Wednesday, May 31, 2017

June 1st is World Outlander Day!



June 1st is #WorldOutlanderDay! Please join Diana Gabaldon's fans all over the world in celebrating the 26th anniversary of OUTLANDER's publication in 1991.

Congratulations, Diana, and many thanks (yet again!!) for deciding to write that "practice novel". These books truly have changed my life, in more ways than I can count.

Last year on June 1, STARZ announced Seasons 3 and 4. I wonder what they'll come up with this year?  The premiere date, perhaps? Or a new trailer? <g>

If you're on Twitter, please tag your tweets on Thursday with #WorldOutlanderDay. Thanks!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day quotes from Diana Gabaldon's books

As we observe Memorial Day today in the US, here are some quotes from Diana Gabaldon's books honoring those who fell in battle.

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

1) The first is from DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, after the battle of Prestonpans:
I found them at length some distance up the hill behind the church. Jamie was sitting on a rock, the form of Alexander Kincaid cradled in his arms, curly head resting on his shoulder, the long, hairy legs trailing limp to one side. Both were still as the rock on which they sat. Still as death, though only one was dead.

I touched the white, slack hand, to be sure, and rested my hand on the thick brown hair, feeling still so incongruously alive. A man should not die a virgin, but this one did.

"He's gone, Jamie," I whispered.

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 36, "Prestonpans". Copyright ©1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


2) The next quote is also from DRAGONFLY, from the scene in the beginning where Roger and Brianna visit the battlefield at Culloden:
"Heather," Roger said. "It's more common in the summer, when the heather is blooming--then you'll see heaps like that in front of every clan stone. Purple, and here and there a branch of the white heather--the white is for luck, and for kingship; it was Charlie's emblem, that and the white rose."

"Who leaves them?" Brianna squatted on her heels next to the path, touching the twigs with a gentle finger.

"Visitors." Roger squatted next to her. He traced the faded letters on the stone--FRASER. "People descended from the families of the men who were killed here. Or just those who like to remember them."

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 4, "Culloden". Copyright ©1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


3) Here is a bit from the battle of Moores Creek Bridge, in ABOSAA, a reminder that men do terrible things in battle. I can't even imagine what Jamie felt like, killing a man he once considered his friend.
Major Donald MacDonald floundered, rising halfway in the water. His wig was gone and his head showed bare and wounded, blood running from his scalp down over his face. His teeth were bared, clenched in agony or ferocity, ther was no telling which. Another shot struck him and he fell with a splash--but rose again, slow, slow, and then pitched forward into water too deep to stand, but rose yet again, splashing frantically, spraying blood from his shattered mouth in the effort to breathe.

Let it be you, then, lad, said the dispassionate voice. He raised his rifle and shot MacDonald cleanly through the throat. He fell backward and sank at once.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 113, "The Ghosts of Culloden". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
4) And this is from Lord John's visit in "Haunted Soldier" with the parents of a lieutenant killed at the battle of Crefeld.  Regardless of the circumstances, there's no easy way to deliver news like that:
"I saw your son for the first time only moments before his death," he said, as gently as he could. "There was no time for talk. But I can assure you, sir, that he died instantly--and he died bravely, as a soldier of the king. You--and your wife, of course--may be justly proud of him."

(From LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS by Diana Gabaldon, Lord John and the Haunted Soldier, Part I, "Inquisition". Copyright© 2007 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)



5) The next quote comes from WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD.  Just before the Battle of Monmouth, Claire is thinking about the soldiers who died on D-Day.
I spared a thought for the graves of Normandy and wondered whether those rows upon rows of faceless dead were meant to impose a sort of postmortem tidiness on the costs of war--or whether it was meant rather to underline them, a solemn accounting carried out in endless rows of naughts and crosses.

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 74, "The Sort of Thing That Will Make a Man Sweat and Tremble". Copyright ©2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)



6) And finally, here's a quote from THE FIERY CROSS that seems especially appropriate for Memorial Day:
"Many of us died in battle," he said, his voice scarcely audible above the rustle of the fire. "Many died of burning. Many of us starved. Many died at sea, many died of wounds and illness." He paused. "Many died of sorrow."

