Tuesday, September 29, 2015

OUTLANDER Season 1 Vol. 2 Blu-ray/DVD is out!



The DVD and Blu-ray of the 2nd half of OUTLANDER Season 1 (covering episodes 109-116) is now available!

You can order from Amazon (DVD or Blu-ray), or look for it wherever DVDs are sold.

For more information about the contents of the Blu-ray and DVD, look here.

PLEASE NOTE: If you bought the Blu-ray Collector's Edition of OUTLANDER Season 1 Volume 1, there is a cardboard "place-holder" in the box that is intended for the second half of the season.  When you get your copy of the Volume 2 Blu-ray, simply remove the cardboard from the Collector's Edition box and insert Volume 2, so you'll have a complete set of Season 1 in one box.

NOTE IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE THE US: The links above are for the US version only. For the UK version, which contains all 16 episodes, look here.

I will be getting my copy later today, and I'll post my reactions to the "extras" and special features later this week.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Good news for UK fans!



Good news today for UK fans!  First of all, the Collector's Edition of OUTLANDER Season 1 is now available on Blu-ray and DVD!  (This is the complete Season 1, all 16 episodes.)

Here's the description of the Collector's Edition, from Amazon.co.uk:
A specially curated Deluxe Collector’s Edition will also be available for Outlander fans to own early on 28 September on DVD and Blu-ray. In addition to extensive special features, the Deluxe Collector’s Edition boasts exclusive packaging with a gold foiled slip case, five collectible art cards and a 64-page book with photographs, excerpts from the script and an introduction from author Diana Gabaldon."
Please note: the regular DVD/Blu-ray version will not be released until October 26, but the Collector's Edition is available now.

Also, Amazon.co.uk is running a contest where UK fans can win a visit to the set of the OUTLANDER TV series! Contest ends Sunday, October 4th. Look here for the entry form and more information about the contest.

Please pass this information along to anyone you know in the UK who might be interested. Thanks!

Friday, September 25, 2015

OUTLANDER Soundtrack Vol. 2 is now available!



Volume 2 of the OUTLANDER Soundtrack, featuring music by Emmy-nominated composer Bear McCreary, is now available!

You can order from Amazon or iTunes. (Note to those of you outside the US: I have no information on international availability.)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Deleted scene from Episode 110



Here's an early peek at one of the deleted scenes on the OUTLANDER Season 1 Vol. 2 Blu-ray and DVD, courtesy of EW.com:

http://www.ew.com/article/2015/09/24/outlander-season-1-deleted-scene

This scene comes from Episode 110, "By the Pricking of My Thumbs".

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"I'm no stable-boy.  I'm the Laird of Lallybroch."  Yes, and surely Claire should know that by this time, after all the time they spent on their wedding night talking about Jamie's family!

I'm really looking forward to seeing the rest of the "extras" and deleted scenes when the Season 1 Volume 2 Blu-ray comes out on September 29!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Prestonpans



This is the memorial to those who fell in battle at Prestonpans, Scotland, on September 21, 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.  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.)

I'm really looking forward to seeing these events depicted in Season 2 of the OUTLANDER TV series!

Friday, September 18, 2015

In memoriam



September 18 is the 237th anniversary of a very tragic event in the OUTLANDER series.

* * * SPOILER WARNING!! * * *

If you haven't read Diana Gabaldon's WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD (Book 8 of the OUTLANDER series), there are SPOILERS below!

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Henri-Christian's death in WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD was so sudden, and so unexpected, that even now, fifteen months after the book was published, I still can't quite believe it really happened.

Rather than dwelling on the circumstances of his death, or why Diana Gabaldon chose to write it this way, I would prefer to remember little Henri-Christian as he was in happier times.  Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

1) Remember our first introduction to wee Monsieur L'Oeuf?
[Marsali] 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?"

(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 have always found Jamie's unconditional acceptance of Henri-Christian very moving.
"I’d told Marsali to bring the wee lad, and after we’d eaten, I took him on my knee, and had them all come and touch him, just to see.”

He smiled lopsidedly.

“One of the lads asked me was it true, what Mr. Roger said, about the wean belonging to the Lord? I told him I certainly wouldna argue with Mr. Roger about that--but whoever else he belonged to, Henri-Christian belongs to me, as well, and best they should remember it."

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 64, "I Am the Resurrection, Part 2". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
3) Following in his father's footsteps, at four years old:
"Want to see a trick, Grandmère?" Henri-Christian croaked eagerly. Marsali was right; he did sound like a constipated bullfrog. I nodded, though, and, hopping off my lap, he pulled three small leather bags stuffed with bran out of his pocket and began at once to juggle them with amazing dexterity.

