting.  You can see these same rules (along with Jerry MacKenzie's wry commentary on them) in "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows".

For more information about Sailor Malan, look here.



4) The photo above, from Wikipedia, shows a common krait (Bungarus caeruleus).  I don't know if this is exactly the same kind of snake that Lord John encountered in "Plague of Zombies", but it seems very similar.
There were no venomous snakes on Jamaica. He cupped his hand and bent at the knee, but hesitated. Venomous or not, he had an instinctive aversion to being bitten by a snake. And how did he know how the man--or men--sitting in the shadows would take it if the thing did bite him?

“I trust this snake,” said the voice softly. “Krait comes with me from Africa. Long time now.”

Grey’s knees straightened abruptly. Africa! Now he placed the name, and cold sweat broke out on his face. Krait. A fucking African krait. Gwynne had had one. Small, no bigger than the circumference of a man’s little finger. “Bloody deadly,” Gwynne had crooned, stroking the thing’s back with the tip of a goose quill--an attention to which the snake, a slender, nondescript brown thing, had seemed oblivious.

(From "Lord John and the Plague of Zombies" by Diana Gabaldon. Copyright© 2011 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
According to Wikipedia,
Often in rainy season the snakes come out of their hiding places and find refuge on dry places inside a house. If bitten by it in sleep the victim seldom comes to know as the bite feels more like an ant bite or a mosquito bite. The victim may be dead before he even wakes up.
And according to this site, the common krait's venom is "16 times more poisonous" than that of a king cobra.  Yikes! (As I said to myself, frequently, during my first reading of "Lord John and the Plague of Zombies". <g>  I love the wildlife in that story!)



This video contains a lot of very interesting information about kraits.

[UPDATE 10/28/2012 2:11 PM:  I asked Diana, on Compuserve, why the snake is referred to as an "African" krait in the story, since all the information I could find indicates that kraits come from South Asia or Southeast Asia, not Africa.  Here is what she told me.]



5) The portrait above shows the Comte St. Germain, apparently dressed in the robes of an occultist.  Here's a fascinating article about him.
The Comte saw the knowledge in my face; La Dame Blanche cannot lie. He hesitated, looking at the bubbling cup.

“Drink, Monsieur,” said the King. The dark eyes were hooded once more, showing nothing. “Or are you afraid?”

The Comte might have a number of things to his discredit, but cowardice wasn’t one of them. His face was pale and set, but he met the King’s eyes squarely, with a slight smile.

“No, Majesty,” he said.

He took the cup from my hand and drained it, his eyes fixed on mine. They stayed fixed, staring into my face, even as they glazed with the knowledge of death. The White Lady may turn a man’s nature to good, or to destruction.

The Comte’s body hit the floor, writhing, and a chorus of shouts and cries rose from the hooded watchers, drowning any sound he might have made. His heels drummed briefly, silent on the flowered carpet; his body arched, then subsided into limpness.

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 27, "An Audience With His Majesty". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
What happened to the Comte after that?  You'll have to read Diana Gabaldon's latest story, "The Space Between" to find out!  (I have read it, and it's a wonderful story.  You can find it in A TRAIL OF FIRE, which will be out November 8, 2012, in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, or in the upcoming anthology THE MAD SCIENTIST'S GUIDE TO WORLD DOMINATION, due out February 19, 2013 in the US.)

I hope you enjoyed these Friday Fun Facts! Look here to see all of my Friday Fun Facts blog posts. And please stop by next week for more! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Video from the Poisoned Pen

Here's the video of Diana Gabaldon's appearance at the Poisoned Pen on October 23, 2012, to promote her new book, A TRAIL OF FIRE.



It's about an hour long, and definitely worth watching. (You might want to skip the beginning, though.  Diana doesn't actually arrive until about 3 1/2 minutes into the video.)  Diana talks in detail about A TRAIL OF FIRE, and reads an excerpt from "The Space Between".

Among other things, she said:
  • There will be a Book 9! Diana has hinted at this in various places online in recent months, but I've never heard her say it before, and somehow that made it more definitive.

  • The "shape" of WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD looks like "piano keys".  (No, she didn't give any details.)

  • There may be some news about the possible TV series in the next several weeks.  She didn't elaborate, but I promise I'll post here as soon as I hear anything.