His eyes looked beyond the firelit circle for a moment, and I thought perhaps he was searching for the face of Abel MacLennan. He lifted his cup then, and held it high in salute for a moment.

"Slàinte!" murmured a dozen voices, rising like the wind. "Slàinte!" he echoed them--then tipped the cup, so that a little of the brandy fell into the flames, where it hissed and burned blue for an instant's time.

He lowered the cup, and paused for a moment, head bent. He lifted his head then, and raised the cup toward Archie Hayes, who stood across the fire from him, round face unreadable, fire sparking from his silver gorget and his father’s brooch.

"While we mourn the loss of those who died, we must also pay tribute to you who fought and suffered with equal valor--and survived."

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 15, "The Flames of Declaration". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Wishing all of you in the US a happy Memorial Day!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Update on SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL



Here's a quick update on Diana Gabaldon's upcoming story collection, SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL, which will be published on June 27, 2017.

First of all, notice the new cover art (pictured above).  I like it better than the previous version.



The audio version of SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL, containing all seven stories, is available for pre-order at Audible.com.  It will be released on June 27, 2017.

For more information about SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL, see my FAQ page here.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Happy Birthday, Jem!



Happy Birthday to Jeremiah Alexander Ian Fraser MacKenzie!

*** SPOILER WARNING! ***

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


S

P

O

I

L

E

R

S

Roger and Brianna's son Jem was born in mid-May, 1770.  The exact date of his birth is not mentioned in the books, but fans have unofficially adopted May 15 as his birthday, so that's what I'm going with.  He's a Taurus, like his grandda. <g>

Depending on how you count his age, he's either 247 years old, or 45.  Either way, it's pretty mind-boggling!

Here are some of my favorite quotes about Jem:

1) Roger meets his newborn son for the first time:
To my surprise, Roger didn’t look at Brianna, or reach for her hand. Instead, he swiped his thumb across his bleeding wrist, and stepped close to her, eyes on the baby. She pulled back instinctively, but Jamie’s hand came down on her shoulder.

She stilled at once under its weight, at once a promise of restraint and protection, but she held the child tight, cradled against her breast. Roger knelt in front of her, and reaching out, pushed the shawl aside and smeared a broad red cross upon the downy curve of the baby’s forehead.

“You are blood of my blood,” he said softly, “and bone of my bone. I claim thee as my son before all men, from this day forever."

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 66, "Child of My Blood". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
2) Trying to make love in the same room with a young toddler is an exercise in (sexual) frustration, as Roger knows all too well:
[Brianna] made a small noise deep in her throat and stretched luxuriously. She arched her back, pushing her backside up in a way that convinced Roger that the course of wisdom was to fling back the quilt, roll on top of her, and achieve his goal in the ten seconds flat it was likely to take.

He got as far as flinging back the quilt. As he raised his head from the pillow, a round, pale object rose slowly into view over the rim of the cradle, like one of the moons of Jupiter. A pair of blue eyes regarded him with clinical dispassion.

“Oh, shit!” he said.

“Oh, chit!” Jemmy said, in happy mimicry. He clambered to his feet and stood, bouncing up and down as he gripped the edge of the cradle he was rapidly outgrowing, chanting, “Chit-chit-chit-chit” in what he evidently thought was a song.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 89, "The Moons of Jupiter". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
3) By the age of 2 1/2, Jemmy was already showing signs of growing up to be what Claire calls "a bloody man":
A shrill cry from behind made Roger whirl on his haunches. Jemmy, his grandfather’s dirk held over his head with both hands and wobbling precariously, was staggering toward the boar, his face beet-red with ferocious intent.

“Jem!” he shouted. “Get back!"

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 108, "Tulach Ard". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
4) And then there was the time when Jemmy, not quite three, got drunk on cherry bounce. This scene always makes me laugh.
"Your son is a drunkard,” [Bree] informed him. Then she caught a whiff of Roger’s breath. “Following in his father’s footsteps, I see,” she added coldly.

