Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Here are some Halloween-themed quotes from Diana Gabaldon's books and stories. Hope you enjoy them!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"The ghost."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From "A Plague of Zombies" by Diana Gabaldon. Copyright© 2011 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
9) And finally, on a lighter note, here's Mandy, age three:
Mandy bounced a little on her booster seat, leaning to peer out the window. She was wearing the Halloween mask Bree had helped her make, this being a mouse princess: a mouse face drawn with crayons on a paper plate, with holes pierced for eyes and at either side for pink yarn ties, pink pipe cleaners glued on for whiskers, and a precarious small crown made with cardboard, more glue, and most of a bottle of gold glitter.

Scots celebrated Samhain with hollowed-out turnips with candles in them, but Brianna had wanted a slightly more festive tradition for her half-American children. The whole seat sparkled as though the car had been sprinkled with pixie dust.

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 28, "Warmer, Colder". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Happy Halloween / Samhain / All Hallows' Eve to all of you! If you happen to go near any stone circles in the next several days, be sure to carry a wee gemstone with you! You just never know what might happen. <g>

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Update on the 2nd Annual Droughtlander Photo Contest!

Thanks so much to everyone who's sent in entries so far for the 2nd Annual Droughtlander Photo Contest! I'm really pleased with the response so far. I've received 27 entries in the first week, and it's shaping up to be a terrific collection already! I'm hoping for many more entries in the coming days.

You can see the contest announcement here. The deadline to send in photos is Friday, November 18.

Just for fun, here's my contribution to last year's photo collection, showing all of the versions of OUTLANDER I own. (Because you can never have too many copies, right? <g>) Click on the photo for a bigger view.

Please contact me at, or leave a comment here, if you have any questions about the contest. Thanks!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Special UK edition of VIRGINS will be out Nov. 17

A special hardcover edition of Diana Gabaldon's story "Virgins" will be published in the UK on November 17, 2016.

For those of you who don't know, "Virgins" tells the story of Jamie Fraser and his friend Ian Murray as young mercenaries in France in 1740, before Jamie met Claire.

I admit that I was baffled when I heard about this. A hardcover edition of a story that's only 79 pages long in the e-book version?  Diana Gabaldon replied to my question on Compuserve as follows:
It's what they call a B Format hardcover, which is slightly smaller than a regular one.  They then use large type and generous spacing--and added (at my suggestion) _three_ chapters of OUTLANDER, rather than just the first.  (My reasoning being that it didn't make sense to add the first chapter, as Jamie isn't in it, and there's no apparent connection to VIRGINS.  By using the first _three-, they at least get to the place where Claire's sitting on his chest, keeping him from bleeding to death.)
You can pre-order this new edition on Amazon UK here. It's available in print or e-book format.

"Virgins" is a good story, definitely worth reading. For more information about "Virgins", see my FAQ page here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Vote for OUTLANDER in the People's Choice Awards!


Voting is now open for the 2017 People's Choice Awards!  OUTLANDER has been nominated in four categories this year:

Favorite TV Show

Favorite Premium Sci-Fi/Fantasy Series

Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor (Sam Heughan)

Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress (Caitriona Balfe)

Please take a moment to vote!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Announcing the 2nd Annual Droughtlander Photo Contest!

Things have been pretty quiet in OUTLANDER fandom lately, as the #Droughtlander continues. Filming on Season 3 is underway, and Diana Gabaldon is still writing GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, Book 9 of the OUTLANDER series.  So I thought it would be fun to have a Droughtlander Photo Contest, as a way to pass the time while we wait.

UPDATE 11/19/2016 12:50 pm: The contest is over, but you can see the results here.

I did a similar contest last year, and we had a lot of fun with it.  I always enjoy seeing what everyone comes up with!

The Rules:

1) Submit a photo showing one of the following:
  • Yourself, a friend, or a family member (including children or pets!) reading or holding one of Diana Gabaldon's books.
  • Your OUTLANDER book collection (in any format, including e-books, audiobooks, etc.)
  • A well-loved paperback edition (you know, one of those books that's been read so often it's nearly falling apart...)
  • Your favorite place to read the books
  • The most unusual place you've read the books
  • etc.
Be creative! The only requirements are:
  • At least one of Diana Gabaldon's books (in any format, including e-books, audiobooks, etc.) must be included in the photo in order to qualify for the contest.
  • The photo must be one that you took yourself, or that you have permission to use.
2) Please email your photo to, with the subject line "OUTLANDER Photo Contest", and include:
  • Your name
  • A brief caption or description of the photo.  (If there's a story behind the photo, I'd love to hear it!)
  • Please state whether or not it's OK to share your photo.  (After the contest ends, I will post the photos in an album on Picasa, so that Diana Gabaldon and any fans who might be interested can see them. If you'd rather not have your photo included in this collection, that's fine, just let me know.  It won't affect your eligibility for the contest.)
3) Photos must be received by Friday, November 18, 2016, at midnight Eastern Time. Winners will be chosen at random on November 19, 2016.

4) One entry per person, please!

5) You do not have to be a US resident in order to enter this contest.

