Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Fun Facts - 5/30/2014



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



1) Pennyroyal (scientific name Mentha pulegium) is a perennial herb, the smallest member of the mint family. (Photo credit: Gardenology.org.)  It was widely used for centuries as a medicinal herb.  According to Culpeper's Complete Herbal, published in 1814:
Being boiled and drank, it provokes women's courses, and expels the dead child and after-birth, and stays the disposition to vomit, being taken in water and vinegar mingled together. And being mingled with honey and salt, it voids phlegm out of the lungs, and purges melancholy by the stool. Drank with wine, it helps such as are bitten and stung with venomous beasts, and applied to the nostrils with vinegar, revives those that are fainting and swooning. Being dried and burnt, it strengthens the gums. It is helpful to those that are troubled with the gout, being applied of itself to the place until it was red; and applied in a plaister, it takes away spots or marks in the face.
Unfortunately, pennyroyal is highly toxic when ingested. The most common use of pennyroyal today is as a natural insect repellent, as we saw in DRUMS OF AUTUMN:
The bugs had been a ubiquitous plague. I inspected Jamie’s skin minutely every morning, picking voracious ticks and wood fleas from his crevices, and anointed all of the men liberally with the juice of crushed pennyroyal and tobacco leaves. This kept them from being devoured alive by the clouds of mosquitoes, gnats, and carnivorous midge that hung in the sun-tinged shadows of the woods, but it didn’t prevent the hordes of inquisitive bugs from driving them mad with a constant tickling inquiry into ears, eyes, noses, and mouths.

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 2, "In Which We Meet a Ghost". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.) 


2) This photo shows a hip bath made from galvanized tin.  This example dates from the 19th century, but I imagine the ones used in Jamie and Claire's time would have been similar.
As the door closed behind the maid, Jamie relaxed into the tub, high at the back to allow for lounging; the feeling of the times seemed to be that once having gone to the trouble of filling a bath, one might as well enjoy it. His stubbled face assumed an expression of bliss as he sank gradually lower into the steaming water, a flush of heat reddening his fair skin. His eyes were closed, and a faint mist of moisture gleamed across the high, broad cheekbones and shone in the hollows beneath his eyesockets.

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 17, "Possession". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
These hip baths were rather small by our standards today (not being designed to immerse the whole body at once), and would have been quite cramped for a man of Jamie's size!  Imagine Jamie soaking in that bathtub in Paris, with his legs dangling over the side. <g>



This is a bathtub used by King George III at Kew Palace.  For more information, look here.



3) This photo shows what bridies look like. (Photo credit: browningsthebakers, on Flickr.)
A bridie was a plump hot pie in a half-moon shape, filled with minced steak and suet and spiced with onion. A rush of hot, rich juice and flaky pastry filled her mouth, and she closed her eyes in bliss.

“The food was either terribly bad or terribly good,” Claire had said, describing her adventures in the past. “That’s because there’s no way of keeping things; anything you eat has either been salted or preserved in lard, if it isn’t half rancid--or else it’s fresh off the hoof or out of the garden, in which case it can be bloody marvelous.”

The bridie was bloody marvelous, Brianna decided, even if it did keep dropping crumbs down the top of her bodice.

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 35, "Bon Voyage". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
These tasty meat-filled pastries are sometimes known as Forfar bridies, for the town in Scotland where they originated.  I've only tried one once, at a Highland Games a few years ago in North Carolina, but I thought it was delicious.  If you'd like to try making them yourself, check out Brianna's Bridies from Outlander Kitchen, or look here for another recipe.



4) This is the memorial to those who fell in battle at Prestonpans, in September 1745.
I furrowed my brow, trying to recall every last scrap of information. I could conjure a mental picture of the small, tattered brown copy of A Child’s History of England, read by the flickering light of a kerosene lantern in a mud hut somewhere in Persia. Mentally flicking the pages, I could just recall the two-page section that was all the author had seen fit to devote to the second Jacobite Rising, known to historians as “the ’45.” And within that two-page section, the single paragraph dealing with the battle we were about to fight.

“The Scots win,” I said helpfully.

“Well, that’s the important point,” he agreed, a bit sarcastically, “but it would be a bit of help to know a little more.”

“If you wanted prophecy, you should have gotten a seer,” I snapped, then relented. “I’m sorry. It’s only that I don’t know much, and it’s very frustrating.”

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 36, "Prestonpans". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
From Wikipedia:
To prevent a surprise attack during the night, [the English General] Cope kept fires burning in front of his position and posted no less than 200 dragoons and 300 infantry as pickets. At the crack of dawn however, at 6 am on 21 September 1745, Cope's dragoons beheld the spectacle of 1,400 Highlanders charging through the early mist making "wild Highland war cries and with the bloodcurdling skirl of the pipes...."
For more information about the history of the battle, look here and here.



You may have heard about the Prestonpans Tapestry, a series of 104 handmade tapestry panels commemorating the battle.  The tapestry was completed in 2010.  You can see a slideshow of the panels here.  The panel shown above depicts the wounded men from both sides being cared for after the battle, just as we saw in DRAGONFLY. (Click on the photo for a bigger view.)



5) Here's a video of "Birnie Bouzle", performed by Drinkers Drouth.
"Don’t forget your guitar!” Bree called after [Roger] as he headed for the door. He glanced back at her, surprised.

“What?”

“Da wants you to sing. Wait, he gave me a list.”

“A list? Of what?” To the best of Roger’s knowledge, Jamie Fraser paid no attention whatever to music. It rankled him a bit, in fact, though he seldom admitted it--that his own greatest skill was one that Fraser didn’t value.

