Thursday, July 18, 2019

OUTLANDER quotes to cool you off

Considering that many parts of the US are suffering a brutal heat wave this week, I thought it might be a good time to share a few winter pictures that remind me of the OUTLANDER books, in an attempt to help us stay cool.

* * * SPOILER WARNING!! * * *

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

1) Grandfather Mountain, NC, near where Fraser's Ridge is supposed to be located.  (Photo credit: akunkle99, on Flickr.)
The snow was falling thicker and faster, and I felt some uneasiness. If it covered his tracks before I found him, how would I find my way back to the cabin?

I looked back, but could see nothing behind me but a long, treacherous slope of unbroken snow that fell to the dark line of an unfamiliar brook below, its rocks poking up like teeth. No sign of the cheerful plume of smoke and sparks from our chimney. I turned slowly round in a circle, but I could no longer see the falls, either.

“Fine,” I muttered to myself. “You’re lost. Now what?” I sternly quelled an incipient attack of panic, and stood still to think. I wasn’t totally lost. I didn’t know where I was, but that wasn’t quite the same thing. I still had Jamie’s trail to guide me--or would have, until the snow covered it. And if I could find him, he presumably could find the cabin.

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 21, "Night on a Snowy Mountain". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

2) Ashness Bridge, the Lake District, England, near where Helwater is supposed to be located. (Photo credit: Mark & Sue, on Flickr.)
It was so cold out, he thought his cock might break off in his hand--if he could find it. The thought passed through his sleep-mazed mind like one of the small, icy drafts that darted through the loft, making him open his eyes.

(From THE SCOTTISH PRISONER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 1, "April Fool". Copyright© 2011 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)  

3) This picture shows a cabin built around 1820 near Grandfather Mountain, NC (very close to where Fraser's Ridge is supposed to be located).  This is very much the way I picture the original cabin on the Ridge. Just imagine trying to stay warm in a little cabin like that through the bitter winters of the 1770s, with a small child to care for:
[W]hen I got up this morning, the water in the basin was so cold I had to warm water in a pan on the fire before I washed Jemmy.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 18, "Vroom!". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

4) The photo above shows Corrimony Cairn, where General Simon Fraser of Balnain was buried. (Photo credit: Jock Watson on Trover)
It was a long walk from the farmhouse at Balnain. As it was early January in Scotland, it was also wet and cold. Very wet. And very cold. No snow--and I rather wished there had been, as it might have discouraged Hugh Fraser’s insane notion--but it had been raining for days, in that dismal way that makes hearths smoke, and even clothes that have not been outside grow damp, and drives the chill so far into your bones that you think you’ll never be warm again.

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 75, "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

5) Icicles in Boone, NC, in the vicinity of Fraser's Ridge. (Photo credit: eightylbs, on Flickr.)
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.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 111, "January Twenty-First". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

6) Soldiers' quarters at Valley Forge, PA. (Photo credit: paulbradyphoto, on Flickr.)
Valley Forge looked like a gigantic encampment of doomed charcoal-burners. The place was essentially a wood lot, or had been before Washington’s soldiers began felling everything in sight. Hacked stumps were everywhere, and the ground was strewn with broken branches. Huge bonfires burned in random spots, and piles of logs were stacked everywhere. They were building huts as fast as possible--and none too soon, for snow had begun falling three or four hours before, and the camp was already blanketed with white.

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 86, "Valley Forge". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Hope all of you in the US stay cool over the next few days!

P.S. to those of you in the Southern Hemisphere: No, I haven't forgotten about you! Here's my collection of OUTLANDER Quotes to Keep You Warm.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

ABC's of Young Ian

ABC's of Young Ian Murray

I borrowed this idea from a writer's exercise that was posted on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community (now 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 Young Ian Murray.

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

* * * SPOILER WARNING!! * * *

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








A for Adventurous. Ian has never been the sort of person who is content to stay at home. He's always been a wanderer, and evidently was from an early age, as his father recalls:
“Aye, well, he’s always been forward,” Ian answered resignedly. “Learnt to walk before he could stand, and was forever tumblin’ into the fire or the washpot or the pigpen or the cowbyre.”

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 27, "Up in Flames". Copyright ©1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
B for Bruja, the ship that took him to Jamaica, where he was held captive by Geillis Abernathy.  Also for Brianna, his beloved cousin.