  • Fans of Theresa's Outlander Kitchen site will definitely want to hear Diana's comments starting at about 53 minutes into this video!  Verrrrry interesting.  <g>

Please pass the link on to anyone else who may be interested.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Launch party for A TRAIL OF FIRE tonight!



The Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale, AZ, will be hosting a launch party for A TRAIL OF FIRE tonight, October 23, at 7 pm Arizona time.

Diana Gabaldon will be discussing A TRAIL OF FIRE in a livestream webcast from 7-8 pm Arizona time tonight.  (That's 10 pm Eastern Time, or 3 am in the UK. <g>)  Look here for some comments she made about the book (and about WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD) today on Compuserve.

If you're not able to attend the event in person, you can watch the livestream video here.  According to that page, the video will be available after the event.

You can order an autographed copy of A TRAIL OF FIRE from the Poisoned Pen here, or if you don't want a signed copy, you can order the book from amazon.co.uk.

For more information about A TRAIL OF FIRE, please see my FAQ page here.

(Please note:  the official release date for this book is November 8, 2012.  The Poisoned Pen may be shipping out the signed pre-orders sooner than that, though; Diana said on Compuserve this afternoon that she will be signing all the pre-orders today and tomorrow.)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, Claire!

Happy Birthday

Happy 94th birthday to Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser!

In honor of the occasion, I thought I'd post some of my favorite "Claire moments" from the OUTLANDER books.  It wasn't easy to pick just one per book, but I tried to choose quotes that highlight the many different aspects of Claire's personality.  I hope you enjoy them!


OUTLANDER
Twenty-seven years of propriety were no match for several hundred thousand years of instinct. While my mind might object to being taken on a bare rock next to several sleeping soldiers, my body plainly considered itself the spoils of war and was eager to complete the formalities of surrender.

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 18, "Raiders in the Rocks". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


DRAGONFLY IN AMBER
"Cut me,” I said urgently. “Deep enough to leave a scar. I want to take away your touch with me, to have something of you that will stay with me always. I don’t care if it hurts; nothing could hurt more than leaving you. At least when I touch it, wherever I am, I can feel your touch on me."

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 46, "Timor Mortis Conturbat Me". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


VOYAGER
I ached desperately; my head throbbed, my back was stiff and my feet swollen, but none of these was of any significance, compared to the deeper ache that knotted my heart.

Any doctor hates to lose a patient. Death is the enemy, and to lose someone in your care to the clutch of the dark angel is to be vanquished yourself, to feel the rage of betrayal and impotence, beyond the common, human grief of loss and the horror of death’s finality. I had lost twenty-three men between dawn and sunset of this day. Elias was only the first.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 48, "Moment of Grace". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


DRUMS OF AUTUMN
"What, exactly, are ye doing, Sassenach? And what in the name of God are ye wearing?” Jamie, arms crossed, was leaning against the door, watching me with both brows raised.

"I am improvising a brassiere,” I said with dignity. “I don’t mean to ride sidesaddle through the mountains wearing a dress, and if I’m not wearing stays, I don’t mean my breasts to be joggling all the way, either. Most uncomfortable, joggling."

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 13, "An Examination of Conscience". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


THE FIERY CROSS
As for sweeping the floor, polishing the windows, dusting, and general drudgery of that sort...well, if women’s work was never done, why trouble about how much of it wasn’t being accomplished at any given moment?

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 96, "Aurum". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES
"I have lived through a fucking 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 fucking 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.)


AN ECHO IN THE BONE
I had picked up Jamie’s sword before. It was a cavalry sword, larger and heavier than the usual, but I didn’t notice now.

I snatched it up and swung it in a two-handed arc that ripped the air and left the metal ringing in my hands.

Mother and son jumped back, identical looks of ludicrous surprise on their round, grimy faces.

“Get away!” I said.

Her mouth opened, but she didn’t say anything.

"I’m sorry for your man,” I said. “But my man lies here. Get away, I said!” I raised the sword, and the woman stepped back hastily, dragging the boy by the arm.

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 62, "One Just Man". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.) 

Happy Birthday, Claire!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Fun Facts - 10/19/2012



Here are this week's Friday Fun Facts about Diana Gabaldon's books.



1) Remember the scene in A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES where Jamie encounters Malva Christie in the woods, looking for woodears?  The photo above shows what they look like.
"Well, so,” he resumed casually, “have ye enough of the woodears there?” He nodded at her basket. “I saw a good many yesterday, up near the Green Spring.”

