Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!



As we prepare to ring in 2017, I thought it would be appropriate to have an old-fashioned Hogmanay celebration, as they might have celebrated it on Fraser's Ridge 240 years ago.



This picture shows a cabin built around 1820 near Grandfather Mountain, NC (very close to where Fraser's Ridge is supposed to be located).  This is very much the way I picture the original cabin on the Ridge.
A firstfoot was to bring gifts to the house: an egg, a faggot of wood, a bit of salt--and a bit of whisky, thus insuring that the household would not lack for the necessities during the coming year.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 35, "Hogmanay". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I can't participate in a first-footing myself, even if I lived in Scotland (redheads being considered extremely bad luck on such an occasion), but I'd like to share these small tokens with you anyway.






Here's an article about Hogmanay Traditions in Scotland.  From what I can tell, the Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh are an even bigger deal than New Year's Eve in New York's Times Square.

My mom and I plan to toast the New Year with a bottle of Glenfiddich that I bought in Scotland last summer. <g>

Happy New Year, and best wishes to all of you in 2017!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Year in Review



2016 has been an unforgettable year for OUTLANDER fans all over the world!  Here are some of the highlights of the past year:



January 7 - The People's Choice Awards are announced. Caitriona Balfe wins the Favorite Actress in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category, and OUTLANDER wins Favorite Cable TV Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show.



January 28 - Sophie Skelton is cast as Brianna!



February 25 - Entertainment Weekly publishes a cover story on OUTLANDER, featuring a provocative (and controversial!) photo of Sam and Cait. Diana Gabaldon's response to this photo is definitely worth reading.



March 31 - STARZ releases a video recapping the highlights of all 16 episodes of Season 1 in only six minutes. I thought they did an excellent job with it. Well worth watching!



April 8 - Diana Gabaldon's novella, "Virgins", is published as a standalone e-book in the US and Canada. For more information about "Virgins", see my FAQ page here.



April 9 - Season 2 premieres on STARZ!



April 9 - mid-July - I call this period "The Great Thread Explosion of 2016". Keeping up with all of the discussion of the Season 2 episodes on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community (which is the online forum where Diana Gabaldon hangs out) was quite a challenge for me personally.  Diana refers to what I do on the forum as "herding the bumblebees", which is an image that always makes me smile. It turned into a full-time job for a while, and by the time the season came to an end, I was quite exhausted. But I'm delighted with the way it all worked out.

If you want to see the episode discussions on Compuserve, look here for the complete list.

Here are my Season 2 episode recaps:

Episode 201: Through a Glass, Darkly
Episode 202: Not in Scotland Anymore
Episode 203: Useful Occupations and Deceptions
Episode 204: La Dame Blanche
Episode 205: Untimely Resurrection
Episode 206: Best Laid Plans...
Episode 207: Faith
Episode 208: The Fox's Lair
Episode 209: Je Suis Prest
Episode 210: Prestonpans
Episode 211: Vengeance is Mine
Episode 212: The Hail Mary
Episode 213: Dragonfly in Amber



May 25 -  STARZ announces that all of their original programming (including OUTLANDER) will be moving from Saturdays to Sundays. (Yes, this means that Season 3 will be shown on Sunday nights in the US.)



May 31 - Diana Gabaldon's WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD (Book 8 in the OUTLANDER series) is released in mass-market paperback format -- that's the small size paperback -- in the US and Canada.



June 1 - In celebration of World OUTLANDER Day, and the 25th anniversary of OUTLANDER's publication, STARZ announces that OUTLANDER has been renewed for Seasons 3 and 4!



June 18 - Episode 211, "Vengeance is Mine", premieres on STARZ. This is the episode that Diana Gabaldon wrote. She described that process in detail on her website here. Diana spent three weeks in Scotland in November 2015 on the set of OUTLANDER, watching the filming of her episode. Here's her detailed account of what it was like. (Hint: cold and wet, most of the time!)

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4



July 1-10 - I visited Scotland for the second time, along with my brother and sister-in-law. Getting there turned out to be quite an adventure in itself, but I made it, and we had a wonderful time! (Here I am at Glencoe, one of my favorite places in Scotland.)

Here's my detailed account of the trip:

My trip to Scotland (Prologue)
My trip to Scotland (Part 1)
My trip to Scotland (Part 2)
My trip to Scotland (Part 3)
My trip to Scotland (Part 4)

July 4 - Diana Gabaldon announces the title of Book 9 of the OUTLANDER series: GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE.