Disregarding this, Roger sat down beside her and gathered Jemmy up into his lap. Holding the little boy propped against his knees, he patted Jemmy’s cheek, gently but insistently.

“Hallo there, Mej,” he said softly. “Hallo, then. Ye’re all right, are ye?”

Like magic, Jemmy’s eyelids floated up. He smiled dreamily at Roger.

“Hallo, Daddy.” Still smiling beatifically, his eyes closed and he relaxed into utter limpness, cheek flattened against his father’s knee.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 6, "Ambush". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
5) Jem at four, noticing the scars on Jamie's back for the first time. This is such a sweet moment!
Jemmy sighed in exhausted bliss, legs wrapped round Jamie’s middle, arms about his neck, and leaned his sun-reddened cheek against the scarred back. Then he thought  of something, for he raised his head and kissed his grandfather with a loud smacking noise, between the shoulder blades.

Her father jerked, nearly dropping Jem, and made a high-pitched noise that made her laugh.

“Is that make it better?” Jem inquired seriously, pulling himself up and trying to look over Jamie’s shoulder into his face.

“Oh. Aye, lad,” his grandfather assured him, face twitching. “Much better."

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 49, "The Venom of the North Wind". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
6) I always have to laugh at the idea of six-year-old Jem teaching himself to read by spelling out words from an infamous 18th-century erotic novel:
He was retrieved from Jamie's study, where he had been spelling out words in--

"Jesus Christ on a piece of toast!" his grandmother blurted, snatching the book from him. "Jamie! How could you?"

Jamie felt a deep blush rise over him. How could he, indeed? He'd taken the battered copy of Fanny Hill in trade, part of a parcel of used books bought from a tinker. He hadn't looked at the books before buying them, and when he did come to look them over ... Well, it was quite against his instincts to throw away a book--any book.

"What's P-H-A-L-L-U-S?" Jemmy was asking his father.

"Another word for prick," Roger said briefly. "Don't bloody use it."

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 114, "Amanda". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
7) Jem in the tunnel in AN ECHO IN THE BONE. He's a logical thinker, like his mother and his grandda. I like the way he fights down his fear and tries to think calmly and analyze the situation.
He found the opening, and felt his way in on his hands and knees, and cracked his head on the thing where the controls were, standing up. That made him see colored stars and he said “Ifrinn!” out loud. It sounded funny, not so echoey now he was inside the train, and he giggled. He felt around over the controls. They were like Mam said, just a switch and a little lever, and he pushed the switch. A red light popped into life, and made him jump.

It made him feel lots better, though, just to see it. He could feel the electricity coming through the train, and that made him feel better, too. He pushed the lever, just a little, and was thrilled to feel the train move.

Where did it go? He pushed the lever a little more, and air moved past his face. He sniffed at it, but it didn’t tell him anything. He was going away from the big doors, though—away from Mr. Cameron.

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 96, "Firefly". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
8) I love this bit because it shows so clearly how much Jem loves his little sister and wants to protect her:
There was a lot of screaming and crying going on inside the Buchans’ house, and he felt his chest go so tight he couldn’t breathe.

“Mandy!” He tried to call, but her name came out in a whisper. The front door was hanging open. Inside, there were girls everywhere, but he picked Mandy out of the muddle in the lounge instantly and ran to grab her. She wasn’t crying, but she latched on to him like a leech, burying her black curly head in his stomach.

“It’s okay,” he told her, squeezing the stuffing out of her in relief. “It’s okay, Man. I gotcha. I gotcha.” 

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 38, "The Number of the Beast". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
9) No doubt about it, young Jeremiah MacKenzie has a Fraser temper! But I think he was more than entitled to blow off some steam after all he'd been through.
"I want Daddeeeee!"

Jem's face was bright red with fury. At this, it went white.

"Shut up, shut up, shut up!" he shrieked at Mandy, who yelped in terror and screamed louder, trying to scramble up Brianna's body.

"DADDEEE!"

"Jem!" Lionel Menzies was on his feet, reaching for the boy, but Jem was absolutely beside himself, literally hopping up and down with rage. The entire restaurant was gaping at them.

