Wednesday, April 25, 2018

What would you ask Diana, if you could?

So this happened today, on TheLitForum.com, which is the new online home of the former Compuserve Books and Writers Community....

Diana Gabaldon was talking about the questions she's been asked by interviewers over the years, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to mention something I've been thinking about for a long time:  I'd love to interview her myself some day.  And I was thrilled to see this response from Diana. (Click on the image for a bigger view.)



Wow! "Extremely Perceptive and articulate" is high praise indeed, coming from Diana, and the sort of comment I'll treasure for a long time.

So, clearly she'd be happy to answer any questions I can come up with, within reason. <g>  As for what to ask...?  That's the hard part, and I plan to spend some time thinking about it.  I have a few ideas, but I'm not going to share them ahead of time.

Instead, I thought I'd ask the rest of you:  What would you like to ask Diana Gabaldon, if you could?

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Happy Birthday, Mandy!



Wishing a very happy birthday to Amanda Claire Hope MacKenzie, aka Mandy, who was born on April 21, 1776.

That would make her 242 years old, which is rather mind-boggling to contemplate, considering that she was only a toddler when last seen in WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD.

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

* * * SPOILER WARNING!! * * *

If you haven't read all eight of Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER books, up to and including WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD, there are Major Spoilers below. Read at your own risk! 

1) Roger holds his baby girl for the first time.
Roger had never felt so terrified as he did when his newborn daughter was placed in his arms for the first time. Minutes old, skin tender and perfect as an orchid’s, she was so delicate he feared he would leave fingerprints on her--but so alluring that he had to touch her, drawing the back of his knuckle gently, so gently, down the perfect curve of her fat little cheek, stroking the black cobweb silk of her hair with an unbelieving forefinger. 

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 114, "Amanda". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
2) We get our first hint that baby Mandy may have inherited her parents' time-travel gene:
Jamie Fraser took his father’s ruby ring, and held it over the face of his granddaughter. Amanda’s eyes fixed on it at once, and she stuck out her tongue with interest. He smiled, despite the heaviness of his heart, and lowered the ring for her to grab at.

“She likes that well enough,” he said, skillfully removing it from her grip before she could get it into her mouth. “Let’s try the other.”

The other was Claire’s amulet--the tiny, battered leather pouch given to her by an Indian wisewoman years before. It contained assorted bits and bobs, herbs, he thought, and feathers, perhaps the tiny bones of a bat. But in among them was a lump of stone--nothing much to look at, but a true gemstone, a raw sapphire.

Amanda turned her head at once, more interested in the pouch than she had been in the shiny ring. She made cooing noises and batted wildly with both hands, trying to reach it.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 114, "Amanda". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
3) Roger and Claire, not long before the MacKenzies returned to the 20th century.
"Mandy's got my mother's hair."

"Oh, good," Claire said dryly. "I'd hate to think I was entirely responsible for it. Do tell her that, when she's older, will you? Girls with very curly hair invariably hate it--at least in the early years, when they want to look like everyone else."

Despite his preoccupation, he heard the small note of desolation in her voice, and reached for her hand, disregarding the fact that she still held a plant in it.

"I'll tell her," he said softly. "I'll tell her everything. Don't ever think we'd let the kids forget you."

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 21, "The Minister's Cat". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
4) Jemmy and Mandy at Lallybroch:
"But Mama! Mandy hit me!” came an indignant report from the top of the stairs. Looking up, she could see the top of his head, the light from the window glowing on his hair.

“She did? Well—”

“With a stick!”

“What sort of—”

“On purpose!”

“Well, I don’t think—”

“AND …”--a pause before the damning denouement--“SHE DIDN’T SAY SHE WAS SORRY!”

[...]

“MANDY,” she bellowed. “Say you’re sorry!”

“Non’t!” came a high-pitched refusal from above.

“Aye, ye will!” came Jem’s voice, followed by scuffling. Brianna headed for the stair, blood in her eye. Just as she set her foot on the tread, Jem uttered a piercing squeal.

“She BIT me!”

“Jeremiah MacKenzie, don’t you dare bite her back!” she shouted. “Both of you stop it this instant!"

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, Epilogue I, "Lallybroch". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
5) This scene from ECHO hit me like a gut-punch the first time I read it. Mandy may be only a toddler, but I think she does an amazing job of telling her parents what's wrong and communicating the urgency of the situation. Thank God Bree and Roger took her hysteria seriously!
He made it to Amanda’s room a half step before Brianna and scooped the child out of her bed, cradling her against his pounding heart.

“Jemmy, Jemmy!” she sobbed. “He’s gone, he’s gone. He’s GONE!!” This last was shrieked as she stiffened in Roger’s arms, digging her feet hard into his belly.

"Hey, hey,” he soothed, trying to rearrange her and pet her into calm. “It’s okay, Jemmy’s fine. He’s fine, he’s only gone to visit Bobby overnight. He’ll be home tomorrow.”

“He’s GONE!” She squirmed like an eel, not trying to get away but merely possessed by a paroxysm of frantic grief. “He’s not here, he’s not here!”