August 5 - Inspired by the Summer Olympics in Rio, I posted a collection of quotes on the theme of OUTLANDER Olympics. I was really pleased with the reaction to it!



August 16 - Diana Gabaldon's non-fiction e-book on how to write sex scenes, titled I GIVE YOU MY BODY... is published. For more information, please see my FAQ page. 

August 21 - Filming begins on OUTLANDER Season 3!



September 16 - My dad, Chuck Henry, passed away at age 79, after a two-year battle with multiple myeloma. I miss him so much!



October 18 - THE MAKING OF OUTLANDER: The Official Guide to Seasons One & Two, by Tara Bennett, is published. This is a terrific book, packed with behind-the-scenes details, photos, and interviews with cast members. Highly recommended!



October 22 - November 18 - The 2nd Annual Droughtlander Photo Contest was a big success, with 266 entries submitted! Thanks so much to everyone who participated. You can see the slideshow of the contest entries here.



November 1 - OUTLANDER Season 2 is released on Blu-ray and DVD!



November 21 - Diana Gabaldon's story collection, SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL, now has an official publication date of June 27, 2017. The collection will include:

"The Custom of the Army" (originally published in 2010)
"A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows" (originally published in 2010)
"A Plague of Zombies" (originally published in 2011)
"The Space Between" (originally published in 2012)
"Virgins" (originally published in 2013)
"A Fugitive Green" (new story about Hal and Minnie in 1744)
"Besieged" (new story about Lord John and his mother Benedicta)

Look here for more information, including pre-order links.



November 23 - In honor of the 10th anniversary of my discovery of the OUTLANDER books, I posted my Top 10 OUTLANDER Moments.



December 14 - My Outlandish Observations Facebook page now has more than 9,000 followers!!

December 26 - My blog has a new custom web address: OutlandishObservations.com!

What an incredible year this has been! I'm delighted to see all the new people who've found their way here in recent months.  Thanks to ALL of you who take the time to visit Outlandish Observations, and I wish you all the best in 2017!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Introducing OutlandishObservations.com!

I'm pleased to announce that Outlandish Observations now has a new custom web address!

http://www.outlandishobservations.com

If you have this site saved in your Favorites or Bookmarks, please make a note of the new URL. All of the links should automatically redirect from the old location at outlandishobservations.blogspot.com.

The change may take a few hours to go into effect worldwide, so if you have any problems, please try again later.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

REPOST: Christmas quotes from the OUTLANDER books

Here are some Christmas-themed quotes from Diana Gabaldon's books. This has become an annual tradition here on Outlandish Observations, and I hope you enjoy them. Merry Christmas to all of you who are celebrating this week!

* * * SPOILER WARNING * * *

If you haven't read all of Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER books, you may find SPOILERS below! Read at your own risk.



1) It's hard to imagine, from our 21st-century perspective, anyone losing track of the date this close to Christmas. But Roger had a lot of other things on his mind....
"What's the occasion? For our homecoming?"

She lifted her head from his chest and gave him what he privately classified as A Look.

"For Christmas," she said.

"What?" He groped blankly, trying to count the days, but the events of the last three weeks had completely erased his mental calendar. "When?"

"Tomorrow, idiot," she said with exaggerated patience.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 33, "Home for Christmas". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
The photo above shows 18th-century style Christmas decorations at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.



2) Here's a quote from one of my favorite scenes in DRUMS OF AUTUMN, when Claire comes to find Jamie in the snow:
"What if I tell you a story, instead?"

Highlanders loved stories, and Jamie was no exception.

"Oh, aye," he said, sounding much happier. "What sort of story is it?"

"A Christmas story," I said, settling myself along the curve of his body. "About a miser named Ebenezer Scrooge."

"An Englishman, I daresay?"

"Yes," I said. "Be quiet and listen."

I could see my own breath as I talked, white in the dim, cold air. The snow was falling heavily outside our shelter; when I paused in the story, I could hear the whisper of flakes against the hemlock branches, and the far-off whine of wind in the trees.

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 21, "Night on a Snowy Mountain". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
The illustration above, showing Scrooge with Marley's ghost, comes from the 1843 edition of Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL.



3) I think it's interesting--and rather sad--that Lord John should seek out Nessie, rather than the company of his own family, on Christmas Eve. You may recall that he brought her a box of sugar plums, like the ones pictured above.
“Aye, well, it is Christmas Eve,” she said, answering his unasked question. “Any man wi’ a home to go to’s in it.” She yawned, pulled off her nightcap, and fluffed her fingers through the wild mass of curly dark hair.

