Saturday, January 28, 2017


Check out my new FAQ page about Diana Gabaldon's upcoming story collection, SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL, due out June 27, 2017.

I hope you find it useful!  Please pass the link on to anyone else you know who may be interested.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Happy Burns Day!

Today is the 258th 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.

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 a couple of years ago:
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!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

People's Choice Awards 2017

The winners of the 2017 People's Choice Awards will be announced tonight (Jan. 18), starting at 9pm Eastern Time on CBS. OUTLANDER has been nominated in four categories this year:

Favorite TV Show
Favorite Premium Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Series
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>

UPDATE 1/19/2017 6:00 am: They won!!  OUTLANDER won in all four categories!  Here's a special thank you message from Sam and Cait.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Season 3 filming in Edinburgh!

Matt Roberts (one of the OUTLANDER writers, and a huge book fan!) tweeted the above photo a few days ago. Remember, 18th-century type was set backwards. <g>

* * * SPOILERS for Season 3 below * * *

If you haven't read Diana Gabaldon's VOYAGER (Book 3 of the OUTLANDER series), read at your own risk!

Here's an article with some behind-the-scenes photos of the filming of OUTLANDER Season 3 in Edinburgh.  (Still photos only, no video.  But we get our first look at older Jamie in these photos!)

As I understand it, they have one more block of episodes to finish in Scotland, and then the whole production will move to South Africa, to film the seagoing scenes and the rest of Jamie and Claire's adventures in the Caribbean.

Why South Africa?  Because that's where the STARZ show BLACK SAILS has been filming for the past four years.  BLACK SAILS is about to air its final season on STARZ, and presumably the OUTLANDER production team can save a lot of money by re-using the ships and some of the sets.

No, we still don't have any idea when OUTLANDER Season 3 will premiere!  As soon as I hear anything official, I'll post here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Happy Birthday, Diana Gabaldon!

Wishing a very happy birthday to Diana Gabaldon, author of the OUTLANDER series, who turns 65 years old today!

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.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Season 2 marathon on STARZ Jan. 8th!

To those of you in the US:

STARZ will be running an OUTLANDER Season 2 marathon on Sunday, January 8, from 9:20 am to 10:30 pm.

If you don't already have Season 2 on DVD/Blu-ray or on your DVR, this is a good opportunity to record all 13 episodes!

Please help spread the word to anyone else you know who may be interested.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

REPOST: ABC's of Roger

Happy Birthday to Richard Rankin, who plays Roger Wakefield on the OUTLANDER TV series! Richard turns 34 years old today, January 4th. In honor of his birthday, and in tribute to one of my favorite OUTLANDER characters, I am reposting these "ABC's of Roger". 

I borrowed this idea from a writer's exercise that was posted on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community 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. (Graham played Dougal in Seasons 1 and 2.) If you want to send birthday wishes directly to them, their Twitter ids are @RikRankin and @GrahamMcTavish.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

December poll results

Happy New Year, everyone!

Here are the results of the December poll, which asked the question, "Have you ever been to Scotland?"
  • 34.59% - No, but I'd love to visit there some day!
  • 16.13% - I visited Scotland long before I knew Diana Gabaldon's books existed.
  • 12.28% - I visited Scotland after I discovered the OUTLANDER books.
  • 10.39% - Yes, I've been there more than once.
  • 5.38% - I'm making plans to go to Scotland in 2017.
  • 3.94% - I visited Scotland as a result of seeing, or hearing about, the OUTLANDER TV series.
  • 3.58% - I've lived in Scotland all or part of my life.
  • 3.41% - No, but I'd like to see some of the locations shown in the OUTLANDER TV series.
  • 2.60% - I went on an OUTLANDER-themed tour of Scotland.
  • 1.43% - No, it's too far away and/or I can't afford it.
  • 1.43% - I'd like to visit, but I can't travel due to age or health reasons.
  • 0.81% - No, I like reading about Scotland or seeing it on TV, but I don't have any desire to go there myself.
  • 4.03% - Other
Here are the responses for "Other":
  • Visited when I was young. AlwYs loved Scotland and now even more after books
  • Making plans to go to Scotland in 2018
  • yes 45 years ago
  • Have wanted to go since I was little but could never afford it.
  • I visited over 30 years ago but when back because of the Outlander.
  • Planning to visit in 2018!
  • I'm planning on going in 2018.
  • Not yet - I have a mad plan for 2018, trekking from Nairn to Fort William
  • Scotland is amazing!!
  • business trip
  • Would love to go again tho
  • I have plans to live there part time in the next 10 years
  • Yes, on a British Isles cruise.The harbor was so rough,couldn't get to Edi.
  • 2015 spent two weeks in Scotlsnd and loved it
  • I am Scottish but have lived in Astralia since I was 25 and am the person who s
  • I'd like to visit Scotland again when finances let me to see Outlander locations
  • Went two Summers ago. Party of our prep was watching the first episode in Germin
  • Hoping to take family in2018. Visit ancestors land
  • My daughter received a grant to study at the university and loved SCotland.
  • Visited my daughter in Findhorn for an international studies class.
  • Visted Scotland LONG before the books exsisted
  • No. why would I want to go to Scotland. Nothing I want to see.
  • I LONG to go there, but will never afford it.
  • would go in a heart beat if I could afford it and there was a handicap option
  • Always wanted to visit Scotland.
  • Discovered my Scottish ancestry via 1st book.
  • both #2 & #4
  • I went to Scotland before I knew about the books, then I went after reading
  • I'd love to go, but I could never afford it.
  • More than once, before Outlander was published
  • visited 2016 for genealogy and outlander.
  • The Head Office of my employer was in Scotland. I often visited.
  • I've been to Scotland twice and before I read the books.
  • Went after reading book but not because of in 2009
  • No, but i want to move there
  • My late Mother was a Scot, Ann Douglas.
  • Went to find my family heritage!
  • Outlander was the final shove to make it happen.
  • I visited Scotland long before Diana wrote her books.
  • I visited Scotland for my daughter's wedding.
  • Yes, I've been more than once and I'm going again in 2017.
  • for sports - will revisit for outlander.
  • Yes, '78, '86, '10, '12, '14, '16, & hopefully '17
  • Books & show made me go!
  • Want to but it will probably never happen. :-(
There were 1116 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated! I didn't vote in the poll myself, but I have been to Scotland twice, in 2012 and 2016.

Please take a moment to vote in the January poll, which asks the question, "Which of Diana Gabaldon's books are you currently reading or listening to?" Thanks!