Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween quotes from Diana Gabaldon's books

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 1, "A Hanging in Eden". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
5) Roger's father, Jerry MacKenzie, on a long-ago Halloween night:
“Damn,” said the fair one, softly. “There’s a light.”

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

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

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

(From "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows", by Diana Gabaldon, in SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL. Copyright© 2010 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
6) Even wee Jemmy is affected by stories of "things that go bump in the night".
"Scared? Of what?" A little more gently, she pulled the shirt off over his head.

"The ghost."

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

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

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 99, "Old Master". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
7) Claire meets Otter-Tooth's ghost:
He was tall, and he was naked. Beyond a breechclout, he wore nothing but paint; long stripes of red down arms and legs and torso, and his face was solid black, from chin to forehead. His hair was greased and dressed in a crest, from which two turkey feathers stiffly pointed.

I was invisible, completely hidden in the darkness of my refuge, while the torch he held washed him in soft light, gleaming off his hairless chest and shoulders, shadowing the orbits of his eyes. But he knew I was there
I didn’t dare to move. My breath sounded painfully loud in my ears. He simply stood there, perhaps a dozen feet away, and looked straight into the dark where I was, as though it were the broadest day. And the light of his torch burned steady and soundless, pallid as a corpse candle, the wood of it not consumed.

I don’t know how long I had been standing there before it occurred to me that I was no longer afraid. I was still cold, but my heart had slowed to its normal pace, and my bare toes had uncurled.

“Whatever do you want?” I said, and only then realized that we had been in some sort of communication for some time. Whatever this was, it had no words. Nothing coherent passed between us--but something passed, nonetheless.

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 23, "The Skull Beneath the Skin". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
8) Lord John's encounter with a zombie:
Bloody hell, where was the man? If it was a man. For even as his mind reasserted its claim to reason, his more visceral faculties were recalling Rodrigo's parting statement: Zombie are dead people, sah. And whatever was here in the dark with him seemed to have been dead for several days, judging from its smell.

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

OUTLANDER is #2 in the Great American Read!

OUTLANDER took the #2 spot in the Great American Read contest on PBS!

Congratulations to Diana Gabaldon!! Here's her reaction to last night's show, and the results.

I was delighted that the show included both a brief interview with Diana and a look at OUTLANDER fandom. And OUTLANDER beat J.K. Rowling, Tolkien, and Jane Austen, which is a pretty impressive feat! You can see the full list of 100 books here.

In case you missed the broadcast, you can watch it here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

VOYAGER 25th Anniversary Edition is now available!

The 25th Anniversary hardcover edition of VOYAGER is now available!

From the publisher's description on Amazon:
A beautifully designed collector's edition of the third book in Diana Gabaldon's blockbuster Outlander series featuring a brand new introduction and bonus material to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its original publication.
This book is similar to the Anniversary Editions of OUTLANDER and DRAGONFLY IN AMBER (pictured below) -- deluxe hardcover editions, complete with "faux-leather" binding and a ribbon bookmark -- and I think they'll look terrific as a matched set!

You can find the 25th Anniversary Edition of VOYAGER here:

Barnes & Noble

If you'd like an autographed copy, you can order from the Poisoned Pen bookstore in Arizona. This is Diana Gabaldon's local independent bookstore, and they ship all over the world.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Happy 100th Birthday, Claire Fraser!!

Wishing a very happy 100th birthday (believe it or not!) to our favorite time-traveling Sassenach, Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser!  She was born on October 20, 1918.

If you're on Twitter, please tag your tweets today (October 20th) with #Sassenach100.

In celebration of Claire's centennial, here are some of my favorite "Claire moments" from the OUTLANDER books.  It wasn't easy to pick just one per book, but I tried to choose quotes that highlight the many different aspects of Claire's personality.  I hope you enjoy them!

* * * SPOILER WARNING!! * * *

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


By now I had sufficient command of myself to speak, and I did so. I stepped back a pace, so that the torchlight fell full on me, for I wanted him to remember my face.

