• “The smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting 'Scrooge McDuck' comics.”—Salon.com
  • A time-hopping, continent-spanning salmagundi of genres.”
    —ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor

Language, Language….(Part I)

It doesn’t happen often, but I do occasionally get email from people asking—always very politely (well, almost always very politely)—whether I have ever considered producing a bowdlerized edition of my books.

Mind, none of them uses the word “bowdlerized”; I doubt most people under the age of forty have ever heard it. It comes from:

Thomas Bowdler (pronounced /ˈbaʊdlər/) (11 July 1754 – 24 February 1825), who was an English physician who published an expurgated edition of William Shakespeare’s work, edited by his sister Harriet, intended to be more appropriate for 19th century women and children than the original.

He similarly published an edited version of Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. His edition was the subject of some criticism and ridicule and, through the eponym bowdlerise (or bowdlerize),[1] his name is now associated with censorship of literature, motion pictures and television programmes.

[Source: Wikipedia]

Now, what these readers would like me to expurgate from my own work, in order to accommodate their desires and sensibilities, ranges from sex-scenes (one very nice woman wrote to ask if I could produce an edition of OUTLANDER from which all the sex scenes were removed, because she was very eager to be able to discuss the book with her fifteen-year-old daughter, but didn’t think her girl was quite ready for the original. By biting my thumb rather hard (she was very nice, and meant well), I was able to refrain from writing back and asking her whether it might not be a trifle simpler just to wait a year or two for her daughter to be ready for the notion that married people have sex, than for me edit and republish a 700-page book–always assuming that I could convince any publisher that there was a market for such a thing? (My guess is that unless her daughter has been living under a rock for the last five years, she knows a lot more than I’ve ever thought of putting in a book, but possibly her mother doesn’t let her watch television)) to Bad Words in general (“I notice people say “Fuck” a lot in your more recent books,” one reader wrote, rather censoriously. “Jamie doesn’t even know what that word means in OUTLANDER!” Well…he’s probably picked up a few expressions from Claire over the last twenty years. But Jamie’s not usually the one saying that word, even in the later books. It would be pretty common to Roger, though, as well as to some of the coarse folk who live in the backwoods), to—very specifically—the use of the Lord’s name (only “Jesus” or “Christ,” evidently. “God” doesn’t appear to bother these particular readers in this context, let alone local variants like “the Holy Spirit”.).

OK. Approaching these concerns from last to first:

I have every sympathy for someone whose religious sensibilities make them uncomfortable with blasphemy, whether casual or heart-felt. I personally am very disturbed by people who curse or use profanity and crude language in restaurants, and a terrible lot of people do these days. (I don’t think it’s just the places I eat in…)

On the other hand, I’m kind of bemused that not one of the people who take the Third Commandment so much to heart that they are horrified at seeing it broken in print are evidently bothered in the slightest by the shattering of the other nine commandments that goes on in these novels. Graven images, skipping church on Sunday, dishonoring one’s parents, bearing false witness, coveting oxen, asses, wives…theft, murder, fornication, adultery–yeah, we don’t mind seeing any of that. The J-word, though….

(Let me pause for a moment of didacticism here, in which I will attempt to explain the subtleties of the terms blasphemy, profanity, and obscenity. To wit:

blas•phe•my

Show Spelled[blas-fuh-mee] Show IPA
–noun, plural -mies.
1.
impious utterance or action concerning god or sacred things.
2.
Judaism .
a.
an act of cursing or reviling God.
b.
pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton (YHVH) in the original, now forbidden manner instead of using a substitute pronunciation such as Adonai.
3.
Theology . the crime of assuming to oneself the rights or qualities of God.
4.
irreverent behavior toward anything held sacred, priceless, etc.: He uttered blasphemies against life itself.

pro•fan•i•ty
Show Spelled[pruh-fan-i-tee, proh-] Show IPA
–noun, plural -ties for 2.
1.
the quality of being profane; irreverence.
2.
profane conduct or language; a profane act or utterance.
3.
obscenity ( defs. 2, 3 ) .

Profane
–adjective
1.
characterized by irreverence or contempt for god or sacred principles or things; irreligious.
2.
not devoted to holy or religious purposes; unconsecrated; secular ( opposed to sacred).
3.
unholy; heathen; pagan: profane rites.
4.
not initiated into religious rites or mysteries, as persons.
5.
common or vulgar.
–verb (used with object)
6.
to misuse (anything that should be held in reverence or respect); defile; debase; employ basely or unworthily.
7.
to treat (anything sacred) with irreverence or contempt; violate the sanctity of: to profane a shrine.

obscenity
- 5 dictionary results
ob•scen•i•ty
Show Spelled[uh b-sen-i-tee, -see-ni-] Show IPA
–noun, plural -ties for 2, 3.
1.
the character or quality of being obscene; indecency; lewdness.
2.
something obscene, as a picture or story.
3.
an obscene word or expression, especially when used as an invective.

[Source for all of the above: dictionary.com])

Let me state for the record that no one in any of my books has ever pronounced the Tetragrammaton in the original. Not once.

And Jamie Fraser is on record as stating that he only _felt_ like God (while having sex with his wife); he never said he _was_. So I think we’re clear on those particular charges of blasphemy. I’ll get back to the question of impious utterances in a bit.

Now, if you read further on the dictionary.com site (and others), you’ll find that blasphemy, profanity, and obscenity are often used as synonyms for each other—and they often overlap, depending on usage–but there are differences.

The F-word (I’m sorry, I was raised as a Catholic and I have considerable trouble saying that word out loud. Fortunately most of the people in my books have no such scruples) is often obscene, and quite possibly profane, but not blasphemous. I.e., there’s no mention of God or anything sacred (well, not in the word itself. If you started applying it to sacred concepts—which a good many cultures do, in terms of insult (French-Canadian Catholics, for one)—then that’s different). (Ulster Protestants given to tattooing such sentiments as “F— the Pope” on their foreheads (no, I’m not kidding; some of these people feel strongly about their sectarian sensibilities) are not committing blasphemy _per se_, as while the Pope may be a person of reverence, he isn’t God. “F the P” is therefore mere profanity.)

Profanity can also be blasphemous, if an invocation of God is involved—but if you leave God out of it, profanity is not usually blasphemy. It’s just irreverence, and that’s pretty firmly in the eye of the beholder and the standards of the times. Go to, thou saucy fellow!

As for obscenity…the Supreme Court couldn’t do better than, “we know it when we see it,” and I don’t propose to try to top that.

Anyway, the point here is that it’s only blasphemy (or what is perceived as blasphemy) that concerns the “I do wish you would not take the Lord’s Name in vain” letters. One reader informed me that she had gone through my books with a black marker and obliterated all such usages, so that she could read the books in comfort. I congratulated her on her helpful ingenuity; genius often lies in simplicity.

But let’s look at that. Does any use of the C-word (the six-letter one) or the J-word that is not portrayed as a prayer or a scriptural reference constitute blasphemy?

I don’t think so.

Here we come to the “impious utterances” definition of blasphemy. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Well…what is “in vain”?

When we did catechism class back in the day, we were taught that “in vain” meant that you mustn’t use God’s name to curse somebody, in the “You g_d_ son of a four-legged what-not..!” kind of way. (Catholics, btw, do include “God” (and the Holy Spirit, for that matter) as being “the Lord’s name.”). Using God’s name as a casual interjection—“Jesus, it’s hot,” or “God, I’d kill for a beer,” was crude and thoughtless and a well-brought-up person ought not to do it—but it wasn’t blasphemy, either.

People in my books do in fact use this sort of casual reference fairly often—because men in certain professions (soldiering, for one) and in the exclusive company of other men, very frequently _do_ do that. (You notice that the women in my books don’t do this.)

In my experience (owing to unorthodox career choices, most of my colleagues and close friends were men, up to my early forties), men who do this are customarily calling unconsciously upon God to witness something, asking for casual assistance in a moment of stress, or merely expressing an intensification of emotion (amazement, shock, anger), and do not actually intend offense to their comrades or impiety toward the Almighty.

Now, plainly opinions differ on just what’s an impious utterance and what’s not. That being so, though, we’ve got a few different considerations going here:

1. The notion that a writer ought to try never to offend anyone’s conception of morality or decency.

2. Whether a writer should or should not portray offensive behavior (i.e., behavior condemned by a majority of the populace), and if so, under what circumstances?

3. The question of how far historic speech might differ from modern speech, and whether an historical novelist should take that into account?

OK, #1 is simple. Putting aside aesthetics and the moral imperatives of art, it’s flat-out physically impossible to write something that won’t offend somebody. Ergo, the notion that a writer should try to do so is ludicrous.

#2 is also pretty simple. People don’t always behave well; the briefest glance at the television news makes that pretty clear. If art (whether novels, photographs, or anything else) is going to serve as a reflection of or a reflection on humanity, it’s going to show people doing stuff that may not be moral by anybody’s compass. The essence of art is conflict. Conflict may be difficult to look at (or utterly fascinating. Sometimes both at once), but you can’t do without it and make art.

#3. Now, historicity. Language evolves, and so does social custom. What is obscene or blasphemous in one time often isn’t, in another. If you called a man a fig-licker today, he would probably merely blink at you, whereas them was duelin’ words in the 18th century.**
A writer dealing with historical settings has a lot of things to consider, and one of these is how much “historical” language or figures of speech to use, and how to portray historical characters in such a way that they seem realistic and empathetic to a modern audience, but still belong plainly to their own time.

Well, one of the ways in which you do this is to use figures of speech that are extremely common, and likely always have been, as well as those particular to a specific age. And calling upon the name of the Almighty in moments of strong emotion and/or casual conversation has probably been part of human speech since people discovered the concept of a deity.

Now, I could go on and on (well…even more on and on {g}) about this business, because I find it fascinating, but I do have work to do. I think the best I can do here may be to quote a bit from THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION. This letter was written as part of an exchange with a courteous gentleman who’d written to object to the F-word, which emerged from one of the audiobooks as he was driving with his four-year-old grand-daughter, and is included in the “Controversy” section of the COMPANION:

“ Well, I have children myself (11, 13, and 15 at the moment), and we try not to expose them to “bad language,” either, in spite of the fact that they all know all the words already (there’s still some point to insisting that these are not suitable for civilized conversation, after all).

The thing is, though–my books are definitely written (and carefully written at that) for adults. When I do use bad language in the books (oddly enough, I never use it, personally; never), it’s because it seems to me to be called for, by the circumstances and character. In the case of the F-word in DRUMS (I did use that same word in all the other books, by the way, though sparingly), it’s used by a young man in the grip of angry (and sexually motivated) passion, in the late 1960s. Given this character, this time period, and this set of circumstances, his language seemed entirely appropriate.

Now, one reason for insisting that bad language not be used in everyday discourse is, of course, that it’s low-class and offensive. One other reason–equally important, in my opinion–is that such language does have its own legitimate purpose; that is, to express feeling that is also beyond the limits of normal civilized discourse. To use such words casually deprives them of their impact.

You can see that, in the scene in question in DRUMS. If Roger normally spoke like that, the reader wouldn’t have (what I hope is) the impression of a man driven almost beyond endurance, and holding on to his notions of decent behavior with great effort.

Okay. So, the point is that when I do use strong language, I have a specific reason for doing so. It really doesn’t seem reasonable to me to eradicate such language–chosen and used carefully, to a purpose–on the grounds that someone might someday wish to listen to a taped version of an adult book in the presence of a small child.”

(My correspondent very graciously thanked me for hearing his concern, btw, and agreed with my conclusion.)

Right. Well, moving backward from blasphemy and Rude Speech, we come back to the inclusion of sex in my books. I can honestly say that of a thousand letters I get that mention this, 999 readers think there should be more sex. {g}. But there is the occasional one who thinks that the inclusion of sex lowers the tone, impairs my literary reputation, or should be omitted so as to make the books more…um…acceptable {cough} to younger (or possibly older; you wouldn’t believe how many people think their elderly parents or grandparents would enjoy my books but be put off by the sex*) readers.

Well, I think my literary reputation will have to take care of itself; I can’t do anything but write the best books I can, and history and the readers will make of them what they want to.

I do think that the sex scenes are both necessary and integral to the story, or they wouldn’t be there. These aren’t romance novels, but they are (among other things) the story of a very long and complex marriage. Now, there may possibly be long and successful marriages that don’t include sex, but I don’t personally know of any.

Neither are any sex-scenes included for the sake of gratuitous titillation (any titillating that happens is purely fortuitous, I assure you), nor are any of them just about sex. They have structural and emotional reasons for being where they are, and the book would not be the same story, nor have the same complexity, without them.

Still, the bottom line here is the Eye of the Beholder. There is no book that will say the same thing to all readers. A good book will say something different each time it’s read, even by the same person. And each reader brings his or her experience, background, prejudices, desires, and perceptions to the reading.

That being true, there’s little point in bowdlerization. What offends one person will be revelation and elevation to the next. That’s why we have a great variety of books.

“If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out,” seems a trifle extreme here as a response—but if there are particular things in my books that annoy or offend a reader as an individual, the ultimate power to control these does lie with the reader, not with me.***

Thank you for reading!

*(I am irresistibly reminded here of a book-signing event in Chicago, where I signed books for a grandmother, her daughter, and grand-daughter (intergenerational—and multi-gender–trios are pretty common at my signings). I was chatting with the grandmother while signing a book for her grand-daughter, and she said, “You know, I was in the middle of VOYAGER and I turned to my grand-daughter and said, ‘I’ve just had the most terrible thought! We’re both lusting after the same man!’”)