C for the Conflict between the Mohawk and Scottish sides of his nature.
“They took me to the stream, scrubbed me wi’ sand to take away the white blood. They gave me my name--Okwaho’kenha--and said I was Mohawk. But I wasna, not really.”

He sighed deeply again, and she put a hand on his back, feeling the bumps of his backbone press through the leather of his shirt. He didn’t eat nearly enough, she thought.

“But I wasna what I had been, either,” he went on, sounding almost matter-of-fact. “I tried to be what they wanted, ken? So I left off praying to God or the Virgin Mother, or Saint Bride. I listened to what Emily said, when she’d tell me about her gods, the spirits that dwell in the trees and all. And when I went to the sweat lodge wi’ the men, or sat by the hearth and heard the stories ... they seemed as real to me as Christ and His saints ever had.”

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 70, "Emily". Copyright ©2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

D for his beloved Dog, Rollo, whom he won in a game of Dice. Rollo was Ian's constant companion for so many years, it's still hard to believe that he's gone.

E for Emily, Ian's nickname for his Mohawk wife, Wakyo’teyehsnonhsa, or Works With Her Hands. She was the first woman he ever truly loved, and he felt her loss deeply, long after he had left Snaketown forever.

F for Neil Forbes, whose ear he cut off in ABOSAA, in revenge for Forbes having kidnapped Brianna.

G for the Guilt he felt when he thought he'd killed the intruder in the printshop in Edinburgh, and later when he killed Mrs. Bug by accident.
“It wasn’t your fault,” I said gently.

“I know,” he said, and swallowed. “But I dinna see how I can live.” He wasn’t dramatic about it at all; his voice was simply bewildered. Rollo licked his hand, and his fingers sank into the dog’s ruff, as though for support.

“What can I do, Auntie?” He looked at me, helpless. “There’s nothing, is there? I canna take it back, or undo it. And yet I keep looking for some way that I can. Something I can do to make things right. But there’s … nothing.”

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 3, "Life for Life". Copyright ©2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
H for his "half-homely" features. Also for his skill as a Hunter, which saved Roger and Jemmy's lives when they faced a wild boar near the end of THE FIERY CROSS:
Then the boar’s front legs gave way and it fell to its knees. It wobbled, eyes glazing, and collapsed onto its side, the shaft of an arrow poking up, looking frail and inconsequential by comparison to the animal’s bulk.

Jemmy was squirming and crying underneath him. [Roger] sat up slowly, and gathered the little boy up into his arms. He noticed, remotely, that his hands were shaking, but he felt curiously blank. The torn skin on his palms stung, and his knee was throbbing. Patting Jemmy’s back in automatic comfort, he turned his head toward the wood and saw the Indian standing at the edge of the trees, bow in hand.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 108, "Tulach Ard". Copyright ©2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I for Iseabeil, Ian's stillborn first daughter, and also for his father, Ian the Elder.

J for Ian's mother, Jenny Fraser Murray. Owing to circumstances beyond their control, Ian had little contact with his mother as a teenager and a young man, and I was glad to see them reunited.

K for the Kahn'yen'kehaka, or Mohawk. The time Ian spent living with them changed his life profoundly, in many ways.

L for Lallybroch, where he grew up. Also for Latin. Ian wasn't much of a student of languages as a teenager, but he recalled enough to be able to communicate with Lord John when they were being held prisoner by the British army in MOHB.

M for the Mammoth skeleton that Ian takes Brianna to see in ABOSAA. If the one Ian found was anything like the specimen pictured above (from Wikipedia), no wonder they were awestruck by its sheer size! I liked the fact that Ian chose to share this discovery with Brianna; the journey to see it added a lot of depth to their relationship. Ian confides in Bree when he cannot share what he's thinking or feeling with anyone else.

N for Nephew. Jamie bonded with his youngest nephew in the middle of a life-and-death crisis when the Redcoats burst into the house not long after he was born.
[Baby] Ian gave evidence of his living state by kicking his legs with considerable vigor against his uncle’s ribs and emitting a series of small snuffling grunts, which fortunately went unheard in the commotion outside.


Jamie rather thought the Captain was inquiring as to the location of the infant’s body. He clutched the body in question closer, joggling it in an attempt to prevent any disposition on its part to cry. His other hand went to the hilt of his dirk, but it was a vain gesture; it was doubtful that even cutting his own throat would be of help, if the wardrobe were opened.