“Songs, of course.” She furrowed her brow, conjuring up the memorized list. “He wants you to do ‘Ho Ro!’ and ‘Birniebouzle,’ and ‘The Great Silkie’--you can do other stuff in between, he said, but he wants those--and then get into the warmongering stuff."

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 23, "The Bard". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I had never heard of this song before I read THE FIERY CROSS, but I like it very much.  You can see the lyrics here.

I hope you enjoyed these Friday Fun Facts! Look here to see all of my Friday Fun Facts blog posts.

*** IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT ***

This will be the last all-new installment of the Friday Fun Facts for a few months. With the publication of WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD only days away now, and the TV series premiere on August 9, I'm going to be extremely busy trying to manage the discussions on Compuserve, and I just won't have the time to do the research that the FFF requires.

However, I do intend to post occasional "Best of the FFF" collections, as I've done in the past. (You can see the previous collections here.)

I'm not necessarily stopping for good; I'm sure that the new book will provide lots of entertaining bits that would make good FFF topics, and eventually, when things calm down online, maybe I'll do a post or two focusing on MOHB.  But for now, I really need a break from it.

Thanks very much to all of you for your support and encouragement over the past 28 months!  It's immensely gratifying to me to see how much everyone (including Diana Gabaldon) enjoys my Friday Fun Facts.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Preview of MOHB audiobook!



Recorded Books has released a preview of the audio version of Diana Gabaldon's WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD, narrated by Davina Porter!

The release date for the audiobook is scheduled for June 10, 2014, the same day as the print and e-book editions will be published.  You can pre-order the audio version on audible.com here.  (Please note, I have no information on availability of the audiobook outside the US.)

*** SPOILER WARNING ***

This excerpt is about 12 minutes long, and appears to be part of Chapter 3.

Don't click on the link below unless you want to hear the excerpt!

http://www.recordedbooks.com/mp3s/WrittenInMyOwnHeartsBlood.mp3

I can't wait to listen to the whole book!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Help celebrate World OUTLANDER Day!



A number of OUTLANDER blogs and fan-sites will be celebrating Sunday, June 1, 2014 as World OUTLANDER Day.  Apparently this started with a German blogger (here), but the idea is catching on, and I wanted to mention it here in case the rest of you want to participate.

The idea is to celebrate All Things OUTLANDER, of course, and to say thank you to Diana Gabaldon for creating this amazing story. <g>

If you're on Twitter, please tag your tweets on June 1 with #WorldOutlanderDay. And this is a great opportunity to share your favorite OUTLANDER-related photos on Facebook and other social-media sites. I will definitely be participating, although I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do to mark the occasion.

Please help spread the word to any other OUTLANDER fans you may know! Thanks.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day quotes

In honor of today's observance of Memorial Day in the US, here are a few quotes from Diana Gabaldon's books honoring those who fell in battle:

1) The first is from DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, after the battle of Prestonpans:
I found them at length some distance up the hill behind the church. Jamie was sitting on a rock, the form of Alexander Kincaid cradled in his arms, curly head resting on his shoulder, the long, hairy legs trailing limp to one side. Both were still as the rock on which they sat. Still as death, though only one was dead.

I touched the white, slack hand, to be sure, and rested my hand on the thick brown hair, feeling still so incongruously alive. A man should not die a virgin, but this one did.

"He's gone, Jamie," I whispered.

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


2) The next quote is also from DRAGONFLY, from the scene in the beginning where Roger and Brianna visit the battlefield at Culloden:
"Heather," Roger said. "It's more common in the summer, when the heather is blooming--then you'll see heaps like that in front of every clan stone. Purple, and here and there a branch of the white heather--the white is for luck, and for kingship; it was Charlie's emblem, that and the white rose."

"Who leaves them?" Brianna squatted on her heels next to the path, touching the twigs with a gentle finger.

"Visitors." Roger squatted next to her. He traced the faded letters on the stone--FRASER. "People descended from the families of the men who were killed here. Or just those who like to remember them."

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 4, "Culloden". Copyright ©1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


3) Here is a bit from the battle of Moores Creek Bridge, in ABOSAA, a reminder that men do terrible things in battle. I can't even imagine what Jamie felt like, killing a man he once considered his friend.
Major Donald MacDonald floundered, rising halfway in the water. His wig was gone and his head showed bare and wounded, blood running from his scalp down over his face. His teeth were bared, clenched in agony or ferocity, ther was no telling which. Another shot struck him and he fell with a splash--but rose again, slow, slow, and then pitched forward into water too deep to stand, but rose yet again, splashing frantically, spraying blood from his shattered mouth in the effort to breathe.

Let it be you, then, lad, said the dispassionate voice. He raised his rifle and shot MacDonald cleanly through the throat. He fell backward and sank at once.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 113, "The Ghosts of Culloden". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
4) And this is from Lord John's visit in "Haunted Soldier" with the parents of a lieutenant killed at the battle of Crefeld.  Regardless of the circumstances, there's no easy way to deliver news like that:
"I saw your son for the first time only moments before his death," he said, as gently as he could. "There was no time for talk. But I can assure you, sir, that he died instantly--and he died bravely, as a soldier of the king. You--and your wife, of course--may be justly proud of him."

(From LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS by Diana Gabaldon, Lord John and the Haunted Soldier, Part I, "Inquisition". Copyright© 2007 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


5) And finally, here's a quote from THE FIERY CROSS that reminds us that Memorial Day is not just about honoring the fallen, but also honoring all those who have served in our armed forces:
"Many of us died in battle," he said, his voice scarcely audible above the rustle of the fire. "Many died of burning. Many of us starved. Many died at sea, many died of wounds and illness." He paused. "Many died of sorrow."

