Sunday, June 17, 2018

Father's Day quotes from Diana Gabaldon's books



Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! In honor of the day, here's a selection of my favorite quotes about fathers and fatherhood from Diana Gabaldon's books.  Hope you enjoy them!

*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***

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


OUTLANDER
"I hadna realized until I saw him just how alone I’d felt there--or how scairt. The soldiers would not give us any time alone together, but at least they let me greet him.” He swallowed and went on.

“I told him I was sorry--about Jenny, I meant, and the whole sorry mess. He told me to hush, though, and hugged me tight to him. He asked me was I hurt badly--he knew about the flogging--and I said I’d be all right.The soldiers said I must go then, so he squeezed my arms tight, and told me to remember to pray. He said he would stand by me, no matter what happened, and I must just keep my head up and try not to worrit myself. He kissed my cheek and the soldiers took me away. That was the last time I ever saw him."

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 22, "Reckonings". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.) 

DRAGONFLY IN AMBER
“I wondered a bit,” he said thoughtfully, “whether my father was the sort of father he was because of the way old Simon treated him. I didna realize it at the time, of course, but it’s no so common for a man to show his feelings for his sons.”

“You’ve thought about it a lot.” I offered him another flask of ale, and he took it with a smile that lingered on me, more warming than the feeble autumn sun.

“Aye, I did. I was wondering, ye see, what sort of father I’d be to my own bairns, and looking back a bit to see, my own father being the best example I had. Yet I knew, from the bits that he said, or that Murtagh told me, that his own father was nothing like him, so I thought as how he must have made up his mind to do it all differently, once he had the chance."

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 40, "The Fox's Lair".  Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon.  Allrights reserved.)

VOYAGER
Willie knew how an earl should behave; he was making a masterful effort to subdue his tears, sniffing ferociously and swiping at his face with a sleeve.

“Allow me, my lord.” Jamie did kneel then, and wiped the little boy’s face gently with his own coarse handkerchief. Willie’s eyes looked at him over the cotton folds, red-rimmed and woeful.

“Have you really got to go, Mac?” he asked, in a very small voice.

“Aye, I have.” He looked into the dark blue eyes, so heartbreakingly like his own, and suddenly didn’t give a damn what was right or who saw. He pulled the boy roughly to him, hugging him tight against his heart, holding the boy’s face close to his shoulder, that Willie might not see the quick tears that fell into his thick, soft hair.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 16, "Willie".  Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.)

DRUMS OF AUTUMN
“You can...call me Da,” he said. His voice was husky; he stopped and cleared his throat. “If--if ye want to, I mean,” he added diffidently.

“Da,” she said, and felt the smile bloom easily this time, unmarred by tears.

“Da. Is that Gaelic?”

He smiled back, the corners of his mouth trembling slightly. “No. It’s only...simple.”

And suddenly it was all simple. He held out his arms to her. She stepped into them and found that she had been wrong; he was as big as she’d imagined--and his arms were as strong about her as she had ever dared to hope.

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 41, "Journey's End".  Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon.  Allrights reserved.)

THE FIERY CROSS
Roger had sworn an oath to take Jemmy as his own, no matter what the little boy’s true paternity might be; he was an honorable man, Roger, and he meant it. But the speech of the heart is louder than the words of any oath spoken by lips alone.

When I had gone back, pregnant, through the stones, Frank had sworn to me that he would keep me as his wife, would treat the coming child as his own--would love me as he had before. All three of those vows his lips and mind had done his best to keep, but his heart, in the end, had sworn only one. From the moment that he took Brianna in his arms, she was his daughter.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 13, "Beans and Barbecue".  Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.) 

A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES
Jem was heavy in his arms, and groggy. He stirred, lifted his head, and blinked, blue eyes glassy with sleep.

“It’s okay,” Roger whispered, patting his back. “Daddy’s here.”

Jem sighed like a punctured tire and dropped his head on Roger’s shoulder with the force of a spent cannonball. He seemed to inflate again for a moment, but then put his thumb in his mouth and subsided into that peculiarly boneless state common to sleeping children. His flesh seemed to melt comfortably into Roger’s own, his trust so complete that it was not necessary even to maintain the boundaries of his body--Daddy would do that. 

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by DianaGabaldon, Chapter 29, "Perfectly Fine".  Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.) 

AN ECHO IN THE BONE
"For a long time,” he said at last, “when I was small, I pretended to myself that I was the bastard of some great man. All orphans do this, I think,” he added dispassionately. “It makes life easier to bear, to pretend that it will not always be as it is, that someone will come and restore you to your rightful place in the world.”

He shrugged.

“Then I grew older, and knew this was not true. No one would come to rescue me. But then--” He turned his head and gave Jamie a smile of surpassing sweetness.