Baby Ian made an irascible noise, suggesting that he disliked being joggled. With visions of the house in flames and the inhabitants slaughtered, the noise sounded as loud to Jamie as his elder nephew’s anguished howls.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 5, "To Us a Child is Given". Copyright ©1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
O for Okwaho, Rollo's Mohawk name, and also for Oggy, the nickname Ian and Rachel gave their unborn son.

P for Perceptive. Even as a teenager, Ian helped to mend Jamie and Claire's relationship more than once, as when they first arrived in Snaketown in DRUMS:
“But you think he thinks I’m angry at him?”

“Oh, anyone could see ye are, Auntie,” he assured me earnestly. “Ye dinna look at him or speak to him save for what ye must--and,” he said, clearing his throat delicately, “I havena seen ye go to his bed, anytime this month past.”

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 53, "Blame". Copyright ©1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Q for Questions. Newly arrived in the Colonies, Ian was intensely curious about everything he saw.

R for Rachel Hunter. I think Ian and Rachel were very lucky to find one another. Rachel is a strong-willed woman with a mind of her own, just like Ian's mother Jenny, but she also makes it very clear that she accepts Ian for who he is, even when he's committed acts of violence that go against everything she believes as a Quaker.
“I think we can’t wait any longer to be married, Ian,” she said softly. “I will not have thee face such things alone. These are bad times, and we must be together.”

He closed his eyes and all the air went out of him. When he drew breath again, it tasted of peace.

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 92, "I Will Not Have Thee Be Alone". Copyright ©2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
S for Swiftest of Lizards, Emily's eldest child, whom we met in AN ECHO IN THE BONE. According to Tewaktenyonh, the old Mohawk woman, the boy is the child of Ian's spirit, meaning that the Mohawk consider him Ian's son, no matter who his biological father might be. I was very moved by that, and I hope we'll see Swiftest of Lizards again some day.

T for the Tattoos on Ian's face that mark him forever as one of the Kahn'yen'kehaka, even after he returns to the Ridge.

U for his beloved Uncle, James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. Jamie's relationship to Ian runs much deeper than uncle to nephew. In the Highland tradition, they are foster-father and foster-son, and they have a close and loving relationship. I really enjoy watching their interactions over the course of the series, as Young Ian grows into manhood.

V for Violence. When he or his loved ones are threatened, Ian tends to react with startling violence, as when he killed "Mr. X", the would-be blackmailer, in ECHO.
“Don’t--” I began, turning to Jamie, but never got to finish. I saw the expression change on Jamie’s face, saw him leap toward the man--and whirled just in time to see Ian materialize out of the darkness behind the blackmailer and put a sinewy arm round his throat.

I didn’t see the knife. I didn’t have to; I saw Ian’s face, so intent as almost to be expressionless--and I saw the ex-overseer’s face. His jaw dropped and the whites of his eyes showed, his back arching up in a futile attempt at escape.

Then Ian let go, and Jamie caught the man as he began to fall, his body gone suddenly and horribly limp.

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 68, "Despoiler". Copyright ©2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
It will be interesting to see if his marriage to Rachel makes him less willing to use violence in such situations.

W for Wolf's Brother, or Okwaho’kenha, Ian's Mohawk name. I like the fact that the name they gave him reflects his very close relationship with Rollo.

X for eXile. Kidnapped from Scotland at the age of fourteen, forced to give up all contact with his white relatives during the time he lived as a Mohawk, and then settling on Fraser's Ridge, an ocean away from Lallybroch, Ian has spent much of his life apart from his family and loved ones.

Y for Youngest. Ian is the youngest of Jenny and Ian Murray's seven children. Also for Yeksa'a, his stillborn daughter.

Z for Zero. The number of times Ian had encountered a skunk before coming to America. He learned the hard way that it's better to leave them alone!
“Ian,” I said, taking refuge behind Jamie. “Call off your dog. Skunks are dangerous.”

“They are?” Jamie turned a look of puzzlement on me. “But what--”

“Polecats only stink,” I explained. “Skunks--Ian, no! Let it alone, and come inside!” Ian, curious, had reached out and prodded the skunk with his poker. The skunk, offended at this unwarranted intimacy, stamped its feet and elevated its tail.

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 10, "Jocasta". Copyright ©1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I hope you enjoyed these! Are there other aspects of Ian's character, or other incidents in his life, that you'd like to add to this list? I'm sure there are things I left out. What do you think of Ian's character, in the books or show? Please leave a comment here or on my Outlandish Observations Facebook page.