“Yet you seem to have some custom,” he observed. Distant singing came from two floors below, and the parlor had seemed well populated when he passed.

“Och, aye. The desperate ones. I leave them to Maybelle to deal with; dinna like to see them, poor creatures. Pitiful. They dinna really want a woman, the ones who come on Christmas Eve--only a fire to sit by, and folk to sit with.”

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 24, "Joyeux Noel". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
4) The next quote is a reminder that Christmas was viewed differently back then than we think of it today. But of course many of today's Christmas traditions date from the 19th century or later:
Catholic as many of them were--and nominally Christian as they all were--Highland Scots regarded Christmas primarily as a religious observance, rather than a major festive occasion. Lacking priest or minister, the day was spent much like a Sunday, though with a particularly lavish meal to mark the occasion, and the exchange of small gifts.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 34, "Charms". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


5) Speaking of Christmas traditions, here's one, from THE SCOTTISH PRISONER:
They’d brought down the Yule log to the house that afternoon, all the household taking part, the women bundled to the eyebrows, the men ruddy, flushed with the labor, staggering, singing, dragging the monstrous log with ropes, its rough skin packed with snow, a great furrow left where it passed, the snow plowed high on either side.

(From THE SCOTTISH PRISONER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 43, "Succession". Copyright© 2011 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


6) And what would the holidays be without sweets? <g> Check out Outlander Kitchen's recipe for molasses toffee, as described in this scene from THE FIERY CROSS:
With a certain amount of forethought, Mrs. Bug, Brianna, Marsali, Lizzie, and I had made up an enormous quantity of molasses toffee, which we had distributed as a Christmas treat to all the children within earshot. Whatever it might do to their teeth, it had the beneficial effect of gluing their mouths shut for long periods, and in consequence, the adults had enjoyed a peaceful Christmas.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 34, "Charms". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

7) Quakers don't have any special Christmas celebrations, but there's no denying that Denny and Rachel Hunter found Christmas, 1777, a particularly memorable occasion, thanks to Dottie!
"Well, that is odd,” Rachel said, turning to look first at her brother, and then at the small clock that graced their rooms. “Who goes a-visiting at nine o’clock on Christmas night? It cannot be a Friend, surely?” For Friends did not keep Christmas and would find the feast no bar to travel, but the Hunters had no connections--not yet--with the Friends of any Philadelphia meeting.

A thump of footsteps on the staircase prevented Denzell’s reply, and an instant later the door of the room burst open. The fur-clad woman stood on the threshold, white as her furs.

“Denny?” she said in a strangled voice.

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 86, "Valley Forge". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


8) I love this quote, even though things didn't turn out the way Roger had expected. (The photo above, by krbnah on Flickr, shows Inverness at Christmas, 2009.)
She'd wanted to go to the Christmas Eve services. After that...

After that, he would ask her, make it formal. She would say yes, he knew. And then...

Why, then, they would come home, to a house dark and private. With themselves alone, on a night of sacrament and secret, with love newly come into the world. And he would lift her in his arms and carry her upstairs, on a night when virginity's sacrifice was no loss of purity, but rather the birth of everlasting joy.

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 17, "Home for the Holidays". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


And finally, because I think it's hilarious: OUTLANDER: 12 Days of Christmas

Wishing all of you the best in this holiday season!

Friday, December 23, 2016

"A Fugitive Green" is done!

Diana Gabaldon announced this week that she has finished writing "A Fugitive Green", her novella about Hal and Minnie, which takes place in 1744, during the time that Jamie and Claire were living in Paris.

When I asked Diana how long this story turned out to be, she said,
It's about 40,000 words--it'll be the longest novella in the collection.  I'm really pleased with it; it's not like anything else I've written, I don't think. <g>
Look here for links to excerpts from this story.



"A Fugitive Green" will be published on June 27, 2017, in the US, Canada, and the UK, as part of Diana Gabaldon's story collection, SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL.

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

For more information about SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL, look here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Claire, Frank, and baby Brianna



Here's our first look at Claire, Frank, and newborn Brianna, from OUTLANDER Season 3! (Photo courtesy of Entertainment Weekly.)