“Then I grew older still, and discovered that, after all, it was true. I am the son of a great man.”

The hook touched Jamie’s hand, hard and capable.

“I wish for nothing more."

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 18, "Pulling Teeth".  Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.) 

WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD
Seized by an urgency greater than any he’d ever known, he turned and ran. Ran heedless of footing, of dark, of Buck’s startled cry behind him.

Jerry heard his footsteps on the grass and whirled round, startled himself. Roger grabbed him by both hands, squeezed them hard enough to make Jerry gasp, and said fiercely, “I love you!”

That was all there was time for--and all he could possibly say.

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 101, "Just One Chance".  Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.)
What about the rest of you? Are there other quotes or scenes about fathers in Diana's books that you particularly like?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

TheLitForum.com is six months old!



Today marks six months since the launch of TheLitForum.com!  For those of you who don't know, this is the new home of the former Compuserve Books and Writers Community, which was shut down in December 2017. This online forum, in its various incarnations, has been Diana Gabaldon's main online hangout for more than thirty years. I've been hanging out there on a daily basis since 2007, managing the discussions (aka "herding the bumblebees") in Diana's section of the forum.

TheLitForum.com is a community of readers, writers, book-lovers, and fans of All Things OUTLANDER. We have a thriving and very active online community there (more than 39,000 posts in six months, which I think is pretty impressive), and you're welcome to come and join the discussions! Diana Gabaldon is there most days, participating in discussions and answering questions -- sometimes in great detail -- just as she always has.

Please come and check out the forum at https://thelitforum.com.  You'll need to register in order to read or post on the forum, but it's free.  Keep in mind that the username you choose when you sign up will be the name that appears beside your posts on the new forum.  

When you visit the forum, please be sure to check out the other sections, too.  TheLitForum.com is much more than just a place to talk about All Things OUTLANDER.  If you're a writer or an aspiring writer, check out our Research & Craft section, The Critique CafĂ©, and Writing Exercises. If you want to talk about what you've been reading during #Droughtlander, or your favorite movies, feel free to post in Literary Reading, Genre Reading, or Stage & Screen. Take a look around and jump into any discussion that interests you, or start a new one.

If you have questions after you've signed up, please post on the forum (rather than leaving a comment here), and we'll do our best to try to help. Hope to see some of you there soon!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

MATCHUP anthology is now available in paperback!



Diana Gabaldon's latest story, "Past Prologue", co-written with Steve Berry, is now available in paperback, in an anthology called MATCHUP, edited by Lee Child.

This story features both Steve Berry's character Cotton Malone, and....Jamie Fraser!

Without getting into spoilers at all, let me just say that I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and I think it's a must-read for OUTLANDER fans! Just like "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows", this story packs a lot of action and a great deal of intriguing fodder for speculation into a small space, and I thought it was a very entertaining ride. Highly recommended!

If you're a little nervous about the fact that this story was co-written with another author, really, don't worry about it! From the very first lines of "Past Prologue", Diana Gabaldon's "voice" comes through very clearly.

I was wondering how much of the story Diana Gabaldon actually wrote, so I asked her for more details. As she explained on Facebook on June 13, 2017:
Steve and I brainstormed a bit over the phone as to what kind of scenario might work as the general premise and circumstance of the story.  Then I actually wrote it, engineering the plot and action, defining/creating all the minor characters, and doing all of the dialogue involving Jamie.  (For Cotton Malone, I roughed in dialogue and/or put in things in square brackets, like "[witty remark indicating that he doesn't believe her but is sexually attracted to her.]".)    Understanding being that Steve would adjust any of Cotton's dialogue or action in accordance with the character--so essentially, we each did our own character's dialogue.  I did the original dialogue for the other characters, and Steve tweaked it where necessary.

     So I drafted the whole story, then Steve went through and refined/tightened the plot, did Cotton's dialogue and action, and moved the narrative writing slightly more toward a thriller style (though you'll still see my voice throughout).

      I went through Steve's version and tweaked a few things, and then he did the final pass--in which he decided to shift the whole thing into the present tense.  I'm fine with that--but it's probably the biggest change people will see from my style, as I don't think I've ever written anything in present tense.

     But you'll see Jamie as written by me alone (bar the tense <g>), and Cotton as per Steve.  (Now, I will warn you that we constructed the story with Cotton as the main protagonist, because Jamie doesn't time-travel, so you'll see more of him--but you will get an interesting addition to Jamie's part of the Outlander story.)
For more information about the other stories in this anthology, look here.

You can order MATCHUP from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and it's also available from Amazon UK for those of you who live outside the US.  If you want an autographed copy, you can order the book from the Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Poisoned Pen is Diana Gabaldon's local independent bookstore; they stock all of her books, and they ship all over the world.



The audio version of MATCHUP is available for download on audible.com here.