“You asked me, Captain, if I were a witch,” I said, my voice low and steady. “I’ll answer you now. Witch I am. Witch, and I curse you. You will marry, Captain, and your wife will bear a child, but you shall not live to see your firstborn. I curse you with knowledge, Jack Randall--I give you the hour of your death.”

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 35, "Wentworth Prison". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

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

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

He started back, staring down at me.

"The hell you are!" he said.

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

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

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

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

You 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 rights reserved.)

"It’s up to me to keep ye safe!”

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

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

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

"When I am a hundred and one, and you’re ninety-six, I’ll invite you to my bed—and we’ll see which one of us rises to the occasion, hmm?”

He looked at me thoughtfully, a glint in the dark blue of his eyes.

“I’ve a mind to take ye where ye stand, Sassenach,” he said. “Payment on account, hmm?”

“I’ve a mind to take you up on it,” I said. “However ...” I glanced through the screen of branches toward the house, which was clearly visible. The trees were beginning to leaf out, but the tiny sprays of tender green were by no means sufficient camouflage. I turned back, just as Jamie’s hands descended on the swell of my hips.

Events after that were somewhat confused, with the predominant impressions being an urgent rustling of fabric, the sharp scent of trodden onion grass, and the crackling of last year’s oak leaves, dry underfoot.

My eyes popped open a few moments later.

“Don’t stop!” I said, disbelieving. “Not now, for God’s sake!”

He grinned down at me, stepping back and letting his kilt fall into place. His face was flushed a ruddy bronze with effort, and his chest heaved under his shirt ruffles.

He grinned maliciously, and wiped a sleeve across his forehead.

“I’ll gie ye the rest when I’m ninety-six, aye?”

“You won’t live that long! Come here!"

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 40, "Duncan's Secret". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)


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

“Well, I won’t,” I said quite calmly.

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

I had picked up Jamie’s sword before. It was a cavalry sword, larger and heavier than the usual, but I didn’t notice now.

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

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

“Get away!” I said.

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

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

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 62, "One Just Man". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

A trained surgeon is also a potential killer, and an important bit of the training lies in accepting the fact. Your intent is entirely benign--or at least you hope so--but you are laying violent hands on someone, and you must be ruthless in order to do it effectively. And sometimes the person under your hands will die, and knowing do it anyway.

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 117, "Into the Briar Patch". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
What about the rest of you? Do you have a favorite Claire quote, or scene, from the books or show? What is it about Claire that makes her such an amazing character?

Happy 100th Birthday, Claire! Many thanks to Diana Gabaldon for creating such an unforgettable character, and to Caitriona Balfe for bringing her to life on TV!

Friday, October 19, 2018

A new fan live-tweets his reactions to the OUTLANDER TV series

Looking for a way to pass the time while we wait for Season 4 to start? Here's something I think many of you will enjoy.

Saeed Jones is a new fan who has just discovered the OUTLANDER TV show, and has been live-tweeting his reactions as he binge-watches the series. He's hilarious!

If you're on Twitter, you can follow him at @theferocity.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

DRUMS OF AUTUMN TV tie-in paperback is now available!

The STARZ TV tie-in paperback edition of DRUMS OF AUTUMN is now available!

Like the previous STARZ tie-in editions, this paperback features the actors from the TV series on the cover, but the text of the book has not changed.

Check it out here:

Barnes & Noble

If you'd like an autographed copy, you can order from the Poisoned Pen bookstore in Arizona. The Poisoned Pen is Diana Gabaldon's local independent bookstore, and they ship all over the world.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

New opening title sequence for Season 4!

STARZ has posted the new opening title sequence for OUTLANDER Season 4!

As usual, they've changed the music somewhat, to give it a more Southern/Appalachian sort of feel. It's going to take a little time to get used to the singer's attempt at a Southern accent, but I'm really much more interested in the images.

The cabin looks perfect, very much as I've always imagined it! I laughed when I saw the Highland dancers.  And I like the bath scene. <g>

The shot of the gorgeous North Carolina scenery at the end made me go, "Ooooohhhh!!" and immediately put me in a good mood.  Then I looked closer, and what I saw made me like it even more! If you look really closely at the view of Fraser's Ridge at the end, you can make out Jamie and Claire in the center of the shot, looking out over the ridge, Jamie's arm around Claire, and Claire leaning in affectionately toward him.  I like that a lot, as a sort of evolution of the famous shot of the two of them riding across the Scottish landscape from Season 1.