"Go AWAY!" Jem roared at Menzies. "DAMMIT! Don't you touch me! Don't touch my mam!" And, in an excess of passion, he kicked Menzies hard on the shin.

"Jesus!"

"Jem!" Bree had a grip on the struggling, bawling Mandy but couldn't reach Jem before he picked up his dish of ice cream, flung it at the wall, and then ran out of the café, crashing the door open so hard that a man and woman on the verge of entering were forced to leap aside to avoid being knocked over as he rocketed past.

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 41, "In Which Things Converge". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Poor Jem has had a hard time of it in recent years. I sincerely hope that happier times lie ahead for him, now that he's back home on Fraser's Ridge and reunited with his grandparents, and his friends Germain and Aidan.

Happy Birthday, Jem!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day quotes from Diana Gabaldon's books



Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! Here are a few of my favorite quotes about motherhood from Diana Gabaldon's books. 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) Marsali, in an advanced state of pregnancy, and five-year-old Germain:
She leaned back a little and pushed a hand firmly into the side of her mound. Then she seized Germain's hand and put it on the spot. Even from where I stood, I could see the surge of flesh as the baby kicked vigorously in response to being poked.

Germain jerked his hand away, startled, then put it back, looking fascinated, and pushed.

"Hello!" he said loudly, putting his face close to his mother's belly. "Comment ça va in there, Monsieur L'Oeuf?"

"He's fine," his mother assured him. "Or she. But babies dinna talk right at first. Ye ken that much. Félicité doesna say anything but 'Mama' yet."

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 27, "The Malting Floor". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
2) I like the realistic depictions of breastfeeding in these books, even though I've never had kids of my own. Here's Claire with Brianna, age three months:
Brianna burrowed into the front of my red chenille dressing gown making small voracious grunting noises.

"You can't be hungry again," I said to the top of her head. "I fed you not two hours ago." My breasts were beginning to leak in response to her rooting, though, and I was already sitting down and loosening the front of my gown.

"Mrs. Hinchcliffe said that a baby shouldn't be fed every time it cries," Frank observed. "They get spoilt if they aren't kept to a schedule."

It wasn't the first time I had heard Mrs. Hinchcliffe's opinions on child-rearing.

"Then she'll be spoilt, won't she?" I said coldly, not looking at him. The small pink mouth clamped down fiercely, and Brianna began to suck with mindless appetite. I was aware that Mrs. Hinchcliffe also thought breast-feeding both vulgar and insanitary. I, who had seen any number of eighteenth-century babies nursing contentedly at their mothers' breasts, didn't.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 3, "Frank and Full Disclosure". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
3) Jamie lost his mother at a very young age, but he hasn't forgotten her:
I had heard what he said to the plover he released. Though I had only a few words of Gaelic, I had heard the old salutation often enough to be familiar with it. “God go with ye, Mother," he had said.

A young mother, dead in childbirth. And a child left behind. I touched his arm and he looked down at me.

“How old were you?” I asked.

He gave me a half-smile. “Eight,” he answered. “Weaned, at least."

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 17, "We Meet a Beggar". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
4) Bree's reaction on the night before Claire goes back through the stones, when she thinks she'll never see her mother again:
"It's like--there are all these things I don't even know!" she said, pacing with quick, angry steps. "Do you think I remember what I looked like, learning to walk, or what the first word I said was? No, but Mama does! And that's so stupid, because what difference does it make, it doesn't make any difference at all, but it's important, it matters because she thought it was, and ... oh, Roger, if she's gone, there won't be a soul left in the world who cares what I'm like, or thinks I'm special not because of anything, but just because I'm me! She's the only person in the world who really, really cares I was born, and if she's gone..." She stood still on the hearthrug, hands clenched at her sides, and mouth twisted with the effort to control herself, tears wet on her cheeks. Then her shoulders slumped and the tension went out of her tall figure.

"And that's just really dumb and selfish," she said, in a quietly reasonable tone. "And you don't understand, and you think I'm awful."

