Sunday, January 31, 2016

New OUTLANDER Season 2 FAQ page!

Check out my new OUTLANDER TV Series Season 2 FAQ page!  I hope you find it useful. I will be updating it as we learn more.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sophie Skelton will play Brianna!

Exciting news today! British actress Sophie Skelton has been cast as Brianna Randall in OUTLANDER Season 2!

Here's Sophie's showreel:

Wondering whether she can do an American accent?  Listen to this brief audio clip and decide for yourself. I think Sophie will do just fine with Bree's American accent.

According to IMDB, her brothers are named Sam and Roger. How's that for a coincidence?

You can follow her on Twitter at @SkeltonSophie.

And here's Chris Parnell, Executive VP of Sony Pictures Television:

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Skye Boat Song lyric video

Check out this special video featuring the OUTLANDER opening theme music, with lyrics! Just gorgeous. (And with an intro by Sam Heughan!)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Happy Burns Day!

Today is the 257th anniversary of the birth of Scotland's most famous poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796).

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









Here's the quote that led Roger, in VOYAGER, to pinpoint Jamie's exact location in the past.  It comes from the final stanza of a poem called "The Author's Earnest Cry and Prayer", which Robert Burns wrote in 1786.
Scotland, my auld, respected mither!
Tho' whiles ye moistify your leather,
Till, whare ye sit on craps o' heather,
Ye tine your dam;
Freedom an' whisky gang thegither!
Take aff your dram!
As Roger explained to Claire:
"Here it is”--his racing finger stopped suddenly on a phrase-- “‘for as has been known for ages past, “Freedom and Whisky gang tegither.” ’ See how he’s put that Scottish dialect phrase in quotes? He got it from somewhere else.”

“He got it from me,” I said softly. “I told him that--when he was setting out to steal Prince Charles’s port.”

“I remembered.” Roger nodded, eyes shining with excitement. “But it’s a quote from Burns,” I said, frowning suddenly. “Perhaps the writer got it there--wasn’t Burns alive then?"

"He was," said Bree smugly, forestalling Roger. "But Robert Burns was six years old in 1765."

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 21, "Q.E.D.". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

Here's Karen Matheson and Paul Brady performing "Ae Fond Kiss". The lyrics come from a poem written by Robert Burns in 1791. You may remember that Diana used "Ae Fond Kiss" as the title of Chapter 19 of AN ECHO IN THE BONE, in which Claire encounters Tom Christie.

Listen to Sam Heughan reciting the first part of this poem here.

And here's "The Sheriffmuir Fight", performed by the Corries. The lyrics come from Burns' poem, "The Battle of Sheriffmuir". I think this version of the song sounds exactly as Roger recalled it in WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD, including the bodhrans:
“Oh, that’s braw, man!” Fraser exclaimed. “Though yon poet’s got the devil of an accent. Where’s he come from, d’ye ken?”

“Er . . . Ayrshire, I think.”

Fraser shook his head in admiration and sat back.

“Could ye maybe write it down for me?” he asked, almost shyly. “I wouldna put ye to the trouble of singin’ it again, but I’d dearly love to learn the whole of it.”

“I--sure,” Roger said, taken aback. Well, what harm could it do to let Robert Burns’s poem loose in the world some years in advance of Burns himself? “Ken anyone who can play a bodhran? It’s best wi’ the drum rattlin’ in the background.”

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 31, "The Shine of a Rocking Horse's Eyes". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Diana Gabaldon's reaction when I posted the link to this video last year:
I especially like the recording/video of "The Sheriffmuir Fight," by the Corries (this is my favorite version of the song--and the one I had in mind when I wrote the scene in MOBY that Karen quotes from).
Happy Burns Day to all of you!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Interview with OUTLANDER executive producer Maril Davis

Check out this excellent audio interview with OUTLANDER executive producer Maril Davis!

The actual interview starts at about 4:20 into this video. It's about an hour long, but well worth listening to.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

January 21st

Today is January 21st.   