**To save you looking it up, the modern equivalent slang would be “muff-diver.” Weirdly enough, I don’t think there’s a female slang version of this epithet, though there is a purely formal descriptive term. But when was the last (or the first, for that matter) time you heard someone called a fellatrix?

*** A good-quality Sharpie costs about $1.79.

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257 Responses »

  1. Amen sister! Wow, the nerve of people. I can say that I love everything about the books especially the sex scenes. Why do people feel the need to try to change everything to fit their needs? There are other people in the world…that love the language, and the sex. Don’t like it, then grab a sharpie and leave everyone else alone.

    • I think I know how you feel. I am an artist (jewelry) and when people come to my art shows and start pointing at item 1 “I want this size” then point to item 2 “in this color” and onto item 3 “with this shape” —- I restrain myself from shouting at them that I am artist and not a short order cook. If I wanted to be a custom jeweler – I would be one. I am not, so what you see is what you get. I love what I read in your books (yes, more sex would be great but I am NOT complaining) so I sincerely hope you keep writing your books and I will keep buying your books.

    • This is so funny. My husband and I have a running joke. He asks me what page I’m on, I tell him; then he asks if “they’re having sex.” I’ve told him over and over that these aren’t that kind of book. The sex scenes for the most part are very discreet. I’ve read a few out loud and he’s been terribly disappointed that they weren’t more “chic porn” like most romance novels. The idea that anyone would want to censor them is bizarre.

      So then he asks why I like the books so much, and I tell him I’ve “known” these people for over 20 years of their lives. He’ll never read the books himself, but I know he’d like the story itself – hoping for a movie for that one.

      • “So then he asks why I like the books so much, and I tell him I’ve “known” these people for over 20 years of their lives.”

        Right before Echo came out, I decided to refresh my memory of this amazing tale. I had read Outlander, Dragonfly, Voyager and Drums as a young woman, but that was all there was of the series at the time. I lost touch with my passion of reading for a long while, and when came out of hybernation, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this wonderful saga had continued in my absence. I started with Outlander and read until I dropped – a true Gabaldon marathon. While waiting for Echo, I followed the escapades of Lord John, and promply devoured Echo upon arrival.

        My co-workers watched in awe as I studiously ignored them for the better part of three months during my emersion. When I finally came up for air, they asked me why I liked these books so much.

        The only thing I could offer was this. These people were family. They were my husband, my children, myself. They were my dearest friends, beloved, long-lost and returned to me. Their enemies were my enemies, their struggles and triumphs and anguish and joy were mine. Jamie and Claire were extensions of myself. ( I know, I need to get out more.) And isn’t that what we want from our fiction? To go somewhere else and be someone else and add to our life experience when we couldn’t possibly be there in person?

        Obviously I’ve come back to reality and resumed my normal life. But I will conceivably start again at the beginning when the next book nears completion, if only to take another trip around the world with these people. Diana, I love everything you do and how you do it, and if it takes four years to do it all, then so be it. I will wait. What makes me sad is that it only takes days to consume four years worth of work. But it’s so worth it.

        Reading this series as a seasoned wife of 16 years was a far different and more fulfilling trip than it was as a single teen. And from that stand point, sex is as much a part of life as death is. Come on out. You can do it, it’ll be ok. Hopefully it won’t bite, but if you ask nicely, maybe it will nibble gently.

        With regard to reading material, as with anything else in life, be responsible for your own choices. Choose what is wise for yourself, and don’t shoot the messenger. Some of us like her just the way she is! ;)

        So I say, Diana, do whatever you do with passion, conviction and integrity. Be true to the story as it plays out in your head. Be true to your art and to yourself. Your work will speak for itself.

        Oh, and BTW, the sexually squeemish and the Frozen Chosen should try to remember that God Himself wrote Song of Songs as a beautiful picture of what sex in marriage should look like. I challenge one and all to read it. If you’re too young, don’t worry. You won’t get it. And if you’re not too young, you’ll never look at pomegranates the same way again. ;)

        • Dear Sharla–

          What a lovely, eloquent comment! Thanks very much. {smile}

          –Diana

          • Dear Diana,

            Wow!… Just…. Wow.
            Diana Gabaldon said I was eloquent.
            I’m stunned and….yeah. Stunned.
            And speechless. And terribly gratified.
            Thank you so much!

            I’m really so very humbled and have been in awe, for like, the last two weeks. I’ve wanted to post a thank you, and I waited until I could pull it together, but… no. It’s not gonna happen. I can’t wrap my head around it.

            So, Thank You Soooooo Much! I’m totally psyched that you actually wrote me back, let alone liked what I said! And I’m also really grateful to Jenna and Laura and Hallie for responding as well. Wow. Thanks to you ladies too. This was the firt time I’ve ever commented to ANYTHING online. You made my day- month- oh, heck (pardon the profanity:) the WHole Darn YEAR! I’ve told everybody I like about it, and sent them the link, and I ALWAYS RAVE about my favorite author, Ms. Diana.

            I’m just so passionate about this story and your writing style and your wit and irony, and the grit, the subtle nuances that temper the stark reality…. I just love YOU, Ms. Diana.

            I’m stopping now before this babble becomes a run-on, and blows your whole image of me. :)

            From my heart Sincerely,
            Thank you.

            ~S

        • I whole heartedly agree completely. I do, however, make it a point to read the entire series at least once every 18 months or so. It is my “sabbatical” of sorts. I get lost on Fraser’s Ridge and go back to the simplicity (and complexity) of life without pretension. Sharla, you are so right about the characters being an extensions of oneself. I am a Christian too, and choose to see the book for exactly what it is; an amazing, exciting, beautiful, historical drama of life that is true. Life is complex and so are all these books and NOTHING should change.

          If I could worship someone besides God, Diana, I would worship you for your writing. Alas, however, I will just remain, forever, an extremely devoted fan, who waits with great anticipation for the next book to arrive. :)

          Blessings.

        • Sharla,

          I could not have said it better myself. I agree with everything you have said. Diana has created something with Jamie and Claire that is amazing. I have often felt like they are real people and I have cried when they have cried and laughed when they have laughed. This is the beauty of great writing. It draws us in and makes us love everything about it. I am anxiously awaiting the next book. As you said it is a shame that four years of Diana’s hardwork is consumed by us in only days. I have reread the whole series a number of times and I am sure I will again before the next book comes out and it is time well spent with old friends.

        • Holy cow! (How is that for some crazy profanity?) Sharla, VERY WELL said! I will just give you a high five, an Amen, and a hell ya! Great comment and Diana, as always, a wonderful post! This will go down as one of my favorites.

      • Patti,

        Jeez, you didn’t know you started something, did you?!? :)
        I love that you and your husband have that little back-and-forth thing! It’s a hoot! I can see it in my head.
        “What page ya on? Are they? No? Well, what good is THAT?

        Thank you so much for sticking up for the cause. Jamie and Claire are two of my best friends. We’ve known them forever, yes? Sometimes it’s hard to remember it’s just fiction.

        Brava for your comment!

        Sharla

    • I remember lo these many moons ago back in the dark ages I was in the middle of reading “Battle Cry”. I was 12, so okay I was a precocious reader. My mother asked me if she would like it, I had to tell her that there was possibly too much war in it for her, completely skipping over the many sexually motivated passages . Or the profanity even. The point being that my mother was not into war and that even at age 12 I was aware of that. I also read Colette at that age, LOTS of sex, but that wasn’t the point of her books either and I understood that instinctively.
      I grew up to become a relatively normal adult, just ask the few friends I have left….snort, with a really good vocabulary in a number of languages….and I can spell in all of them, including the profanities should that be required. One of the most well traveled men (and my favorite college prof) I have ever known has never been out of the country. That is what reading should be about, experience and incidentally learning. Most of all though authors should write a jolly good story, one that makes you not want to turn off the light and go to sleep. Doesn’t matter if the author is Chaucer, Shakespeare, Ngaio Marsh, John Sandford or Diana Gabaldon.
      And if readers spend all their time worrying and/or crossing out perceived slights/obscenities/profanity they have lost the story but most of all the joy of reading.

  2. >>I can honestly say that of a thousand letters I get that mention this, 999 readers think there should be more sex. {g}. <<

    For me, Jamie and Claire's deep sexual desires for each other helps to understand the depth of their love for each other. I like how they use sex as a tool in their marriage for healing, comfort, security and just plain old rough make-up sex.

    • I am a newcomer to the Outlander Series, I just started 2 weeks ago and I am finally beginning Drums. (Yes, I am addicted.) Jamie and Claire’s relationship is a demonstration of love, commitment, dedication and true faith. The sexual scenes between the married couple exemplify a pure love that seems to have been lost in our culture, but is supported by both the old and new testiment. I would rather have my 15 year old daughter be exposed to the enjoyment and fullfilment of sex in married life through the Outlander series than the horrible images our youth are being exposed through the main stream media. Sex is a joy and a miracle given to us through God. In its true expression, there is never shame in sex and through Ms. Gabaldon’s sexual depictions we are forced to acknowledge that even in marriage, there is a difference in our acts of love whether that be: fucking, having sex, or making love. Each aspect of the action helps defines us as partners, it has a place for comfort and healing in a relationship. We are human, after all.

  3. Well, if people don’t like your books why are they reading them?
    They can read other books without sex-scenes or with always correct language. Maybe they should start to write books themselves.
    Just my two cents about this theme.

    • <>> and where would these holier than thou folks FIND books that did not have any of that stuff? In the pre-school library? :)

  4. Awesome. Your ways of saying things & explaining things are delightful! I love the “educationalness” quality about this post too! But I’ve got to say, I think taking a sharpie to one of your books is a bigger sin than the content in question, which I also agree is necessary to the story! Thank you again for your work, it’s brilliant!

  5. I don’t expect to like every word that any author writes. I am a whimp when it comes to violence, torture and especially rape. I skip those details. I want to be in control of what I read. If I wanted to control what authors wrote I would venture into writing myself. I have no current plans to quit my day job.

  6. LOL…people can be so funny. I have been blessed with a 30 year marriage and with that all the joys…hurtles…fear…love…desires and a few choice words. You cannot LIVE life without these!

    The beauty of the written word is that you don’t have to read them if you don’t choose to!

    • I agree – the characters feel like real people who we identify with – not perfect or saintly! I think readers sometimes underestimate their parents’ or grandparents’ openmindedness – interest in sex isn’t a modern invention. Don’t change a thing, Diana!

  7. Well written, Diana, but I’m sad that you felt you had to do it. I love your books, and wouldn’t want to see you ever cave to the moral minority. There are unfortunately some prudish and self-righteous people out there, and maybe the best thing to do is ignore them. Nobody is putting a gun to their heads and forcing them to read anything. Keep the good stuff coming.

    • Wholeheartedly agree with you Ruth-Ellen – the small minorities are attempting to change everything in our lives from worshipping God in our schools, courts, changing our christmas festivities , I could go on and on – and now they want you, one of the best authors I have ever come across, to change her writing style ! Are they kidding us?? You, out there, who needs to control and change this world – be careful what you strive for – you may get your wish. Remember, Hitler tried to censor us too! Get off your bandwagon – if you think you can write as well as this lady — go ahead and try! Bet you fail…

      Keep up the good work Diana – I just wish I could write as well as you and have your imagination — it must be quite a thrill to watch where your characters are taking you – and they are taking you on quite the journey. I’m just glad I discovered your books and that I’m priviledged to be there for the ride. I have a cousin high high up at Paramount pictures and I suggested that they consider putting your books on film – she hasn’t answered me yet.

      Can’t wait for the next book (I read all your books in 2 months – boy did my eyes hurt).

  8. You said it right on! Jamie and Claire’s relationship is a deep, all-encompassing love with everything that goes with it. If you don’t want emotion, devotion, love and sex then read a book on financial statistics. I read Outlander for the first time three months ago, promptly read the rest of the series, immediately started over and read them all again and am now listening to the audios. Also read all the LJ series and the anthologies. Can’t wait for #8 and LJ&SP. Don’t change a thing!

  9. Can you imagine if Claire had said “Oh my” at the beginning of Outander when she spilled the tea? It just wouldn’t have wrung true. I probably would have put the book down then and there. But she said, well, what she said, and we’re off to the races, so to speak! There are times when “Oh my” or “Darn it” just won’t do.

  10. “**To save you looking it up, the modern equivalent slang would be “muff-diver.” Weirdly enough, I don’t think there’s a female slang version of this epithet, though there is a purely formal descriptive term. But when was the last (or the first, for that matter) time you heard someone called a fellatrix?”

    You’re driving me crazy, Diana. I can’t find the word or phase in question. Did some of your footnotes get messed up during editing?

    • Dear Frankie–

      Er…

      “Fig-licker” = “muff-diver”. Fellatrix would be the female–but non-derogatory–equivalent.

      –Diana

      • Okay, I found it. I always thought that a muff diver was a lesbian, but the Urban Dictionary says it can be male or female. Live and learn.

        • Haha – as I read this I did wonder just which men would be offended by the title! Could this be why you’d assumed lesbian – perhaps assuming that if aimed at a woman who wasn’t at least, she may…?

          • Dear Kylie–

            What…? Oh, you mean “muff-diver”? I didn’t realize that was applied to women, until someone said so here in the comments.

            –Diana

      • Hmmmph. I ‘d have thought (apparently wrongly) that a “fig-licker” would be a male homosexual who enjoyed giving oral sex… somehow testicles strike me as being more fig-like than is comparable female anatomy….