I like this photo very much. To me, it captures the essence of this quote from VOYAGER:
As the birth grew closer, we had both been edgy; Frank irritable and myself terrified, having no idea what might happen between us, with the appearance of Jamie Fraser’s child. But when the nurse had taken Brianna from her bassinet and handed her to Frank, with the words “Here’s Daddy’s little girl,” his face had grown blank, and then--looking down at the tiny face, perfect as a rosebud--gone soft with wonder. Within a week, he had been hers, body and soul.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 3, "Frank and Full Disclosure". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I'm looking forward to seeing how Claire and Frank's relationship (in the TV series) changes as a result of the birth of Jamie's daughter.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Interview with Diana Gabaldon in NYC

Here's an excellent video interview with Diana Gabaldon, recorded on December 15, 2016.



It's a pretty wide-ranging interview, covering a variety of different topics, including Diana's writing process, her experiences on the set of the TV series, and much more!

The interview is about 45 minutes long and definitely worth watching.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

9,000 followers on Facebook!



I'm celebrating a blogging milestone today: My Outlandish Observations Facebook page now has more than 9,000 followers!!

THANK YOU ALL!! I really appreciate your support!

A giftie from Diana!



Diana Gabaldon sent me this lovely gift basket of dates from the Sphinx Date Co. in Scottsdale, AZ, where she lives.

Here's the inscription on the card accompanying them:



The card reads, "Dear Karen, Happy Holidays to a great nitpicker and a very good friend! Love, Diana".  Isn't that sweet of her?  I'm delighted that she values our friendship as much as I do.  ("Nitpicker" is a reference to the fact that I pay close attention to things like dates and character names in the books.)

The dates look yummy and I'm sure I'll enjoy them very much. <g>

Thank you, Diana!! And Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

"Lean on Me" video

Here's another excellent video from Julia LeBlanc, featuring some of the most emotionally intense scenes from Seasons 1 and 2. Definitely worth watching!

"Lean On Me"




Sunday, December 11, 2016

Favorite gifts in the OUTLANDER series

In the spirit of the holiday season, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of the gifts (given or received) in the OUTLANDER series.

Here are a few of my favorites:



1) Claire's silver wedding ring. (The book version, not the TV version!)  The photo above comes from the Author's Attic site.



2) The medical chest Jamie gave Claire on their anniversary in DRUMS.



3) Adso the kitten.



4) The pearl necklace Jamie gave Claire on their wedding day. (Again, I much prefer the book version!) The necklace pictured above is made by Hamilton & Young.



5) The vrooms Roger made for the children in ABOSAA.



6) The apostles' spoons from OUTLANDER Episode 207, "Faith". I thought that was an incredibly moving gift from Jamie, and I'm glad they included them in the show.

What about the rest of you? What are some of your favorites, either from the books or the TV series?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Diana Gabaldon talks about Jamie and Geneva

***  SPOILER WARNING! ***

If you haven't read VOYAGER (Book 3 of the OUTLANDER series), there are Major Spoilers below. Read at your own risk!


S

P

O

I

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Diana Gabaldon has posted a very long and detailed analysis on Facebook on the topic of whether Jamie's encounter with Geneva in VOYAGER qualifies as rape. I would definitely encourage you to take a look at it.

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDianaGabaldon/posts/1266070013435832

Thursday, December 1, 2016

November poll results

Here are the results of the November poll, which asked the question, "What's your favorite way to enjoy OUTLANDER?"
  • 17.62% - Reading the books in paperback.
  • 14.61% - Reading the books in hardcover.
  • 12.75% - Reading on my Kindle, Nook, or other e-reader.
  • 8.74% - Listening to the audiobooks on my iPod, smartphone, or other portable device.
  • 7.16% - Watching the OUTLANDER TV series.
  • 7.02% - It depends on the situation, or what mood I'm in.
  • 3.01% - Reading on my iPhone, iPad, or similar device.
  • 1.58% - Listening to the audiobook and following along in the text at the same time.
  • 1.29% - Listening to the CDs.
  • 23.21% - All of the above.
  • 3.01% - Other
Here are the responses for "Other":
  • Reading the books #1 but watching is a verra close 2nd!
  • Reading the books and watching it on tv and dvd
  • Read real paper book first, then audio
  • first reading was hardback, second was paperback, now listening on CD
  • All - except for audiobooks
  • DVD Of the television series
  • love read the books and watching the series
  • Reading the books, watching the series, following online
  • reading the print books, all formats, and watching the TV series
  • Books, Kindle, Audible
  • Hardcover, paperback, television, all three,love it and get it any way I can.
  • I enjoy the books and the TV series equally.
  • Sam Heughan reading it aloud to me, just 2 of us
  • At the moment, my favorite way is "On Demand" along with milk & cookies!
  • Watching the show and listening to Ronald D. Moore's podcast at the same time.
  • Hard cover, paperbacks and tv series
  • Read the hardcover book then listen to the audio
  • Combination of books &show
  • The big paperbacks cuz I write & underline.
  • Rereading on my e-reader between episodes
There were 698 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated! I didn't vote in the poll myself, but my favorite way to enjoy OUTLANDER is listening to the audiobooks, especially in the car on the way to and from work.