"No," Roger said quietly. "I think maybe not." He stood and came behind her, putting his arms around her waist, urging her to lean back against him. She resisted at first, stiff in his arms, but then yielded to the need for physical comfort and relaxed, his chin propped on her shoulder, head tilted to touch her own.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 22, "All Hallows' Eve". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
5) Mother Hildegarde is very perceptive:
"I have noticed,” she said slowly, “that time does not really exist for mothers, with regard to their children. It does not matter greatly how old the child is--in the blink of an eye, the mother can see the child again as it was when it was born, when it learned to walk, as it was at any age--at any time, even when the child is fully grown and a parent itself.”

“Especially when they’re asleep,” I said, looking down again at the little white stone. “You can always see the baby then.”

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 40, "I Shall Go Down to the Sea". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
6) Claire, in her farewell letter to Bree:
You are my baby, and always will be. You won’t know what that means until you have a child of your own, but I tell you now, anyway--you’ll always be as much a part of me as when you shared my body and I felt you move inside. Always.

I can look at you, asleep, and think of all the nights I tucked you in, coming in the dark to listen to your breathing, lay my hand on you and feel your chest rise and fall, knowing that no matter what happens, everything is right with the world because you are alive.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 42, "The Man in the Moon". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rightsreserved.)
7) Roger's mother saved his life in the moments before she died in the Bethnal Green tube station collapse in March, 1943.
"She let go my hand,” he said. The words came more easily now; the tightness in his throat and chest was gone. “She let go my hand ... and then she picked me up. That small woman--she picked me up, and threw me over the wall. Down into the crowd of people on the platform below. I was knocked mostly out by the fall, I think--but I remember the roar as the roof went. No one on the stair survived."

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 98, "Clever Lad". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
8) This is my favorite quote about motherhood from the whole series:
“Did I ever think to thank ye, Sassenach?" he said, his voice a little husky.

“For what?" I said, puzzled. He took my hand, and drew me gently toward him. He smelled of ale and damp wool, and very faintly of the brandied sweetness of fruitcake.

“For my bairns," he said softly. "For the children that ye bore me."

"Oh," I said. I leaned slowly forward, and rested my forehead against the solid warmth of his chest. I cupped my hands at the small of his back beneath his coat, and sighed. "It was ... my pleasure."

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 13, “Beans and Barbecue". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I hope you enjoyed these quotes. Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

OUTLANDER on "Jeopardy!"



This was on "Jeopardy!" last night.  I think it's very cool! <g>

It's not the first time OUTLANDER-related topics have appeared on the show:



WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD was featured on "Jeopardy!" in December 2014.



DRUMS OF AUTUMN got a mention in November 2016.

There may have been other examples over the years; these are just the ones I know about.

I think it's great publicity for both the books and the TV series.  Congratulations, Diana!

Monday, May 1, 2017

OUTLANDER Casting: Rollo!



Here's our first bit of Season 4 casting news: These adorable Northern Inuit puppies will play Rollo!

Details here.

For those of you who don't know who Rollo is, or may be wondering why a pair of puppies are important enough to rate their own casting announcement:  You'll either have to wait until Season 4 to find out, or read DRUMS OF AUTUMN (book 4 of the OUTLANDER series).  But trust me, Rollo is an integral part of the Fraser family!  He steals nearly every scene in which he appears in the books, and I'm sure he'll be a hit with the TV viewers, too.

Happy Birthday, Jamie Fraser!



Wishing a very happy birthday to our favorite red-heided Scot, James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, who turns 296 years old today! He was born on May 1, 1721. (And yes, his birthday is the day after Sam Heughan's, which is either an amazing coincidence, or karma, depending on how you look at it. <g>)

If you're on Twitter, please join OUTLANDER fans worldwide in celebrating Jamie's birthday with the hashtag #HappyBdayJAMMF. We've done this every year since 2010, and it's always a lot of fun.



In honor of Jamie's birthday, here's a selection of some of my favorite quotes by and about him from the OUTLANDER books. I tried to pick quotes that illustrate as many different aspects of Jamie's personality as possible.  I hope you enjoy them!

*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***

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

OUTLANDER

This is the point where, on my first reading of OUTLANDER, I fell in love with Jamie Fraser.
A Highlander in full regalia is an impressive sight--any Highlander, no matter how old, ill-favored, or crabbed in appearance. A tall, straight-bodied, and by no means ill-favored young Highlander at close range is breath-taking.