"Aye, like I said, he’s at Bobby’s house, he—”

“Not here,” she said urgently, and thumped the palm of her hand repeatedly on the top of her head. “Not here wif me!”

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 85, "Son of a Witch". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
6) Many of you will recall that Diana Gabaldon said repeatedly that she wanted an octopus on the cover of WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD. She didn't get that, but I knew there would be an octopus reference in the book somewhere:
Mandy unbuckled her seat belt and popped up on her knees. She’d pulled her arms out of her sweater so they flopped around, and now just her face was poking out of the neckhole.

“I’m an ottopus!” she said, and shook herself so the sweater’s arms danced. Jem laughed, in spite of himself. So did Mam, but she waved Mandy back down.

“Octopus,” she said. “And put your seat belt back on right now. Octo means eight in Latin,” she added. “Octopuses have eight legs. Or arms, maybe.”

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 99, "Radar". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
7) In spite of the seriousness of the situation, Mandy's counting makes me laugh.
"Go, Mandy. Right now. Mummy will be there before you can count to a hundred. Start counting now. One...two...three..." She moved between Cameron and Mandy, motioning firmly with her free hand.

Reluctantly, Mandy moved, murmuring, "Four... five... six... seven..." and disappeared through the back kitchen door.

[....]

"Think fast,” he shouted up at her. “Your wee lass will hit a hundred and be back any second!”

Despite the situation, Brianna smiled. Mandy had very recently been introduced to the idea that numbers were infinite and had been enchanted by the concept. She wouldn’t stop counting until she ran out of breath or someone stopped her.

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 26, "A Step Into the Dark". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
8) I love the way Jem is so protective of his little sister.
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) I don't have words to express how relieved and grateful I am that the MacKenzies found each other at last.
"Think ye might have lost something,” Buck said gruffly, and handed Mandy carefully down to him. She was a heavy, lively weight in his arms--and smelled of goats.

“Daddy!” she exclaimed, beaming at him as though he’d just come in from work. “Mwah! Mwah!” She kissed him noisily and snuggled into his chest, her hair tickling his chin.

[....]

Roger was crying again, couldn’t stop. Mandy had burrs and foxtails stuck in her hair and in the fabric of her jacket, and he thought she might have wet herself somewhere in the recent past. Buck twitched the reins, as though about to turn and go, and Roger reached out a hand and grabbed his stirrup.

“Stay,” he croaked. “Tell me it’s real.”

Buck made an incoherent noise, and, looking up through his tears, Roger could see that Buck was making an inadequate attempt at hiding his own emotion.

“Aye,” Buck said, sounding almost as choked as Roger. He looped his reins and, sliding off into the road, took Jem very gently into his own arms. “Aye, it’s real."

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 108, "Reality is That Which, When You Stop Believing in It, Doesn't Go Away". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Happy Birthday to our favorite time-traveling toddler and "feisty wee baggage", Mandy MacKenzie!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Culloden anniversary



Today is the 272nd anniversary of the Battle of Culloden, which took place on April 16, 1746.



I like this video very much. (The song is "The Ghosts of Culloden", performed by Isla Grant.)



Diana Gabaldon noted in her blog post about her 2008 visit to Culloden that she saw the place where Jamie woke after the battle, thinking he was dead.  When I asked her on Compuserve if she recalled where that was, exactly, she said,
Jamie made it almost to the second government line.  He woke in a little swale or dip (you recall he was lying in water), about forty feet off the path that leads from the Visitors Centre--maybe a couple of hundred yards beyond the VC itself.
The photo below shows the area where the government lines were, marked with a red flag.



I was lucky enough to be able to visit Culloden in 2012, and again in 2016.  It's an amazing place, and the Visitors Centre is very well done.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

OUTLANDER Season 3 Blu-ray and DVD now available in the US!



The OUTLANDER Season 3 Blu-ray and DVD is finally available in the US!

You can find it wherever DVDs are sold, or order from Amazon here:

Blu-ray
DVD
Collector's Edition Blu-ray

Look here for a detailed description of the three editions.

I'm well aware that many of you outside the US have had the Season 3 Blu-ray/DVD for a month or more, but it's been a long wait for American fans. I haven't actually seen any of the "extras" or deleted scenes yet, and I'm looking forward to seeing them for myself when my copy arrives on Wednesday.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

March poll results

Here are the results of the March poll, which asked the question, "Do you read excerpts or #DailyLines from Diana Gabaldon's upcoming books or stories?"
    There were 1114 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated!
    • 67.15% - Absolutely! I will gladly devour any excerpt or #DailyLine I can find.
    • 10.86% - Yes, and I wish Diana Gabaldon would post them more often!
    • 7.00% - No, I would rather wait and see those bits of the story in their proper context, when the book comes out.
    • 6.64% - Sometimes.
    • 1.89% - No, I am trying hard to avoid the excerpts and #DailyLines.
    • 1.44% - I'm addicted to the #DailyLines!
    • 1.26% - I used to read them, but I don't anymore.
    • 1.17% - What excerpts? Where can I find them?
    • 0.63% - What are #DailyLines?
    • 0.54% - I read excerpts, but only for certain books or stories.
    • 1.44% - Other
    I didn't vote in the poll myself, but I fall into the third category above. I've been an excerpt-avoider since 2008, but I certainly don't mind if other people devour them! I think it's fascinating that people have different levels of tolerance for reading excerpts.