His eyes looked beyond the firelit circle for a moment, and I thought perhaps he was searching for the face of Abel MacLennan. He lifted his cup then, and held it high in salute for a moment.

"Slàinte!" murmured a dozen voices, rising like the wind. "Slàinte!" he echoed them--then tipped the cup, so that a little of the brandy fell into the flames, where it hissed and burned blue for an instant's time.

He lowered the cup, and paused for a moment, head bent. He lifted his head then, and raised the cup toward Archie Hayes, who stood across the fire from him, round face unreadable, fire sparking from his silver gorget and his father’s brooch.

"While we mourn the loss of those who died, we must also pay tribute to you who fought and suffered with equal valor--and survived."

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 15, "The Flames of Declaration". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Wishing all of you in the US a happy Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend sale on Zazzle!

Looking for OUTLANDER-related T-shirts or other items for Diana Gabaldon's book-signings or other fan gatherings this summer?  All products in my Zazzle store are 20% off, through midnight Pacific time on May 26, 2014 when you use the code LANDOFDAFREE at checkout.







Go here to see all the items in my Outlandish Observations store on Zazzle.com.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The latest news!

Lots of OUTLANDER-related news in the last several days!  Here's a brief summary:

1) Here's a very interesting video interview from Access Hollywood with Tobias Menzies, who plays Frank and Black Jack Randall.

Tobias seems very charming, maybe a bit intimidated by the fans! (Or it could be that he's just shy.) I think he's going to be AMAZING as Frank and BJR. <g>



2) Here's the latest installment in the "How to Speak OUTLANDER" video series. This week's phrase: "Dinna fash!"



3) Diana Gabaldon spent this past week in Los Angeles attending the LA Screening Week, where they showed the first episode of OUTLANDER to TV network executives from all over the world.  You can see her account of her experiences here:

Part 1
Part 2



4) Here's Diana Gabaldon with the brand-new, hot-off-the-presses, first-ever copy of WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD! She looks so excited to have her "baby" in her hands at long, long last. That must be an amazing feeling!

Just a little more than two weeks to go until the rest of us will get to see it, too!!

5) I asked Diana this morning on Compuserve how long MOHB turned out to be, and she said:
825 pages, 145 chapters.  Nine sections.
That's just a bit longer than ECHO, which was 814 pages in the hardcover.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Fun Facts - 5/23/2014



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



1) This photo shows a freshwater pearl mussel (scientific name Margaritifera margaritifera). This is the type of mussel that produced the pearls in Claire's necklace:
Ignoring Dougal’s fuming, [Jamie] drew a short string of white beads from his sporran. He stepped forward and fastened the necklace around my neck. Looking down, I could see it was a string of small baroque pearls, those irregularly shaped productions of freshwater mussels, interspersed with tiny pierced-work gold roundels. Smaller pearls dangled from the gold beads.

“They’re only Scotch pearls,” he said, apologetically, “but they look bonny on you.”

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 14, "A Marriage Takes Place". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I was surprised and saddened to learn that these freshwater mussels are critically endangered.  From Wikipedia:
More than half the world's [remaining] population exists in Scotland with populations in more than 50 rivers, mainly in the Highlands, although illegal harvesting has seriously affected their survival. 75% of sites surveyed in 2010 had suffered "significant and lasting criminal damage" and in response the police and Scottish Natural Heritage have launched a campaign to protect the species.
Fishing for these freshwater pearl mussels has been illegal in the UK since 1998, but the species is still very much endangered.  For more information, look here and here.  There's also an interesting short video on the BBC website here.




2) This is an ether mask, manufactured in Edinburgh circa 1900. (Photo credit: Hunterian Museum.)  According to this site:
Ether is applied from a drop bottle to an open mask covered with multilayered gauze. During induction 12 drops/minute are applied for 2 minutes, then 1 drop/second until the patient loses consciousness (usually within 5 minutes). The rate is subsequently adjusted to provide the required depth of anaesthesia. Deep levels of surgical anaesthesia cannot be achieved with this technique in less than 20-30 minutes.


Here's another example of an ether mask, from the Museum of Healthcare in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. According to the description:
The anaesthetic mask pictured here, designed by Dr. Sydney Yankauer (1872-1932) – an American laryngologist and prolific inventor of medical equipment – became a standard medical tool after it was introduced around 1904. Its chrome-plated wire frame supports a tear-shaped mesh form. Gauze was draped over the frame and held in place using a spring. Ether would have been dropped onto the gauze by a trained health care provider in order to achieve the desired level of anaesthesia.
Claire obviously had this type of ether mask in mind when she designed her homemade version:
Brianna, clever with her hands, had made the mask to my specifications, woven of oak splits. It was simple enough, a sort of double cage, hinged so that the two halves of it swung apart for the insertion of a thick layer of cotton wool between them, and then back together, the whole thing shaped to fit like a catcher’s mask over the patient’s nose and mouth.

“Put enough ether on to dampen the cotton wool all through,” I instructed Malva. “We’ll want it to take effect quickly.”

“Aye, ma’am. Oh, it does smell queer, doesn’t it?” She sniffed cautiously, face turned half away as she dripped ether onto the mask.

“Yes. Do be careful not to breathe too much of it yourself,” I said. “We don’t want you falling over in the midst of an operation.”

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES  by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 42, "Dress Rehearsal". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


3) This is Saracen's consound (broad-leaved ragwort), also known as Senecio saracensis or Senecio fluviatilis. (Photo credit: Cladoniophile, on Flickr.)  You may recall that Master Raymond advised Claire to treat Mary Hawkins with it, following her rape in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER:
[Master Raymond] laid out a gauze square on the counter and poured a handful of finely shredded dried leaves into the center of it. A sharp, pleasant tang rose from the small heap of grayish-green vegetation.