        Diana – I think your entire post was enoyable, informative, and right on.

  11. Well said, Diana! I agree with you completely.

    Don’t people know that blacking out words with a sharpie requires reading them?

  12. There are quite a few free novels on Amazon’s Kindle store that would probably suit some of these folks a little better. Perhaps you should direct them there! Though some would say that I could put a trucker and a sailor to shame, I’ve never been offended by your use of “bad language” however I did turn off Pulp Fiction for that very reason. Thankfully you have nothing in common with Quentin Tarantino.

  13. Fine piece, though I must admit I’m confused by one part.

    “Does any use of the C-word (the five-letter one)”

    I know four-letter C words, and six-letter C words, and ten-letter C words, but I’m at a loss to think of a five-letter one.

  14. Priceless! Thanks, Ms. G. I’ve come to anticipate your blog entries nearly as much as I look forward to the books and short stories.

    • I totally agree! Your books are wonderful and complete just the way they are.
      I always feel smarter after reading your blogs!

  15. It seems to me that if people are uncomfortable with your writings they should be searching their hearts. Many are probably motivated by religious sensibilities and if they are feel that certain material is inappropriate enough that they are contacting the writer to express those concerns, they probably shouldn’t be reading the material at all. It seems like a displaced reaction to possible conviction they are feeling that certain aspects of the books violate what they believe the Lord would want them to allow to enter their hearts and minds. Where they should simply be putting the books down and not returning to them, they are hoping, in some cases, that you can alter your writing in order for them to feel better about consuming it. I understand this desire, to be able to enjoy a great piece of fiction, for example, without compromising the high standards that God calls us to. But sacrifice has always been a large part of following Christ, be it the sacrifice of time, money, energy, or, in this case, a form of entertainment. Rarely can you have your cake and eat it too.

  16. Hi and hallo,

    sometimes it is easier in Germany – I am sure, there are not so many people with this wishes to an author.

    My opinion: You are the creator – your books, your acting persons. You made the decicions how they act, what happend and what they do and say.

    If people do not like the way you are writing – sorry – no one is enchained and forced to read a book with 700 pages….. Readers love your books because of everything you put into your books.

    I am sure, there are lots of books suitable for prude or bashful readers.
    Sometimes this people had to make a decision – and it is their decision – they cannot shift the responsibility on to you. If they want to read a Gabaldon-Book – then there is one issue – not the “Nickelodeon teenage version”, the “christian-reader-no-sex-version”, the “cut to the bone-version” for readers not ready for very long stories…..

    Take it or leave it!

    (sorry for mistakes….. I know – my english – really bad….)

    Wendy

    • Dear Wendy–

      Your English is _much_ better than my German. {g}

      What you say is true, of course–and yet the people who write to me do it because they really do love the stories; they just can’t get past whatever their particular difficulty is. So I can’t really blame them for _wanting_ “Gabaldon Light” {g}–but on the other hand, when I get one of these letters, I’m in the habit of waving it at my husband, saying, “Would _you_ write a letter like this to an author you liked?” It isn’t that they aren’t polite–they mostly are–but that I’d never in a million years think of writing like that.

      –Diana

      • Mh – smile – when I was at school, I attended a convent school for girls (catholic, very common in bavaria….) and the first year I was at the boadring school. When homework was done, but study time was not over, we could learn or…. read the bible….

        And – I remember – old testament was much more inappropriate for a 11 year old girl than a real Gabaldon…. I survived school without problems, many books with rude language, some movies R-rated…. It seems I have a very stable mental health:-)

        And “mean well” is the opposite of “done well”…..

        Wendy

  17. First, THANK YOU! I read your blogs regularly and enjoy them immensely. You are a highly Intelligent, Creative, and Thoughtful Soul. We are fortunate to be able to live vicariously through you and your experiences as well as your creative outputs.

    Now, to all the critics. Freedom Of Speach, Freedom of Press and Freedom of Choice. Put the book down, turn the audio off and step away from the computer. We know how long it takes for the next book to come out and and we are patiently waiting. Move along and stop irritating OUR Author of Choice! Yes you can express your ideas, but the bigger question is SHOULD you?

    • Oh I so agree with you there! Our esteemed author needs all the time she can get to write the next novel for which we all yearn! Credit to you Diana for responding so beautifully to these questions and requests and I must admit, although frustrated at the craziness of it all, I love to read your answers!

  18. Like the gentleman who agreed with your conclusion of why you use such language, I think most of us do agree with you. It’s only the select few, those squeaky wheels, who cause such disjoint. I’m still trying to figure out what the 5-letter “C” word is? No need to inform me, I’ll know it when I see it. I love your stories.

  19. Those who refuse to accept the fact that: A) Married people (and LOTS of un-married for that matter)have sex.. and….B) Swearing, unfortunately, is a common thread in the venacular of man in the 21st century as well as the 18th, etc. My only question for them is, “What color is the sky in your world?”
    This ubiquitous and universally accepted HUMAN conduct always has been and always will be. Period. Your books would not be believable if these things were omitted. Sorry Grandma.

  20. Brilliant, as always…effin’ brilliant.

  21. There are plenty of publishers out there that specialize books that don’t include profanity or sex. If someone finds those things offensive and would rather they don’t appear in the things they read, they can read what those publishers have chosen to print.

    the bottom line is that they chose to read a book that had some profanity and sex in it. it’s not like a dirty trick was played on them where they picked up a book that promised not to offend them, but then ambushed them with dirty words and frolics in haystacks.

    they better not pick up The Exile. If they had to black out Claire’s boobs with a sharpie they would run out of ink.

  22. On the other hand, this has got to be the catchiest, most upbeat song of the year. If you haven’t heard it I think you’ll get a chuckle out of it.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/CeeLoGreen#p/u/3/pc0mxOXbWIU

  23. I am no angel, I swear.
    Sometimes I swear when I’m angry-it releases the negative energy-, or simply when I want to be funny and add some “color” or emphasis to my words. I never direct it to someone in particular, except when I’m driving (I live in LA), and I only do it in the presence of people I know tolerate it.
    I believe in God, but, I am, after all, only human, and so are the characters in your books.

    God, I enjoy your work !!! Thank Him for your talent.

  24. ROFLMAO…..ok, nuff you guys…..if I laugh any harder I’ll get hiccups

  25. Diana is my favorite author, period.

    I cannot imagine writing to any author and asking them to remove anything in their books, much less – one who just happens to be such a great writer. That is the strangest thing I’ve ever heard of!

    “Inter-generational” lusting… LOL
    I gave both my mother and my daughter copies of Outlander after my first read and knew they would both love the series. (My granddaughter is almost 17 and she just recently started reading it) Yes, those kids know more than we did at that age!

    Cussing: I often wondered how I would approach that very subject in my writing too. (I’m in the midst of editing my first novel, working on the sequel, and recently started yet another book, and so far, I’ve only heard my characters say a few of the minor swear words here and there: hell, damn, and the likes.) Imagine my surprise when I began my newest novel and my main male character had the audacity to say the F word! I was as surprised as anyone can imagine, but given the context of what was happening, it was exactly what he needed to say! I tried reading the sentence out loud without the word several times…and it simply does not work! I may receive flack for it too, but I must be true to my character, and I am glad you did too, Diana.
    I love Jamie and Claire exactly as they are.

  26. Read all the ” Outlander ” series and I must say they are the some of the most enjoyable books I’ve ever read. As a 75 yr old phart and male, I am not in the least offended by any words or descriptions in the ” series “. Must be the Celtic rebel in me that i love the theme and story line of them. Recommended reading .

  27. Dear Diana (Claire, Jamie, Brianna, Dougal, Frank(s), Mrs. Bug, et al.),

    Have you given any thought to not using the word “Wee” so much in your books? After all, it makes one think of wee-wee, which is another word for, um, well, you-know…

    Now, about the Klingon translation of your books…

    Looking forward to Part 2 !!!

    Peggy

  28. Diana,

    Being above 40 myself, I am familiar with the term Bowdlerization and opposed to it in all forms. That is not to say I wish to read everything that a given person may wish to write—only that I support their right to write it as they see fit, and my right to read or not read as I see fit. As to protecting my children’s sensibilities, I am strongly convinced that is my responsiblity–certainly not the responsiblity of countless authors who will never meet nor know anything about the mental and emotional maturity level of my sons. All three boys have always been avid readers who read far above grade level, which is why the Outlander Series is the first truly adult novel series I’ve read in years—I’ve been immersed in children’s and young adult books because I have sense enough to know that just because someone is capable of reading something, it doesn’t mean they should. I discovered many books that were fine for my boys to read on their own, some which simply were “too mature” and quite a few which I chose to read with them—thinking that the content was not unacceptable, but could certainly benefit from some parental discussion.

    Interestingly, two of the books I read with my boys (each in turn, over the years) were Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. We had wonderful discussions about history, racism, racial slurs, and generallly how humans have historically behaved toward one another and how they should. We would have missed a lot had I simply banned those books for their objectionable words.

    After reading Tom Sawyer, I chaperoned a field trip to a Children’s Theater performance of it with my 10 year old’s class. At the conclusion, the children were asked if they had any questions. My 10 year old son stood up and asked, “Why did you change Injun Joe’s name to River Joe? That doesn’t make any sense.” That evening’s dinner conversation centered on bowdlerization (although I didn’t think to give them that wonderful word at the time) and political correctness!

    Write the characters you created, Diana, and give them all their words and actions—those we readers may approve of and those we may not, for they belong to you. We only borrow them–for entertainment, for thought, for escape—or whatever purpose we choose to pick up a book and read. Thank you for allowing us to meet them, and for heaven’s sake don’t ever muzzle them!

  29. *Woman* desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery rose from the table; and advancing to the master, *“Echo in the Bone”* novel in hand, said: somewhat alarmed at her own temerity:

    ‘Please,*Diana*, I want some more.’

  30. I ecco what many people said here, Why read a book if you don’t like it? An if you read it like it, but wanted things changed, what on earth give them the right to request the author to change it to suit their tastes?
    To me is a total lack of respect for the work and the art of a person.
    Your books are beautiful and we all love them, because they are the way they are!
    Don’t even botter with such comments.!
    Once my father told me that morality was a question of geography, what was good in one place didn’t apply to the next. So, who is to say what is right or not?
    Respect for others is a common place always, and I don’t think the people that wrote those letters really respect others.
    Keep writing the way you do, is beautiful, sincere and real.
    Dalma

  31. …and a lot of people’s need to separate sex and marriage comes from the Manichean heresy where sex (and the body) was sinful.

    So, people tend to miss out on what “two becoming one” means when they hold to this belief. God wants married people to have sex! (Look! I said that and there’s no lightning hurtling towards my head!)

    I whole-heartedly agree with the cafeteria approach to the commandments. I have no problem with the characters saying what they say. I live my life and am wayyy too busy with keeping my nose clean to notice the fictional spiritual state of fictional people in books.

    If you want to end up with more grey hair than you can imagine, listen to middle and high school children when they think you can’t hear them. Dear God in heaven….(prayerful utterance, not cursing)

  32. Hooo-boy did that make me laugh. People are funny aren’t they?

  33. ROTFLOL! Love it – I have, however, learned to substitute Bloody for F*** at times in conversation – and get odd looks for it since I am a down-to-the-bones American – and Californian at that!

    Besides, you did reference the evolution of profanity in your first novel…

    Love your writing, and those who are also in the craft understand that every word has it’s place in the piece – period.

    Thanks for making me laugh on this Sunny Sunday!

    • I guess if you want to avoid all sorts of written material that ‘may’ offend.. try Edith Bylton ! :)

      I am continually amazed at people who call radio stations, TV stations, write to papers or authors complaining that they are offended by a word, scene or topic…

      its really easy to solve, turn off, put down or stop reading !!! LOL LOL

      • sorry Beth, that was meant to be a separate comment, not a reply.. hit the wrong button !!!
        maybe the blog edditor can remove my reply and make it s comment ??

      • Or they could try Owner’s Manuals, schematics, blue prints, or cereal boxes. All very dry, but fairly inoffensive.

  34. Meh, f*ck ‘em all. You’re doing great. Keep up the good work!

  35. I guess if you want to avoid all sorts of written material that ‘may’ offend.. try Edith Bylton !

    I am continually amazed at people who call radio stations, TV stations, write to papers or authors complaining that they are offended by a word, scene or topic…

    its really easy to solve, turn off, put down or stop reading !!! LOL LOL

  36. The absolute cheek of someone advising you on the appropriate language to use in YOUR books. These are your babies, you owe no one anything but the entertaiment their $25 buys. If their delicate sensibilities are offended-they can set the book aside.
    I’m sorry, but I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that there are people out there that actually think they have the right to dictate what goes into your art!

  37. For *God’s* sake Diana, please don’t bowdlerize your master pieces.

    I love the balance of topics and gritty reality of your chararcters. Jamie and Claire are sensual people, which is why I relate to them so much.

  38. Diana, do not change a thing……..you have spoiled me from any other author, and I have been inhaling books since I was six years old!!! Everything you write is for a reason, I think, and I for one, love every bit of it.
    Carry on woman!
    Deborah
    (Your Number One Fan!)

  39. Aw, you’re just making me miss Jamie and Claire and crew even more. I do hope your new projects are coming along. And thank you, as always, for taking the time to share your talents.

  40. oh good grief. really. the nerve of some people. You’re the author–you can’t remove some parts without it affecting the readers’ response to the entire story.