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

    Saturday, March 31, 2018

    Happy Easter!

    Here are a couple of Easter-related quotes from Diana Gabaldon's books, just in time for the holiday.

    *** SPOILER WARNING!! *** 

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

    Easter Eggs

    I like Roger's memories of Easter with his kids:
    [Roger's] heart rose, in spite of his anxiety, when he came to the top of the pass and saw Lallybroch below him, its white-harled buildings glowing in the fading light. Everything lay peaceful before him: late cabbages and turnips in orderly rows within the kailyard walls, safe from grazing sheep--there was a small flock in the far meadow, already bedding for the night, like so many woolly eggs in a nest of green grass, like a kid’s Easter basket.

    The thought caught at his throat, with memories of the horrible cellophane grass that got everywhere, Mandy with her face—and everything else within six feet of her—smeared with chocolate, Jem carefully writing Dad on a hard-boiled egg with a white crayon, then frowning over the array of dye cups, trying to decide whether blue or purple was more Dad-like.

    (From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 29, "Return to Lallybroch". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
    I'm Jewish, so I don't celebrate Easter, but we did occasionally dye eggs when I was little, just for fun, and this bit makes me smile, remembering that.



    The photo above shows the Easter vigil at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.  It looks very much as Jamie remembers:
    "The church was all dark,” Jamie continued, “but the folk coming for the service would buy small tapers from the crones at the doors. It was something like this”--I felt, rather than saw, his motion at the sky above--“a great space above, all ringing wi’ the silence, and folk packed in on every side.” Hot as it was, I gave an involuntary shiver at these words, which conjured up a vision of the dead around us, crowding silently side by side, in anticipation of an imminent resurrection.

    “And then, just when I thought I couldna bear the silence and the crowd, there came the priest’s voice from the door. ‘Lumen Christi!’ he called out, and the acolytes lit the great candle that he carried. Then from it they took the flame to their own tapers, and scampered up and down the aisles, passing the fire to the candles o’ the faithful.”

    (From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 2, "In Which We Meet a Ghost". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
    Happy Easter to all of you who are celebrating!

    Sunday, March 25, 2018

    ABC's of Lord John Grey



    ABC's of Lord John Grey

    I borrowed this idea from a writer's exercise that was posted on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community (now TheLitForum.com) 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 Lord John.

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

    * * * SPOILER WARNING!! * * *

    If you haven't read all of the OUTLANDER and Lord John books and stories, you will find Major Spoilers below! Read at your own risk.

    S

    P

    O

    I

    L

    E

    R

    S

    A for Ardsmuir Prison, where Lord John served as Governor, and where he first formed a tentative friendship with Jamie Fraser.

    B for Blurter. John has a habit of impulsively blurting out things he shouldn't, particularly under stress.
    "I did not come with the intention of seducing your husband, I assure you,” he said.

    “John!” Jamie’s fist struck the table with a force that rattled the teacups. His cheekbones were flushed dark red, and he was scowling with embarrassed fury.

    “Sorry.” Grey, by contrast, had gone white, though he remained otherwise visibly unruffled. It occurred to me for the first time that he might possibly be as unnerved as Jamie by this meeting.

    “My apologies, ma’am,” he said, with a curt nod in my direction. “That was unforgivable."
    (From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 25, "Enter a Serpent". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
    C for Crefeld, the site of the battle where Lord John was badly injured by an exploding cannon. Also Claire, of course.

    D for Dueling. We've seen Lord John fight two duels, in "The Custom of the Army" and THE SCOTTISH PRISONER, and in both cases those duels had consequences that he could not have foreseen.

    E for the Electric-Eel party that Lord John attended in "The Custom of the Army".

    F for Friendship.  Lord John values his relationships with his friends, from Harry Quarry to Stephan von Namtzen to Brianna, but above all with Jamie Fraser.  Even after the disastrous chess game at Ardsmuir, when Jamie did everything he could to sever their relationship, John still acted as a friend:
    And he had not done it for revenge or from indecent motives, for he never gloated, made no advances; never said anything beyond the most commonplace civilities. No, he had brought Jamie here because it was the best he could do; unable simply to release him at the time, Grey had done his best to ease the conditions of captivity--by giving him air, and light, and horses.

    (From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 16, "Willie". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
    I love watching the evolution of Jamie and Lord John's relationship over the course of the series, and I was fascinated to see how they gradually healed their friendship in THE SCOTTISH PRISONER. (If you haven't read that book, I highly recommend it!)

    G for the Graf von Erdberg, aka Stephan von Namtzen, Lord John's good friend.

    H for his elder brother Hal. Hal may be a ruthless SOB, but the brothers love each other deeply. H is also for Lord John's sense of Honor, which is an essential aspect of his character.