The Prizes:

There will be three (3) prizes awarded. Each winner will receive his/her choice of ONE of the following:
Please contact me at, or leave a comment here, if you have any questions.  Good luck, and have fun!  I'm looking forward to seeing what everybody comes up with. <g>

PLEASE NOTE: I will acknowledge each entry as it's received with a reply by email.  If you sent in a photo but you did NOT get a reply back from me within 24 hours, please re-send it and make sure that you put "OUTLANDER Photo Contest" in the subject line, so I will know it's for the contest.  Thanks.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Happy Birthday, Claire!

Happy 98th birthday to Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser!
"Happy Birthday, Sassenach,” he said.

It took me completely by surprise and I just stared stupidly at him for a moment. “What?” I managed at last.

“I said ‘Happy Birthday.’ It’s the twentieth of October today."

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 25, "Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
If you're on Twitter, please tag your tweets today (October 20th) with #SassenachBDay.

Here are some of my favorite quotes by and about Claire. Hope you enjoy them!


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

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.)
Then all at once, the fear left me. I could not leave him, and I would not.

"Jamie," I said, into the folds of his plaid. "I'm going back with you."

He started back, staring down at me.

"The hell you are!" he said.

"I am." I felt very calm, with no trace of doubt. "I can make a kilt of my arisaid; there are enough young boys with the army that I can pass for one. You've said yourself it will all be confusion. No one will notice."

"No!" he said. "No, Claire!" His jaw was clenched, and he was glaring at me with a mixture of anger and horror.

"If you're not afraid, I'm not either," I said, firming my own jaw. "It will ... be over quickly. You said so." My chin was beginning to quiver, despite my determination. "Jamie--I won't ... I can't ... I bloody won't live without you, and that's all!"

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 46, "Timor Mortis Conturbat Me". Copyright ©1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
“You didn’t force me to come to you, or snatch me away from Brianna. I came, because I wanted to--because I wanted you, as much as you did me--and my being here has nothing to do with what’s happened. We’re married, blast you, by any standard you care to name--before God, man, Neptune, or what-have-you.”

“Neptune?” he said, sounding a little stunned.

“Be quiet,” I said. “We’re married, I say, and it isn’t wicked for you to want me, or to have me, and no God worth his salt would take your nephew away from you because you wanted to be happy. So there!

“Besides,” I added, pulling back and looking up at him a moment later, “I’m not bloody going back, so what could you do about it, anyway?”

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 39, "Lost, and By the Wind Grieved". Copyright ©1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
"It’s up to me to keep ye safe!”

I tried to jerk away, but he had a tight grip on me, and he wasn’t letting go.

“I am not a young girl who needs protection, nor yet an idiot! If there’s some reason for me not to do something, then tell me and I’ll listen. But you can’t decide what I’m to do and where I’m to go without even consulting me--I won’t stand for that, and you bloody well know it!"

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 13, "An Examination of Conscience". Copyright ©1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
He was generally aware that he had been blessed in her beauty; even in her usual homespun, knee-deep in mud from her garden, or stained and fierce with the blood of her calling, the curve of her bones spoke to his own marrow, and those whisky eyes could make him drunk with a glance. Besides, the mad collieshangie of her hair made him laugh.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 39, "In Cupid's Grove". Copyright ©2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
"I have lived through a fucking world war,” I said, my voice low and venomous. “I have lost a child. I have lost two husbands. I have starved with an army, been beaten and wounded, been patronized, betrayed, imprisoned, and attacked. And I have fucking survived!” My voice was rising, but I was helpless to stop it. “And now should I be shattered because some wretched, pathetic excuses for men stuck their nasty little appendages between my legs and wiggled them?!” I stood up, seized the edge of the washstand and heaved it over, sending everything flying with a crash--basin, ewer, and lighted candlestick, which promptly went out.

“Well, I won’t,” I said quite calmly.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 29, "Perfectly Fine". Copyright ©2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I had picked up Jamie’s sword before. It was a cavalry sword, larger and heavier than the usual, but I didn’t notice now.

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

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

“Get away!” I said.

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

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

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 62, "One Just Man". Copyright ©2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
A trained surgeon is also a potential killer, and an important bit of the training lies in accepting the fact. Your intent is entirely benign--or at least you hope so--but you are laying violent hands on someone, and you must be ruthless in order to do it effectively. And sometimes the person under your hands will die, and knowing that ... you do it anyway.

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 117, "Into the Briar Patch". Copyright ©2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

And finally, here's a bonus Claire quote from the OUTLANDER TV series:

"Whatever happens, we'll handle it.  No matter the cost." (Episode 113, "The Watch")

Many thanks to Diana Gabaldon for creating such an unforgettable character, and to Caitriona Balfe for bringing her to life on TV. Happy Birthday, Claire!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

THE MAKING OF OUTLANDER (Seasons 1 and 2) is now available!

THE MAKING OF OUTLANDER: The Official Guide to Seasons One & Two, by Tara Bennett, is now available!