“This is Saracen’s consound,” he said, skilfully folding the gauze into a tidy square with the ends tucked in. “Good for soothing irritated skin, minor lacerations, and sores of the privy parts. Useful, I think?"

"Yes, indeed,” I said, a little grimly. “As an infusion or a decoction?”

“Infusion. Warm, probably, under the circumstances."

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 20, "La Dame Blanche". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
According to Culpeper's Complete Herbal, published in 1814:
Being boiled in wine, and drank, it helps the indisposition of the liver, and freeth the gall from obstructions; whereby it is good for the yellow jaundice and for the dropsy in the beginning of it, for all inward ulcers of the reins, mouth or throat, and inward wounds and bruises, likewise for such sores as happen in the privy parts of men and women; being steeped in wine, and then distilled, the water thereof drank, is singularly good to ease all gnawings in the stomach, or other pains of the body, as also the pains of the mother: and being boiled in water, it helps continual agues; and the said water, or the simple water of the herb distilled, or the juice or decoction, are very effectual to heal any green wound, or old sore or ulcer whatsoever, cleansing them from corruption, and quickly healing them up.
In modern times, ragwort is known mainly as a weed that is poisonous to grazing animals such as cattle and horses.



4) This photo shows an RAF Spitfire PR XIX of the type used during World War II for photo reconnaissance, just as we saw in "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows".
"Get as close as you can manage with a chance of coming back, all right? The cameras may be worth even more than you are."

That got a faint chuckle from Malan. Pilots--especially trained pilots--were valuable. The RAF had plenty of planes now, but nowhere near enough pilots to fly them.

He’d be taught to use the wing cameras and to unload the film safely. If he was shot down but was still alive and the plane didn’t burn, he was to get the film out and try to get it back over the border.

(From "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows" by Diana Gabaldon. Copyright© 2010 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


This photo shows an RAF photographer fitting two F24 8" focal-length cameras into a blister under a wing of a Mk IC Photo-Reconnaissance Spitfire, circa 1939-1940.

Here's a very interesting documentary, 3D Spies of WWII, that aired in 2012 on the PBS series "Nova".  The program goes into great detail about the Spitfire pilots, their role in aerial photo-reconnaissance, how the millions of photos they took were analyzed and interpreted, and how the information contained in those photos helped the Allies defeat the Nazis in WWII.  Fascinating stuff! I think Jerry MacKenzie would be very proud to know that his fellow Spitfire photo-reconnaissance pilots played such an important part in helping to defeat the Nazis.  And I'm sure Jerry would have been right there with them, had fate and a stone circle not intervened. <g> The full-length video is almost an hour long, but it's well worth watching.

For more information, look here and here.



5) Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516) was a Dutch painter whose most famous work (pictured above) is a triptych called "The Garden of Earthly Delights".
I would as soon not have five or ten extra people in my house for the winter, either, but I wasn’t sure it could be avoided.

The Governor’s letter had been quite specific; all able-bodied men in the backcountry were to be mustered as militia troops and to report to Salisbury by mid-December.

That left very little time for house-building. Still, I hoped Jamie had some plan for relieving the congestion; Adso the kitten had taken up semipermanent residence in a cupboard in my surgery, and the scene in the kitchen was quickly assuming its usual daily resemblance to one of the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch.

At least the kitchen had lost its early morning chill with so many bodies crowded into it, and was now comfortably warm and noisy.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 22, "The Fiery Cross". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Claire has a tendency toward hyperbole. <g> Still, looking at this set of paintings, crammed full of people, you can definitely get a sense of what she means!

Look here to see a much bigger view of the "Garden of Earthly Delights". It's a remarkably intricate and detailed work of art, full of fantastical images of people, birds, and animals.  For a detailed analysis, including close-up views, look here.

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

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Australian version of OUTLANDER trailer

Here's the Australian version of the OUTLANDER trailer.



I like this version better than the one that was released in the US a couple of weeks ago, mostly because this version doesn't have the (very annoying, IMHO) modern music playing in the background!

Australian fans please note: The OUTLANDER TV series will be shown on Foxtel's SoHo Channel, but we don't yet know the premiere date.

For more information about the OUTLANDER TV series, see my FAQ page here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

5000 followers on Facebook!



I'm celebrating a blogging milestone today:  My Outlandish Observations Facebook page now has 5000 followers!!

THANK YOU ALL!!  I really appreciate your support!

Monday, May 19, 2014

#WorldwideTVNeedsOUTLANDER on Twitter TODAY!



Reminder: The #WorldwideTVNeedsOutlander event is TODAY (May 19) from 1pm - 3pm ET (10am - noon PT, 6pm - 8pm GMT).  If you're on Twitter, please tag your tweets with #WorldwideTVNeedsOutlander to show your support for Diana Gabaldon's fans around the world who want to see the OUTLANDER TV series in their countries.

As of right now, only the US, Canada, and Australia have announced plans to air the series.  Obviously we'd like to have it shown in many, many other countries, and this is a great opportunity to get the attention of the international TV network executives who are in a position to make that happen. Thanks to Outlander Ambassadors for organizing this effort!

Let's see if we can get #WorldwideTVNeedsOutlander trending again! Please help spread the word to anyone you know who may be interested. Thanks.

If you haven't seen it already, I would really recommend that you read Diana Gabaldon's latest blog post about the TV series, which contains more information for international fans.

For more about the OUTLANDER TV series, see my FAQ page here.