    I for Isobel Dunsany, younger sister to Geneva, whom Lord John married shortly after Jamie left Helwater.

    J for James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, of course. Jamie's life has been inextricably intertwined with Lord John's for many years. But their relationship hasn't always been an easy one, to put it mildly!
    "You did forgive him, though," [Brianna] said quietly. "Why?"

    He sat up then, and shrugged, but didn't put away her hand.

    "I had to." He glanced at her, eyes straight and level. "I hated him for as long as I could. But then I realized that loving him ... that was part of me, and one of the best parts. It didn't matter that he couldn't love me, that had nothing to do with it. But if I could not forgive him, then I could not love him, and that part of me was gone. And I found eventually that I wanted it back."

    (From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 59, "Blackmail". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
    Considering how tense and uncomfortable their relationship is at the end of WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD, I really hope that Jamie will come to a similar realization before too long, and forgive John.

    K for Kindness.  Lord John has gone out of his way to help Jamie and his family in many ways over the years, sending them gifts (vitriol and glass globes for Claire's ether-making, a set of toy soldiers for Jemmy, and so on) and even posing as Brianna's fiancé for several months to protect her from Jocasta's efforts to marry her off.

    L for Loyalty.  John is extremely loyal to his family, to his friends, to the men in his regiment, and to his country.  That last will cause him some difficulty as the Revolutionary War progresses, as Jamie notes:
    Oh, God, and there was John. What could he say to his friend, when the time came? Convince him by logic and rhetoric to change his coat as well? He hissed through his teeth and shook his head in consternation, trying--and failing utterly--to envision John Grey, lifelong soldier, ex-Royal Governor, that very soul of loyalty and honor, suddenly declaring himself for rebellion and republic.

    (From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 41, "The Gun-Smith". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
    I had to laugh, in MOHB, when John was forced by circumstances beyond his control to do just that. <g>

    M for Manoke, the Native American cook at Mt. Josiah plantation with whom John has had a long-term sexual relationship.
    "It is not merely the relief of necessary urges," he added pointedly, turning his head to meet my eyes. "There is true liking between us."

    (From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 95, "Numbness". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
    N for his Nephews and Niece: Benjamin, Adam, Henry, and Dottie.

    O for his sexual Orientation. John's homosexuality is an integral part of his character, to be sure, but it does not define him. He's not a "gay character", he's a character who happens to be gay, and I think that distinction is important.  John is surprisingly comfortable with his sexuality, even though it was considered an unspeakable perversion, and a capital crime, in the 18th century.
    "Do you ever wish that you were ... not as you are?"

    The question took him by surprise--and yet he was somewhat more surprised to realize that he did not need to think about the answer.

    "No," he said.

    (From LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 19, "Pictures at an Exhibition". Copyright© 2007 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
    P for Percy Wainwright.  Percy's betrayal hit John very hard, and even twenty years later, in ECHO, he still doesn't trust the man at all. P is also for Protection.  As Percy tells John in BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE, chapter 21: "You protect everyone, John--I don’t suppose you can help it.”

    Q for Quick-Witted.  Lord John is highly intelligent and a quick thinker, which makes him a good person to have around in a crisis.  Q is also for Harry Quarry, a loyal friend to both John and his brother Hal.

    R for Rationalist. Unlike many of the major characters in Diana Gabaldon's books, Lord John doesn't have a strong religious faith:
    Now and then he wished ardently that he had faith in a merciful God and an afterlife in which the dead might live on--Jamie Fraser had such faith; burned with it, in a way that excited both Grey’s curiosity and his envy. But Grey was a rationalist. He accepted the existence of God, but had no conviction of the nature of such a being, and no sense that his creator took a personal interest in him. Just as well, considering.

    (From LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 5, "Genius and Sub-Genius". Copyright© 2007 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
    S for Soldier. Lord John was a soldier for most of his adult life.  I like the advice that he gives William in ECHO:
    "Orders,” he repeated. “You follow orders, of course; you have to. But there will be times when you have no orders, or find yourself in a situation which has changed suddenly. And there will be times--there will be times, William--when your own honor dictates that you cannot follow an order. In such circumstances, you must follow your own judgment, and be prepared to live with the consequences.”

    (From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 6, "Long Island". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
    T for Tom Byrd, Lord John's valet, and one of the most memorable minor characters in Diana Gabaldon's books.

    U for Unrequited. It took John a long time to accept that his feelings of love for Jamie Fraser would never be reciprocated.
    "Do you know," he said again, softly, addressing his hands, "what it is to love someone, and never--never!--be able to give them peace, or joy, or happiness?”

    He looked up then, eyes filled with pain. “To know that you cannot give them happiness, not through any fault of yours or theirs, but only because you were not born the right person for them?"

    (From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 59, "In Which Much Is Revealed". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
    V for Vocabulary. From the moment he first appeared as the sixteen-year-old William Grey in DRAGONFLY, calling Jamie a "poltroon" and an "unprincipled voluptuary", I have always found Lord John's choice of words highly entertaining, just as Bree does:
    "You say I do not know your feelings, which is undeniably true." He allowed a tinge of wryness to creep into his voice. "Whatever they are, though, they must be exigent, to cause you to contemplate such drastic expedients."