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 Lord John Grey
ABC's of the OUTLANDER TV Series 

Monday, July 1, 2019

June poll results

Here are the results of the June poll, which asked the question, "Have you tried to get other people to read the OUTLANDER books, or watch the TV series?"
  • 24.24% - Many times!
  • 22.59% - I got one or more of my close friends or family members addicted.
  • 20.94% - All of the above.
  • 10.12% - I've tried, but so far without success.
  • 8.00% - Of course! I enjoy being an OUTLANDER ambassador.
  • 4.47% - I've been spreading the word about the TV series and trying to get people to watch.
  • 3.53% - I've given copies of OUTLANDER to my friends or coworkers.
  • 2.35% - No, I haven't tried.
  • 2.12% - I've recommended OUTLANDER to strangers in the bookstore or library.
  • 1.18% - I've recommended the books on Facebook, Goodreads, or other online sites.
  • 0.47% - I got my book club to read OUTLANDER.
There were 425 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated!

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

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Father's Day quotes from the OUTLANDER 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!


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

"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.) 

“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.)

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.)

“You 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.)

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.) 

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 Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 29, "Perfectly Fine".  Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon.  All rights reserved.) 

"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.) 

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 5, 2019

"Past Prologue" standalone e-book will be out July 23!

Diana Gabaldon's story, "Past Prologue", co-written with Steve Berry, will be released as a standalone e-book in the US and Canada on July 23, 2019! This story, originally published in 2017 in an anthology called MATCHUP, features both Steve Berry's character Cotton Malone, and....Jamie Fraser!

Look here for pre-order links:

Barnes & Noble

The e-book costs only 99 cents in the US, $1.99 in Canada. Well worth it, in my opinion, for a terrific story with plenty for OUTLANDER fans to speculate about.

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.)
I'm glad more people will have access to this story now.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

It's World Outlander Day!

June 1st is #WorldOutlanderDay! Please join Diana Gabaldon's fans all over the world in celebrating the 28th anniversary of OUTLANDER's publication in 1991. (Credit for the idea goes to a German blogger in 2014.)

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

In celebration of #WorldOutlanderDay, please take a moment to vote in the June poll, which is all about spreading the word about OUTLANDER (books or show) to other people.

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

May poll results

Here are the results of the May poll, which asked the question, "Which of Diana Gabaldon's books are you currently reading or listening to?"
  • 23.48% - THE FIERY CROSS
  • 8.33% - AN ECHO IN THE BONE
  • 5.91% - VOYAGER
  • 3.94% - DRUMS OF AUTUMN
  • 2.27% - THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION (Volume 1 or 2)
  • 15.15% - I'm reading other things right now.
There were 660 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated!

I'm not really surprised that THE FIERY CROSS got the most votes in this poll. Obviously a lot of people are reading, or re-reading, this book in anticipation of Season 5 of the TV show!

Please take a moment to vote in the June poll, which asks, "Have you tried to get other people to read the OUTLANDER books, or watch the TV series?"

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

OUTLANDER Season 4 Blu-ray and DVD now available!

The OUTLANDER Season 4 Blu-ray and DVD are now available in the US!

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

Collector's Edition

Look here for more information about the extras available on the Blu-ray and the Collector's Edition, including deleted scenes.

In case you're wondering, I have no information on the availability of the Blu-ray or DVD in other countries.

I'm looking forward to binge-watching Season 4 in the coming days. I haven't re-watched any of the episodes from this season, and I'm sure I've forgotten many of the details.

Monday, May 27, 2019

OUTLANDER Seasons 1 and 2 now available on Netflix in the US!

OUTLANDER Seasons 1 and 2 are now available on Netflix in the US!

Check it out here:

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

Memorial Day quotes from Diana Gabaldon's books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 74, "The Sort of Thing That Will Make a Man Sweat and Tremble". Copyright ©2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
6) Lord John, remembering his friend and first lover, Hector, who died at Culloden:
“He made me go and look at the body--Hal did, my brother,” Grey blurted. He looked down at his hand, where the deep blue of Hector’s sapphire burned against his skin, a smaller version of the one Fraser had reluctantly given him.

“He said that I must; that unless I saw him dead, I should never really believe it. That unless I knew Hector--my friend--was really gone, I would grieve forever. If I saw, and knew, I would grieve, but then I should heal--and forget.” He looked up, with a painful attempt at a smile. “Hal is generally right, but not always.”