    My sweetie (a real life Fraser, btw) asked me today if I was fantasizing about JF–(I’m only just done with Dragonfly)

    and my answer was something like, ‘well, sort of, but not really, but kind of in an abstract way’ and he asked me if there were explicit love scenes in the books and I said ‘no, well, not really–they’re rather romantic, but not a bit cheesy, and definitley sexual, but not porno. And that is really just perfectly balanced on that fine line.’

    And I can handle all the cussing etc. and would do just fine with more explicitness, but I feel that you are quite the master (mistress?) of clarity/sublety on the subjects of sex and violence. Well done!

    Eagerly starting Voyager tonite!

  41. Yeah, I’m glad that you’re going to keep writing your characters the way you do. Some of them have foul mouths, and they wouldn’t be right if you wrote them otherwise.

    And one of the main reasons the story is so compelling is that the sex is hot and kind of unpredictable.

    If people want the educational value of historical novels without sex, they can read Patrick O’Brien.

    Thank you, Diana.

  42. Your books are pure genius, absolute perfection, I love every word. Anyone that thinks differently can suck it… But that’s just my opinion. :)

  43. I would urge those who find your wonderful books offensive in any way to donate them to their nearest rural sharing library. I live in the Central Oregon Coast and we have to sometimes wait for weeks to get our turn to read any Gabaldon novel and if they think your novels racy they definitely should stay away from Laurell K Hamilton novels.

  44. I still can’t get past someone using a Sharpie to black out words in a book. Just a few hours ago, my husband and I were getting on to our 9 year old daughter for losing her temper and throwing her book. She was told, “we don’t throw books, you should always be nice to books”. Maybe Sharpie lady wasn’t taught to be nice to books.

    I am going to have my husband read your letter to the grandfather who objected to Roger’s use of the F word. He has definitely deprived it of its impact.

    It also didn’t dawn on me until I read this tonight that I am a multi-generational reader. My mom introduced me to your books and then she introduced my grandmother. What also didn’t dawn on me till tonight is that we all three were lusting after the same man. Thanks! and EEEUUUGGGHHH!

  45. I think that these people don’t really want to pick up those sharpies at all! It just makes them feel better to be able to tell those they feel would not approve of them reading the contents of Outlander books, that they wrote to the author and told her the error’s of her ways. That some how makes the fact that they read these books OK.
    It seems rather hypocritical. They are giving the impression of covering their eyes while peeking through their fingers!

    Diana, I do love that you take the time to listen and respond to your readers weather it is praise or criticism.
    It makes you so much more than a “Best Selling Author” You are a fair and kind human being and I rather like that a lot.
    Write what comes to you and for goodness sake put down that Sharpie!

  46. Diana,
    Back in the 1980s a former nun told me about Old English Law acronyms. The acronym was formed by the first
    letter of each word. This info is just incase you did not know the origins for a very popular curse word.

    For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge

    • Dear Mary–

      Well, yes, I’ve heard that a number of times. It doesn’t seem to be true (that book whose cover I used as a header for this blog-post has a considerable history of the F-word), but it’s a common attribution.

      –Diana

      • Dear Mary and Diana,

        Many years ago I read a different explanation of the origin of that popular F-word (in a Welsh book of “dirty ditties” sneaked past the librarian when I was around 12)…it stated that the word came from a certain sound made whilst engaged in a certain activity…

        My (equally innocent) friends were as amazed and entertained as I was!

        Gail

  47. Well said, Diana! I don’t know if you are at all familiar with publishing guidelines for Christian fiction, but perhaps some of your disgruntled readers should read in that direction. ;-) As I am a Christian, I had thought a few years ago of writing a Christian novel but their guidelines are too stringent for my tastes. (I should make a disclaimer here. There are a few Christian writers who do work miracles within these guidelines.)
    Simon Morden presented a speech titled Sex, Death and Christian Fiction that has in many ways shaped my own beliefs in this area. I wish I could have heard it in person, but I will leave you with the link http://www.bookofmorden.co.uk/essays/sexdeathchristian.html

    Melanie

  48. Diana,YOU GO GIRL!
    As people before have noted- they can put the book down, turn off the tape/audio what ever formate they’ve chosen to read in. As an Artist myself (Pro- Photographer), It’s hard to hear criticism from close mined people because we put so much heart & soul into what we do. My poor husband has had to endure my rants a few times :)

    And for the lady who wanted to discuss your books with her 15 year old! Trust me! My 15/now 16 knows more about the world then I ever did……

  49. Wow, you pretty much said everything I feel when it comes to censoring art but am not articulate (or, let’s be honest here) intelligent enough to express!

    I wish I could remember who said this quote because I’ve always liked it: “In order not to offend anyone do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.”

  50. Diana,

    Don’t change a thing. The books are perfect and Sharpie idea is a good one.

    I’m amazed the someone would make such a request. Glad Botticelli is dead. Imagine what they’d request of him?

    Thanks for a great saga. They’re at the top of my favs list.

  51. Welcome to a Burger King “have it your way” world.

    Personally, my answer to that has always been, “hey, if you don’t like it, write your own story. Write it your way and then, you’ll know where I’m coming from.”

    Usually, them what can, do. Them what can’t, bitch…uh, complain.

  52. Go Diana Go! Really though people take too small of things to heart! Your books are awesome and don’t change a thing! If you can’t handle what characters say than don’t read these books. Personally though I love them, and all your word choices so keep them coming!!

  53. I have re-read your books so many times – I happen to wondering if the people complaining have often cited Claires lovely exclamation of “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!” You tell us where Claire get’s it from – but where did you find this lovely gem? Profanity and Sex both have their places and I think you use both of them artfully and to the benefit of your characters. Can’t wait for the next book, I’ve been hanging by a thread since the last…..

    • Dear Michelle–

      Oh, “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ” is an authentic WWII expression. {g} Not common among the British armed forces, but certainly found among the Yanks, which is doubtless where Claire got it.

      –Diana

  54. LOL I always feel smarter when I read anything you write.

    I must say, for having 17 million readers, you do a verra good job of pleasing the majority. :)

  55. I have no opinion about the language, but I agree that a Sharpie could be a solution for those more sensitive readers:) Good thinking!:) I’m also super happy I found out about your blog. The same friend who turned my attention to your fabulous books recently mentioned your blog. Yahoo!:) Have a fantastic week:)

  56. Diana,
    Brava! Well said. The issue of language in literature brings up a recent topic my students discussed lately. Channel One News, a national student news program, told the students about the latest problem with “inappropriate” language found in the classroom: A group of adults want HUCKLEBERRY FINN republished with the N-word omitted. My students were appalled! Twain’s writing style is a historical sound bite of life on the Mississippi during that period. Why change it to represent 21st century thinking? One student said, “Taking that word out of Twain’s book would be the same as cutting out all the breasts in Picasso’s nude paintings because someone might find them offensive.” I wholeheartedly agree!

  57. Please don’t change anything about your books. I love them and can’t wait for the next one to be published.

  58. As incomprehensible as I find an individual requesting a sanitized version of a book, what really worries me is that some retailers require this before they’ll carry an artist’s works. I believe it’s more prevalent with music, but I also know of at least one author who had to change the name of their book in order for a supermarket chain to carry the book. As it was told to me the chain felt the original title would confuse their readers.

  59. Fantastic post, and reiterates in my mind a few reasons why I love these books so much; the language (foul and not) is rich – adds flavor to the story, and the relationships are real (well, as real as they can be seeing how they are fictional). Besides that, I love words; the meanings, and origins so your post is a total geek post for me. Thanks.

  60. Funny! Whoever contacted you, did he/she know they were not reading the bible? And when reading the bible, I wonder what they think about “Songs of Songs” where the poem goes from courtship to consummation, beautifully but graphically written.

    While at it, something else came to mind about the reader that suggested you take out the sex scenes so she could discuss the book with her teenage daughter. How did this mother explain to her daughter the cohabitation of a young maiden such as Snow White with seven adult men? Better yet, how did she explain to her daughter the fact that Snow White only comes back to life by being sexually aroused, most commonly known as with “love’s first kiss”?

  61. Diana please don’t change a thing. I love your writing just the way it is… You can’t please em’ all, and there is no point in trying.

  62. Well spoken, Diana! Idiots!! If they don’t like what you’ve written….they can STOP reading!

    Please don’t change a thing about any of your characters. They are just perfect the way they are. I have devoured the entire series and can’t wait for the next book. I’ve read The Exile and loved it. I just finished The Fiery Cross adiuo book. I LOVED the written books, but, listening to them has absolutely brought them to life. I just can’t get enough. The langauge and the sex are all completely relevant to the story…which would be left full of holes were you to take any of it out!

    Thanks for the wonderful story of Jamie & Claire.

  63. Thank you for the Outlander world – it’s my favorite place to visit!! I would not change one word!

  64. Tell them you have a version with anything that might be offensive taken out of it and then mail them a sheet of paper that contains only “a,” “an,” and “the.”

  65. Hi Diana,

    Just a quick correction to your comments. French Canadians don’t mix the F.. word with religious concepts. It is true that we use many religious concepts in our swearing, but almost never the F.. word. Swearing using the F.. word is more of a French (France) thing.

    “Va te faire foutre” is the French translation to F.. you, which I have never heard in Canada, unless they were French immigrants :-)

  66. If they don’t like it, they shouldn’t read it then. It’s YOUR book, and YOUR story, so it’s the way YOU want it. In my opinion, their could be more romance! It’s wonderful escapism for those of us living the average stay at home mom life. Your books are fantastic Diana! I love every part of them because in real life people swear, AND have sex.( sometimes at the same time..lol). I love the outlanders series, don’t you dare change a thing!

    Holly

  67. For crying out loud – don’t change a thing.

  68. When I become elderly, will I but be put off by sex in books?
    I guess I better enjoy it while I can. :-D

    What happens if a Sharpie person buys a Kindle or Nook or iPad?
    You can’t black out words on those, you can only highlight.

    Great post! Interesting, fun, and informative.

  69. Simply ridiculous. As several of your commenters have stated, people who are easily offended should stick to works published specifically for those with delicate sensibilities.

    I do sympathize with them in one regard, however. Sometimes I wish that Tolkien had written a hobbit-free version of The Lord of the Rings. Do you think a publisher somewhere would oblige me? All the unrealized sexual tension between Sam and Frodo gets under my skin sometimes…

  70. Love OUTLANDER series. God created sex. I love God and I love sex. Don’t change a thing. Unless of course you want to put more sex in. :) Diana, thank you for giving us Jamie. LOL. It’s crazy when you start thinking like “what would Jamie Fraser do in this situation”. Love it!

    Phyllis

  71. <> regarding the sharpie lady, in my_ younger_years people only used them to underline all the ‘good’ sex scenes in a book so you didn’t have to riffle through 200 pages to find them.:) (actualy we used ball point pens, no sharpies back then)

    As for language, like you, 8 years of convent life put the cabosh on swearing in our house. That is not to say that a good rolling off the tongue “son-of-a-bitch” didn’t occasionally escape while raising 5 kids all 2 to 2/12 years apart. I tried to balance things off. No 4 letter words in the house or within my hearing, certainly NOT in public , and no jokes depicting ‘frogs in a blender’ at the dinner table. :)

    As I read your blog I kept thinking of the disclaimers that most TV programs have now, “scenes of explicit sexual content, coarse language or violence may offend some viewers.” Be warned!! Turn the chanel or turn off the set. Maybe it’s time for these people to lobby for such stickers on books. Think of the revenue it would bring in if every sticker cost $1.00.

    I for one enjoyed the series The Sopranos but I think it just would not have had the same impact if Tony said “darn” instead of “F…” or if the picture had faded to grey every time a sex scene came on. Mind, you have to use your common sense, it’s not a series I would have let my 12 year old watch.

    I was the biggest meannest mom in our neighbourhood years back when I refused to let my 12 & 14 yr ols kids watch Texas Chain Saw Massacres , yet I had no problem letting them watch movies with sex scenes in them. To a certain degree, I’m not talking porn here. Some parents were shocked that I let my kids watch stuff like that. My view was ‘better to let them see love or sex that butchery.

    I like millions of others love your books and have read them upmteen times. I’m kinda spoiled. I went in to Coles Bookstore to find a good historical novel and the girl recomended Sarah Doneti…..Nah….can’t hold a candle to you. My husband who absolutely refuses to get into the series calls then “Hysterical Novels”, but hey, what the heck after 50 years I can live with that. And I do enjoy the sex scenes very much, it brings back some very happy memories for me, health issues has kind of put the skids on that. But I’ll tell you, you’re never too old for desire or the need to be made to feel pretty and femine, even if your boobies kind of head south and the lines on your face are starting to look like mini road maps. His hair is a wee bith thinner and he doesn’t have that to die for physique he had at 20. But in his eyes and in mine, we still look at each other as if we were twenty again.

    I am so looking forward to Fergus Celtic Festival up in Ontario, Canada, this year as I was told you would be there and it’s only an hour away. I’ll be there with bells on.

    Love ya darlin…keep up the great work~~~Fran

    • I’ll be in Fergus too! The festivale is always so much fun and having Diana visit is a super awesome bonus.

  72. I love your books, re-read them, and look forward to your next one.

  73. I don’t usually feel the need to leave my two cents, but this topic struck me as significant. Having just recently become an addict of the series, I have to say that the very realistic relationship that you have created between Claire and Jamie helped me rekindle the romance in my 20+ year marriage. My husband and I both thank you. Too bad you felt the need to go to such lengths to defend your writing which I never tire of and am re-reading as I await S P and book #8.