“Oh, did ye?” She glanced up, interested. “Where?”

“I’m headed that way,” he said “Come if ye like, I’ll show ye.”

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 48, "Woodears". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
The scientific name for woodears is Auricularia auriculae-judae. According to Wikipedia,
Auricularia auricula-judae has a soft, jelly-like texture. Though edible, it was not held in high culinary regard in the west for many years. It has been likened to "eating an Indian rubber with bones in it", while in 19th century Britain, it was said that "it has never been regarded here as an edible fungus". It has a mild flavour, and is useful for mixed mushroom recipes, but is still considered bland in the west.
Woodears have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries.  According to this site,
Auricularia has been used in traditional Chinese folk medicine for millennia as a treatment for everything from postpartum weakness to hemorrhoids. Recent laboratory testing revealed that the fungus had a hypoglycemic effect on obese mice and that it reduced the serum LDL cholesterol level of rats by 24%. The lowering of cholesterol and blood sugar may explain the extent of its use in China as a medicinal, as these therapeutic benefits would ameliorate many medical conditions due to "blood-thinning."



2) Lord John's father, Gerard Grey, the Duke of Pardloe, was an amateur astronomer who kept an orrery in his house.  An orrery is a device that illustrates the relative size and position of the planets of the solar system, and simulates the orbits of the planets and moons.  I'd never heard the word before I read the Lord John books.  
He was overcome with a sudden sense of premonition, though he did not believe in premonition. He felt things in motion around him, things that he did not understand and could not control, things settling of themselves into an ordained and appointed position, like the revolving spheres of his father’s orrery--and he wished to protest this state of affairs, but could not.

(From "Lord John and the Succubus", in LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS by Diana Gabaldon. Copyright© 2007 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
The photo above shows an example of an 18th century orrery.  According to Wikipedia, the first modern orrery was built around 1704; the device took its name from Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery, for whom one of the earliest models was constructed.



This video shows an example of a wooden, hand-cranked orrery in operation.  (The one Lord John's father had was made of bronze.)  Keep an eye on Saturn as you watch this.  At first you'll think it's not moving at all, but it is -- verrrry slowly! <g>



3) This painting by Allan Ramsay is thought to be a portrait of Jenny Cameron of Glendessary, the woman who led Clan Cameron's troops to join the Jacobite Rising in 1745.
There was paper and ink in the saddlebags. I sat down, watched with an almost superstitious awe by the goodwife, who had likely never seen a woman write anything before, and composed a note to Jenny Cameron. It was she who had led three hundred Cameron clansmen across the mountains to join Prince Charles, when he had raised his banner at Glenfinnan on the coast. Her brother Hugh, arriving home belatedly and hearing what had happened, had ridden posthaste to Glenfinnan to take the chieftain’s place at the head of his men, but Jenny had declined to go home and miss the fun. She had thoroughly enjoyed the brief stop in Edinburgh, where Charles received the plaudits of his loyal subjects, but she had been equally willing to accompany her Prince on his way to battle.

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 36, "Prestonpans". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Here is one version of the story of Jenny Cameron, from a book published in 1898, a full century and a half after the Jacobite Rising.  There appears to be some confusion in the historical record, with some sources claiming that Jenny Cameron was a mistress of Charles Stuart, and others, that the mistress was a much younger woman who happened to share the same name.

Whatever her relationship with Charles Stuart may have been, there seems no doubt that Jenny Cameron did indeed lead troops to Glenfinnan at the start of the Rising.


This is artist W. Lockhart Bogle's depiction of Jenny Cameron leading the men of her clan to Glenfinnan.  (Sorry for the small size of the image, but I could not find the actual painting anywhere online.)  Keep in mind that this painting was done in the late 19th century, so it's not a literal representation of the event, but I thought you might find it interesting.



4) This photo shows everything you'd need to start a fire using flint and steel. Look here for step-by-step instructions.  And here's a brief video showing how it's done.  Have any of you ever tried this?  (I haven't.)



Claire knows how to use a flint and steel, but apparently it's not easy!
"I heard ye clickin’ away with that steel like a deathwatch, Mrs. Claire; why would ye no just come and fetch a bit o’ fire like a sensible person?” She touched the taper to the kindling in my brazier, which promptly popped into flame.

“Practice,” I said mildly, adding sticks to the infant flame. “I have hopes of eventually learning to light a fire in less than a quarter of an hour.”

Marsali and Mrs. Bug snorted in simultaneous derision.