"His da taught him," Marsali said, with a certain amount of pride.

"When I'm big like Germain, Da will teach me to pick pockets, too!"

Marsali gasped and clapped a hand over his mouth.

"Henri-Christian, we dinna ever speak o' that," she said sternly. "Not to anybody. D'ye hear?"

He glanced at me, bewildered, but nodded obediently.

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 87, "Severance and Reunion". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
4) This bit makes me laugh. God, I miss this kid!
"That'll do, Henri! A Dhia, the state of you! Go find one o' your sisters and tell her to wash your hands for ye, aye?"

Henri looked at his hands, as though astonished to find them completely black.

"Oui, Maman," he said, and, cheerfully wiping them on his breeches, scampered out into the kitchen, bellowing, "Félicité! Come wash me!" at the top of his lungs.

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 111, "A Distant Massacre". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
5) This next quote makes my heart ache so much for poor Germain! What a terrible burden of guilt for a ten-year-old boy to bear.
"I promised Maman, when he was born, I said I would never leave him."

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 68, "Savages". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
6) I can't even imagine what it must feel like to lose a child.
The bench beside me creaked, and Jenny sat down. Wordless, she put her arm about my shoulder, and equally wordless, I bent my head to hers and we wept for a bit--not only for Henri-Christian but for the babies we each had lost, my stillborn Faith, her infant Caitlin. And for Marsali, now joining us in this sorrowful kinship.

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 121, "Walking on Coals". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
RIP, Henri-Christian Fraser!  We miss you.

Monday, September 14, 2015

10 things I've learned from bumblebee-herding

Seven years ago today, on September 14, 2008, I became Section Leader (moderator) in Diana Gabaldon's section of the Compuserve Books and Writers Community, which is the online forum where Diana hangs out.  (Look here for a description of what that role involves.)

Diana refers to what I do on Compuserve as "herding the bumblebees". I love that image -- herding bumblebees is harder than herding cats! -- but as I often say, the trick to bumblebee-herding is to do it without getting stung. <g>



I have learned a tremendous amount in the last seven years about how to manage a large and constantly shifting group of forum members.  Here are ten of my favorite tips, techniques, and strategies for bumblebee-herding. I think most of these could be applied to managing any online community, Facebook group, etc.

10 Things I've Learned from Bumblebee-Herding

1) Keeping discussions organized and on-topic is an art, not a science, and it takes time and practice to learn how to do it effectively.

2) You can't please everybody. Inevitably, some people will disagree with your decisions. Don't take it personally.

3) Trust your own judgment.

4) Encourage people to ask questions. Even if the topic has been discussed many times before, there will always be newcomers who haven't seen the previous posts.

5) Make an effort to acknowledge new people and make them feel welcome. This is especially important in a group where many of the members have known each other for a long time.

6) Nobody's perfect. Even bumblebee-herders make mistakes from time to time. <g> It's OK to admit it if you screw up.

7) Lead by example. Be polite and show that you have a sense of humor, and most people will reciprocate.

8) Discussions tend to run in cycles. If you hit a rough patch, try to remember "this too shall pass".

9) Even in the midst of the busiest "thread explosions", take a break once in a while.  "Me time" is important! (I made a conscious effort to do this during the TV-series discussions in April and May, and it definitely helped.)

10) Don't be afraid to yell for help if you need it.

This past year on Compuserve has been quite a challenge for me, but I'm still enjoying my role on the forum tremendously!

Friday, September 11, 2015

ShelterBox campaign to help Syrian refugees

This week marks two years since the announcement of Caitriona Balfe's casting as Claire!

In honor of the occasion, Cait has asked OUTLANDER fans to do something in support of the Syrian refugees.  The Caitriots are supporting ShelterBox, which provides emergency life-saving food and shelter to homeless/displaced people to help keep families safe until longer term needs can be addressed.


Click on the picture above to get a closer look at the contents of a typical ShelterBox.

For more information about the assistance ShelterBox provides, look here.

If you'd like to make a donation, please visit the Caitriots team page on ShelterBox.  (Please note, I don't know if the site accepts donations from people outside the US.)