    • Dear Deb–

      Well, it’s not really that I feel a need to defend my writing–the writing kinda does that, its ownself {g}. But a) I did think it was remarkable that people would ask a writer not merely to do This or That (people write to me in droves, wanting Jamie to time-travel–and I assure you, _that’s_ not happening), but to _republish_ an existing work, in order to remove something they found offensive. Possibly it’s just because I’d been paying attention to the recent idiotic republication of HUCKLEBERRY FINN, excising the N-word (and I would have loved to talk about Social Blasphemy, but really didn’t have time in this post), and b) I find it Really Interesting–from a craft point of view–to talk about the various decisions a writer makes, and why you _do_ do This and Not That, or vice-versa.

      You know….like anybody else, I like to talk about myself. {g} If people didn’t, the whole art of blogging probably wouldn’t exist.

      –Diana

      • Your reflections, like all your writing, were both entertaining and enlightening.

      • If it makes you feel any better, a number of people apparently requested that the Academy Award-winning best picture The King’s Speech have some ‘bad words’ taken out of it, even though they’re integral to the plot — and I believe the filmmakers are doing so.

      • Since you mentioned Huckleberry Finn…I had to share this if you haven’t see it already…it is brilliant!

        http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dianidevine/replacing-the-n-word-with-robot-in-huck-finn

      • Dear Diana,

        You might find this a death knell for reality in schools, like I did.

        My 7 year old wanted to go to “Family Reading Night” at school. His choice of author? Rudyard Kipling…”The Jungle Book”. He was told he couldn’t bring it due to it being deemed “inappropriate”.

        Same school: my older son, when in 5th grade, was told to keep his “Tom Clancy’s Net Force” books home because they talk about guns in it.

        Wow, just…..wow. In history classes, I wonder if wars were fought with marshmallow propellers and bean bag throw-y things

        If we sanitize the world, what consequences do actions have?

  74. It’s obvious that the posters on this subject are in favour of keeping the humour, love, passion and integrity of your work.
    I love the variety of personalities and situations in your writing.

  75. I have to say that I don’t particularly like sex scenes. HOWEVER, as uncomfortable as sex scenes make me I would absolutely agree that your stories would not be the same without them. They are an integral part of your stories and anyone who would go so far as to ask you to remove them should excercise their freedom to choose to read something else.

  76. I think if a person has a problem with the content of a book then simply DO NOT READ IT!!!!!!!

  77. I personally will be highlighting the SEX scenes, and hell why not the curse words, especially from Claire, being that when Claire does it, I literally laugh to the point of tears.
    FYI*** A good-quality HIGHLIGHTER costs about $1.79.

  78. They should come down off their pedestals and high horses and join the real world!
    If you don’t like the TV show, use the remote and turn if off! Same with a book, if you find it offensive, CLOSE IT!!!

  79. What a hoot! I started reading your post and literally gasped! I liken it to asking someone to change the color of their eyes. “Um, well, cause that blue (green, brown, etc…) well, it just doesn’t fit well into my way of seeing things right now, so just go do something about that, will you??”

    I mean you could go and try and change the color with contact lenses or something artificial but then it wouldn’t be you anymore, would it?

    I think you should just feel warm in knowing that it isn’t possible to make your stories more enjoyable for me, anyway. Thank you for writing them just the way they are.

  80. I love the books (all content) and have just discovered the Blog. What a wonderful way to “hear” Diana’s superb dialogue while waiting impatiently for the next book. I especially liked the story about the grandmother and grand-daughter in Chicago. Brought tears to my eyes, I laughed so hard.

  81. I think it’s natural that people want to know if you would ever edit any books the way movies do get edited. I admit I am one of those people. Personally, I don’t care for ‘f’ words and sex scenes. But I read the books because they are good, and those scenes can be skimmed over too, and if it really is disturbing then the person just needs to find another book to read.
    Asking an author to change their style of writing is like asking a leopard to change it’s spots.
    Who cares what anyone thinks. Its you pen and paper! I mean here you are working on the EIGHTH book, you think people would get it by now..

  82. This discussion reminds of of Melanie’s song written about 1970 called “Look What They’ve Done to my Song”. Don’t let them do it, Diana. Thank God you’re a “feisty wee bitch”. I love the part of the song that says “Wish I could find a good book to live in”…..that’s what you’ve given us….a good book to live in. Don’t ever change it, but do give us a longer life with another book. Love ya forever. Sylvia

  83. I just answered a question over on Yahoo Answers about this. They had heard somewhere (and where, the curious mind wants to know) that OUTLANDER was straight up porn! I laughed myself sick then answered the question with the truth. Earthy, and not just sexually, very well-written, and less than graphic. Please–you want thick books with truly graphic sex scenes? Go read Jean Auel. Tho they did get rather boring in the last book…

  84. Dear Diana,

    I’m glad you settled the issue once and for all. This _has_ been going for some time, but it’s a compliment to the various types of emotions your books provoke!

    In the long run though, it must be annoying to keep addressing the same issue.

    What really puzzles me, is how do people come about the feeling that it’s their right to express such a thought or concept to anyone, let alone a world-renowned author . Where do their get that fake sense of empowerment?!

    I mean, imagine cornering Picasso or Dali in the 1960s and complaining to them that their paintings show too much female nudity. HA!

    Do you get these profanity/ obsenity/ blasphemy complaints from people of different nationalities and different ages, or is this sense of entitlement limited to certain geographic regions and age groups? Just curious…

    • Dear Anne-Marie–

      It really doesn’t happen often enough for me to have any statistically valid sample, in terms of geography, and they don’t always tell me their ages. {g}

      I suppose they see it more or less in the same way someone would feel OK asking if my books were available in a Large Print version, or in audio or e-book form. (And I don’t think they stop to consider how books are written or published; i.e., they probably do think I could just do a quick search/replace to change ‘Jesus’ to “Hasenpfeffer,” and then press a button that would automatically reprint the book and send copies to all the bookstores.)

      –Diana

      • ‘Jesus’ to “Hasenpfeffer,”

        Oh my…Diana, you truly are my hero!
        I started reading the Outlander series nearly 20 years ago and have read and reread(many times) the novels to date. I have suggested them to both of my parents, husband, siblings, friends, co-workers…anyone who asked if I could suggest a good book to read.
        Everytime I pick up one of the Outlander books it is like visiting old friends.
        Please keep writing exactly as you have.

        Best regards always,
        Rhonda
        P.S. I want to be Claire when I grow up!

  85. I love the books as they are and good on you for keeping true to writing them the way they need to be written. Everyone sees books through the prisms of our own experience, so when published every reading experience will differ. I love that you accept and encouage that.

    For anyone who has an interest int he history and use of swear words, I have read an excellent book called “Language Most Foul” by an Australian Linguistic Academis, Ruth Wajnryb . It’s both an informative and entertaining read about swearing but be warned, it addresses the big taboo words head on, so it’s not for the faint hearted or those who the words themselves with some sort of evil power. For those who have an interest in the history, etymology and usage fo swear words, it’s informative and far from a dry read.

  86. Deb’s comments about your skillful drawing of the relationship that exists between Jamie and Claire stimulating and reigniting her 20+ year relationship with her husband resonated with me.
    I have started many of my girlfriends on your ‘Outlander’ series, (purchased no less than 18 copies last Christmas), and must say that I have had a few husbands thank me for the response reading your books elicited in their wives. I wonder how many other relationships your cleverly crafted characterisation of the rich and full relationship between Claire and James you have enhanced?

  87. Way to go DG!!! IMO if they dont like the “explicit” content why the hell did they buy the book…I believe on the back of one of Outlander’s back covers in the paragraph describing the book, it specifically says “sex” . I dont know about other people but when I pick out a new book to read, I read the back cover to see what its about….
    On another note…my great grandma is 94 years old and still reads these books, along with other cheesy romance novels…and she still uses some curse words, so not all of the older genearations are appalled by a little lovin’ and roudy word choice. Personally I use bloody hell and Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ alot when i am talking to myself. Claire’s word choice is what makes up part of her character and who she is. Love it. Dont ever change a thing. =]
    ~Katie

  88. I have been reading (and loving) this series since just before Voyager came out…and I have to say this…are these people crazy? write a censored version of these books? we have to wait long enough as it is for a new book…. there is not time for any other versions….and in any case they are completely unnecessary because the books are perfect as they are….

  89. I LOVE YOU!

    “*** A good-quality Sharpie costs about $1.79.”

    That pretty much sums it up. Don’t change a thing.

  90. Thank’s for the blog and the WONDERFUL writing. My daughter (Alex) introduced me to Claire and Jamie wen she was in high school. Definitely NOT too young fo sex…
    Those who think that teenagers (even very young ones) don’t know about sex should try spending lunch time in a high school cafeteria one of these days!!! It would bring them up to par with 21c century…
    Anyway, thanks again, waiting patiently for the next one… :-)

    • MOM…
      Well, apparently I wasn’t too young for sex in high school. Weird comment coming from my own mom… :S

      I work in a school library and professionally I can’t have these books for kids under 15 years old (even if I was 14 when I first read The Outlander)… But I talk of these books to every friend I have that loves to read…

      Can’t wait for the next one…
      And re-reading them as I’m waiting.
      Plus reading Lord John and every other story based on Outlander characters…
      And looking for excerpts!

      Thank you for inventing Jamie & Claire. They are the best “friends” I could have found in high school… They’re still my friends after all! And it shows everyday life with obvious drama… Thanks again!

  91. Dear Diana,
    Please just write as you always did. Don’t change a thing, the books are the Best because they are as they are.
    Best wishes,
    Myrna

  92. Just been reading what everybody here has to say. I must say that I agree with most of them. You do write the most wonderful stories. If someone have trouble with the language, they just could close the book!! I love the love (or sex if you want) in your books. And sometimes people do swear. So what? I think some people have to much freetime… Or as someone said here above. Why don’t they write a book themselves? We fans (I think I can say for all of us) love the way you write. Just keep on writing!!
    Mervi

  93. As the wife of a United Methodist pastor, I most certainly am NOT offended by your work. I generally just use my local library vs. purchasing books, but your Outlander series is one of the first series of books that I *had* to own. No, I didn’t need to take a sharpie to the books, either! Hmm…..maybe I should use a highlighter for some parts….. LOL Keep doing what you’re doing and you and so many others will be very happy. That’s what is so great, people have a choice. I definitely chose to read your work – many, many times.

  94. Hi Diana,

    That was so well said!! I always marvel at the organization of your thoughts, and ability to address subjects so thoroughly!

    It’s kind of like when my husband found out Lord John was a gay. Reading about that stuff makes him uncomfortable because he’s a dude. A very manly man. But, when I told him I’d heard that some people thought you shouldn’t have made LJ gay OR have him make an advance on Jamie OR had Randall do the weird stuff he did to Jamie. Well, my husband said “I don’t understand how people can expect a writer to CHANGE what a character is! They are what they are, and if you change the they are, they are not themselves anymore.” Now, I’m sure my husband being squirmy with the activities of gay men, would have been more comfortable while reading the books, but he understands the necessity to be true to the character, so he was fine with it. Thanks,

    Bonnie

  95. This discussion reminds me of a song by Melanie from about 1970, “Look What They’ve Done to My Song”…..they’ve turned it upside down, Ma, look what they’ve done to my song. Wouldn’t it be tragic if you were forced to alter your incredible work in any way? Of course, a “feisty wee thing” like you would never allow that to happen. Back to Melanie’s song, the second stanza says “wish I could find a good book to live in…” and that’s exactly what you’ve given all of us, complete with characters who live life passionately in every way. Thank you for every word you’ve written.
    Sylvia

  96. The people who have been asking you to remove certain language and sex scenes from your novels should get a life. At least a life where they are not upset by such things. I think it is impertinent of them to ask an author to rewrite there work. I love your books the way they are.

    Robyn

  97. I started reading your books about the same time I started watching General Hospital a long long time ago…. so I was very please to see Molly give Sam a copy of Outlander to read during her stay in the hospital on today’s episode. I am glad you will not compromise your writing because of the complaints of a few.

  98. It says Part I in the title of the blog…does that mean there will be a part II?

  99. I love every word you write. Please don’t change a thing. :)

  100. VERY well stated Ms Gabaldon! Also, I don’t want to offend anyone here in case they are fans, however, many of these same women who complain about the sex and language in your books are probably also fans of Twilight. There may be a no sex policy in Twilight, and no foul language (ya, like REAL teenagers NEVER swear!) however, stalking, and sucicidal dependency on controlling and abusive men is quite alright. Doesn’t anyone else find Edwards obsessive need break into Bella room to watch her sleep just the least bit creepifying?

    • LOL…nah! I do find romancing the fact that the first time Edward and Bella have sex…of course they are married so it makes it OK…he beats the living crap out of her but its because he stronger than a human…yeah right…every 13 yr old’s dream!
      Keep writing Diana and I will keep reading!!

    • Heather:
      So agree with you! My daughter read the Twilight books in high school and she thought all the characters should have made appointments with the school psychologist. She was in a high school with 2000 kids and never knew anyone that had as much angst as the characters did in Twilight.

      So, okay with teen angst (suicide, control issues, etc…), but not okay with sex. I just don’t get it!

  101. Very well said. Don’t change a thing. I love the “juicy” bits. They make the book more interesting and fun to read. Besides, people do talk like that and people do have sex. Fact of life! If someone doesn’t like that, they don’t have to read it!
    Thanks Diana. Keep writing.