Perhaps he had healed, but he would never forget. Certainly he would not forget his last sight of Hector, lying wax-faced and still in the early morning light, long dark lashes resting delicately on his cheeks as they did when he slept. And the gaping wound that had half-severed his head from his body, leaving the windpipe and large vessels of the neck exposed in butchery.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 11, "The Torremolinos Gambit". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
7) This quote comes from AN ECHO IN THE BONE, from William's first taste of combat. This is one of our first glimpses of William's character, and I like the fact that he goes out of his way to treat this dead enemy soldier with dignity.
To his left, though, he caught sight of the American who had tried to shoot him, still lying in the wet grass. With a wary glance at the house, he crawled to the man, who was lying on his face, unmoving. He wanted to see the man’s face, for what reason he couldn’t have said. He rose on his knees and took the man by both shoulders, pulling him over.

The man was clearly dead, shot through the head. Mouth and eyes sagged half open and his body felt strange, heavy and flopping. [....] Gently laying the man back in the grass, he rose and went to fetch his sword. His knees felt peculiar.

Halfway to the spot where his sword lay, he stopped, turned round, and came back. Kneeling down, cold-fingered and hollow-bellied, he closed the man’s dead eyes against the rain.

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 6, "Long Island". Copyright ©2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

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

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

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

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

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

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 15, "The Flames of Declaration". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

Friday, May 24, 2019

Season 5 Casting: Adso!

We have our "wee cheetie" at last!! Here's Adso!

The first photo is the official one from STARZ. The second photo comes from Sam Heughan's Instagram.
 “Here’s your wee ratten, Sassenach,” he said, and gently deposited a ball of gray fur on the coverlet. Huge eyes of a pale celadon green stared up at me, unblinking.

“Well, goodness,” I said. “Wherever did you come from?” I extended a finger, very slowly. The kitten didn’t move. I touched the edge of a tiny gray-silk jaw, and the big green eyes disappeared, going to slits as it rubbed against my finger. A surprisingly deep purr rumbled through its miniature frame.

That,” Jamie said, with immense satisfaction, “is the present I meant to give ye, Sassenach. He’ll keep the vermin from your surgery.”

“Well, possibly very small vermin,” I said, examining my new present dubiously. “I think a large cockroach could carry him--is it a him?--off to its lair, let alone a mouse.”

“He’ll grow,” Jamie assured me. “Look at his feet.”

He--yes, it was a he--had rolled onto his back and was doing an imitation of a dead bug, paws in the air. Each paw was roughly the size of a broad copper penny, small enough by themselves, but enormous by contrast with the tiny body. I touched the minuscule pads, an immaculate pink in their thicket of soft gray fur, and the kitten writhed in ecstasy.

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

Welcome, Adso!!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

OUTLANDER Season 4 Soundtrack will be released May 31!

The OUTLANDER Season 4 Soundtrack, featuring music by composer Bear McCreary, will be released on May 31, 2019!

Look here for details. It will be available on Amazon and iTunes.

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

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mother's Day quotes from the OUTLANDER books

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! Here are a few of my favorite quotes about motherhood from Diana Gabaldon's books. Hope you enjoy them!


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

1) Marsali, in an advanced state of pregnancy, and five-year-old Germain:
She leaned back a little and pushed a hand firmly into the side of her mound. Then she seized Germain's hand and put it on the spot. Even from where I stood, I could see the surge of flesh as the baby kicked vigorously in response to being poked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How old were you?” I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 40, "I Shall Go Down to the Sea". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
6) Jenny, on being the mother of a two-year-old:
“Ah,” Jenny sighed contentedly, bending to inspect her appearance in the gold-framed mirror. She wet a finger and smoothed her brows, then finished doing up the buttons at her throat. “Nice to finish dressing wi’out someone clinging to your skirts or wrapped round your knees. Some days I can scarce go to the privy alone, or speak a single sentence wi’out being interrupted.”

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 27, "The Last Reason". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
7) Claire, in her farewell letter to Bree:
You are my baby, and always will be. You won’t know what that means until you have a child of your own, but I tell you now, anyway--you’ll always be as much a part of me as when you shared my body and I felt you move inside. Always.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 6, 2019

First OUTLANDER Season 5 Teaser

STARZ has released a brief "teaser" video to mark the beginning of OUTLANDER Season 5 filming!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Happy Birthday, Jamie Fraser!