“Bless ye, lamb, a quarter-hour’s no time at all! Why, often I’ve spent an hour and more, trying to catch a spark in damp tinder--in Scotland, ’specially, since nothing’s ever dry in the winter there. Whyever d’ye think folk go to such trouble, a-smooring the fire?"

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 35, "Laminaria". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)



5) I always have to laugh at the pop culture references in these books.  Here's one of my favorites:
"Mama!”

I hadn’t any breath; what hadn’t been taken away by shock was being squeezed out by a rib-crushing hug.

“Bree!” I managed to gasp, and she put me down, though she didn’t let go. I looked disbelievingly up, but she was real. I looked for Jamie, and found him standing beside her. He said nothing, but gave me a face-splitting grin, his ears bright pink with delight.

“I, ah, I wasn’t expecting--” I said idiotically.

Brianna gave me a grin to match her father’s, eyes bright as stars and damp with happiness.

“Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”

“What?” said Jamie blankly.

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 41, "Journey's End". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
The "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition" sketch was first aired on "Monty Python's Flying Circus" on the BBC on September 22, 1970.  Whether Brianna saw it herself (on a visit to Roger in the UK, perhaps?) or only heard about it, we don't know.  But I think it's hilarious. <g>

I hope you enjoyed these Friday Fun Facts! Look here to see all of my Friday Fun Facts blog posts. And please stop by next week for more! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Some interesting news

Diana Gabaldon mentioned something on Facebook and Compuserve recently that I thought many of her fans would be interested in.

She's going to write an e-book, about 40,000 words long, on "how to write sex scenes"!

Here's what she said when I asked about this on Compuserve:
Yes, in light of assorted things--the popularity of the SHADES OF GRAY books and the apparent consequential desire on the part of a number of people to write "smut," among other things--I thought, "OK--but why shouldn't they write _good_ sex scenes?"

    And I'd always intended to put a section in THE CANNIBAL'S ART [an unfinished book about the craft of writing that Diana intends to publish some day] about how to write about sex, AND I've got this little ebook venture going with the novellas, so...

   Yeah.  The text will probably be only about 15,000 words--I mean, it's really not all that complicated <g>--but the rest will be illustrative annotated examples, of which I have a few. <cough>
When I first read her comments, I thought for a moment she'd said "illustrated" examples <g> -- but no, as far as I know there will be no drawings to accompany the text.  But the examples will all come from her own books.

Before you all get too excited, I should point out that this project is just at the beginning stages!  Diana is still writing it, and she hasn't announced either the title or a possible publication date.  But I got the distinct impression that she intends to make this e-book available within the next few months.

And yes, before you ask, of course she's still working on Book 8 (WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD), which should be out in about a year (fall 2013).  Diana often says that working on multiple projects at once helps to keep her from getting writer's block, so this little book on how to write sex scenes shouldn't interfere with MOHB at all.

Also as far as I know, Diana has not read the FIFTY SHADES OF GREY books by E.L. James, but she certainly knows what they're about. <g>

Diana has been collecting suggestions from fans on Compuserve of scenes they'd like to see "deconstructed", as she put it.  For more details, look here.

That's all I know right now.  If I find out more details, I'll post them here.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Fun Facts - 10/12/2012



Here are this week's Friday Fun Facts about Diana Gabaldon's books.  (And check out my new index to all the Friday Fun Facts posts!)



1) St. Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) was "a German writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath."  The image of Hildegard von Bingen shown above comes from an illuminated manuscript called the Rupertsberg SCIVIAS-Codex, dated 1175.  (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Here's Diana Gabaldon's explanation, from the OUTLANDISH COMPANION, of how she came up with the name of Mother Hildegarde in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER:
Mother Hildegarde was another who named herself. Having decided upon her profession and avocation, I set out to write her, and found the name “Hildegarde” being insistently shoved under my nose. Nonsense, I said, I don’t think Hildegarde is even a French name. Surely she ought to be Berthe or Matilde or something. But no, it was “Hildegarde” and nothing else.

Fine, I said, already used to argumentative characters. Have it your way, Hildegarde. We can always change it later, if the copy editor tells me it isn’t French.

A year or two later, I found myself in London, in a store called Past Times, which specializes in the reproduction of art and artifacts from...er...past times. They had a rack of musical recordings, compositions dating from the tenth century to the twentieth, performed on period instruments and according to the performance conditions appropriate to the time of the composition. Finding this interesting, I thumbed through the rack, only to find a tape of songs composed by...one Mother Hildegarde.