Please take a moment to vote in the December poll, which asks the question, "Have you ever been to Scotland?" Thanks!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Favorite chapter titles in Diana Gabaldon's books

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, 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), and "Brought to You By the Letters Q, E, and D", from MOHB (which is a reference to Sesame Street).

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 looked 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.  I also like "Squid of the Evening, Beautiful Squid", from MOHB.

I love the titles that expand my vocabulary, even if I find them baffling on the first reading.  "Oenomancy" (divination by wine), from ECHO, made no sense at all to me until I read the chapter.  Ditto for "Amplexus", in SCOTTISH PRISONER.  And "Absquatulation", from ABOSAA, is a cool word, that I hadn't encountered before I read that book. <g> For that matter, so is "Amphisbaena", from MOHB.

What about the rest of you?  Do you have a favorite chapter title or two?  And what is it that makes them so memorable?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

In honor of the upcoming holiday, here are some Thanksgiving-themed quotes from the OUTLANDER books. This has become an annual tradition here on Outlandish Observations, and I hope you enjoy them!

*** SPOILER WARNING! *** 

If you haven't read all of the OUTLANDER books, you will encounter spoilers below! Read at your own risk.



1) Roger and Brianna, hunting turkeys:
"What a thing," he said. He held it at arm's length to drain, admiring the vivid reds and blues of the bare, warty head and dangling wattle. "I don't think I've ever seen one, save roasted on a platter, with chestnut dressing and roast potatoes."

He looked from the turkey to her with great respect, and nodded at the gun.

"That's great shooting, Bree."

She felt her cheeks flush with pleasure, and restrained the urge to say, "Aw, shucks, it warn't nothin'," settling instead for a simple, "Thanks."

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 20, "Shooting Lessons". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I love this scene, especially for Roger's reaction. He's a little taken aback by her shooting skills, but his ego doesn't seem to be threatened by the fact that she's better at hunting (providing food for the family) than he is.



2) Claire and Jamie receiving gifts from the local Native Americans, very much in the spirit of the Pilgrims' first Thanksgiving:
Once the official introductions were over, Nacognaweto motioned to Berthe, who obediently brought out the large bundle she had carried, and opened it at my feet, displaying a large basket of orange and green-striped squash, a string of dried fish, a smaller basket of yams, and a huge pile of Indian corn, shucked and dried on the cob.

“My God,” I murmured. “The return of Squanto!”

Everyone gave me a blank look, and I hastened to smile and make exclamations--thoroughly heartfelt--of joy and pleasure over the gifts. It might not get us through the whole winter, but it was enough to augment our diet for a good two months.

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 20, "The White Raven". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


3) Jocasta and Duncan's wedding feast:
"Can ye not decide where to begin, Sassenach?" He reached down and took the empty wineglass from her hand, taking advantage of the movement to come close against her back, feeling the warmth of her through his clothes.

She laughed, and swayed back against him, leaning on his arm. She smelled faintly of rice powder and warm skin, with the scent of rose hips in her hair.

"I'm not even terribly hungry. I was just counting the jellies and preserves. There are thirty-seven different ones--unless I've missed my count."

He spared a glance for the table, which did indeed hold a bewildering array of silver dishes, porcelain bowls, and wooden platters, groaning with more food than would feed a Highland village for a month.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 46, "Quicksilver". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Most major holiday dinners give me this same feeling, although I can't say I've ever seen thirty-seven different varieties of *anything* at one meal before. <g>



4) The "hearth blessing" on Fraser's Ridge:
We blessed the hearth two days later, standing in the wall-less cabin. Myers had removed his hat, from respect, and Ian had washed his face. Rollo was present, too, as was the small white pig, who was required to attend as the personification of our "flocks," despite her objections; the pig saw no point in being removed from her meal of acorns to participate in a ritual so notably lacking in food.