  102. Hi Diana,
    I believe as adults we are capable of deciding for ourselves whether or not to read one book or the other and it is up to that person alone to continue reading or put down the book and say this is not for me. My husband describes the need for people to have everything made ‘safe’ for them as the nanny state. About three or four years ago, my family and I went on vacation in this very tiny rustic cabin next to a lake; a nice relaxing vacation. I brought with me A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I was a labour and delivery nurse at the time. The book describes his female relatives experiences in Afghanistan. There is a scene where the main character is undergoing a C/section without the benefit of anathesia. To make matters worse, they are reusing the gloves used in surgery. He describes the rubber gloves hanging from a clothes line over top of a dirty sink. I was in bed reading this and I became so upset by this scene, I had to take a walk to cool down in order to sleep. Do you suppose I should write to Khaled and ask him not to write any more disturbing obstetrical scenes?
    Jackleen

  103. Hey,
    Personally, I did not share The Outlander series with my daughers until they were married. They survived just fine; they are happily married to incredibly cool guys; and I am sure they are all having amazing s** ; ) (at least that’s what they tell me). Waiting for anything is not going to kill any of us, and most of the time, these issues discussed in this series of comments, may actually be about the inability to communicate on an intimate level with our children.
    I spend a lot of time reading and writing. I teach. I also spend a lot of time discussing logical fallacies. Your (Diana) argument is provoking and well written; however, if some of your readers want to be taken seriously, they must reign in their emotions and think clearly (really, I’m merely speaking as a teacher here). Slippery slope and post hoc arguments make for the stereotypical “emotional woman”. We all want to be taken seriously, and “emoting” won’t cut it.
    Here are two interesting arguments on a similar topic that may elicit some critical thinking. They are taken from the book Language Matters: A Guide to Everyday Questions About Language by Donna Jo Napoli and Vera Lee-Schoenfeld: ” How Does Language Wield Power Over Us? – Can it Overpower Us?” and “Does Exposure to and Use of Offensive Language Harm Children”
    It takes courage to consider views other than our own – be brave.
    RM

  104. I love, love, LOVE these books. I read ALL of the series in the first 2 weeks that I got my Kindle. You are an amazing author who writes with so much depth I sometimes feel I am drowning…in a good way! Don’t change a thing!

  105. I am sorry that folks can’t figure out why your books are the way they are without you having to write such huge explanations……of course everything you write is big so why not blog entries? :) Diana…..I think you are the most WONDERFUL writer. I LOVE your books (and I’m 45), my 73 year old mother loves your books, and my 52 year old HUSBAND loves your books. He is disabled and cannot see well so I read your novels to him (complete with attempts at voicing the characters and catching the emotions, etc…….I’m a closet actress…LOL). I have read the ENTIRE Outlander series to him and we are both anxiously awaiting the next book. True, I’ve blushed as I read some things to him…..but it never stopped me from reading OR from continuing to read. Your response here was quite thorough and well written. Anyone who doesn’t “get it” at this point just isn’t going to get it…..I feel bad for them. We, your fans LOVE your work and I feel like I know you, even just a little bit, by eavesdropping on the fictitious lives of your characters. Thank you very, very much and keep writing those books the way YOU think they need to be written. :-)
    Melody Ayer
    Dickson, Tennessee

  106. Yes – thank you for your comments…- I have read and enjoyed your books several times – and my 14 year old Grand-daughter has read them too….no problems from us…and what she doesnt understand – she asks about :) Which I think is healthy.

  107. Dear Mrs Diana G.,
    I just have to say I love you andyour books! The thought that anyone would want you to change your stories just make me cringe. Just so some people can feel comfortable . Boo on them. Think of authors like Bram Stoker or Ald0us Huxley having to change scenes or words in thier stories just for the relief of some people. I mean the whole world would be different, and seriously not in a good way.

    To me your in the catogories of these same authors and to even better. Just keep writing what you want. For you not even us you crazy fanatic fans!

    With much love and respect

  108. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can’t wait to see these books in film or on T.V.
    I just saw the preview to A Game Of Thrones series. Wow, I’d love to see this on HBO one day.

  109. I think an HBO series would be the best way to go for Outlander…

    • Brilliant! I’ve been wanting a movie of the series for ages, and an HBO production would not only do it justice, but include the naughty bits and the language!

  110. When I first read The Outlandish Companion and found out that you actually received letters from people asking you to censor (“Bowdlerize” — thanks for the nifty new word ) your books and refrain from certain material in future writing, it absolutely astounded me.

    Here are these FANTASTIC books, which I personally consider myself lucky just to have encountered, and yet certain persons wish to quibble about tiny portions that they find offensive? It just doesn’t make sense. I don’t personally agree with killing small fat children, but it didn’t stop me from reading “Lord of the Flies”, nor will I be writing any letters asking for that portion to be removed from the story.

    I just don’t see how *fiction* can offend anyone, personally — *real* people swear and cheat and fight and do terribly “offensive” things, so why on earth would anyone expect fictional characters to be any different? To be honest, I’m not sure that anyone COULD write a book without any “offensive” content. Just look at the Bible — it has to be by far one the most violent, adulterous, chock-full-of-sins book that I’ve ever read.

    And to the parents who complain of supposed “offensive” content because they don’t find it appropriate for their children: Why must everything in the world be “child friendly” anyway? There are literally *thousands* upon thousands of children’s books, movies, games, toys, food, restaurants… EVERYTHING, really… and you’re complaining that this particular set of books is by your standards “inappropriate” for your widdle precious darlings? Who bloody cares?! Not everything HAS to be made for your children. Grown-ups can have things too, you know.

    Sorry, lost my cool a bit there. It just frustrates me that these wonderful books would be criticized in any way, least of all for silly reasons like these. If anything, I would prefer MORE sex scenes in these books — any passages in which Jamie and Claire interact is always fascinating, and their relationship is by far the best one in literature that I have encountered.

    Thanks for these wonderful stories!

    Katie

  111. When going through pre-cana classes nearly 13 years ago, the obvious emphasis was on the sacrament of marriage, two separate lives becoming one, encouraging couples to remember to bring God into their marriage, to pray together. When Fr got to the sex part, he told us that one of the best ways to pray together is to have intercourse. Why do you think at the time of climax you say things like, “Oh my God!” or “Jee-sus!”? According to this most popular, well-respected Jesuit priest of my diocese, Jamie & Claire are merely doing what God asks of all married couples: keeping Him present by calling out reverently while praying together (often).
    On a personal side note… over time without trying, this priest shattered my agnostic Presbyterian (if one can be such a thing) views and eventually led me to become Catholic. However, I still swear like a sailor and find that holding my tongue is one of the most difficult things I do as a parent!

    Part of the reason I read books, fiction or non-, is to learn things, to be exposed to different ways of viewing the world, to travel vicariously through the characters’ stories. I don’t like everything I read, but I think I understand a whole lot more, am more adaptable, and more tolerant for the experience. Like everyone else here, I love how complicated and detailed your books are. I’m amazed at how you connect us the readers to your characters. Thank you.

  112. You know. I was doing a little bit of research for an assignment and discovered that the F word first appeared in print in 1503 or thereabouts (sorry, doing this from memory, not from the book I found it in). The F word is therefore not at all a modern word, only its more common usage.

    As for mothers not wanting daughters to know about sex….well!!

  113. Dianna- You should have someone screen your fan mail and instruct them to file complaints like these in the recycling bin! This is just taking away from your writing time!
    AND I NEED THAT BOOK!
    Oh, and be sure to add in a few extra ‘Jesuses’ and sex scenes just to prove that the crazies didn’t affect your style!
    Obviously, as I’m sure the bulk of your fan mail and your bank account reflects, you had it right the first time!
    Mucho Kudos and PLEASE get Jamie and Claire back to us as soon as possible!

  114. I enjoy your blog as much as I enjoy your books! Don’t change a thing they are wonderful.

  115. Thanks for the laugh. I just cracked up with your line, “Now, there may possibly be long and successful marriages that don’t include sex, but I don’t personally know of any.”

  116. Hello Diana,

    I was going to start off by saying that I am your biggest fan, but I am afraid I would cause a huge arguement based on the number of people who respond to your blogs alone. So I will just tell you that for many years ,I was not much of a reader. I never seemed to make the time with three little ones at home; then quite by accident I came across Outlander (enough said). Since then I have discovered the joy of reading again. Maybe its having been brought up with a Scottish background, I cant help but sometimes laugh out loud at some of the language and sayings you have put in. The sex/love scenes (I agree with most,there are not nearly enough of them) are so crucial to the story and marriage that altering them in the least would be a travesty.
    Anyway I just felt like I needed to say Thank you for making such wonderful stories, please don’t stop .
    I always re-read your books when anxiously waitng for the next instalment. I have read many other authors since discovering you and have to say that when I read your books ,it honestly feels like someone is right next to me telling me a great story.
    So carry on being the Genius that you are and the rest of us will just sit back in awe.

  117. Hi Diana,

    I know I’m off subject here, but I just read the story of Roger’s parents in “Songs of Love and Death” and wondered if you could refresh my memory. In which book is his side of this story written. Thank you, this will save me many hours of searching. :)

    Jennifer

  118. Jennifer:

    It’s in Echo…Roger is reminiscing about a conversation that he and Clare had when he was back on the Ridge.

  119. Thank you for many, many enjoyable hours lost in your books. I don’t see that there is any reason for you to change the way you write. You are able to transport us (your avid readers) to every time, place and situation with the depth of your writing. To omit anything would be a sad loss. Thank you again. :)

  120. I truly love your books just the way they are. I could not put them down and am waiting for the next one. I am a Christian and am not offended by your books. It is a wonderful story of, to me, how life truly is. Not so perfect and with all kinds of people who act out not so well at times. If someone is offended then I would suggest they find another book. The books are for adults and adults should take more care around children. That is their own fault. You would not watch some movies with children, such as a war movie, but that does not mean a story shouldn’t be told.

    Adults who are married have sex. I have been married 23 years. Sex is a wonderful part of the arrangement and God made it for us. You can understand how much Jaimie and Claire love each other through the telling of it.

    The language is how some people really are, maybe not those who are complaining, but appropriate for the story. Again, if you don’t like it, ultimatly the reader is in control to just pick up another book.

    I love that the story is long and ongoing. I am not ready for the story to end. I have only read the books once, but can tell I need to go back and revisit them before the next one comes out. I love the charachters and the depth of them. There are so many of them. It keeps me on my toes. Thank you for writing this story.

    • Dear Pam–

      I think I can do that, but given the number of comments on this posting, it might take me a little while to find yours. I’m just going out to an appointment, but will make a note to look for it and delete it when I come up to work tonight.

      –Diana

  121. The scene where Claire shocks Dougal et al when she curses while trying to bandage Jamie was one of my early favorites. I don’t mind any of the swearing, and certainly don’t mind the sex. A friend of mine told me, “oh I just skip those scenes when I get to them.” Whaaaat? I told her, that’s ok, I’ve read them over (and over!) enough times for both of us!

    Re the purported origin of the F word: there was lawful carnal knowledge also – what would that have been called?

    Re the muff-diving: there is a female marching krewe in one of our Mardi Gras parades named the Muff-a-lottas. They wear waitress dresses and have hats that look like muffalettas.

  122. I started reading the series with Drums of Autumn around 14 or 15 (I read them out of order the first go around), after picking the book up randomly at a store on vacation, and I still think they’re some of the best books I’ve read. Some teenagers may not be ready for them I suppose, but that is definitely not on the author. … Authors do what they do for a reason, and I think it’s silly for someone to request an edited version of anything… For instance, I still don’t get why someone insisted on reordering the chronicles of narnia by chronology instead of publication date..

  123. Diana, I am sure that you heard about the bowdlerisation of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I am not in the habit of saying the offending word, however, I believe what they are doing to this classic piece of literature IS offensive. There is such a thing as carrying political correctness too far. People who read this book should keep in mind the time period in which it was written, and also that Jim the slave is viewed by many as the hero of the book. To censor what was originally written is wrong, and the same thing holds true for any of your books. If people don’t want to read something that is offensive to them, then don’t read it. I wouldn’t change one word of your books, and I am sure that the large majority of your readers would agree with that.

  124. Diana,

    I am shocked there are people out there who’d like you to remove ONE word of your books. One of my very favorite parts was when Bree was embarrassed to have Roger go “down there” because of the smell. He told her the last time he’d “done that” the girl had used something and smelled like a field of flowers, and he didn’t like it.
    That is why your writing is so real. No one else talks about stuff like that, and who hasn’t worried those kinds of things?

    I have a question regarding writing, if you don’t mind? You’ve said you had difficulty figuring out the genre for your first book. I have a YA novel on time-travel that is on submission to several agents right now. Ann Behar has my full- so I’m fingers crossed on that one. But, I’ve found it very difficult to pick a sub-genre under the YA. The time travel aspect is a very short, but very crucial part,(so Fantasy?) yet most of the novel takes place in the past(Historical?). Also, my MC is battling an addiction, so it has a lot of contemporary YA attributes.

    Arghh! It’s so frustrating! I just wondered if you’d mind giving me your thoughts on the subject?

    Thank you so much. I drove 5 hours to see you in Kansas City– and I’d do it again anytime you came near. You were wonderful.
    Janet

    • Dear Janet–

      Best of luck on your YA book(s)! I am _not_ the person to advise anybody on genres, though. {g} Frankly, I’ve never worried about it, because I wrote the first book for practice, not intending either to try to publish it, or even to let anybody see it. But Stuff Happened, and here was all are… Anyway, so far I’ve seen my books sold (with evident success) as Literature, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical NON-fiction (really {g}), Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Military History (really. The MIlitary History Book Club occasionally sells several of my titles–the ones with battles in them {g}, Gay and Lesbian Fiction, and…Horror. (No kidding; ABOSA beat _both_ George RR Martin and Stephen King for a Quill Award.)