Update 5/19/2014 7:42 pm: Thanks to everyone who participated in today's event! From what I understand, it trended in the following geographical areas:  US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Netherlands, Italy, France ....and even Worldwide (!)  Great job, everybody! If that doesn't get the attention of the TV network executives all over the world, I don't know what would.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Cover art for US tie-in edition of OUTLANDER!



This is the cover art for the special TV-series tie-in paperback edition of OUTLANDER that will be published in the US on July 1, 2014, just in time for the TV series premiere on STARZ on August 9.

Click on the picture for a bigger view.  (Please note, this is the US version of the cover.  It may be slightly different in other countries, but we don't know yet.)

My reaction: Sam/Jamie looks like a rather forbidding character in that photo -- thoroughly dangerous, and surprisingly grim, to the point where I wonder if it might give people the wrong impression of him.

Caitriona/Claire looks intelligent, wary, but not frightened.  And she's definitely a beautiful woman, even bedraggled as she appears in this photo.

In case you're wondering, Diana Gabaldon was the one who chose this particular cover photo. (She said so on Compuserve last night.)  Please take the time to read Diana's latest blog post for answers to some of the common questions about this book.

[UPDATE 7/1/2014 6:01 am] The TV tie-in edition is now available!  You can purchase the book from Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or check with your local bookstore. 


I'm not sure I'm going to bother actually buying the TV tie-in edition, but I'll definitely take a good look at it in the bookstore!

What do you the rest of you think?

For more information about the OUTLANDER TV series, see my FAQ page here.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday Fun Facts - 5/16/2014



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



1) This is an example of an 18th-century art form known as the portrait miniature. In the era before the invention of photography, such miniatures were extremely popular.  This portrait of Susan Mary Farington, painted by an unknown artist around 1792, always makes me think of the "Lady, with Brown Hair Curling Luxuriantly", from DRAGONFLY IN AMBER.
"A Lady," [Frank] said softly, cradling the last of the portraits in his palm, shielding it for the moment. "With brown hair curling luxuriantly to her shoulders, and a necklace of pearls. Undated. The artist unknown."

It was a mirror, not a miniature. My cheeks were flushed, and my lips trembled as Frank's finger gently traced the edge of my jaw, the graceful line of my neck. The tears welled in my eyes and spilled down my cheeks as I heard his voice, still lecturing, as he laid down the miniature, and I stared upward at the timbered ceiling.

"Undated. Unknown. But once...once, she was real."

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 10, "A Lady, with Brown Hair Curling Luxuriantly". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Most 18th-century miniatures were painted in watercolor on ivory. Here is a slideshow of miniatures from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You can see many more examples here.

From Wikipedia:
On 28 April 1733, there was a terrible destruction of portrait miniatures in a fire at White's Chocolate and Coffee House [in London]. Sir Andrew Fountaine rented two rooms at White's to temporarily hold his huge collection of portraits done by Hilliard, the Olivers, Samuel Cooper, and others. The entire house burned down; the number of paintings destroyed was so large that the ashes were carefully sifted to recover the gold from the incinerated mountings of the miniatures.
For more about the history of miniatures, look here and here.



2) The inscription inside Claire's silver wedding ring reads, "Da mi basia mille" -- Give me a thousand kisses.  It's a quote from a poem by Gaius Valerius Catullus, a Roman poet who lived from about 84 BC - 54 BC.

Jamie recited part of this poem to Claire in OUTLANDER:
A faint blush pinkened his earlobes as he translated:

Then let amorous kisses dwell
On our lips, begin and tell
A Thousand and a Hundred score
A Hundred, and a Thousand more.

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 20, "Deserted Glades". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
The Latin verse, known as "Catullus 5", is as follows (with the part Jamie quoted to Claire highlighted):
Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus,
rumoresque senum severiorum
omnes unius aestimemus assis!
soles occidere et redire possunt;
nobis, cum semel occidit brevis lux,
nox est perpetua una dormienda.
Da mi basia mille, deinde centum,
dein mille altera, dein secunda centum,

deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum;
dein, cum milia multa fecerimus,
conturbabimus illa, ne sciamus,
aut ne quis malus invidere possit
cum tantum sciat esse basiorum.
Catullus dedicated this poem to his lover, known by the pseudonym of Lesbia. You can see the full English translation here.  And here is an interesting blog post about Catullus and his poetry.



3) This illustration shows a boy with congenital syphilis, like the child Claire and Bree encountered at the Gathering in FIERY CROSS:
“Syphilis? You’re sure?”

I nodded, rolling up a length of boiled linen for bandaging. It was still very damp, but no help for it.

“The mother wasn’t showing overt signs of the late stages--yet--but it’s quite unmistakable in a child.”

The mother had come simply to have a gumboil lanced, the little boy clinging to her skirts. He’d had the characteristic “saddle nose,” with its pushed-in bridge, as well as a jaw so malformed that I wasn’t surprised at his poor nutrition; he could barely chew. I couldn’t tell how much of his evident backwardness was due to brain damage and how much to deafness; he appeared to have both, but I hadn’t tested their extent--there being exactly nothing I could do to remedy either condition. I had advised the mother to give him pot liquor, which might help with the malnutrition, but there was little else to be done for him, poor mite.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 3, "Bilious Humours". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


This is Treponema pallidum, the bacterium that causes syphilis. (Photo from Wikipedia.)

In addition to the nasal deformity, children born with syphilis often have what are known as Hutchinson's teeth: peg-shaped, notched incisors.

For more information about congenital syphilis, look here and here.



4) This photo shows the ancient Roman baths at Bath, England. (Photo credit: Lynn Suckow, on Flickr.)  The water is green due to the presence of algae.