Wishing a very happy birthday to our favorite red-heided Scot, James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, who turns 298 years old today, believe it or not! He was born on May 1, 1721.

If you're on Twitter, please tag your tweets today (Wednesday, May 1) with #HappyBdayJAMMF, in celebration of Jamie's birthday.

In honor of Jamie's birthday, I'm reposting the "ABCs of Jamie Fraser" list that I originally posted here in 2011. I hope you enjoy them!

ABCs of Jamie Fraser

I borrowed this idea from a writer's exercise that was posted on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community (now 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 Jamie Fraser.

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

* * * SPOILER WARNING!! * * * 

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

A - Ardsmuir. As difficult as those three years in prison were for Jamie, caring for the other men gave him something to live for.

B - Boats. Sheer torture, for someone who suffers from seasickness as acute as Jamie's. "I hate boats," Jamie said through clenched teeth. "I loathe boats. I view boats with the most profound abhorrence." (DRUMS, Chapter 6, "I Encounter a Hernia")

C - Claire
, of course. And his children -- all of them, whether they're born of his blood or not.

D - Duty.
Jamie takes his duty seriously, even when it means doing things he doesn't want to do, like raising a militia company to fight against the Regulators in FIERY CROSS.

E - Eloquence.
Jamie's way with words takes my breath away sometimes. "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." (DRUMS, Chapter 16, "The First Law of Thermodynamics")

F - Finger.
Jamie's much-abused fourth finger on his right hand, which caused him so much pain and trouble for years, and now lies buried at Lallybroch, with Ian. "I'll keep it safe 'til ye catch me up." (ECHO, Chapter 81, "Purgatory II")

G - God.
Jamie's Catholic faith is very important to him, even if he's rarely in a position to go to Mass or have a priest hear his confession. And sometimes God answers his prayers. ("Lord, that she may be safe. She and the child.")

H - Humor.
I love Jamie's sense of humor, especially when he teases Claire. "I'll gie ye the rest when I'm ninety-six, aye?" (FIERY CROSS, Chapter 40, "Duncan's Secret")

I - Intelligence.
Jamie is a very smart man, and a logical thinker. And he learns very fast!

J - Jenny.
Say what you will about her, but Jamie loves his sister as deeply as he does Claire.

K - Killing.
Jamie kills when he must, in self-defense or in defense of his family or loved ones. But it bothers him. "I am a violent man, and I ken it well," he said quietly. He spread his hands out on his knees; big hands, which could wield sword and dagger with ease, or choke the life from a man. (DRUMS, Chapter 13, "An Examination of Conscience")

L - Lallybroch.
I don't think you can fully understand Jamie's character without appreciating how much Lallybroch influenced him. It's sad to think that he might never go back there.

M - Memories.
Will Jamie ever recall more of Culloden, and what happened with Jack Randall?

N - Nephew.
Jamie bonded with Young Ian when he was only minutes old, and they've been through quite a lot together.

O - Outdoors.
Jamie has lived a good part of his life outdoors, as a farmer, hunter, outlaw, and soldier -- not to mention living in a cave for seven years!

P - Prestonpans.
The location of Jamie's fateful encounter with the sixteen-year-old Lord John Grey.

Q - QED.
Three letters that symbolize Jamie's short-lived career as a printer in Edinburgh.

R - Red-heided.
All teasing about "the nameless and abominable colour of his hair" aside, this is one of the things I liked best about Jamie from the beginning, because I'm also a left-handed redhead. :-)

S - Stubbornness.
"Jamie was a sweet laddie, but a stubborn wee fiend, forbye." Jenny's voice by her ear startled her. "Beat him or coax him, it made no difference; if he'd made up his mind, it stayed made up." (DRUMS, Chapter 34, "Lallybroch")

T - Tone-deaf.
One of Jamie's more endearing traits, in my opinion, and proof that he's not perfect.

U - Uxorious.
Roger refers to Jamie as "deeply uxorious" in ABOSAA. It's an archaic word that according to Diana Gabaldon means "a man who was clearly and obviously in love with his wife."

V - Vows.
The blood vow at Jamie and Claire's wedding, for one. Jamie's promise never to beat her again, for another. "I don't make idle threats, Sassenach," he said, raising one brow, "and I don't take frivolous vows." (OUTLANDER, Chapter 22, "Reckonings")

W - Will-power.
Jamie has an amazing strength of will. Whether it's submitting to rape and torture at the hands of Jack Randall without fighting back, or not reacting to the presence of a pair of naked Indian girls in his bed in ABOSAA, his self-control is impressive.