The thick red-gold hair had been brushed to a smooth gleam that swept the collar of a fine lawn shirt with tucked front, belled sleeves, and lace-trimmed wrist frills that matched the cascade of the starched jabot at the throat, decorated with a ruby stickpin.

His tartan was a brilliant crimson and black that blazed among the more sedate MacKenzies in their green and white. The flaming wool, fastened by a circular silver brooch, fell from his right shoulder in a graceful drape, caught by a silver-studded sword belt before continuing its sweep past neat calves clothed in woolen hose and stopping just short of the silver-buckled black leather boots. Sword, dirk, and badger-skin sporran completed the ensemble.

Well over six feet tall, broad in proportion, and striking of feature, he was a far cry from the grubby horse-handler I was accustomed to--and he knew it. Making a leg in courtly fashion, he swept me a bow of impeccable grace, murmuring “Your servant, Ma’am,” eyes glinting with mischief.

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 14, "A Marriage Takes Place". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
DRAGONFLY IN AMBER

Just heartbreaking. But the idea of a love that outlasts even death itself is one of the most powerful themes of the entire series.
"I will find you,” he whispered in my ear. “I promise. If I must endure two hundred years of purgatory, two hundred years without you—then that is my punishment, which I have earned for my crimes. For I have lied, and killed, and stolen; betrayed and broken trust. But there is the one thing that shall lie in the balance. When I shall stand before God, I shall have one thing to say, to weigh against the rest.”

His voice dropped, nearly to a whisper, and his arms tightened around me.

“Lord, ye gave me a rare woman, and God! I loved her well."

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 46, "Timor Mortis Conturbat Me". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
VOYAGER

Jamie is a born leader, as we saw during his years in Ardsmuir Prison.
He had come from the bosom of family and tenants, from a strength that had sustained him for seven years, to find a lack of hope and a loneliness that would kill a man faster than the damp and the filth and the quaking ague of the prison.

And so, quite simply, he had taken the ragtag and remnants, the castoff survivors of the field of Culloden, and made them his own, that they and he might survive the stones of Ardsmuir as well. Reasoning, charming, and cajoling where he could, fighting where he must, he had forced them to band together, to face their captors as one, to put aside ancient clan rivalries and allegiances, and take him as their chieftain.

“They were mine,” he said softly. “And the having of them kept me alive."

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 33, "Buried Treasure". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
DRUMS OF AUTUMN

Other people may see Jamie as a hero, or "King of Men", but Jamie himself would disagree. He's all too aware of his own faults.
“Do ye really think me a good man?” he said at last. There was a queer note in his voice, that I couldn’t quite decipher.

“Yes,” I said, with no hesitation. Then added, half jokingly, “Don’t you?”

After a long pause, he said, quite seriously, “No, I shouldna think so.”

I looked at him, speechless, no doubt with my mouth hanging open.

“I am a violent man, and I ken it well,” he said quietly. He spread his hands out on his knees; big hands, which could wield sword and dagger with ease, or choke the life from a man. “So do you--or ye should."

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 13, "An Examination of Conscience". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
THE FIERY CROSS

I love the fact that Jamie has a sentimental side, and the "poison ivy bouquet" always makes me laugh.
"Welcome home,” he said, and held out the small bouquet of leaves and twigs.

“Oh,” she said. She looked at the bits of leaf and stick again, and then at him, and the corners of her mouth trembled, as though she might laugh or cry, but wasn’t sure which. She reached then, and took the plants from him, her fingers small and cold as they brushed his hand.

“Oh, Jamie--they’re wonderful.” She came up on her toes and kissed him, warm and salty, and he wanted more, but she was hurrying away into the house, the silly wee things clasped to her breast as though they were gold.

He felt pleasantly foolish, and foolishly pleased with himself. The taste of her was still on his mouth.