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 19, "Hearth Blessing". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Considering how successful that little homestead on the Ridge would prove to be, I think there must have been something extra-powerful in that blessing. <g> And I love the mention of the little white piglet, who will grow up to become the infamous White Sow. If this blessing was intended to ensure fertility on the part of that sow, it succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.



5) The Selkirk Grace:
[Hamish] glared round the table to insure that everyone was in a properly reverential attitude before bowing his own head. Satisfied, he intoned,

"Some hae meat that canna eat,
And some could eat that want it.
We hae meat, and we can eat,
And so may God be thankit.
Amen."

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 6, "Colum's Hall". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Happy Thanksgiving! (And to those of you outside the U.S., best wishes for the holiday season.)  If you're looking for OUTLANDER-related food ideas, check out this OUTLANDER Thanksgiving Feast posted by Theresa Carle-Sanders, author of the OUTLANDER Kitchen cookbook.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

My top 10 OUTLANDER moments



Ten years ago this week, I read OUTLANDER for the first time, and my life changed forever.  That's not an exaggeration! These books have had a profound impact on me, in many ways.

Here are my Top 10 OUTLANDER Moments of the past ten years:



1) November 23, 2006.  I bought my first copy of OUTLANDER with a Barnes & Noble gift card my mom had given me for my birthday. (I've always thought it was hilarious that I got so thoroughly addicted without spending a penny of my own money!)  You can see the full story of how I discovered OUTLANDER here.



2) In April, 2007, I discovered the OUTLANDER audiobooks, read by Davina Porter.  I've been a skim-reader all my life, but I discovered very quickly that you just can't do that with Diana Gabaldon's books, or you miss too much. <understatement!>  Then I started listening to the audiobooks, and was astounded by the amount of detail that I'd missed the first few times.  I've been listening to the OUTLANDER audiobooks on a continuous rotation (with occasional short breaks) ever since, and I never get tired of them!



3) On August 28, 2008, I started this blog, Outlandish Observations.  It's succeeded far beyond my wildest imaginings, and I'm very grateful to all of you who take the time to read and comment. It means a lot to me!



4) In September, 2008, I became Section Leader (moderator) of the Diana Gabaldon folder on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community, which is the online forum where Diana hangs out. This has been a tremendous opportunity for me, and a lot of fun, but it's not without its challenges, especially in the last several years! Diana refers to what I do on the forum as "herding the bumblebees", which is an image that always makes me smile. The trick to herding bumblebees is to do it without getting stung. <g>



5) In September, 2009, I met Diana Gabaldon for the first time, at a book-signing in Columbia, MD.



6) November, 2011. The character of Keren-happuch in THE SCOTTISH PRISONER was named after me.  That was a thrill, no question about it! (Though I hasten to add that she doesn't resemble me in the slightest, either physically or in terms of personality. <g>)



7) May, 2012.  When the standalone e-book edition of Diana's story, "The Custom of the Army", was published, I was stunned and delighted to discover that it was dedicated to me. (Click on the picture for a bigger view.)



8) July, 2012. I visited Scotland for the first time, on the Celtic Journeys OUTLANDER Tour, along with my mom and my sister Alice. We had a wonderful time! You can see my blog posts about the trip here.



9) April, 2013. I attended one of Diana Gabaldon's public appearances, in Annandale, VA. (Here I am with Carol and Tracey of My Outlander Purgatory.) At the point in Diana's talk where she mentions how she got involved with the online forum that is now the Compuserve Books and Writers Community, Diana looked right at me and said to the audience of about 1200 fans, "The fabulous Karen Henry manages my folder on Compuserve. She's the bumblebee-herder." And I turned around and waved to the crowd. <g>



10) August 9, 2014. The OUTLANDER TV series premiered on STARZ. I was apprehensive at first, worried that they would mangle the storylines, or change the characters beyond recognition, but thank God, my fears were unfounded. I really couldn't be happier with the way the TV show has turned out so far! The acting, the writing, the costumes, the music, the meticulous attention to detail -- it's everything I could have hoped for!  OUTLANDER fandom has grown tremendously, and changed quite a lot, in the two years since the TV show began, and I think it's wonderful that so many people around the world are discovering Diana Gabaldon's books as a result of the TV show.

Many thanks to Diana Gabaldon for creating such an amazing story, and for her support and encouragement over the last few years. It means a tremendous amount to me!