X - eXample.
Jamie doesn't lead by sitting back and giving orders. He leads by example, as when he takes the punishment for Angus MacKenzie's possession of a scrap of tartan at Ardsmuir. No wonder his men will follow him anywhere.

Y - Youthful.
It's hard to remember just how young Jamie was in OUTLANDER, barely 22. Even in his mid-50's, he still looks remarkably good for his age. As Claire remarks, "Do you know, you haven't got a single gray hair below the neck?" (ECHO, chapter 8, "Spring Thaw")

Z - Zippers
, and other oddities of 20th-century life that Claire has had to explain to Jamie over the years.

Happy Birthday, Jamie, and Happy Beltane to all of you!  Many thanks to Diana Gabaldon for creating such an amazing character, and to Sam Heughan for bringing him to life on TV.

Here are the other posts in my "Character ABC's" series:

ABC's of Claire Fraser
ABC's of Roger
ABC's of Brianna
ABC's of Lord John Grey
ABC's of the OUTLANDER TV Series

April poll results

Here are the results of the April poll, which asked the question, "What is your favorite episode of OUTLANDER Season 4?"
  • 33.09% - EP409: "The Birds and the Bees"
  • 25.60% - EP406: "Blood of My Blood"
  • 14.01% - EP413: "Man of Worth"
  • 6.28% - EP408: "Wilmington"
  • 4.35% - EP412: "Providence"
  • 2.17% - EP405: "Savages"
  • 1.93% - EP407: "Down the Rabbit Hole"
  • 1.69% - EP403: "The False Bride"
  • 1.21% - EP401: "America the Beautiful"
  • 0.97% - EP410: "The Deep Heart's Core"
  • 0.97% - EP411: "If Not For Hope"
  • 0.24% - EP404: "Common Ground"
  • 0.00% - EP402: "Do No Harm"
  • 7.49% - I haven't watched OUTLANDER Season 4.
There were 414 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated!

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

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Diana Gabaldon's appearance in Burlington, NC

My mom and I had a wonderful time at Diana's appearance in Burlington, NC, yesterday. I really couldn't be more pleased with the way it worked out! The weather was perfect, clear skies and about 73F. It was a small crowd for a Diana Gabaldon event, especially by the standards of recent years, maybe 350 people in the theater, not counting those who bought tickets for the book-signing only, so it had a very intimate feeling to it.

We chatted for a while before the talk started with an acquaintaince of mine from the NC OUTLANDER Fans Facebook group. Here's a selfie I took while we were waiting.

I enjoyed Diana's talk very much. She talked about Book 9, GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE ("should be out later this year"), and the TV series (she said she's starting to see dailies from Season 5 and it looks good so far), and read an excerpt from BEES. I normally am a very strict "excerpt-avoider", but I will gladly make an exception for anything she reads when I'm in the audience. <g>

Since this was a North Carolina crowd, she spent some time talking about why the books focus on NC. ("I love North Carolina," she said, but the pollen in the air at this time of year really aggravates her allergies.) She said they can't film the TV show in NC because the entire production team (including some 250 people who work behind the scenes) would have to join a union, or else they would have to hire a whole new production crew. It's just not feasible, when the main studios are in Cumbernauld, Scotland. I knew this, but it was good to hear the explanation in her own words.

Diana also spoke about what it was like to visit Alamance Battleground many years ago when she was writing THE FIERY CROSS, when the site of the battlefield was marked only by a tiny sign that was easy to miss. All of the proceeds from her events on this 3-day visit to NC are going to support maintenance and preservation of these historical sites, and it was clear that the people who run the battlefield visitor's center are just delighted by the attention OUTLANDER is bringing to what was, after all, a fairly obscure battle of the pre-Revolutionary War era. They are hoping for an "OUTLANDER Effect" on NC tourism similar to what has happened in Scotland since the TV show premiered.

I didn't really hear anything in Diana's talk that I hadn't known about before, but I don't mind. It's a real pleasure for me just listening to her speak!

When it was time for the book-signing, they escorted my mom and me, along with another person who was using a wheelchair, around the outside of the building to the stage door, so we wouldn't have to go up the stairs to the stage where the signing was taking place. That worked out really well, and we ended up right at the front of the signing line. It was great to see Diana again, and I had a chance to tell her everything I had planned.