Hildegarde von Bingen, to be exact (as I recall, my actual exclamation at the time was, “Ha! So it isn’t French!“). A mystic, a composer--and an abbess--from the twelfth century. But Mother Hildegarde, nonetheless.

(From THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 5, "Where Characters Come From: Mushrooms, Onions, and Hard Nuts". Copyright© 1999 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
St. Hildegard has been in the news very recently, in fact.  On October 7, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named Hildegard von Bingen a "Doctor of the Church" -- one of only 35 people ever to be given this title. According to this article from the Catholic News Agency,
The title of Doctor of the Church is bestowed upon a saint whose writings are deemed to be of universal importance to the Church. The Pope must also declare the individual to be of “eminent learning” and “great sanctity.” Other Doctors of the Church include St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, St. Francis de Sales, and St. Catherine of Siena.
She sounds like a remarkable woman, doesn't she?  It seems very fitting that Diana's Mother Hildegarde should share her name.



2) I had never heard of a rope bed before I read A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES. This article explains how to make your own rope bed, and how to use a wooden "bed key" (like the one shown in the photo above) to tighten the ropes.
I piled up the pillows at the head of the bed--pausing to remove the dirk--then began to climb onto it. I paused again, though, and instead bent to wind the bedkey, tightening the ropes that supported the mattress until the bedstead groaned and the ropes gave a creaking twang.

“Verra canny, Sassenach,” Jamie said behind me, sounding amused.

“Experience,” I informed him, clambering over the newly tautened bed on hands and knees. “I’ve waked up often enough after a night with you, with the mattress folded up round my ears and my arse no more than an inch off the ground.”

“Oh, I expect your arse will end up somewhat higher than that,” he assured me. 

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 7, "James Fraser, Indian Agent". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)



3) Comfrey (shown above) is one of Claire's most useful herbs.  It can be used to treat sprains, bruises, and even broken bones.  Claire often uses comfrey as an ingredient in poultices and salves, but the very first time it's mentioned in the series, just after her arrival at Castle Leoch, we see her brewing a tea with it:
I threw several cloves of peeled garlic into the boiling water with some of the witch hazel, then added the cloth strips to the mixture.  The boneset, comfrey, and cherry bark were steeping in a small pan of hot water set by the fire.  The preparations had steadied me a bit.  If I didn't know for certain where I was, or why I was there, at least I knew what to do for the next quarter of an hour.

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 4, "I Come to the Castle". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Here's an article that explains the medicinal uses of comfrey, including instructions on how to make your own comfrey poultice.



4) The photo above shows the title page from the 1773 edition of Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies.  Click here to see a bigger version, along with a couple of sample pages.  (It's easier to read the 18th-century text if you remember that "s" looks like "f".)  I think it's pretty funny, myself, but see what you think.

This may not be precisely the same edition of Harris's List that William had in ECHO, but it's clearly very simlar:
A general cry of “What book? What book? Let us see this famous book!” resulting, he was obliged to produce the prize of his collection of gifts--a copy of Mr. Harris’s famous List of Covent Garden Ladies, this being a lavishly descriptive catalog of the charms, specialities, price, and availability of the best whores to be found in London.

Its appearance was greeted with cries of rapture, and following a brief  struggle over possession of the volume, William rescued it before it should be torn to pieces, but allowed himself to be induced to read some of the passages aloud, his dramatic rendering being greeted by wolflike howls of enthusiasm and hails of olive pits.

Reading is of course dry work, and further refreshment was called for and consumed. He could not have said who first suggested that the party should constitute itself an expeditionary force for the purpose of compiling a similar list for New York.

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 10, "Fireship". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
If you want to read Harris's List for yourselves, you can look for a copy of this book, published in 2005 by Hallie Rubenhold.  I haven't read it myself, but from the description, it appears to be a sort of greatest-hits collection <g>, featuring "the funniest, ruddiest, and most surreal entries penned by Jack Harris, 'Pimp-General-of-All-England'."



5) Here's an example of an 18th-century commode chair similar to the one Brianna used at River Run while she was pregnant in DRUMS.  The seat cover lifts up or slides forward, and the chamber pot is discreetly hidden in the cupboard underneath.  You can see more photos here.
The commode was magnificent, a beautiful piece of smooth carved walnut that mingled appeal with convenience. Particularly convenient on a rainy, cold night like this. She fumbled sleepily with the lid in the dark, lit by lightning flashes from the window, then sat down, sighing with relief as the pressure on her bladder eased.