I'm interested to hear what the rest of you think of the new opening sequence. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

OUTLANDER on the cover of Entertainment Weekly!

OUTLANDER is on the cover of this week's issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine!  The special issue features a look at OUTLANDER Season 4, including a photo shoot with Sam and Cait.

My reactions, in no particular order:

"Some like it Scot" -- really, is that the best they could do? Recycling a tagline from STARZ's Season 1 advertising from 2015?  How unoriginal. <sigh>

From their clothing and the background in some of the shots, this seems to be Jamie and Claire at Jocasta Cameron's plantation, River Run.  Talk about giving a misleading impression of what Season 4 will be all about!

Of the three covers shown above, I like the first one (with the two of them together) the best. On the other hand, I was really struck by the lifeless expressions on Sam and Cait's faces in many of these photos, as if to say, "We've spent the entire day posing for this ridiculous photo shoot, we're tired and bored, and we want to go home!"

I'm kind of underwhelmed, but that's all right. I don't think the diehard fans are the target audience for these covers.  The EW people who put this photo shoot together are trying to sell magazines and/or get clicks for their website, and to that end, they'll do whatever they think will appeal to casual readers/viewers, whether it bears the slightest relationship to the actual contents of Season 4 or not.

At least they got to keep their clothes on for these pics, unlike the very controversial EW cover which some of you may remember from 2016.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Which new character are you most looking forward to seeing in Season 4?

Less than five weeks to go now until OUTLANDER Season 4 premieres!

Which NEW character (excluding Jamie, Claire, Roger, Brianna, etc.) are you most looking forward to seeing in Season 4?  There are number of very important characters that will be introduced this season, and I'm excited to see all of them.

Please take a moment to vote in the October poll on Outlandish Observations. If your most-anticipated character isn't listed, you can always vote "Other" and write him/her in. Thanks!

September poll results

Here are the results of the September poll, which asked the question, "What are you doing to pass the time until the OUTLANDER TV series resumes?"
  • 29.88% - All of the above.
  • 16.99% - Reading (or re-reading) Diana Gabaldon's books.
  • 11.33% - Watching Seasons 1-3 again.
  • 10.74% - Reading books by other authors.
  • 6.05% - Listening to the OUTLANDER audiobooks.
  • 5.08% - Devouring any information I can find (trailers, photos, interviews, etc.) about the TV series.
  • 3.91% - Pursuing other hobbies or interests not related to OUTLANDER.
  • 3.71% - Following various OUTLANDER fan-sites, including Outlandish Observations.
  • 3.13% - Focusing on family, work, or other commitments.
  • 1.95% - Trying to get other people to read the books or watch the TV series.
  • 1.95% - I'm not interested in the OUTLANDER TV series.
  • 1.76% - Hanging out on Diana Gabaldon's Facebook page or
  • 3.52% - Other:
Here are the responses for "Other":
  • most of the above
  • watching, reading, devouring information
  • all of the above
  • Watching and re-reading the books and scouring the internet for Season 4 news
  • .attending the Fraser Ridge Homecoming in NC in two weeks!
  • Re-reading and re-watching and devouring any all information I can find about t
  • haven't seen the series, yet
  • 2, 5, and 10. Mostly 2.
  • Reading other histories from the same time period - both fiction and non-fiction
  • re-reading outlander books & re-watching outlander tv seriees
  • Travelling in UK - Especially Scotland September
  • Watching other series such as The Crown, Poldark,
  • Watching the series and reading the series
  • both choices 1 & 2.
  • Heading to Scotland for a three week holiday
  • Camping and canning!
  • Watching,reading,FBooking, Litforuming Outlander
  • I am re-reading some of books and listening to others.
There were 512 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated!

Please take a moment to vote in the October poll, which asks, "Which NEW character are you most looking forward to seeing in OUTLANDER Season 4?"