If you don't recall the significance of this particular date in the OUTLANDER books, or if you haven't read at least as far as the end of A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES (Book 6 in the OUTLANDER series), there are Major Spoilers below! Read at your own risk.









I'm sure I'm not the only one who can't think of today's date without remembering the newspaper clipping about the fire that was supposed to take place on January 21, 1776.
It is with grief that the news is received of the deaths by fire of James MacKenzie Fraser and his wife, Claire Fraser, in a conflagration that destroyed their house in the settlement of Fraser’s Ridge, on the night of January 21 last. Mr. Fraser, a nephew of the late Hector Cameron of River Run plantation, was born at Broch Tuarach in Scotland. He was widely known in the colony and deeply respected; he leaves no surviving children.

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 22, "Spark of an Ancient Flame". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
And it was certainly a memorable day, even though things didn't turn out as they expected.
January 21 was the coldest day of the year. Snow had fallen a few days before, but now the air was like cut crystal, the dawn sky so pale it looked white, and the packed snow chirped like crickets under our boots. Snow, snow-shrouded trees, the icicles that hung from the eaves of the house--the whole world seemed blue with cold. All of the stock had been put up the night before in stable or barn, with the exception of the white sow, who appeared to be hibernating under the house.

I peered dubiously at the small, melted hole in the crust of snow that marked the sow’s entrance; long, stertorous snores were audible inside, and a faint warmth emanated from the hole.

“Come along, mo nighean. Yon creature wouldna notice if the house fell down atop her.” Jamie had come down from feeding the animals in the stable, and was hovering impatiently behind me, chafing his hands in the big blue mittens Bree had knitted for him.

“What, not even if it was on fire?” I said, thinking of Lamb’s “Essay on Roast Pork.” But I turned obligingly to follow him down the trampled path past the side of the house, then slowly, slipping on the icy patches, across the wide clearing toward Bree and Roger’s cabin.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 111, "January Twenty-First". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I found the image above on  I think it's just perfect for today, given the significance of this date in OUTLANDER history.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The latest Brianna casting rumors

As I write this, we are still waiting for the official announcement of the casting of Brianna Randall in OUTLANDER Season 2, and time is running out!  They started filming the last two episodes of the season on Monday, and we still don't know who is going to play this critical role.

I hope that the actress has already been found and they're just delaying the announcement while they finalize contract details or something, because (as those of you who have read the books are well aware) they can't very well film the final episode without including Brianna!

Not to worry, though. The OUTLANDER cast and production team have the situation under control! Here's Maril Davis, executive producer:

Diana Gabaldon's reaction:

Richard Rankin, who plays Roger Wakefield, reacts to the news:

But wait! Could it be that Maril has been spreading false rumors? Here's Sam Heughan to set the record straight:

I promise I'll post here as soon as we hear any OFFICIAL news about Brianna's casting. Soon, we hope!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

What's your most memorable OUTLANDER-related experience?

As the #Droughtlander continues, I thought the following question might be a good way to pass the time while we wait.

What's the most memorable, interesting, amusing, or unusual experience you've had as a result of reading Diana Gabaldon's books or watching the OUTLANDER TV series?

Here are three of my favorites:

1) Visiting Scotland in 2012 on the Celtic Journeys OUTLANDER Tour. That was the trip of a lifetime for me, and I had a wonderful time!

2) Attending Diana Gabaldon's appearance in Annandale, VA, in April, 2013. (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>

2) When the standalone e-book edition of Diana Gabaldon's novella, "The Custom of the Army", was published in May, 2012, I was stunned and delighted to find that Diana had dedicated the story to me! (The terms "Aedile Curule" and "Chief Bumblebee-Herder" refer to my role as volunteer Section Leader in Diana Gabaldon's folder on Compuserve, a position I've held since 2008.)