I love Hal's description in AN ECHO IN THE BONE of his experience "taking the waters" in Bath. It always makes me laugh.
I'm not dead. Wish I were. Bath is vile. I am daily wrapped in canvas and carried off like a parcel to be sunk in boiling water that smells of rotten eggs, then hauled out and forced to drink it, but Minnie says she will divorce me by petition in the House of Lords on the grounds of insanity caused by immoral acts if I don't submit. I doubt this, but here I am.

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 32, "A Flurry of Suspicion". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
They really did drink the spa water, for its supposed health benefits.  According to this site,
In early modern Britain, visitors to spas such as Bath swam just like the Romans had, but they also drank the waters, filling glass and ceramic bottles at street-level pumps that purported to offer access to liquid not already paddled in by bathers.  That didn’t mean that people considered the waters to be pleasant. Bath visitor Celia Fiennes complained in the 1670s that water from the spring was “very hot and tastes like the water that boyles eggs, has such a smell.”
For more about Bath's hot spring, look here.



5) This photo, from Wikipedia, shows a piper in Edinburgh playing the Great Highland Bagpipes.
There was a piper walking next to me; I could hear the creak of the bag under his arm and see the outline of the drones, poking out behind. They moved as he walked, so that he seemed to be carrying a small, feebly struggling animal.

I knew him, a man named Labhriunn MacIan. The pipers of the clans took it in turns to call the dawn at Stirling, walking to and fro in the encampment with the piper’s measured stride, so that the wail of the drones bounced from the flimsy tents, calling all within to the battle of the new day.

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 43, "Falkirk". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


This diagram shows what the different parts of the bagpipes are called. For more information, look here. For more about the history of bagpipes, look here.

Finally, I thought this video (from the College of Piping in Prince Edward Island, Canada) was too cute not to share.



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

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Speak Outlander Lesson 9: "Tùlach Àrd!"

Here's Part 9 of the "How to speak OUTLANDER" video series.  This one features Gary Lewis (Colum) and Graham McTavish (Dougal) teaching the rest of us the correct way to say the MacKenzie war cry, "TÙLACH ÀRD!" (Which means something like "the high hill", I think.)



I really enjoyed this one, and I think the rest of you will, too! (I love the costumes.)

You can see the rest of the "Speak OUTLANDER" videos on YouTube here.

For more information about the OUTLANDER TV series, see my FAQ page here.

Worldwide TV needs OUTLANDER!



This week in Los Angeles, a number of TV executives from around the world will be seeing episodes of the OUTLANDER TV series for the first time.  As of right now, only the US, Canada, and Australia have announced plans to air the series.  Obviously we'd like to have it shown in many, many other countries, and this is a great opportunity to get the attention of the international TV network executives who are in a position to make that happen.

Outlander Ambassadors is planning another #WorldwideTVNeedsOUTLANDER Twitter campaign on Monday, May 19, 2014, from 1 pm - 3 pm ET (that's 10 am - noon PT, 6 pm - 8 pm GMT).

If you're on Twitter, please tag your tweets on May 19 with #WorldwideTVNeedsOUTLANDER!  We'd love to see it trending again! Please help spread the word to anyone you know who may be interested. Thanks!

If you haven't seen it already, I would really recommend that you read Diana Gabaldon's latest blog post about the TV series, which contains more information for international fans.

For more about the OUTLANDER TV series, see my FAQ page here.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!



Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!  Here are a few of my favorite quotes about motherhood from Diana Gabaldon's books.  Hope you enjoy them!

1) Marsali, in an advanced state of pregnancy, and five-year-old Germain:
She leaned back a little and pushed a hand firmly into the side of her mound. Then she seized Germain's hand and put it on the spot. Even from where I stood, I could see the surge of flesh as the baby kicked vigorously in response to being poked.

Germain jerked his hand away, startled, then put it back, looking fascinated, and pushed.

"Hello!" he said loudly, putting his face close to his mother's belly. "Comment ça va in there, Monsieur L'Oeuf?"

"He's fine," his mother assured him. "Or she. But babies dinna talk right at first. Ye ken that much. Félicité doesna say anything but 'Mama' yet."

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 27, "The Malting Floor". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
2) I like the realistic depictions of breastfeeding in these books, even though I've never had kids of my own.  Here's Claire with Brianna, age three months:
Brianna burrowed into the front of my red chenille dressing gown making small voracious grunting noises.

"You can't be hungry again," I said to the top of her head. "I fed you not two hours ago." My breasts were beginning to leak in response to her rooting, though, and I was already sitting down and loosening the front of my gown.

"Mrs. Hinchcliffe said that a baby shouldn't be fed every time it cries," Frank observed. "They get spoilt if they aren't kept to a schedule."

It wasn't the first time I had heard Mrs. Hinchcliffe's opinions on child-rearing.

"Then she'll be spoilt, won't she?" I said coldly, not looking at him. The small pink mouth clamped down fiercely, and Brianna began to suck with mindless appetite. I was aware that Mrs. Hinchcliffe also thought breast-feeding both vulgar and insanitary. I, who had seen any number of eighteenth-century babies nursing contentedly at their mothers' breasts, didn't.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 3, "Frank and Full Disclosure". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
3) Jamie lost his mother at a very young age, but he hasn't forgotten her:
I had heard what he said to the plover he released. Though I had only a few words of Gaelic, I had heard the old salutation often enough to be familiar with it. “God go with ye, Mother," he had said.

A young mother, dead in childbirth. And a child left behind. I touched his arm and he looked down at me.

“How old were you?” I asked.

