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!

*** SPOILER WARNING! ***

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 TheLitForum.com) a few years ago. The idea is to list one word pertaining to the character for each letter of the alphabet, along with a brief explanation. Here's my alphabet for 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 TheLitForum.com, 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.