    A slow smile grew on her lips, spreading into her eyes.

    "I really like the way you talk," she said.

    (From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 62, "Three-Thirds of a Ghost". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
    W for William, the bastard son of Jamie Fraser, whom John raised as his own son from the age of six.
    "So you see, there is no blood between us at all--and yet were any man to impugn my affection for him, or to say he is not my son, I would call him out on the instant for it."

    (From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 63, "Forgiveness". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
    X for the eXplosion of the cannon during the battle of Crefeld in 1758, which nearly killed him.

    Y for Youngest.  As the youngest of the four Grey brothers, Lord John is free to pursue his own career and interests, in a way that his brother Hal cannot.

    Z for Zombies. Lord John's encounter with a zombie on Jamaica was unforgettable!
    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, in SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL. Copyright© 2011 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
    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 Roger
    ABC's of Brianna
    ABC's of the OUTLANDER TV Series 

    Friday, March 16, 2018

    Season 4 Casting: Tim Downie as Governor Tryon



    More OUTLANDER Season 4 casting news: Sam Heughan's friend Tim Downie has been cast as Governor William Tryon!

    Please note the spelling: it's T-R-Y-O-N.  I've seen many people on social media spelling his name as "Tyron" since the news broke yesterday, but that is incorrect.



    William Tryon was a real historical figure, who served as governor of the Colony of North Carolina from 1765-1771.  The governor's official residence, located in New Bern, NC, is known today as Tryon Palace. (It's worth a visit if you're in the area.)  You can read more about Governor Tryon here.

    Welcome, Tim! You can follow Tim Downie on Twitter at @TimDownie1.

    Tuesday, March 6, 2018

    Diana Gabaldon's 30th writing anniversary


    Today marks 30 years since Diana Gabaldon began writing, "for practice", the novel that would become OUTLANDER. She started writing on March 6, 1988.

    Congratulations, Diana!! And we wish you many more happy, productive, and successful years of writing! Thank you so much for creating this amazing story.  It really has changed my life, in so many ways.

    Here's Diana's story of How It All Began, originally posted on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community (now TheLitforum.com) on the occasion of her 22nd "writing anniversary", in March 2010.  I think you'll find it interesting, particularly those of you who've discovered OUTLANDER in the last several years and may not have heard the full story before.

    Monday, March 5, 2018

    How do Jamie and Claire pronounce "Brianna"?



    Thanks to Diana Gabaldon for this little video demonstrating how Brianna's parents would pronounce her name. I liked that very much.

    I have never been sure if Claire said it "Bree-AHH-na" or "Bree-ANN-a". Good to have a Definitive Answer on that. <g> And although I did know how Jamie said "BREE-uh-na", I'd forgotten that the sound of that first syllable changes in Gaidhlig depending on whether he's addressing her directly.

    Very interesting! It reminded me somewhat of the "How to Speak OUTLANDER" videos that they did in Season 1.

    Thursday, March 1, 2018

    Do you read excerpts and #DailyLines, or not?

    Do you read excerpts or #DailyLines from Diana Gabaldon's upcoming books or stories, or not?  And if not, why not?

    I am a longtime excerpt-avoider, since 2008.  But I used to devour snippets as eagerly as many of you do now for Book 9.  I think it's fascinating that there's such a wide variety of responses to this particular question, and that some people change their opinions over time.

    This question is the topic of the March poll on Outlandish Observations.  I thought it would be interesting to see what you think.


    Are you an excerpt-devourer, a #DailyLine addict, a diehard spoiler-avoider, or do you fall somewhere in between?  And if you used to read excerpts but you don't anymore, what made you decide to stop?

    Please take a moment to vote, and then come back and leave a comment here or on my Outlandish Observations Facebook page. Thanks!

    February poll results

    Here are the results of the February poll, which asked the question, "What is your favorite episode of OUTLANDER Season 3?"

    There were 645 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated!
    • 45.27% - EP306: A. Malcolm
    • 21.4% - EP304: Of Lost Things
    • 6.82% - EP308: First Wife
    • 5.58% - EP313: Eye of the Storm
    • 4.34% - EP305: Freedom & Whisky
    • 4.19% - EP301: The Battle Joined
    • 2.02% - EP303: All Debts Paid
    • 2.02% - EP311: Uncharted
    • 1.4% - EP310: Heaven and Earth
    • 1.09% - EP312: The Bakra
    • 0.31% - EP309: The Doldrums
    • 0.16% - EP302: Surrender
    • 0% - EP307: Crème de Menthe
    • 3.57% - I haven't watched OUTLANDER Season 3.
    • 1.86% - Other
    Here are the responses for "Other":
    • all of the avove
    • I can't make up my mind because I love them ALL.
    • All
    • loved them all
    • The first three were amazing-but love A. Malcolm.
    • All of them
    • It's a great season! I have many favorite episodes
    • love them all
    • None.
    • All of them. I loved the entire season.
    • I can't remember the episodes by title, but I am loving the show.
    • Loved them all!