If you have questions, you can contact April Steele or Gayla Cole on Facebook.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

REPOST: Unusual words in Diana Gabaldon's books



I have always been fascinated by Diana Gabaldon's use of obscure or unusual words in her writing.  Here are a few of my favorites, in alphabetical order:

absquatulation (A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES)
amplexus (THE SCOTTISH PRISONER)
borborygmi (THE FIERY CROSS)
castrametation (WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD)
coccygodynia (DRUMS OF AUTUMN)
extravasated (LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER)
frenulum (WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD)
fridstool (THE SCOTTISH PRISONER)
horripilation ("A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows")
oenomancy (AN ECHO IN THE BONE)
poltroon (DRAGONFLY IN AMBER)
stultiloquy (AN ECHO IN THE BONE)

What about the rest of you?  Is there a particular word or phrase that you encountered for the first time in one of Diana Gabaldon's books or stories? Feel free to post a comment here or on my Outlandish Observations Facebook page.

Diana makes no secret of the fact that she loves unusual words. Look here for a post on Compuserve from 2008 in which she talks about it in some detail.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Update on the Official OUTLANDER Coloring Book



Here's the cover of the upcoming Official OUTLANDER Coloring Book, due out October 27, 2015.

You can pre-order from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Personally I think Jamie looks like a teenager in this picture. Too bad they couldn't have used a drawing of Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe!

For those of you who don't know, this is a coloring book intended for adults. Look here for more information.

UPDATE 9/7/2015 8:22 pm: Diana Gabaldon has posted a detailed explanation about the coloring book on her Facebook page.  I would definitely encourage you to read the whole thing!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Black Jack Randall quotes



Today, September 3, is Jonathan Wolverton Randall's birthday.  What an unforgettable, unspeakably evil character! Tobias Menzies is just mesmerizing as Black Jack Randall in the OUTLANDER TV series.

I thought I'd mark the occasion with a few quotes from Diana Gabaldon's books.  (Warning, there are SPOILERS below if you haven't read all of the OUTLANDER books! Read at your own risk.)

1) Claire, just after leaving Jamie in Wentworth:
By now I had sufficient command of myself to speak, and I did so. I stepped back a pace, so that the torchlight fell full on me, for I wanted him to remember my face.

“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.)
2) Jamie's memory of Wentworth makes me shudder all over:
The voice did not come at first; for a moment he hoped it would not--perhaps it had been long enough...but then it was there again, whispering in his ear as though it had never left, its insinuations a caress that burned his memory as once they had burned his skin.

"Gently at first," it breathed. "Softly. Tender as though you were my infant son. Gently, but for so long you will forget there was a time I did not own your body."

The night stood still around him, paused as time had paused so long before, poised on the edge of a gulf of dread, waiting. Waiting for the next words, known beforehand and expected, but nonetheless...

"And then," the voice said, loving, "then I'll hurt you very badly. And you will thank me, and ask for more."

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 48, "Away in a Manger". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
3) Claire and BJR in DRAGONFLY:
"I wonder, you know," he said. "Whether you have had from him as much as I?" He tilted his head to one side, sharp features coming into focus as he moved out of the shadow. The fugitive light caught him momentarily from the side, lighting the pale hazel of his eyes and making them shine, like those of a beast glimpsed hiding in the bushes.

The note of triumph in his voice was faint, but unmistakable.

"I," he said softly, "I have had him as you could never have him. You are a woman; you cannot understand, even witch as you are. I have held the soul of his manhood, have taken from him what he has taken from me. I know him, as he now knows me. We are bound, he and I, by blood."

I give ye my Body, that we Two may be One...

"You choose a very odd way of seeking my help," I said, my voice shaking.

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 38, "A Bargain With the Devil". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
4) Many of you will remember this bit from Episode 106, "The Garrison Commander".  I thought it was really well done, but I missed Claire's last line.
He drew back his arm and hit me in the pit of the stomach.

I made no noise, because I had no breath. I sat on the floor, doubled over, struggling to draw air into my lungs. I was shocked far beyond the actual pain of the blow, which was beginning to make itself felt, along with a wave of giddy sickness. In a fairly eventful life, no one had ever purposely struck me before.

The Captain squatted down in front of me. His wig was slightly awry, but aside from that and a certain brightness to his eyes, he showed no change from his normal controlled elegance.

“I trust you are not with child, Madam,” he said in a conversational tone, “because if you are, you won’t be for long.”

I was beginning to make a rather odd wheezing noise, as the first wisps of oxygen found their way painfully into my throat. I rolled onto my hands and knees and groped feebly for the edge of the table. The corporal, after a nervous glance at the captain, reached down to help me up.

Waves of blackness seemed to ripple over the room. I sank onto the stool and closed my eyes.

“Look at me.” The voice was as light and calm as though he were about to offer me tea. I opened my eyes and looked up at him through a slight fog. His hands were braced on his exquisitely tailored hips.