From the product information on Amazon:
Spanning the first two seasons of the Starz network sensation, The Making of Outlander leads readers behind the scenes and straight into the action as cast members, writers, producers, musicians, costume designers, set decorators, technicians, and more share the many adventures and challenges they face to make this sweeping saga come alive on the screen.
Diana Gabaldon wrote the introduction to this book. I don't know anything about the author, Tara Bennett, but apparently she has done a number of these behind-the-scenes books for various TV series.

You can order THE MAKING OF OUTLANDER here:

Barnes & Noble

Have you seen this book? Feel free to leave a comment here or on my Outlandish Observations Facebook page, and let us know what you think of it.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

"Fogmeister", a new story by Diana Gabaldon, will be out Oct. 18!

And now for Something Completely Different....

I just found out that Diana Gabaldon has a new story coming out on Tuesday, October 18, as part of an anthology (a collection of stories by many different authors) called THE HIGHWAY KIND, edited by Patrick Millikin.

The story is titled "Fogmeister", and all I know about it is this description from the Poisoned Pen bookstore:
Diana's story, "Fogmeister" is set in 1938 Germany and is based upon the mystery behind a real life autobahn crash. The protagonist is none other than< Dr Ferdinand Porsche and is a thrill ride of a story, based on real history. Diana credits her husband Doug Watkins for the idea and technical knowledge.
I admit to being rather astounded that this book is coming out next week (!) and I haven't heard anything at all about it. I have asked Diana Gabaldon for more information about this story.

UPDATE 10/15/2016 4:08 pm: Check out Diana's response on Compuserve. Among other things, she says,
"Fogmeister" was really interesting--it's not like anything else I've ever written.  It's a fictionalized historical narrative, in that all the characters and all of the (known) facts are from the primary sources of the time.
You can see a brief excerpt from this story here.

THE HIGHWAY KIND will be available in paperback and e-book formats.  You can pre-order here:

Barnes & Noble

If you want an autographed copy of THE HIGHWAY KIND, you can order from the Poisoned Pen. This is Diana Gabaldon's local independent bookstore in Arizona.  The staff is very helpful, and they ship all over the world.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Season 2 gag reel

Here's the gag reel from OUTLANDER Season 2.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

SEVEN STONES: Diana Gabaldon's upcoming story collection

Diana Gabaldon's upcoming story collection, SEVEN STONES, due out in 2017, will be a collection of seven novellas.  Some of these stories have been previously published in anthologies or as standalone e-books, but two of the stories are brand new.

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)
Diana has not yet finished writing the last two stories, but "A Fugitive Green" is getting close to completion.

I like SEVEN STONES as a title for this book. It made me think instantly of Jamie's habit of collecting pebbles or small stones for remembrance of his family.
A scatter of stones, picked up because of their feel in the hand or a pretty color. He counted them; there were eleven: one each for his sister, for Ian, for Young Jamie, Maggie, Kitty, Janet, Michael, and Young Ian; one for his daughter, Faith, who had died at birth; another for the child Claire had carried when she went; the last--a piece of rough amethyst--for Claire herself. He must look out for another now: the right stone for William. He wondered briefly why he had not done that before. Because he hadn’t felt the right to claim William even in the privacy of his own heart, he supposed.

(From THE SCOTTISH PRISONER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 38, "Redux". Copyright ©2011 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
SEVEN STONES: a collection of small stories, that can fit in the palm of your hand, so to speak (especially as compared to the Big Books! <g>), but each one is something special and unique, that can be savored and appreciated on its own.

I'm looking forward to adding SEVEN STONES to my collection sometime in 2017!

That's all I know about this book right now.  I will post more information as soon as it becomes available.

(In case you're wondering, yes, of course Diana is still working on GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, Book 9 of the OUTLANDER series. She often says that she likes to work on multiple projects at once, because it keeps her from getting writer's block.)

Season 3 Casting: Lauren Lyle as Marsali!

STARZ announced yesterday that Lauren Lyle will play the role of Laoghaire's daughter Marsali.

I don't know much about her -- apparently her acting experience has been mostly in stage productions -- but I'm looking forward to seeing her on screen. I hope she and C├ęsar Domboy (recently cast as the adult Fergus) have good chemistry together!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

September poll results

Here are the results of the September poll, which asked the question, "How long have you been reading Diana Gabaldon's books?"
  • 6.1% - Less than 6 months
  • 5.51% - 6 months to 1 year
  • 12.49% - 1-2 years
  • 13.99% - 2-5 years
  • 9.34% - 5-10 years
  • 9.13% - 10-15 years
  • 11.48% - 15-20 years
  • 12.72% - 20+ years
  • 17.2% - Since OUTLANDER was first published.
  • 0.31% - I read excerpts of her work on Compuserve before OUTLANDER was published.
  • 0.49% - I haven't read any of Diana Gabaldon's books, but I've watched the OUTLANDER TV series.
  • 1.24% - Other
There were 3,867 votes in this month's poll, which is one of the highest totals since I started doing these monthly polls back in 2008. Thanks very much to everyone who participated! I didn't vote in the poll myself, but it's been almost 10 years for me. I found OUTLANDER in November, 2006.

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