I brought the 25th anniversary editions of DRAGONFLY and VOYAGER for Diana to sign. I asked for an inscription that said, "To Karen, thanks for 10 years of bumblebee-herding." This is a reference to my role as Section Leader, aka moderator, in the Diana Gabaldon section of, formerly the Compuserve Books and Writers Community. Diana refers to what I do on the forum as "herding the bumblebees", and the image always makes me smile.

She looked at me in surprise. "Has it really been ten years already?" I nodded and said, "A little more than that, actually." <g> (Counting from September 2008.) And you can see she took that into consideration when she wrote the inscriptions.

The whole time we were talking and Diana was signing my books, the designated picture-taker was snapping away with my phone. I came away with some really terrific photos! I'm delighted to have not one but two excellent photos of me and Diana together. <g>

It was a wonderful day and I'm really glad I had the opportunity to go.

OUTLANDER seasons 1 and 2 coming to Netflix US on May 27!

Netflix announced this week that OUTLANDER Seasons 1 and 2 will be available for subscirbers in the US starting on May 27, 2019.

Here's an interesting article with some speculations about what the Netflix deal might mean for the possibility of a (still hypothetical) Season 7.
After the first six or seven seasons, television shows tend to get a little bit pricier. That’s why a deal like this for Netflix matters. In finding a new mechanism to bring in viewers and potentially drive more profits over at Starz, then maybe there’s a way that we can see a stronger viewership and then a season 7 renewal beyond that. This is at least the hope, but it may take some time still for this hope to manifest into anything more solid like an announcement.

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Making of OUTLANDER (Seasons 3 and 4) coming Oct. 15!

THE MAKING OF OUTLANDER: The Official Guide to Seasons Three & Four will be published on October 15, 2019.

Just like the first volume, covering Seasons 1 and 2, which came out in 2016, this will be a "coffee-table" book, filled with behind-the-scenes info, photos and interviews with the cast and production team. I enjoyed the first book very much and I'm looking forward to this one.

You can pre-order here:

Barnes & Noble

For more information about THE MAKING OF OUTLANDER: The Official Guide to Seasons Three & Four, and a sneak preview of the chapter that deals with Episode 301 ("The Battle Joined"), look here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Culloden anniversary

Today is the 273rd 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.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Notre Dame quotes

Like so many of you, I was shocked and saddened to hear about the devastating fire that broke out today at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. I was lucky to be able to see it for myself many years ago, as a nineteen-year-old college student on my first overseas trip.

As usual in times of stress, I reach for Diana Gabaldon's books, hoping they can provide some comfort, or at least distraction. So I thought I'd share this pair of quotes about Notre Dame.

1) Here's the Comte St. Germain, standing before the massive stone walls of the Cathedral:
Notre Dame de Paris rose black above him, solid, obliterating the light of the stars, the beauty of the night. Very appropriate. He’d always thought that the church blocked one’s sight of God. Nonetheless, the sight of the monstrous stone creature made him shiver as he passed under its shadow, despite the warm cloak.

Perhaps it was the cathedral’s stones themselves that gave him the sense of menace? He stopped, paused for a heartbeat, and then strode up to the church’s wall and pressed his palm flat against the cold limestone. There was no immediate sense of anything, just the cold roughness of the rock. Impulsively, he shut his eyes and tried to feel his way into the rock. At first, nothing. But he waited, pressing with his mind, a repeated question. Are you there?

He would have been terrified to receive an answer but was obscurely disappointed not to. Even so, when he finally opened his eyes and took his hands away, he saw a trace of blue light, the barest trace, glowing briefly between his knuckles. That frightened him, and he hurried away, hiding his hands beneath the shelter of the cloak.

(From "The Space Between" by Diana Gabaldon, in SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL. Copyright© 2013 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

2) The photo above shows the Easter vigil at the Cathedral of Notre Dame.  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.)
Very sad to think that this happened the week before Easter.

My thoughts are with the people of France tonight. I can't imagine what they must be feeling, watching the images on TV of Notre Dame in flames.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

OUTLANDER Season 5 filming has begun!

OUTLANDER Season 5 filming is officially under way! Filming began yesterday, April 8, 2019.

Here's a tweet from Matt Roberts, executive producer of OUTLANDER:

Sam Heughan posted a few of the highlights on Instagram, from the beginning of his day....

to the end....

Wishing the entire cast and crew the best of luck as they begin Season 5!