    I didn't vote in this poll, but my favorites from Season 3 are "A. Malcolm", "Of Lost Things", and "Uncharted".  I enjoyed quite a few of the others, too!

    Please take a moment to vote in the March poll, which asks the question, "Do you read excerpts or #DailyLines from Diana Gabaldon's upcoming books or stories?"

    Wednesday, February 14, 2018

    Favorite romantic quotes from the OUTLANDER books



    Happy Valentine's Day!

    Here are some of my all-time favorite romantic Jamie quotes from Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER books.  It was hard to pick just one per book! I hope you enjoy them.

    OUTLANDER:

    "Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone. I give ye my Body, that we Two might be One. I give ye my Spirit, 'til our Life shall be Done."

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

    DRAGONFLY IN AMBER:

    "I'm honest enough to say that I dinna care what the right and wrong of it may be, so long as you are here wi' me, Claire," he said softly. "If it was a sin for you to choose me...then I would go to the Devil himself and bless him for tempting ye to it."

    (From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 22, "The Royal Stud". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

    VOYAGER:

    "To have ye with me again--to talk wi’ you--to know I can say anything, not guard my words or hide my thoughts--God, Sassenach,” he said, “the Lord knows I am lust-crazed as a lad, and I canna keep my hands from you--or anything else--” he added, wryly, “but I would count that all well lost, had I no more than the pleasure of havin’ ye by me, and to tell ye all my heart."

    (From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 27, "Up in Flames". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

    DRUMS OF AUTUMN:

    "And when my body shall cease, my soul will still be yours. Claire--I swear by my hope of heaven, I will not be parted from you."

    (From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 16, "The First Law of Thermodynamics". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

    THE FIERY CROSS:

    "When the day shall come, that we do part," he said softly, and turned to look at me, "if my last words are not 'I love you'--ye'll ken it was because I didna have time."

    (From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 111, "And Yet Go Out to Meet It". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

    A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES:

    "Claire," he said, quite gently, "it was you. It's always been you, and it always will be."

    (From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 31, "And So To Bed". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

    AN ECHO IN THE BONE:

    "Ever heard of coup de foudre, Sassenach? It didna take me more than one good look at you."

    (From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 68, "Despoiler". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

    WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD:

    "I have loved ye since I saw you, Sassenach," he said very quietly, holding my eyes with his own, bloodshot and lined with tiredness but very blue. "I will love ye forever. It doesna matter if ye sleep with the whole English army--well, no," he corrected himself, “it would matter, but it wouldna stop me loving you."

    (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.)


    What are some of your own favorite romantic quotes from the books?

    Tuesday, February 13, 2018

    Sam and Cait's audition video on Entertainment Tonight Feb. 14



    For those of you in the US, the "Entertainment Tonight" TV show will be giving us our first look at Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe's audition videos for OUTLANDER!

    The show airs Wednesday, Feb. 14th, but time and channel may vary.  Check your local TV listings!

    UPDATE: If you're outside the US or you missed the broadcast, you can see the video here.

    Saturday, February 10, 2018

    OUTLANDER Season 3 Blu-ray/DVD will be out April 10th!



    The OUTLANDER Season 3 Blu-ray and DVD will be released in the US on April 10, 2018!

    You can pre-order from Amazon here:

    Blu-ray
    DVD
    Collector's Edition Blu-ray

    Look here for a detailed description of the three editions.

    I don't plan to order the Collector's Edition myself, since I was extremely disappointed with the poorly designed packaging for the Season 2 Collector's Edition.

    Friday, February 9, 2018

    OUTLANDER Season 3 Soundtrack now available!



    The soundtrack for OUTLANDER Season 3, featuring music by composer Bear McCreary, is now available!

    You can order it here:

    Amazon (streaming, MP3, or audio CD)
    iTunes

    Thursday, February 1, 2018

    What's your favorite episode of OUTLANDER Season 3?




    What's your favorite episode of OUTLANDER Season 3?  Please take a moment to vote in the February poll, and feel free to leave a comment here or on my Outlandish Observations Facebook page.

    In case you missed them, here are my Season 3 episode recaps:

    Episode 301: The Battle Joined
    Episode 302: Surrender
    Episode 303: All Debts Paid
    Episode 304: Of Lost Things
    Episode 305: Freedom & Whisky
    Episode 306: A. Malcolm
    Episode 307: Crème de Menthe
    Episode 308: First Wife
    Episode 309: The Doldrums
    Episode 310: Heaven and Earth
    Episode 311: Uncharted
    Episode 312: The Bakra
    Episode 313: Eye of the Storm