“Have you anything to say to me now, Madam?” he demanded.

“Your wig is crooked,” I said, and closed my eyes again.

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 12, "The Garrison Commander". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
5) Who exactly is BJR referring to in this next quote? His brother Alex Randall, or Alex MacGregor?  We don't know, and Diana Gabaldon isn't saying. But it's fun to speculate!
"I canna think why I did it. But I put my arms about him, and we just lay still for a bit. He stopped crying, finally, and kissed me and stroked me. Then he whispered to me, ‘Tell me that you love me.’ ” He paused in the recital, smiling faintly..

“I would not do it. I dinna know why. By then I would ha’ licked his boots and called him the King of Scotland, if he’d wanted it. But I wouldna tell him that. I don’t even remember thinking about it; I just--wouldn’t.” He sighed and his good hand twitched, gripping the coverlet.

“He used me again--hard. And he kept on saying it: ‘Tell me that you love me, Alex. Say that you love me.’ ”

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 40, "Absolution". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
6) I always find this bit from the opening of VOYAGER oddly reassuring:
There was a rustle near [Jamie's] ear, and he turned his head to see the crow. It stood on the grass a foot away, a blotch of wind-ruffled black feathers, regarding him with a bead-bright eye. Deciding that he posed no threat, it swiveled its neck with casual ease and jabbed its thick sharp bill into Jack Randall’s eye.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 1, "The Corbies' Feast". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Happy Birthday, BJR -- and may you rot in hell where you belong!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Would you go through the stones, if you could?

The topic of this month's poll is "Would you go through the stones, if you could?"

What do you think?  Would you go?  If not, why not?  Please leave a comment here or on my Outlandish Observations Facebook page.

August poll results

Here are the results of the August poll, which asked the question, "How long have you been reading Diana Gabaldon's books?"
  • 15.77% - Since OUTLANDER was first published.
  • 14.49% - 6 months to 1 year
  • 12.53% - 20+ years
  • 11.28% - 15-20 years
  • 9.58% - 1-2 years
  • 9.10% - Less than 6 months
  • 9.07% - 5-10 years
  • 8.69% - 10-15 years
  • 7.50% - 2-5 years
  • 0.61% - I haven't read any of Diana Gabaldon's books, but I've watched the OUTLANDER TV series.
  • 0.32% - I read excerpts of her work on Compuserve before OUTLANDER was published.
  • 1.06% - Other
Here are the responses for "Other":
  • read all after tv series aired
  • I read Outlander mid1990s, and series twice since 2014
  • found Outlander at the library in "new books".. I was hooked!!
  • Since The TV Series
  • I've read all 8 since May. Incredible writing.
  • Discovered Outlander by accident at Costco and haven't looked back!
  • I've read all 8 of her books in the past year
  • I am Claire
  • i have read all 8 books in 3 mo waiting for the 9th
  • I haven't read her books but intend to now. I loved the 1st 8 episoces!!!
  • Just finished rereading all the Outlander titles.
  • Read first book over 20yrs ago, 2-5 in last 3 mos.
  • audio books
  • I read it in galley form
  • Not reading them anymore
  • ive read all of dianas books . she is a wonderful writter
  • Read boyh books and watched the show
  • Not long enough!!!!!
  • Read all 8 during 1st Droughtlander phase ;)
  • I read all 8 of the Outlander series in 2 weeks
  • Outlander 90s, then all read February to April thi
  • advanced readers edition b4 1st released
  • Started in April. Finished in early June. Now 2nd
  • Start reading the books after becom Tv series fan
  • but i haven't stopped since I started...
  • I bought the books and read them after the STARZ s
  • I read part of the first book . Love the series
  • But was called cross ditch then
  • Since seeing the show last April - I'm on #7 now
  • Since Crosstich was first published
  • Started reading when TV series started
  • and now again with re-reads!
  • Since ten years, over and over again, no ending...
There were 3120 responses to this month's poll, which is one of the highest totals for any poll I've ever done. Thanks very much to everyone who participated!

I thought the results of this poll were very interesting. I was rather startled by the number of people (15.77%) who said they've been reading the OUTLANDER books since they were first published in 1991. On the other end of the spectrum, almost 24% of the respondents found the series within the last year, since the premiere of the OUTLANDER TV series.

I didn't vote in the poll myself, but I've been reading (and re-reading, and re-listening to) Diana Gabaldon's books since November 2006, which is more than 8 1/2 years.

Please take a moment to vote in the September poll, which asks, "Would you go through the stones, if you could?" Thanks!