Saturday, January 25, 2020

Happy Burns Day!

Today is the 261st anniversary of the birth of Scotland's most famous poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796).

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









Here's the quote that led Roger, in VOYAGER, to pinpoint Jamie's exact location in the past.  It comes from the final stanza of a poem called "The Author's Earnest Cry and Prayer", which Robert Burns wrote in 1786.
Scotland, my auld, respected mither!
Tho' whiles ye moistify your leather,
Till, whare ye sit on craps o' heather,
Ye tine your dam;
Freedom an' whisky gang thegither!
Take aff your dram!
As Roger explained to Claire:
"Here it is”--his racing finger stopped suddenly on a phrase-- “‘for as has been known for ages past, “Freedom and Whisky gang tegither.” ’ See how he’s put that Scottish dialect phrase in quotes? He got it from somewhere else.”

“He got it from me,” I said softly. “I told him that--when he was setting out to steal Prince Charles’s port.”

“I remembered.” Roger nodded, eyes shining with excitement. “But it’s a quote from Burns,” I said, frowning suddenly. “Perhaps the writer got it there--wasn’t Burns alive then?"

"He was," said Bree smugly, forestalling Roger. "But Robert Burns was six years old in 1765."

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 21, "Q.E.D.". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

Here's Karen Matheson and Paul Brady performing "Ae Fond Kiss". The lyrics come from a poem written by Robert Burns in 1791. You may remember that Diana used "Ae Fond Kiss" as the title of Chapter 19 of AN ECHO IN THE BONE, in which Claire encounters Tom Christie.

And here's "The Sheriffmuir Fight", performed by the Corries. The lyrics come from Burns' poem, "The Battle of Sheriffmuir". I think this version of the song sounds exactly as Roger recalled it in WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD, including the bodhrans:
“Oh, that’s braw, man!” Fraser exclaimed. “Though yon poet’s got the devil of an accent. Where’s he come from, d’ye ken?”

“Er . . . Ayrshire, I think.”

Fraser shook his head in admiration and sat back.

“Could ye maybe write it down for me?” he asked, almost shyly. “I wouldna put ye to the trouble of singin’ it again, but I’d dearly love to learn the whole of it.”

“I--sure,” Roger said, taken aback. Well, what harm could it do to let Robert Burns’s poem loose in the world some years in advance of Burns himself? “Ken anyone who can play a bodhran? It’s best wi’ the drum rattlin’ in the background.”

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 31, "The Shine of a Rocking Horse's Eyes". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Diana Gabaldon commented on Facebook when I posted the link to this video several years ago:
I especially like the recording/video of "The Sheriffmuir Fight," by the Corries (this is my favorite version of the song--and the one I had in mind when I wrote the scene in MOBY that Karen quotes from).
Finally, here's an article from the NY Times about the lengths people in the US will go to in order to acquire a haggis for their Burns Night festivities.

Happy Burns Day to all of you!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Happy Birthday, Diana Gabaldon!

Wishing a very happy birthday to Diana Gabaldon, author of the OUTLANDER series, who turns 68 years old today!

Diana, I hope you have a wonderful birthday! Thank you so much -- again! -- for creating this AMAZING story!! And many thanks for your friendship, which means a great deal to me.

If you're on Twitter, please join OUTLANDER fans worldwide in celebrating Diana's birthday with the hashtag #HappyBdayDG.

If you want to send birthday wishes directly to Diana, her Twitter id is @Writer_DG, or you can post on her Facebook page.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Diana Gabaldon explains the book production process

I'm sure many of you have been wondering when they'll announce the publication date for GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, Book 9 in the OUTLANDER series. (Not yet, is the short answer.)

Diana Gabaldon posted a detailed explanation on Twitter and Facebook of all the steps in the production process that occur after the manuscript is "finished". (Though, as her husband says, finished is a relative term!) It's well worth reading, and I encourage you to share it with any other OUTLANDER fans you may know.

For those of you who haven't seen Diana's list of all the (many!) steps in the production process, which she refers to at the beginning of that post, the most recent version (updated in 2015) is on her website here.  It was quite an eye-opener for me, the first time she posted it (back in 2008, before ECHO came out), and I imagine there are a lot of people who haven't seen it before.

In particular, please pay attention to this bit at the end of Diana's post:
Let it be noted that we did ALL of the above within five weeks, for each of the last two books.  This drove everyone to the verge of insanity (and was terribly expensive), and we Really Don't Want to Do That Again (any of us!), which is why you aren't getting a pub date until the manuscript is by-God Finished.
As much as I'm looking forward to BEES, I'm actually glad to hear this. It's always seemed such a shame (to put it mildly!) that Diana Gabaldon spends five years or more working on a book, taking such care over every word, only to have to rush through the final phases of copy-editing etc. at such a breakneck speed to meet the publisher's deadline(s). It's exhausting and stressful for everyone concerned, and I hope the decision to do things differently this time will make it somewhat less harrowing for her.

In the meantime, please try to be patient, and remember, "Fuirich agus chi thu!" That's "wait and see" in Gaelic, one of Diana's favorite phrases. I'm 100% sure that GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE will be worth the wait!

Friday, January 3, 2020

Season 5 key art!

STARZ has released the official OUTLANDER Season 5 key art! This is the image that will be used to promote Season 5 in the coming weeks.

I like it. It's vivid and dramatic. What do the rest of you think?

Now that the key art has been released, I expect we'll see the TV tie-in paperback of THE FIERY CROSS (with some variation of this artwork on the cover) coming pretty soon.  (UPDATE 2/26/2020: Unfortunately not. Look here.)

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

December poll results

Here are the results of the December poll, which asked the question, "What is your favorite gift from the OUTLANDER books?"
  • 19.21% - The medicine box Jamie gave Claire for their anniversary
  • 19.21% - Fergus's last name
  • 14.26% - The pearl necklace Jamie gave Claire on their wedding day.
  • 10.95% - Claire's silver wedding ring
  • 9.30% - Adso the kitten
  • 8.26% - Brianna's photos
  • 6.40% - The poison ivy bouquet
  • 4.34% - The cherrywood snake Jamie's brother made for him
  • 4.13% - The rosary Jamie gave Willie as a farewell gift
  • 2.89% - The vrooms Roger made for the children
  • 0.41% - The dachshund puppy Stephan von Namtzen gave Lord John.
  • 0.62% - Other
There were 484 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated! Please take a moment to vote in the January poll, which asks, "Have you ever been to Scotland?