    January poll results

    Here are the results of the January poll, which asked the question, "Have you ever been to Scotland?"
      There were 958 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated!
      • 34.24% - No, but I'd love to visit there some day!
      • 16.81% - I visited Scotland long before I knew Diana Gabaldon's books existed.
      • 12.94% - I visited Scotland after I discovered the OUTLANDER books.
      • 11.17% - Yes, I've been there more than once.
      • 8.56% - I'm making plans to go to Scotland in 2018 or 2019.
      • 2.92% - No, but I'd like to see some of the locations shown in the OUTLANDER TV series.
      • 2.40% - I'd like to visit, but I can't travel due to age or health reasons.
      • 2.30% - I've lived in Scotland all or part of my life.
      • 1.88% - No, it's too far away and/or I can't afford it.
      • 1.77% - I went on an OUTLANDER-themed tour of Scotland.
      • 1.36% - I visited Scotland as a result of seeing, or hearing about, the OUTLANDER TV series.
      • 0.52% - No, I like reading about Scotland or seeing it on TV, but I don't have any desire to go there myself.
      • 3.13% - Other
      I didn't vote in this poll, but I've been to Scotland twice before.  You can see my detailed account of my first trip in 2012 here.

      Please take a moment to vote in the February poll, which asks the question, "What is your favorite episode of OUTLANDER Season 3?"

      Thursday, January 25, 2018

      Happy Burns Day!



      Today is the 259th 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.

      S

      P

      O

      I

      L

      E

      R

      S

      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 several 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 24, 2018

      Watching Diana write



      Here's a little video demonstrating how Diana Gabaldon writes.

      I saw Diana do this same "watch me write in 90 seconds" bit in person once, at an appearance a few years ago.  But I really enjoyed the animation in this video, because it's easy to imagine Diana moving words or phrases around on her computer screen in exactly that way.  "Fiddling", as she calls it.

      Imagine 800 pages full of sentences constructed with that much careful attention to detail, and you begin to see, as Diana says, "This is why it takes me a long time to write a book."

      Sunday, January 21, 2018

      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.

      S

      P

      O

      I

      L

      E

      R

      S

      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 rfclipart.com.  I think it's just perfect for today, given the significance of this date in OUTLANDER history.

      Sunday, January 14, 2018

      OUTLANDER marathon on STARZ, and a Season 4 preview!



      STARZ will be running an OUTLANDER Season 3 marathon today (Sunday, January 14) starting at 9:05 am ET.

      At the end of the marathon, at 10 pm ET, they will be showing a scene from Season 4!

      Thursday, January 11, 2018

      Happy Birthday, Diana Gabaldon!



      Wishing a very happy birthday to Diana Gabaldon, author of the OUTLANDER series, who turns 66 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.

      For those of you on Facebook, we're trying something a little different this year.  When you post your status, click on "Feeling/Activity", then choose Reading, and type OUTLANDER or one of Diana Gabaldon's other books.  (I picked A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES, because that's the book I'm listening to at the moment.)

      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 6, 2018

      OUTLANDER Casting: Colin McFarlane as Ulysses!



      More Season 4 casting news: British actor Colin McFarlane will play Jocasta Cameron's black butler, Ulysses.

      Look here for details.

      Friday, January 5, 2018

      OUTLANDER quotes to keep you warm

      As many of you know, much of the US is enduring bitter cold and brutal winter weather this week. Here's a selection of quotes from the OUTLANDER books that might warm you up a little!



      1) On the Cape Fear River, Jamie and Claire cope with the heat and humidity of their first summer in North Carolina:
      “I have heard of melting with passion,” I said, gasping slightly, “but this is ridiculous.”

      He lifted his head from my breast with a faint sticky sound as his cheek came away. He laughed and slid slowly sideways.“God, it’s hot!” he said. He pushed back the sweat-soaked hair from his forehead and blew out his breath, chest still heaving from exertion. “How do folk do that when it’s like this?”

      “The same way we just did,” I pointed out. I was breathing heavily myself.

      “They can’t,” he said with certainty. “Not all the time; they’d die.”

      “Well, maybe they do it slower,” I said. “Or underwater. Or wait until the autumn.”

      “Autumn?” he said. “Perhaps I dinna want to live in the south, after all. Is it hot in Boston?”

      “It is at this time of year,” I assured him. “And beastly cold in the winter. I’m sure you’ll get used to the heat. And the bugs.”

      He brushed a questing mosquito off his shoulder and glanced from me to the nearby creek.

      "Maybe so," he said, "and maybe no, but for now..." He wrapped his arms firmly around me, and rolled. With the ponderous grace of a rolling log, we fell off the edge of the rocky shelf, and into the water.

      (From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 2, "In Which We Meet a Ghost". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


      2) Claire's secret to getting through cold winter nights in Paris: a nice warm bed with a very warm-blooded Scotsman in it! <g> (The bed pictured here is from the Château de Fontainebleau)
      It was still sleeting, and tiny particles of frozen rain rattled against the windows and hissed into the fire when the night wind turned to drive them down the flue. The wind was high, and it moaned and grumbled among the chimneys, making the bedroom seem all the cozier by contrast. The bed itself was an oasis of warmth and comfort, equipped with goose-down quilts, huge fluffy pillows, and Jamie, faithfully putting out British Thermal Units like an electric storage heater.