And no, in case you're wondering, the fact that Diana Gabaldon has a story in this anthology is not slowing down her progress on GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, Book 9 of the OUTLANDER series!  For one thing, this story was completed more than a year ago. Also, Diana often says that she likes to work on multiple projects at once, to keep from getting writer's block.

Have you read "Past Prologue" or the other stories in this anthology?  If so, please leave a comment here or on my Outlandish Observations Facebook page, and let us know what you think.

Friday, June 1, 2018

How did you discover the OUTLANDER series?



Today (June 1) is World Outlander Day, celebrating the 27th anniversary of OUTLANDER's publication in 1991. Congratulations, and many thanks, to Diana Gabaldon for creating this amazing story! If you're on Twitter, please join the celebration by using the hashtag #WorldOutlanderDay.

The June poll on Outlandish Observations asks the question, "How did you discover the OUTLANDER books?" Please take a moment to vote, and if you'd like to share your story, feel free to leave a comment here or on my Outlandish Observations Facebook page.

Here's the story of how I found Diana Gabaldon's books.

Diana often says that these are "word-of-mouth" books, but that's not true in my case. I had never heard of the series or its author, I knew no one else who had read the books, and I knew nothing at all about the plot or the characters in advance.  I found OUTLANDER completely by accident, browsing in a Barnes & Noble bookstore sometime in the fall of 2006.



It was the small-size (mass-market) paperback edition. I remember it was on a rack at the end of one of the aisles, or I probably would never have noticed it. My eye was caught by the striking blue color of the cover, and I picked it up (a little startled by the size of it, but not at all put off -- I like Big Fat Historical Novels, and always have) and briefly glanced through it.
Time-travel...that's good, I'm always up for a decent time-travel story. Hmm...Scotland? That could be interesting. BUT...it starts in 1945, and the main character is an Englishwoman. Is the author British too? Probably.* I often find British novels hard to get into, especially if they take place that far in the past [and by that I meant the 1940's, not the 18th century!]. Am I going to be able to, you know, relate to these characters? **
And so I put it back on the rack. Walked out of the store, and promptly forgot the author's name (quite unintentionally) ***. But I hadn't forgotten about the book, by any means, and I promised myself that if and when I ever saw it again, I'd give it a closer look.

A couple of months went by, and then I finally did find OUTLANDER again. I still hesitated. My thought at the time was, it's an awfully big book to buy if you're not sure ahead of time if you'll like it or not. So I went home without buying it, again, and with the name of the book and the author firmly fixed in my memory this time, looked up the Amazon reviews. Lots of talk in there about the Wentworth scenes, but I'd already had a bit of warning about that, having flipped through the book in the bookstore. The first bit of a scene I read was the part where Jamie tells Claire about the fortress inside him, so I knew something awful was going to happen to him. But I had no idea just how devastating it would be. Not a clue.

I was still wavering, undecided, and then I got a B&N gift card for my birthday. And I figured, why not? <g>  Within a few pages, I was hooked! I devoured the first six books (ECHO and MOHB hadn't yet been published) in only about five weeks, then immediately started over, and I have been in a more-or-less continual state of re-reading or re-listening to the books ever since.

HUGE thanks to Diana Gabaldon for creating this amazing story, and for her support and encouragement over the last few years! Finding OUTLANDER really has changed my life, in more ways than I can count.

* It took me a LONG time to learn otherwise. For those of you who don't know, Diana was born and raised in Arizona, and currently lives in Scottsdale, AZ.

** Mea culpa #1. This particular thought makes me want to go back in time and slap myself. <g>

*** Mea culpa #2. I would have been hooked several months earlier if I'd just bought the darn book the first time I saw it! <wry g>

So that's my "How I found OUTLANDER" story. What about the rest of you?

May poll results

Here are the results of the May poll, which asked the question, "Have you tried to get other people to read the OUTLANDER books, or watch the TV series?"

There were 503 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated!
  • 24.85% - Many times!
  • 22.07% - I got one or more of my close friends or family members addicted.
  • 9.34% - Of course! I enjoy being an OUTLANDER ambassador.
  • 7.36% - I've tried, but so far without success.
  • 4.17% - I've given copies of OUTLANDER to my friends or coworkers.
  • 3.78% - I've been spreading the word about the TV series and trying to get people to watch.
  • 2.19% - I've recommended OUTLANDER to strangers in the bookstore or library.
  • 1.19% - I've recommended the books on Facebook, Goodreads, or other online sites.
  • 1.59% - No, I haven't tried.
  • 0.20% - I got my book club to read OUTLANDER.
  • 22.47% - All of the above.
  • 0.80% - Other
Please take a moment to vote in the June poll, which asks, "How did you discover the OUTLANDER books?"