      Anyway, figuring out how best to market a book is the publisher’s problem. If you have a good agent–and Ann certainly is!–the agent can help decide what to say about the manuscript, but lack of a genre description never stopped an editor from buying a book he/she loved.

      –Diana

      • Thanks so much for answering! I sure hope you’re right. This whole submitting thing is such a roller-coaster. We are all so fortunate that Stuff Happened. You’ve enriched our lives to such a degree.
        Again, thanks and have a wonderful day!
        Janet

  125. Diana, my Mom introduced me to your books, and I am glad she did! They are fantastic, I could read them again and again, and await your next. People will complain about alot, but I bet they couldn’t put the books down! They have a choice… to read or not to read. To pass them up would be a great loss, the scenes in the book, that contain sex or profanity are part of its making. I have always liked history and your books lit a fire for Scotlands story (where I have ancestors) and the beginnings of America. So much in this world gets changed to “accomodate” people, that should just be left alone. Your books are one of them. Thankyou!!

  126. This is on a different subject…may not want to read this if you haven’t yet read The Fiery Cross…

    I have a question I can’t seem to figure it out. I found a section on it in the Outlandish Companion about it,but, it didn’t answer my question.

    Before Roger and Brianna get married at the Gathering, Roger tells Jamie about the letter from Frank where he asks the Reverend to place the fake headstone. Jamie tells Roger it’s ok to tell Claire and Brianna. In the book, Roger does tell Brianna but, I don’t remember ever seeing anything about anyone telling Claire. Did they tell her about it? I can’t find it and I don’t remember reading it or hearing it on the audio book. Did I just miss it?

    If anyone can answer this, I would really, really appreciate it!

    • This was sort of an “off-stage” conversation between Roger and Claire. It’s mentioned at some time much later in a later book (ABOSA or ECHO?) when Claire and Jamie discuss Frank’s motives but the actual repeat of the letter TO Claire wasn’t seen “on-stage.”

      • Thank you! I have already read all 7 books but I guess I missed that. I’m listening to the series now. I’m on ABOSA and will pay good attention to catch it this time.

  127. To quote my favorite movie: “Spoken like a true smartass-”

    love love the Sharpie reference

  128. I love the Outlander series, they are my all time favourite books!!!! They have kept me awake many times till dawn enjoying the story. I have laughed out loud, cried and just been absolutely taken with your characters.

    Thank you for your awesome storytelling. The unmitigated gall of some people amazes me. To ask an artist to change their work because it offends them is absolutely ridiculous. It would be blasphemous to take a Sharpie to your books. I look forward to the next installment of the Frasers and Mackenzies and attending the Scottish Fesival in Fergus for an autograph. :-)

  129. Golly Diana, just finished Echo In The Bone. Hurry up, will ya, and finish #8. I have enjoyed the character development, good, bad words and all.

  130. My personal motto is “There are only two unacceptable four-letter words: HATE and WARS.” If that sentiment was good enough for Eleanor Roosevelt, it’s good enough for me.

    Your books reflect real life, with all its joys, sorrows, and conflicts. That’s why they’re so relatable and enjoyable. Please don’t change a thing!

  131. Dear Diana,
    I always find your blog very educating (English is my second language). But how(insert profanity of your choice) are you ever going to finish the next book? Go back to your desk and write novel-stuff!
    Now. Please.

  132. Oh Dear Diana,
    How I could write a book in response but I will not. All I will say is I agree with your readers……. there should be MORE sex. :-)

    I think your love scenes are very sweet and beautiful, even when Jamie can’t “be gentle”. When you love someone sometimes the lovemaking can be sweet and soft or it can be fast and rough, but it doesn’t change the fact that love is there. It is simply the emotion behind it that changes the physical contact during the act.

    I love how Jamie is in every way a man, he was a hard laborer, trained horses, was a warrior, etc. but at the same time we see how sweet and gentle his soul is when he loves Claire. I think that is ultimately what draws me to him, he is a man in every sense of the word, which unfortunately for me and few and far between, but at the same time, he is sweet and kind. The current state of the male species leaves something to be desired, I think all my male friends could benefit from reading your books.

    As far as “children” or young adults reading the books, I think it depends on their maturity level. I started reading your books years ago, my goddaughter remembers me talking about them. Ashamed to admit life happened and I lost track of your books until awhile back when I purchased my Kindle. Now I am reading all of them, started with Outlander again and currently am on Dragonfly in Amber. My goddaughter has recently asked me about the books since I am reading them again and I told her they were hard to explain because my fandom of the books comes from what the books make you feel instead of a certain incident in the books. She is going to start reading them on spring break, she is excited to be able to talk to me finally about these books that I have loved for years.

    Well it seems I did write a little bit of a book, but sometimes people need to get over themselves and just enjoy the feeling a book gives you instead of just worrying about what words are printed on the page.

    (And yes I’m a Christian and I LOVE your work!)

  133. Diana,

    Whenever I recommend your wonderful books (with much praise), I also let the reader know that there are sections in the books which may be disturbing to some and, just in case, I also let them know the sex scenes can be rather descriptive. I do this because I know we all have different sensibilities about these things and that’s to be respected. That way they can censor themselves if they choose to (and leave the author alone).

    Often with so many books today, it’s not the graphic sex that makes me think “ugh” but rather the tiresome characters, boring repetitive sex scenes, and plotless drivel that makes me want to throw the book against the wall if it weren’t trapped in my Kindle. Sex scenes can’t be too graphic or too tame for me as long as they’re done well and make sense. Violence is not something I gravitate towards in books, but it’s a very real part of Jamie and Claire’s world and so I read on because you make it work Diana.

    Twenty years and we don’t tire of Jamie and Claire and their loved ones.

    Uhh… Language, Language “Part 1″? Can’t help yerself can ye? Heh-heh.

    DiForBooks

  134. Oh Diana,

    I have to shake my head at the audacity of people to ask the creator to change the creation.

    I have enjoyed your writing ever since I picked up a copy of Outlander over 18 years ago when my daughter was 2 and I have read every book since. She is now 20 and I want her to read them so she can see why her mother gets so excited when a new one is published. I have read and re-read every book at least 3 times as I am sure every true fan has and I have never been offended by any of the writing. I find something new each time including frustration for having to wait for the next book to be published *cough*.

    Please keep Jamie and Claire’s story true, dirty bits and all.

  135. In a world where political correctness is threatening to rewrite Huck Finn to take out the (GASP!) racial indignities, I say that I find your books f***ing refreshing, g**damned fine, and full of interesting s***. So there. Happy !)(@)(#*$ day. :-)

  136. Hi Diana,

    I’d been wondering why the first book in the series had a different title here in Australia to that in the USA. Just read the explanation in The Outlandish Companion, and was surprised to learn we are considered by the British to be Outlanders… Must be a hangover from our colonial beginnings, I guess. I have to say that if the book had been named Sassenach or Outlander I probably would’ve read it years before I did. Goes to show that the old saying re judging a book by its cover is very true!

    Gail

  137. Hello, Diana!
    First. Thank you dearly for the many months I’ve loved, shared, and re-read your many books. It’s always a lovely vacation for me.
    Second. Hm. I’ve almost just finished an amazing book, A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness. Fantastic read! Did you write it? It sure reads as if you did!
    May I recommend this fantastic read (sorry; said that) to all the Gabaldon followers?
    With Light, Love, and Laughter,
    Kitty
    San Diego

    • Dear Katharine–

      Riiiight….I have so much spare time that I thought I’d write another series under an assumed name. {wry g}

      No. It’s a richly detailed, well-imagined book, but Ms. Harkness’s style (and her characters) are quite different to mine (to note but one point, while her characters are engaging and well-done, none of them really has an inherent sense of humor, whereas none of my people can say _anything_ without being intermittently funny, whether on purpose or not. {g}). By all means, though, recommend away! Everybody always needs something new and good to read!

      –Diana

      • Diana!
        Thank you for the answer! Well, no … I didn’t Really Think you wrote another series! Just keep on keepin’ on with the original Outlander, please!
        As a Scot/English/Irish, I know a bit about humor, and I always look for the enjoyment of your character’s humor. You never disappoint me! The people in your books always sound like family … I know that gal/guy! I’ve found, in re-reading your tomes, I always find new kernels of fun, love, surprise, and sex! Yay! Sorry; getting carried away here. Guess that must be because I powered through too fast to get to the end of the book! Thank you again for the lovely and erudite writing!
        May the best of luck continue to follow you … and may it catch up!
        Kitty

  138. LOL

    I cannot help but laugh, reading the one woman didn’t want her fifteen year old daughter being exposed to the lovemaking between Jamie and Claire. Really?! While I understand a mother’s NEED to protect and shield her daughter… Come on… Most fifteen yr olds know WAY more then what is in these books, and instead should be GIVEN the books, in the hopes that they will LEARN that sex and lovemaking mean more then a means to an end…. That it can be an integral part of a relationship, a way of loving, healing and commiserating with another soul that is beyond compare.

    All of life is a learning experience. I learned from these books. My own daughter, now sixteen, is reading them and, I hope, learning from them. When she has a question about a portion of the book…she asks. I speak honestly and openly, to the best of my ability, whether about the intimate portions, or the historical references.

    Of course, her face flames (rather like Bree’s, I like to think) when I speak as openly as I do…but in all honesty..with the advent of the internet (not to mention her school luncheon table), if she wanted to, she could find out alot more then these books tell…. ALOT more

    • Bet this mother you refer to in your comment doesn’t have any issue with Twilight…sex…oh dear…but stalking a young woman…well that’s A-okay!
      I too spoke very openly with my kids and continue to even now that my kids are in their 20′s. And you are right…kids know waaaaaay more than we think!

  139. Hello Diana:

    I loved the excerpt from “The Space Between” and am already creating possible story lines in my mind waiting for it to be published. I was pretty sure that you had previously given us another little taste from “The Space Between” and have gone back looking for it, but can’t find it. Was it wishful thinking or my ‘menopause brain’? If there was one, I’d love to re-read it.

    Thanks,
    Elaine

  140. Ms. Gabaldon,
    Regarding your post on “Language”.
    Please keep writing what you want to write. You do it oh, so well.

    After 20 years as a public and/or school librarian, I have learned to tell people who complain about the content of books this:
    1. You get to choose what is appropriate for you (and your kids) to read.
    2. I get to choose what is appropriate for me (and my kids) to read.
    3. You don’t get to choose what I read and I don’t get to choose what you read.
    4. Don’t ask me to choose what your kid reads at the library circulation desk. Only you are qualified to do that. I am a librarian and a parent, but I’m not your kid’s parent.
    5. If it’s not appropriate for you, put it back on the shelf. Don’t fuss at me.

    And the ALA agrees with me.

  141. Ms. Gabaldon, I love your series. You bring your characters to life like no other author that I’ve read. I’ve been an Elementary librarian for twenty years retiring in June. New chapter of my life opening up as I am a “Baby Boomer.” I have always loved history. I fell in love with Philip from the John Jake series and with Ross Poldark from Masterpiece Theater. And now I love Jamie. Oh, that I could find the one man with all of their qualities! As I have had three marriages this is probably a mute point. Please keep writing from your heart because this is what makes you so different. Because you are honest with your character’s soul, life emerges. Can’t wait to read number eight!

  142. I have been reading Diana’s books for years, literally over and over again. I have them all signed through Fiery Cross too. And now I’m am listening to them (p.s. Why in the world is Audio for FIery Cross abridged? Don’t like that).
    I just wanted to stand up for the offending-letter-writers. Obviously I haven’t read the letters they wrote, but from Mrs. G’s comments it did not sound like anyone was offensive, so why are some of you being such? I’m saying that just because a person doesn’t want to read about someone having sex, doesn’t mean that they don’t enjoy a healthy active sex-life themselves. Obviously these are big fans of her work or they would have walked away and not bothered writing in the first place!
    So calm down, we aren’t on the verge of book burning or banning!

    • Dear J–

      Yes, exactly. I didn’t find any of these letters offensive–just (in some cases) a little odd. {g} Certainly not hateful.

      –Diana

  143. Dear Diana,

    Just wanted to finally tell you what a joy your books are to me. The Outlander Series is of course my favorite. I am a single mother of four strapping boys and when the testosterone gets too much in the house I take my cup of tea, a biscuit if I can find one, shut my door and lose myself in one of your wonderful books. It reminds me that if Claire can get it done so can I. I love your books every word and the waiting for the next installment is always an anticipation filled with excitement. I would love to own these novels in hardcover, have they ever been released as a series. I come from a small city in North Queensland Australia so we don’t always have access to everything we want. My mother always said there is a great difference between a good writer and a great author and you Diana are a great Author. Good Luck with all your projects, you have certainly helped me cope at times when I thought nothing could.
    Thanks and God Bless!

    Lisa and Boys ( who by the way know most of the story because I have to always tell them about it.)

  144. Dont change anything about your writing style, love Jamie, love Claire. and all the things about the books. Thank you so very much for making them so very personable. I am going to the Highlands this summer, always a dream and you have been a big push to do it. Also from Phoenix, wont all that green will be a change for me.
    Thanks again

  145. Diana,

    Your books are great, please do not change a thing. I have read and reread all 7 of them and found things the second time that I missed the first time. I’m retired and read a lot and have all of my life. I have to say that your books are the ONLY ones that I’m remotely interested in keeping in my library. I’ve laughed and cried and read some portions to my husband when he asked why I was doing the laughing and crying!!