Sorcha,” he whispered, and realized that he had called her so a moment before. Now, that was odd; no wonder she had been surprised. It was her name in the Gaelic, but he never called her by it. He liked the strangeness of her, the Englishness. She was his Claire, his Sassenach.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 18, "No Place Like Home". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES

We tend to think of the abduction/rape mostly in terms of what happened to Claire, but Jamie was very deeply shaken by what happened, too. I love the way he pushes his own feelings aside in the face of Claire's need, waiting until she is asleep before he will let himself cry.
He held her, both arms wrapped around her as though to save her from drowning, but felt her sink away all the same. He wished to call out to her not to go, not to leave him alone. She vanished into the depths of sleep, and he yearned after her, wishing her healed, fearing her flight, and bent his head, burying his face in her hair and her scent.

[...]

Then he cried, soundless, muscles strained to aching that he might not shake with it, that she might not wake to know it. He wept to emptiness and ragged breath, the pillow wet beneath his face. Then lay exhausted beyond the thought of tiredness, too far from sleep even to recall what it was like. His only comfort was the small, so fragile weight that lay warm upon his heart, breathing. 

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 29, "Perfectly Fine". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
AN ECHO IN THE BONE

Jamie has just offered young William his hat, in exchange for the one he shot off the young man's head by accident in the wheat field. It's the first time he has spoken to his son in many years.
"Are you all right? What on earth is the matter?" I sat beside him and put a hand on his back, beginning to be worried.

"I dinna ken whether to laugh or to weep, Sassenach," he said. He took his hand away from his face, and I saw that, in fact, he appeared to be doing both. His lashes were wet, but the corners of his mouth were twitching.

"I've lost a kinsman and found one, all in the same moment--and a moment later realize that for the second time in his life, I've come within an inch of shooting my son." He looked at me and shook his head, quite helpless between laughter and dismay.

"I shouldna have done it, I ken that. It's only--I thought all at once, What if I dinna miss, a third time? And--and I thought I must just ... speak to him. As a man. In case it should be the only time, aye?"

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 66, "Deathbed". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD

Jamie's relationship with Lord John Grey is complex and multilayered. I hope some day they can resume their friendship.
"When Geneva died and it was my fault, it was a knife in my heart--and then William ..." His mouth softened. "The bairn cut me wide open, Sassenach. He spilled my guts out into my hands."

I put my hand on his, and he turned it, his fingers curling over mine.

"And that bloody English sodomite bandaged me," he said, so low I could scarcely hear him above the sound of the river. "With his friendship."

He drew breath again and let it out explosively. "No, I didna kill him. I dinna ken if I'm glad of it or not--but I didn't."

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 24, "Welcome Coolness in the Heat, Comfort in the Midst of Woe". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Happy Birthday, Jamie! MANY thanks to Diana Gabaldon for creating such an amazing character, and to Sam Heughan for bringing him to life on TV!

And finally, please note, it's Beltane today, which means the portals are open. <g> Be careful if you go near any standing stones, and be sure to carry a wee gemstone with you, just in case!

April poll results

Here are the results of the April poll, which asked the question, "Have you tried to get other people to read the OUTLANDER books, or watch the TV series?"
  • 24.02% - Many times!
  • 24.02% - All of the above.
  • 20.53% - I got one or more of my close friends or family members addicted.
  • 9.45% - I've tried, but so far without success.
  • 6.16% - I've given copies of OUTLANDER to my friends or coworkers.
  • 5.34% - Of course! I enjoy being an OUTLANDER ambassador.
  • 3.08% - I've been spreading the word about the TV series and trying to get people to watch.
  • 2.87% - No, I haven't tried.
  • 2.46% - I've recommended OUTLANDER to strangers in the bookstore or library.
  • 0.41% - I got my book club to read OUTLANDER.
  • 0.41% - I've recommended the books on Facebook, Goodreads, or other online sites.
  • 1.23% - Other
Here are the results for "Other":
  • Some of the above! :)
  • Most of the above
  • most of the above with some success
  • recommended it to fellow book club members
  • they are already reading the series!!!
  • # 1, 2, 3, 5, 7
There were 487 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated!

Please take a moment to vote in the May poll, which asks the question, "How did you discover the OUTLANDER books?" Thanks!