What about the rest of you? What's the most interesting, amusing, or unusual experience you've had as a result of the OUTLANDER books or TV series? Please post a comment here, on Twitter, or on my Outlandish Observations Facebook page.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Diana Gabaldon talks about her experiences at the Golden Globes

Here's Diana Gabaldon's account of what it was like to attend the Golden Globes.

Part 1

Part 2

Monday, January 11, 2016

Happy Birthday, Diana Gabaldon!

Wishing a very happy birthday to Diana Gabaldon, author of the OUTLANDER series, who turns 64 years old today! Here she is at the Golden Globes last night.

Diana, I hope you have a wonderful birthday, and thank you so much -- again! -- for creating this AMAZING story!!

If you're on Twitter, please use the hashtag #HappyBdayDG. If you want to send birthday wishes directly to Diana, her Twitter id is @Writer_DG, or you can post on her Facebook page.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

OUTLANDER at the Golden Globes

The Golden Globe Awards ceremony will be shown on NBC tonight (Jan. 10) from 8-11 pm Eastern Time.

OUTLANDER has been nominated in three categories:

Best Actress in a Television Series - Drama - Caitriona Balfe
Best Supporting Actor in a TV Series - Tobias Menzies
Best Television Series - Drama - OUTLANDER

Best of luck to Caitriona Balfe, Tobias Menzies, and the whole OUTLANDER cast and crew!

If you're on Twitter, please use the hashtag #KiltedGlobes during the broadcast. We're going to try to get it to trend.

[UPDATE 1/10/2016 10:44 pm] Well, OUTLANDER did not win any Golden Globes tonight, unfortunately.  But let's try to look on the bright side. Just getting nominated is huge, especially for a show in its first season!

Take a look at this photo, posted by @Outlanderpod on Twitter. Could any of us have imagined this just three years ago? I certainly did not! Remember, this is only the beginning. There will be many more opportunities, and (we hope!) many awards for OUTLANDER and its cast and crew in the coming years.

Friday, January 8, 2016

OUTLANDER Season 2 coming in April!

It's official: OUTLANDER Season 2 will premiere in April 2016! (We don't yet know the exact day.)

Here's the latest Season 2 trailer from STARZ. I think it's terrific, and I can't wait!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2016 People's Choice Awards

The winners of the 2016 People's Choice Awards will be announced tonight (Jan. 6), starting at 9pm Eastern Time on CBS. OUTLANDER has been nominated in three categories this year:

Favorite Cable TV Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show

Sam Heughan, for Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor

Caitriona Balfe, for Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress

You can see the full list of nominees here.

Best of luck to Sam, Caitriona, and the whole OUTLANDER cast and production team! <g>

If you're on Twitter, please use the hashtag #OutlanderPCA2016.


UPDATE 1/7/2016: Congratulations to Caitriona and to the OUTLANDER cast and crew on their People's Choice Awards! Sam Heughan didn't win this year, but there will be other opportunities.

Monday, January 4, 2016

ABC's of Roger

Happy Birthday to Richard Rankin, the Scottish actor who was recently cast as Roger Wakefield in the OUTLANDER TV series! Richard turns 33 years old today, January 4th. In honor of his birthday, and in tribute to one of my favorite OUTLANDER characters, I decided to post these "ABC's of Roger". 

I borrowed this idea from a writer's exercise that was posted on Compuserve a few years ago. The idea is to list one word pertaining to the character for each letter of the alphabet, along with a brief explanation. Here's my alphabet for Roger.

All quotes from the OUTLANDER books are copyright © Diana Gabaldon, of course.

*** S P O I L E R  W A R N I N G!! *** 

If you haven't read all of Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER books, there are Major Spoilers below! Read at your own risk.









ABC's of Roger Jeremiah (Wakefield) MacKenzie:

A for Roger's beloved daughter, Amanda, also known as Mandy.

B for Brianna, of course. Also Bodhran, the ancient Celtic drum that Roger plays on occasion.