He gave me a half-smile. “Eight,” he answered. “Weaned, at least."

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 17, "We Meet a Beggar". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.) 
4) Bree's reaction on the night before Claire goes back through the stones, when she thinks she'll never see her mother again:
"It's like--there are all these things I don't even know!" she said, pacing with quick, angry steps.  "Do you think I remember what I looked like, learning to walk, or what the first word I said was? No, but Mama does! And that's so stupid, because what difference does it make, it doesn't make any difference at all, but it's important, it matters because she thought it was, and...oh, Roger, if she's gone, there won't be a soul left in the world who cares what I'm like, or thinks I'm special not because of anything, but just because I'm me! She's the only person in the world who really, really cares I was born, and if she's gone..."  She stood still on the hearthrug, hands clenched at her sides, and mouth twisted with the effort to control herself, tears wet on her cheeks.  Then her shoulders slumped and the tension went out of her tall figure.

"And that's just really dumb and selfish," she said, in a quietly reasonable tone. "And you don't understand, and you think I'm awful."

"No," Roger said quietly. "I think maybe not."  He stood and came behind her, putting his arms around her waist, urging her to lean back against him.  She resisted at first, stiff in his arms, but then yielded to the need for physical comfort and relaxed, his chin propped on her shoulder, head tilted to touch her own.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 22, "All Hallows' Eve". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
5) Roger's mother saved his life in the moments before she died in the Bethnal Green tube station collapse in March, 1943.
"She let go my hand,” he said. The words came more easily now; the tightness in his throat and chest was gone. “She let go my hand...and then she picked me up. That small woman--she picked me up, and threw me over the wall. Down into the crowd of people on the platform below. I was knocked mostly out by the fall, I think--but I remember the roar as the roof went. No one on the stair survived."

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 98, "Clever Lad". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.) 
6) And finally, here is my favorite Mother's Day quote from the whole series:
“Did I ever think to thank ye, Sassenach?" he said, his voice a little husky.

“For what?" I said, puzzled. He took my hand, and drew me gently toward him. He smelled of ale and damp wool, and very faintly of the brandied sweetness of fruitcake.

“For my bairns," he said softly. "For the children that ye bore me."

"Oh," I said. I leaned slowly forward, and rested my forehead against the solid warmth of his chest. I cupped my hands at the small of his back beneath his coat, and sighed. "It was...my pleasure."

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 13, “Beans and Barbecue". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

One month and counting!



One month and counting until the publication of Diana Gabaldon's WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD!  The countdown below is measuring the time until midnight Eastern time on June 10, 2014.



For more information about WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD, please see my FAQ page here.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #7



Here are this week's Friday Fun Facts about Diana Gabaldon's books. This is a collection of some of my favorite items from previous FFF posts. I hope you enjoy them!



1) This photo, from Britannica.com, shows the courtship coloration of a male mandrill (scientific name, Mandrillus sphinx).  Mandrills are the largest species of monkey, and certainly the most colorful!
"What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen? An animal, I mean. A non-human animal,” I added, thinking of Dr. Fentiman’s ghastly collection of pickled deformities and “natural curiosities.”

“Strange by itself? Not deformed, I mean, but as God meant it to be?” He squinted into the sea, thinking, then grinned. “The mandrill in Louis of France’s zoo."

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 30, "Ships that Pass in the Night". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Here's a short video from the BBC's "Planet Wild" about mandrills.



For more about mandrills, look here and here.



2) 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 2012.

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>



3) I didn't know until I read THE FIERY CROSS that lavender can be used to alleviate migraine symptoms.
"D’ye think Mrs. Claire would have some lavender left?” Duncan asked, turning to Roger.

“Aye, I know she has,” Roger replied. His puzzlement must have shown on his face, for Duncan smiled and ducked his head diffidently.

“’Twas a thought I had,” he said. “Miss Jo suffers from the megrims, and doesna sleep sae well as she might. I mind, my mither had a lavender pillow, and said she fell asleep like a babe the moment she laid her head upon it. So I thought, perhaps a bit o’ velvet--so as she could feel it against her cheek, aye?--and perhaps Mrs. Lizzie would stitch it up for me....”

In sickness and in health . . .

Roger nodded his approval, feeling touched--and slightly shamed--by Duncan’s thoughtfulness.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 4, "Wedding Gifts". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Here are some simple instructions for making a lavender pillow.

For more about the use of lavender in treating migraine symptoms, look here and here.



4) I had never heard of the Wendigo before I read A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES.
"What kind of name is Weddigo?” Ian asked, putting [Donner's drawing] down.

Brianna had been clutching her pencil so tightly that her knuckles were white. She unfolded her hand and put it down, and I saw that her hands were shaking slightly.

“Wendigo,” she said. “It’s an Ojibway cannibal spirit that lives in the wood. It howls in storms and eats people.”

Ian gave her a long look.