      (From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 11, "Useful Occupations". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


      3) The barbeque at River Run in honor of Flora MacDonald (pictured above, circa 1744) took place in the hottest part of the summer:
      The Major was watching Flora MacDonald now with a proprietary eye, noting with approval the way in which people clustered round her.

      “She has most graciously agreed to speak today,” he told me, rocking back a little on his bootheels. “Where would be the best place, do you think, mum? From the terrace, as being the point of highest elevation? Or perhaps near the statue on the lawn, as being more central and allowing the crowd to surround her, thus increasing the chance of everyone hearing her remarks?”

      “I think she’ll have a sunstroke, if you put her out on the lawn in this weather,” I said, tilting my own broad-brimmed straw hat to shade my nose. It was easily in the nineties, in terms both of temperature and humidity, and my thin petticoats clung soddenly to my lower limbs.

      (From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 54, "Flora MacDonald's Barbecue". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


      4) William collapses from heatstroke in the middle of the Battle of Monmouth (June 1778). Thank God Ian found him in time to save him!
      William was still alive; his face twitched under the feet of a half-dozen black flies feeding on his drying blood. Ian put a hand under his jaw, the way Auntie Claire did, but, with no idea how to find a pulse or what a good one should feel like, took it away again. William was lying in the shadow of a big sycamore, but his skin was still warm--it couldn’t help but be, Ian thought, even if he was dead, on a day like this.

      He’d risen to his feet, thinking rapidly. He’d need to get the bugger onto the horse, but maybe best undress him? Take off the telltale coat, at least? But what if he were to take him back toward the British lines, find someone there to take charge of him, get him to a surgeon? That was closer.

      Still need to take the coat off, or the man might die of the heat before he got anywhere. So resolved, he knelt again, and thus saved his own life. The tomahawk chunked into the sycamore’s trunk just where his head had been a moment before.

      (From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 78, "In The Wrong Place at the Wrong Time". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


      5) Jamie and Claire return home to the Big House after it failed to burn down as predicted on January 21, 1776.
      The house loomed before us, its quiet bulk somehow welcoming, in spite of the darkened windows. Snow was swirling across the porch in little eddies, piling in drifts on the sills.

      "I suppose it would be harder for a fire to start if it's snowing--wouldn't you think?"

      Jamie bent to unlock the front door.

      "I dinna much mind if the place bursts into flame by spontaneous combustion, Sassenach, provided I have my supper first."

      "A cold supper, were you thinking?" I asked dubiously.

      "I was not," he said firmly. "I mean to light a roaring fire in the kitchen hearth, fry up a dozen eggs in butter, and eat them all, then lay ye down on the hearth rug and roger ye 'til you--is that all right?" he inquired, noticing my look.

      "'Til I what?" I asked, fascinated by his description of the evening's program.

      "'Til ye burst into flame and take me with ye, I suppose," he said, and stooping, swooped me up into his arms and carried me across the darkened threshold.

      (From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 111, "January Twenty-First". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
      Hope this helped distract you from the cold, at least for a little while. Stay warm!

      Monday, January 1, 2018

      December poll results

      Here are the results of the December poll, which asked the question, "What is your favorite gift from the OUTLANDER books?"
        There were 1259 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated.
        • 22.56% - Fergus's last name
        • 18.27% - Claire's silver wedding ring
        • 16.04% - The pearl necklace Jamie gave Claire on their wedding day.
        • 10.33% - Adso the kitten
        • 9.85% - The medicine box Jamie gave Claire for their anniversary
        • 6.35% - Brianna's photos
        • 5.64% - The poison ivy bouquet
        • 3.26% - The cherrywood snake Jamie's brother made for him
        • 2.78% - The vrooms Roger made for the children
        • 2.54% - The rosary Jamie gave Willie as a farewell gift
        • 0.48% - The dachshund puppy Stephan von Namtzen gave Lord John.
        • 1.91% - Other
        I was surprised to see that so many people chose "Fergus's last name", but I'm sure that was influenced by Sam Heughan and César Domboy's portrayal of that bit in OUTLANDER Episode 311, "Uncharted", which was just as I'd always imagined from the book.
        Here are the responses for "Other":
        • all of the above, with the attending circumstances This is the perfect list .
        • all of them
        • How could I choose from this list of wonderful gifts all given with love.
        • All of the above? You betcha!
        • All those are good, but the initials are best
        • All of the above.
        • Brianna's silver bracelet: Je t'aime ...
        • hand fitting knife in Breath Snow
        • The buffalo robe
        • black coral and pearl necklace
        • All of the Above
        • Dragonfly
        • When Jamie touches Greys face -total gift of words
        • The protection if his clan and HIS BODY
        • It's so hard to pick just one!!!
        • The J and C they carved in each other's hands
        • LOVE
        • Fergus's last name, especially after episode 311, but also love the poison ivy
        • Brian Frasers ring Jamie gave to Claire
        • How can I choose? These are all great gifts!
        • ALL but the puppy!!!
        • All of the above
        • Because my husband brings me wildflowers too
        • The boars tusk bracelets

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