C for his Calm demeanor, especially in contrast to Bree's fiery temper. "It isn’t freaking true!” “No, of course not.” Roger watched his wife warily; she was exhibiting the general symptoms of a large explosive device with an unstable timing mechanism, and he had the distinct feeling that it was dangerous to be in her vicinity. (ABOSAA chapter 81, "Benefit of the Doubt")

D for Determination. Roger's determination to overcome whatever obstacles life throws in his way has been a part of his character since he was a small boy. He wouldn’t throw a fit--he hardly ever did--but he wouldn’t give up, either. ("A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows")

E for Eyesight. Roger lacks binocular vision, which makes it difficult for him to learn to shoot with a musket.

F for Family and Father. "I swear to ye, Bree,” he said. “Whatever I’m called to now--and God knows what that is--I was called to be your husband first. Your husband and the father of your bairns above all things--and that I always shall be. Whatever I may do, it will not ever be at the price of my family, I promise you." (ABOSAA, chapter 52, "M-I-C-")

G for the Gloriana, the ship on which Roger traveled to America in DRUMS OF AUTUMN.

H for the Hanging in FIERY CROSS, which took Roger's singing voice and changed his life forever. Also for Historian. If it weren't for Roger's skill at historical research, Claire might never have been reunited with Jamie, and everything that followed might never have happened.

I for Inverness, where Roger grew up.  Also for the feelings of Insecurity and Inferiority that Roger had for a long time after he came to live on Fraser's Ridge, constantly comparing himself to Jamie. I hope he's finally moved beyond that stage.

J for the two Jeremiah MacKenzies: Roger's father Jerry and his son Jem.

K for Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland, where Roger was born.

L for Learning the skills he would need to survive in the 18th century, from sword-fighting to girdling trees to butchering a hog. It's not always easy!

M for Morag, wife of William Buccleigh MacKenzie, and Roger's direct ancestor. Roger saved her baby's life on the Gloriana in DRUMS, but his impulsive decision to kiss her in FIERY CROSS was a mistake with devastating consequences.

N for Nicknames. Jamie addressed him impartially as 'Wee Roger,' 'Roger Mac,' or 'MacKenzie' -- more rarely, by the Gaelic nickname Ronnie Sinclair had given Roger, a Sme├▓raich, in honor of his voice. Singing Thrush, it meant. (FIERY CROSS, chapter 13, "Beans and Barbecue")

O for Oxford University, where Roger studied and later worked as a history professor.

P for Presbyterian and Predestination. Roger's religious faith is very important to him. I was fascinated by his discussions with Jamie about predestination and whether the future can be changed.

Q for Quick-Witted. Roger is a quick thinker in times of crisis. One of my favorite examples is the scene in ABOSAA where the boys put baby Henri-Christian in the creek, and Roger manages to rescue him and stop the miscreants before they get away. "I baptize thee, Henri-Christian,” Roger had bellowed, in his hoarse, cracked voice. “In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost! D’ye hear me, wee bastards? His name is Christian! He belongs to the Lord! Trouble him again, ye lot of scabs, and Satan will pop up and drag ye straight down screaming--TO HELL!” (ABOSAA chapter 64, "I am the Resurrection, Part 2")

R for the Reverend Reginald Wakefield, Roger's late adoptive father. The Reverend had a major influence on his life.

S for Singing. Roger had such a beautiful singing voice, and the loss of it breaks my heart. It's so difficult now to read lines like this: "I always sing for you, hen." He came behind her, drew her back against him, so that her head rested on his shoulder, her hair cool and live against his face....."No matter what," he whispered, "no matter where. No matter whether you’re there to hear or not--I’ll always sing for you." (FIERY CROSS chapter 16, "On the Night That Our Wedding is On Us")

T for Time-Travel. Not just for Roger's ability to travel through the stones, but also for his "Hitchhiker's Guide" in ECHO, the notebook where he wrote down everything they knew about how the time-traveling works.

U for Uxorious. According to Diana Gabaldon, this word refers to "a man who was clearly and obviously in love with his wife". Roger once called Jamie "deeply uxorious", but I think the word applies equally well to Roger himself.