Evidently pleased with the additional internal space thus provided, Osbert performed a series of lazy somersaults, making her belly undulate in ghostly waves beneath her white flannel nightgown. She stood up slowly--she did almost everything slowly these days--feeling pleasantly drugged with sleep.

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 59, "Blackmail". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

Here's another style of commode chair from the 18th century, designed to fit into a corner.  It's more elegant in design, made to blend in with the decor of the room as much as possible.  Note the side flaps that lift up to allow easy access to the chamber pot underneath.

Wondering what it looks like on the inside? My sister took a photo of a 19th-century example of one of these commodes when we visited Castle Fraser in Scotland in July.

I suppose if you can't have indoor plumbing (something that I would most definitely miss if I traveled back to the 18th century!), these commodes are about as close as you can get, in terms of comfort and convenience. <g>

I hope you enjoyed these Friday Fun Facts! Look here to see all of my Friday Fun Facts blog posts. And please stop by next week for more! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A TRAIL OF FIRE release date



Today is October 11, which amazon.co.uk has listed for months as the publication date for Diana Gabaldon's new book, A TRAIL OF FIRE.

However....

When I checked the amazon.co.uk page this morning, I found that it was still showing A TRAIL OF FIRE as available for pre-order only.  Which led me to wonder if the 11 October date listed on that page might be an error.

Here's what I've been able to determine so far:
  • The publisher's website says "November 2012".
  • All of the other online sites in the UK that I checked (the Book Depository, Waterstone's, etc.) are showing a release date of 8 November 2012, not 11 October.
  • I've heard from fans in Australia and New Zealand who said their local bookshops are showing the date as 8 November.
  • The Kindle edition is also listed on amazon.co.uk with a release date of 8 November.  (Please note, the Kindle edition of A TRAIL OF FIRE will not be available in the US.)
I asked Diana Gabaldon about the date confusion on Compuserve this morning, and she forwarded my message to her UK editor.  He sent back the following reply:
Sorry, we should have picked this up before, i.e. that Amazon are showing the wrong pub date (correct pub date is indeed 8 November).  It’s right on our system and that should feed through automatically to Amazon but there’s obviously been a glitch somewhere.  We’ll get it fixed right away, but I’m sorry you’ve been getting grief from frustrated and confused readers.
The release date for A TRAIL OF FIRE will be 8 November 2012.

Four more weeks of waiting won't make that much difference, I suppose. <wry g> But I wanted to get the word out about this as soon as possible, because a lot of people who pre-ordered from amazon.co.uk will no doubt be expecting their books to be shipped out this week, and clearly that isn't going to happen.

I hope the launch party at the Poisoned Pen bookstore goes ahead as scheduled on October 23.  But I suspect that it might have to be delayed, now that we have confirmation that the book is not in fact coming out until November 8.  Diana said that she would ask the people at the Poisoned Pen about this later today when she goes there to sign books.  I'll post here if I find out any more information about how this date change might affect the launch party.

Please pass this information on to anyone else you know who may be interested.  Thanks!

UPDATE 10/11/2012 1:43 pm:  The release date has been corrected on the amazon.co.uk page to say 8 November 2012.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Interview with Russell Galen

Here's something a little different.  I stumbled across this recent interview with Diana Gabaldon's literary agent, Russell Galen, and I thought it was very interesting.

Even if you are not a writer or an aspiring writer, you might find Galen's comments worth reading.  Here is what he said about Diana and her books in particular:
The “Outlander” series by my client Diana Gabaldon is a particular favorite of mine.  It is a single unbroken story which currently covers eight volumes and about 2.5 million words, with more to come.  The story covers decades, and during that time its protagonist has gone from a beautiful young woman to a hearty grandmother who still has a sexual appetite that would exhaust most college students. She has changed and grown and deepened over the course of those years while also managing to stay true to her core self, despite war, disease, death, and revolution.

Very few characters are complicated enough, and experience enough growth, to remain interesting for 2.5 million words, and few writers can envision or create such characters. But when they do that’s my perfect literary experience.
You can see the full interview here.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Fun Facts - 10/5/2012



Here are this week's Friday Fun Facts about Diana Gabaldon's books.