“Nice fellow,” he said

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 55, "Wendigo". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
According to this site,
It cannot be emphasized enough that the Wendigo constantly hungers for human flesh, and no matter how much it eats, it always feels as if it is starving to death. So powerful is this hunger that the Wendigo goes forth crashing through the forests and uprooting trees, causing game animals to stampede, and causing whirlwinds. The monster is often thought to be the cause of ice storms, tornadoes, and violent weather. All of these weather-related events are believed to be signs of the creature's presence.
There is even a medical condition known as Wendigo psychosis.  From Wikipedia:
The term "Wendigo psychosis"....refers to a condition in which sufferers developed an insatiable desire to eat human flesh even when other food sources were readily available....One of the more famous cases of Wendigo psychosis involved a Plains Cree trapper from Alberta, named Swift Runner. During the winter of 1878, Swift Runner and his family were starving, and his eldest son died. Twenty-five miles away from emergency food supplies at a Hudson's Bay Company post, Swift Runner butchered and ate his wife and five remaining children.  Given that he resorted to cannibalism so near to food supplies, and that he killed and consumed the remains of all those present, it was revealed that Swift Runner's was not a case of pure cannibalism as a last resort to avoid starvation, but rather of a man suffering from Wendigo psychosis. He eventually confessed and was executed by authorities at Fort Saskatchewan.
One more thought about Donner in ABOSAA:  It's not only his first name that carries the association with cannibalism! His surname recalls the infamous Donner party of 1846, a group of pioneers headed for California who resorted to cannibalism after they became trapped in the Sierra Nevada in winter.

For more about the Wendigo, look here.



5) Here is a video of Johnny Cash performing "Folsom Prison Blues".  You can see the lyrics here.
Jem was hanging round, too, bored and poking his fingers into everything. He was singing to himself, half under his breath; she paid no attention, until she happened to catch a few words.

What did you say?” she asked, rounding on him incredulously. He couldn’t have been singing “Folsom Prison Blues”--could he?

He blinked at her, lowered his chin to his chest, and said--in the deepest voice he could produce--“Hello. I’m Johnny Cash."

She narrowly stopped herself laughing out loud, feeling her cheeks go pink with the effort of containment.

“Where did you get that?” she asked, though she knew perfectly well. There was only one place he could have gotten it, and her heart rose up at the thought.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 99, "Old Master". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I always have to laugh at the thought of Jem, age 5 or so, doing an imitation of Johnny Cash.  I like to think he and Roger must have watched Johnny Cash on TV, or listened to his records, when they went back to the 20th century.

I hope you enjoyed this 7th installment of the Best of the Friday Fun Facts! Here are the previous collections:

Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #1
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #2
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #3
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #4
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #5
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #6

Look here to see all of my Friday Fun Facts blog posts. And please come back next week for more!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

OUTLANDER premieres August 9 at 9pm on STARZ!



It's official: STARZ has announced the US premiere date for the OUTLANDER TV series! 

August 9, 2014 (Saturday) at 9pm ET/PT!!

I like that poster very much! I think it gets across Claire's dilemma very effectively.

Here's Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, announcing the Big News (photo from @OUTLANDER_STARZ on Twitter).



And here's a delightful little video from Access Hollywood: describe OUTLANDER in three words.

In case you're wondering, no, we still have no idea when the TV series will premiere in any other countries. (It's going to be shown on Showcase in Canada, and on Foxtel's SoHo channel in Australia.) And we have heard nothing yet about the availability of the series outside the US, Canada, and Australia. I promise I'll post as soon as I hear anything!

[UPDATE 5/10/2014 8:19 am: See Diana Gabaldon's blog post here for more information about international availability of the TV series.]

For more information about the OUTLANDER TV series, see my FAQ page here.

UK publication date has changed to 10 June!



Important update for OUTLANDER fans in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand!

According to the website of Orion Books (Diana Gabaldon's UK publisher), WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD will be published on 10 June 2014.

In other words, the UK edition is now scheduled to be published the same day that the book comes out in the US and Canada.

Diana Gabaldon's comment about this on Compuserve (posted in the wee hours of this morning) was:
So far, no one's said anything to me--but no one's at work in New York, and the UK probably won't be at their desks for another couple of hours.  I'll inquire.  (I wouldn't be even vaguely surprised, though.)
If I hear back from Diana with confirmation of the date change, I will update this post. But I'm presuming it's accurate unless she says otherwise.

For more information about WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD, please see my FAQ page here.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Interview on ET Canada



Here's a video interview that appeared recently on ET Canada. Thanks to Mandy on Compuserve for the link!

It's always great to see Diana, Sam, and Caitriona talking about the TV show.  But I think this is the first time we've seen Tobias Menzies (who plays Frank and Black Jack Randall) in a TV interview.

If you're in Canada, you can see the original video here. The TV series will air on Showcase in Canada.

For more information about the OUTLANDER TV series, see my FAQ page here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Favorite chapter titles



What are some of your favorite chapter titles from Diana Gabaldon's books, and why?  What is it about them that makes some titles especially noteworthy?

Some of them stand out on re-reading because you know the chapter contains a wonderful scene.  "The First Law of Thermodynamics", from DRUMS OF AUTUMN, or "Hearthfire", from FIERY CROSS, for example.  Just seeing those chapter titles can put me in a good mood, knowing what's coming. <g>

Some of them are allusions to 20th-century pop culture.  "Strangers in the Night" from FIERY CROSS, for example; I always get the Sinatra song stuck in my head for days after I listen to that chapter. <g>  Also "Bottom of the Ninth", from DRUMS (the chapter where Jemmy is born).

Some send chills of foreboding up my spine just seeing the title. "Timor Mortis Conturbat Me", from DRAGONFLY, always has that effect on me, especially since I thought to look up the translation of the Latin phrase. <shudder>

Some are just funny, or unexpected plays on words. "Three-Thirds of a Goat", from FIERY CROSS, with the reference to the "ghost" chapter titles in DRUMS, always makes me smile.

And some are baffling, unless viewed in context.  "Oenomancy" (divination by wine), from ECHO, made no sense at all to me until I read the chapter.  Ditto for "Amplexus", in SCOTTISH PRISONER.

What about the rest of you?  Do you have a favorite chapter title or two?  And what is it that makes them so memorable?  (Please note: let's leave the chapter titles from WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD out of this discussion, since not everyone wants to see them ahead of time.)