V for Vrooms. The little wooden cars that Roger carved for Jemmy and the other children on the Ridge were a big success!

W for Wakefield. Roger's mother's surname, and the name by which Brianna and Claire first knew him.

X for the X-shaped cut he made on Jamie's leg to draw out the rattlesnake's venom, saving Jamie's life.

Y for "Yesterday". Roger played this Beatles song on his guitar for Brianna on their wedding night. The lyrics are very appropriate!

Z for Zero. The number of times that Roger has traveled through the stones without the use of gemstones for protection.

I hope you enjoyed these! Here are the other posts in this series:

ABC's of Jamie Fraser
ABC's of Claire Fraser
ABC's of the OUTLANDER TV Series

Finally, for those of you who don't know, today is also Graham McTavish's birthday. If you're on Twitter, please join us in tagging your tweets with #HappyBdayRichard or #HappyBdayGraham. If you want to send birthday wishes directly to them, their Twitter ids are @RikRankin and @GrahamMcTavish.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Help celebrate Graham McTavish and Richard Rankin's birthdays on Monday!

Graham McTavish (who plays Dougal in the OUTLANDER TV series) and Richard Rankin (who was recently cast as Roger Wakefield) will both be celebrating birthdays on Monday, January 4.

If you're on Twitter, please join us in tagging your tweets with #HappyBdayGraham or #HappyBdayRichard on Monday.  If you want to send birthday wishes directly to them, their Twitter ids are @GrahamMcTavish and @RikRankin.

And if you're not on Twitter, you can still help celebrate! Many OUTLANDER fan-sites and Facebook groups will be joining in the festivities. <g>

If you wish, you can make a donation to the actors' favorite charities in honor of their birthdays:

MacMillan Cancer Support (Richard Rankin)

Action for Children (Graham McTavish)

Hope you'll join us on Monday! It should be fun. <g> Please spread the word to any other OUTLANDER fans you may know.

Friday, January 1, 2016

December poll results

Happy New Year, everyone! Here are the results of the December poll, which asked the question, "Which of Diana Gabaldon's books are you currently reading or listening to?"
  • 8.84% - VOYAGER
  • 9.85% - DRUMS OF AUTUMN
  • 9.65% - THE FIERY CROSS
  • 7.24% - AN ECHO IN THE BONE
  • 7.24% - THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION (Volume 1 or 2)
  • 1.71% - A TRAIL OF FIRE or one of the novellas or short stories.
  • 15.98% - I'm reading other things right now.
  • 2.51% - Other
Here are the results for "Other":
  • too busy to read anything right now!
  • not reading, coloring!
  • read them all already, now reading other authors until Diane's next one comes o
  • ALL of them!
  • Dipping back into all as the mood strikes.
  • I'm ready for The Fiery Cross, but my books are in storage as we remodeling
  • i read them all
  • waiting for the next outlander book
  • Break for Christmas :( then start back with Echo in the Bone
  • No plans to read any of this. Sadistic.
  • I"m reading DIA and listening to ABOSAA.
  • Other things, but planning to restart and go through (with stories too)
  • waiting for Dragonfly to come to library for me
  • Just finished Drangonfly to prepare for the new season on tv!
  • I've read all the books at least 5x
  • I have read all of them. Yes ALL
  • Again
  • I'm re-reading my favourite parts from all the books..I have them all bookmarked
  • Going to re-read Dragonfly before Season 2 starts
  • Outlander almost daily & Echo for 1st time
  • have read all multipule times
  • The Exile
  • I plan to reread Dragonfly in Amber before the TV show starts up again
  • Fiery Cross, yet again, OC2, The Last Highlander
  • Re-reading 'D-of-A' after the whole series ...
There were 995 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated! Please take a moment to vote in the January poll, which is all about the characters you're most looking forward to seeing for the first time in OUTLANDER Season 2. Thanks, and have a wonderful 2016!!