1) Here is a diagram of what a heart with a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) looks like, compared to a normal heart.  (Click on the diagram to enlarge it.)  As Claire explained:
The ductus arteriosus is a small blood vessel that in the fetus joins the aorta to the pulmonary artery. Babies have lungs, of course, but prior to birth don’t use them; all their oxygen comes from the placenta, via the umbilical cord. Ergo, no need for blood to be circulated to the lungs, save to nourish the developing tissue--and so the ductus arteriosus bypasses the pulmonary circulation.

At birth, though, the baby takes its first breath, and oxygen sensors in this small vessel cause it to contract--and close permanently. With the ductus arteriosus closed, blood heads out from the heart to the lungs, picks up oxygen, and comes back to be pumped out to the rest of the body. A neat and elegant system--save that it doesn’t always work properly.

The ductus arteriosus doesn’t always close. If it doesn’t, blood still does go to the lungs, of course--but the bypass is still there. Too much blood goes to the lungs, in some cases, and floods them. The lungs swell, become congested, and with diverted blood flow to the body, there are problems with oxygenation--which can become acute. 

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 114, "Amanda". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
The first surgery to repair a PDA was performed by Dr. Robert Gross in 1938 -- and by coincidence, it took place in the Children's Hospital in Boston.  I can easily imagine that baby Mandy might have had her surgery done in that same hospital, forty years later.



2) The coin pictured above is an Irish copper halfpenny from 1766, during the reign of George III.  (Click on the photo for a bigger view.)  This is as close as I could find to the coin described in the following scene from VOYAGER:
"There are moments, Sassenach, when for one copper penny, I’d have ye on the spot, back against the mast and your skirts about your waist, and devil take the bloody crew!”

My fingers convulsed against his palm, and he tightened his grasp, nodding pleasantly in response to the greeting of the gunner, coming past on his way toward the quarter-gallery.

[....]

I drew my hand out of my pocket, having found what I was looking for. I took his hand and pressed the object into his palm. He stared down at the image of King George III in his hand, then up at me.

"On account," I said.  "Let's go and eat."

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 44, "Forces of Nature". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)



3) The devices shown above are witch-pricking needles, used in the 16th and 17th centuries as a means of testing for witchcraft.  As Geillis Duncan told Claire,
"Witches canna feel pain,” Geilie explained. “Nor do they bleed when they’re pricked.” The witch-pricker, equipped with a variety of pins, lancets, and other pointed implements, was charged with testing for this condition. I vaguely recalled something of this from Frank’s books, but had thought it a practice common to the seventeenth century, not this one. On the other hand, I thought wryly, Cranesmuir was not exactly a hotbed of civilization.

“In that case, it’s too bad there won’t be one,” I said, though recoiling slightly at the thought of being stabbed repeatedly. “We could pass that test with no difficulty. Or I could,” I added caustically. “I imagine they’d get ice water, not blood, when they tried it on you.”

“I’d not be too sure,” she said reflectively, overlooking the insult. “I’ve heard of witch-prickers with special pins--made to collapse when they’re pressed against the skin, so it looks as though they don’t go in.”

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 25, "Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
In the illustration above, the device in the middle appears to be one such retractable needle.

What were the witch-prickers looking for, exactly?  From Wikipedia:
Being found to have [a witches' mark] was considered undeniable proof of being a witch. All witches and sorcerers were believed to have a witches' mark waiting to be found. A person accused of witchcraft was brought to trial and carefully scrutinized. The entire body was suspect as a canvas for a mark, an indicator of a pact with Satan. Witches’ marks were commonly believed to include moles, scars, birthmarks, skin tags, supernumerary nipples, natural blemishes and insensitive patches of skin. Experts, or Inquisitors, firmly believed that a witches’ mark could be easily identified from a natural mark; in light of this belief, protests from the victims that the marks were natural were often ignored.
And if you happen to be a time-traveler with a mysterious mark on your arm?  I think Claire was very lucky that there was no witch-pricker in Cranesmuir.



4) This is a male frigate bird, similar to the one that Claire saw in VOYAGER just after her escape from the Porpoise:
The bird stopped preening and eyed me censoriously. Then he lifted his beak into the air, puffed his chest, and as though to further establish his sartorial superiority, suddenly inflated a large pouch of brilliant red skin that ran from the base of his neck halfway down his body.
 

“Bwoom!” he said, repeating the cannon-like noise that had startled me before. It startled me again, but not so much.

“Don’t do that,” I said irritably. Paying no attention, the bird slowly flapped its wings, settled back on its branch, and boomed again.

There was a sudden harsh cry from above, and with a loud flapping of wings, two more large black birds plopped down, landing in a mangrove a few feet away. Encouraged by the audience, the first bird went on booming at regular intervals, the skin of his pouch flaming with excitement.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 50, "I Meet a Priest". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Here's a brief video showing the male frigate bird's courtship display.



You can learn more about frigate birds here.



5) This is a hairstyle worn by Marie Antoinette, who became Queen of France in 1774. For a time in the 1770s, it was fashionable for upper-class ladies to wear very, very elaborate hairstyles.  But why sailing ships, of all things?  Here's one explanation:
One of the most fashionable hairstyles of the eighteenth century, À la Belle Poule, commemorated the victory of a French ship over an English ship in 1778. À la Belle Poule featured an enormous pile of curled and powdered hair stretched over a frame affixed to the top of a woman's head. The hair was then decorated with an elegant model of the Belle Poule ship, including sails and flags.



So it makes sense that the hairdresser helping Claire prepare for the Mischianza in May, 1778, would have put her hair up in a style that was all the rage that year among the nobility.  But I'm VERY glad that she roused herself from the fog of grief and depression long enough to refuse to wear such a thing.
John had presented me with the gown this morning, as well as summoning a hairdresser to deal with me from the neck up. I’d shut my eyes, rather shocked at how enjoyable the man’s fingers felt in my hair--but still more shocked when he handed me a looking glass and I saw a towering confection of curls and powder, with a tiny ship perched in it. Full-rigged.

I’d waited ’til he left, then hurriedly brushed it all out and pinned it up as simply as I could. John had given me a look, but said nothing.

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 98, "Mischianza". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
If you do a Google image search on "Marie Antoinette ship hair", you'll find many more examples.  The satirists of the day appear to have found these extravagant coiffures highly entertaining.  Take a look at this page, which has a number of illustrations from the period.  I think some of the drawings are hilarious!

I hope you enjoyed these Friday Fun Facts! Look here to see all of my Friday Fun Facts blog posts by date, or here to see the new index of all of the topics I've covered so far.  And please come back next week for more!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

OUTLANDER e-book bundle!



Starting October 29, 2012, Diana Gabaldon's US publisher, Random House, will be offering a special e-book bundle of the 7 OUTLANDER novels for $49.99.  Thanks to Carmen on Compuserve for letting me know about this!

If you don't already own the OUTLANDER e-books, or you know an OUTLANDER fan who will be getting an e-reader in the near future, this sounds like a very good deal.  The individual e-books for the OUTLANDER series are currently selling for $8.99 each, so this bundle would save you about 25%.

The 7-book bundle will be available for Kindle and Nook, and possibly other e-readers as well.  I have no idea if it's being offered outside the US, though.

Please pass the word to anyone you know who may be interested.  Thanks!

UPDATE 10/13/2012 7:08 pm:  The publication date for this e-book bundle has changed to 10/29/2012.

Monday, October 1, 2012

New poll about A TRAIL OF FIRE

September Poll Results

Here are the results of the September poll:

Who is your favorite animal from Diana Gabaldon's books?
  • 57.77% - Rollo
  • 15.11% - Adso
  • 8.72% - Donas
  • 8.29% - Clarence
  • 6.3% - The White Sow
  • 1.73% - Gideon
  • 0.43% - Gustav
  • 0.43% - Judas
  • 0.35% - Hiram
  • 0.09% - Lucas
  • 0.78% - Other
Here are the comments for "Other":
  • Bouton
  • Jenny's sheep
  • none of the animals!!
  • Hiram and Rollo can't just pick one
  • Jerusha
  • Rollo and Adso
  • all the above
  • Too hard to choose....
  • Can't choose - tie between Rollo and Donas
The results of this poll are not a surprise -- I had a feeling that Rollo would win by a wide margin -- but I'm delighted by the number of responses!  There were 1158 votes in this month's poll, which is far more than the previous record.  Thanks very much to all of you who participated!



October Poll:  A TRAIL OF FIRE

I hope you'll take a moment to vote in the October poll, which is all about Diana Gabaldon's new book, A TRAIL OF FIRE, which is due out later this month in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.  For more about A TRAIL OF FIRE, look here.