    You’ve taught me history that I did not know about the United States early years and history about Scotland and England that I probably would never have known. You’ve inspired me to look up things on the internet that you wrote about in your books. You have also given me the urge to travel to Scotland around Inverness to see some of these places that you’ve written about.

    My younger sister introduced me to these books in January of 2010 and I then introduced them to my daughter, my nieces, and anyone else who would stand still long enough to listen to me talk about them. I am anxiously awaiting number 8 and can say that I hope there’s just as much sex and appropriate swearing in that one as there was in the previous seven!!!!

  146. I, like so many here, find the Outlander series to be amazing. My boyfriend is from New Zealand and currently living in London (I am in the US) He introduced me to the series when I met up with him in New Zealand last year for vacation and to meet his family. I spent many hours stretched out on the beach getting to know the wonderful characters in these books. I would like to counter all those who want you to change things and say that I wouldn’t want you to change a word. There were things that made me uncomfortable, angry, sad, happy, and every other emotion on the rollercoaster that is this series. The point is that these books made me FEEL! There were times that we each laughed out loud, and I did my share of crying too. My boyfriend and I have such an amazing connection and we both see Jamie and Claire’s love as a sort of a mirror to ours. (Jamie is actually the reason we met in the first place, but that is a whole other story). We both found parts in the books that reflect exactly how we feel about each other. Thank you for writing the story of Jamie and Claire. Brianna and Roger’s story too for that matter. It shows that love, life, and marriage is not all romance and sunshine. There are darker times and it can be in those times that true love can find it’s strength. I am so glad you do not listen to those requests. I am anxiously awaiting the next installment and am happy to know it will be in true Diana Gabaldon style. Thank you again.
    Karen~*~

  147. I am so sorry that people are like that. I absolutely love everything about your books!!! I think you are the most brilliant woman ever! Thank you for the wonderful series. Keep up the good work. Don’t let them critics get you down!

  148. These books are a rare sort of novel that has captured my attention to the fullest. Whilst I normally read informational books to keep my brain occupied, I’ve found so much enjoyment and have learned much throughout the Outlander and Lord John series.
    It’s really very sad that adults have to have someone “baby-proof” everything before they can read or do whatever the book or action. As a firm believer in historical accuracy, it’d be very hard to write a book about someone in the 1700′s who comes up to a friend and says, “Wazzup dawg?” or “Wazzup G (gangster)?” Just as a person this day in age that would say at a dinner party, “Wouldst thou sendeth forth a napkin, my dear fellow?” People these days, need to learn that not everything in life is gentle and made to avoid hurting their poor little feelings. Heaven forbid (unless this phrase is mistaken for blasphemy) somebody gets firm, or worse! sharp with another person. People have all gone “sappy” in all regard and must have numbered lists, and everything set out for them so that they may have life easier.
    In other words, if you don’t care for language, or any other “issue” as Mrs. Gabaldon has mentioned, be a big girl, pull up your big girl panties and find something else to read.

  149. I’m very pleased that you responded to people who take offense to things in your books that don’t think are appropriate. As a writer I would guess that you are suppose to try to keep everyone happy so they continue to buy your books but some people will never be happy.

    There is another word that you could have used in your letter though, that word is “tolerance”. I won’t get carried away with the long definition of the word but basically it means tolerant of views, beliefs, practices, etc of others that differ from one’s own.

    If someone has an opinion on a style of writing that is strong enough that they feel they should send a correspondance to the author maybe before they express that opinion they should think about tolerance and just let it go.

    No one is forcing people to read your books (although how they can resist is beyond me) so just read and enjoy but don’t complain.

    Thank you for your wonderful books, sex and all.

  150. Dear Diana:

    I was reading the blog on another one of your sites and low and behold it shows a video of a show called Outlanders (with Leeham Neison no less) Please Please tell me that this is true and that someone out there is actually filming this wonderful story, and when and where can we see it.

    Another site indicated some time in 2011 ! Oh stop my heart. We thought Pillars Of The Earth was great — this will be off the wall.

    A fan from Canada

  151. I am constantly amazed at what people are offended by. People will nit-pick on the littlest things, like sex and “the F word” , when I’m guessing that rape and torture get relatively fewer complaints. Just guessing. Where I’m from we’d call that gagging ona gnat while swallowing a camel. If you don’t like it, and aren’t evolved enough to look past it, then don’t read it for crying out loud!
    And by the way, both of my grandparents have enjoyed all of your Outlander books and aren’t the least bit bothered by the sex – you’d have to know them.

  152. “God’s blood!” she exclaimed. “W.T.F. are people thinking????”

    Well said as always.
    Your Hawaii fan
    Toby

  153. Alot of this post made me laugh as my Mother gave me these books when I was about fifteen years old. I remember taking them to school and reading them whenever I could find a spare minute. Luckily I was very good at finishing class work early and my teachers didn’t seem to mind me pulling out a book while everyone else finished. I had one teacher stop to confirm I had in fact finished my classwork and then he nodded, said “ok” and walked away. It never occured to me that an adult might find my taste in books a little… innapropriate until I saw a copy of The Fiery Cross on the kitchen table of a woman I babysat for. I immediately smiled and told her how much I loved the Outlander books. Her mouth dropped open a little and she asked, “Donna, does your mother know you read those books?” The look on her face when I told her who gave them to me in the first place stil makes me laugh.

  154. Never change!!!!!!

  155. Hi Diana,

    I wrote you a fan letter via email a couple of weeks ago, and trust me, I have become a fan this winter of all your books. I am nearly finished with Echo in the Bone and will be sad to have completed the wild ride of reading all your books in quick succession.

    Rather than respond to your post post, may I comment on your Twitter comment? You refer to Hasidim which is a plural noun, as a something which might be a humorous conversion on someone’s part (without tracking down your twitter recipients for context). I have noticed that in Echo in the Bone, Bree also speaks of a conversion to Judaism which implies a farfetched incursion into another religion as a threat to Roger. Is it so beyond normal bounds to be of the Jewish faith?

    The Outlander series has definite Christian overtones, and I have found them heartwarming and charming. Jewish people are well aware of their minority status and of the necessity for absorbing parts of our national culture. However, some of the mentioning in your books of who is Jewish and what their traits might be has given my pause while reading, to wonder what is implied.

    I hope that you do not think that this a typically overly sensitive reaction on my part. It is true that Jews must have their radar up, but also that we would like to live peaceably among everyone.

    Thanks.
    -Mindy

  156. Please don’t change a thing about your writing! If I could ask or want something from you, is more reading material, the next in the series, and for you to just keep on writing and getting published as fast as you can.

  157. OK. So, different subject!

    I just finished reading A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows, from the Songs of Love and Death collection. May I just say….AWESOME!! What a beautiful little story about Rogers parents. Left me wanting more. But, also so satisfied at the outcome….don’t want to say more because I don’t want to spoil it for those of you who have not yet read the story. But, it made me very happy and gave me some peace for Roger.

    Once again, thanks, Diana for another great piece of the story!!

  158. This is slightly irrelavant to the conversation.
    I have read your books and love them. They are so fantastic that now when I read other books they just don’t compare. Your stories have it all and I needed to let you know that I am awed. I am sure I will suffer withdrawls while I wait for the next book to come out.

  159. I absolutely love these books. I will be reading and re-reading them as long as I can read. I have read them all through 4 times so far. I read them all in hardback, then I got a Kindle from my children. I have them all in it to reread whenever I want. I can’t wait for #8 to be published but I really cannot see how you can tie up all the loose ends in your wonderful writing style in just one more book. I, for one, would love for there to be a #9. Always something to look forward to!

    I will be reiring in about 2 months and I will have even more time to read. Keep up the great work and don’t even bother with any criticism. There are always one or two in every crown who do not grasp the idea of freedom of speech and try to impose their idea of it on other people.

    Thanks again, Diana.

    • If you want to continue enjoying the story, you should listen to them on audio books. They are absolutely wonderful. They bring Jamie and Claire to life! I laughed and cried when I read the books. But, hearing it all makes it so very real. It’s just amazing.

      One recommendation, be sure to get the unabridged versions, narrated by Davina Porter. She’s great. Even though it’s just one woman reading it all, she gives each character a distinct voice. It’s just awesome!!

  160. Diana: I have read all your books. I love historical fiction and think that your books are the greatest. It’s beyond me why some people actually think they can tell you–”suggest” –how to change your books or how to “improve” on your ideas! My suggestion is that those asking for changes should try writing a 5 page story–so that we can critique it!! I bet they won’t get past the first paragraph!!

    Keep up the great work…I can hardly wait for your new book~ BJ

  161. You make me laugh. You tell it sister!!
    If someone does not like your books then give them to someone else. The rest of us will enjoy each and every book. I like and appreciate your frankness while responding to some of the ridiculous requests.
    And I enjoyed how you reverted (not in a bad way) to Academia, and sounded just like some of my instructors.
    May you continue to write the way YOU WANT. The majority will look forward to your next book…K

  162. I LOVE these books. I LOVE the story – all of it – the good, the bad, the ugly, and the love. All of it. I smile, giggle, cry, and listen to the sound of my heart breaking…with joy and pain. These books are my family, too.

    • Me too! Cry, smile, giggle, feel the pain of a broken heart and swell with pride and joy! What a wonderful,wonderful story.1

  163. Diana,
    Just wanted to say, again, how much I enjoyed your seminar on Saturday morning in Tucson. The opportunity to see you just fell in my lap because I’m not from the area. My family and I are traveling the country for a year in an RV (recently retired from the Navy) and Tucson was a fortuitous stop for us. The website above is my account of our adventures from the road and there is a link to a photo in the Arizona Star of you signing my books.

    Thanks for the autographs! Looking forward to Scottish Prisoner; I’m confident of its tremendous success.

  164. Diana-

    I would like to express how relieved I am after reading all the responses to your blog to find such a loyal fan base. It lends credence to the obsessive behavior I recently developed upon being introduced to Claire and Jamie – namely reading and rereading Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber until I can get my hands on Voyager. Devour is the verb that comes to mind! (I actually thought something might be wrong with me – “cuckoo”!)

    I am also relieved to find out the saga continues… The characters are delicious and I’m sure you enjoy creating the stories as much as we love reliving them. Thanks to my friend Jessi for sharing her infatuation and thank goodness for you Diana for making it possible.

    Your newest fan!

  165. Wow!
    A sharpie! Really?
    I agree completely with the those who have said, If you don’t like it! Don’t read it!

    What a waste of someone’s valuable time to destroy these works of art.

    Diana,
    Every time I read your words, whether in print or on a blog like this one, I LOL.
    My husband ( who does not enjoy reading, very sad) always rolls his eyes.
    I have read a couple of scenes for him.
    (Nosepicking, and the scene in the woods when Jamie comes for Claire as she is being held captive)
    (The scene in the woods makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I can actually hear the drums! How did you do that?) :)

    My husband was impressed by these writings and I can’t wait to share these with my sons. Jamie is a man. A real man. Passionate, loving, hard as steel when he knows he has to be and able to be both at once.

    My eldest boy is 11 and will get to read Outlander. He is currently trying to sneak away with “The Exile” as he is in love with graphic novels. But I’ve asked him to wait a bit and read the original first.
    Then he will understand the context of this version of the story.

    Thank you so much for the best reading experience I have ever had. Can’t wait to find out what happens to Jemmy, poor thing. :(

    Be well,
    Best Regards
    Cara

  166. Sigh !… Yes ! Sex and swearing are two things that are done in everyday Life. And, an author has the artistic freedom to include them in his or her work, or not. If the tone of a book offends a person then that person has the choice to read it, or not. An author doesn’t have the responsibility to produce a sanitized edition of his or her book ! …THE END. ( But, as usual, Diana, you answered the question with wit, tact and,— brilliance. BRAVO ! )

  167. Diana….I have read all the Books 3 times and each time is like a ” first ” time …..I am 77 and believe me I have plenty of time left to read them again and again ….my Husband and our Daughter and both Grandaughters have read all of your books ….and Waiting for the next ….don’t rush …but hurry up !. I am so proud to have your Books in my library.

  168. Hello “Dirty Diana”

    I couldn’t resist. anyway, I have another way of looking at the inspired sexuality that Claire and Jamie show us in your books. Many years ago my husband and I enjoyed a good sex life, however, due to illness and and disability of my husband it has been many years since we have been able to enjoy a traditional, oh hell, any kind of sex life. I can’t tell you how much it has meant to me to have these books to live vicariously through. I know it sounds pathetic but its what I have and I am so very grateful to have them. J and C have shown me a marriage that I think everyone dreams of – to have a man that would put his body on the line for you and then recite poetry to you later oh, man. So, I guess what I wanted to say here is that I hope some of those people who are so ignorant that they can’t see the good that comes from your books including the sex scenes, will take another look from my vantage point. I can’t wait to see what J and C will do next.

    Also, I just wanted to comment on the audiobooks of the Outlander series. Wow. Davina Porter (the narrator) really gets your books and enriches the experience of reading the books over and over again (I think I’m on the 5th read now) even though I lie to my family when they ask me how many times I’ve read them they already think I’m weird for having read them three times. So, I would encourage anyone to invest in the audiobooks if you want to expand your Claire and Jamie experience.

    Thank you Diana for your wit, insight into the human condition, exciting telling of history and most of all for the love you’ve shown us through this beautiful relationship between Claire and Jamie.

    • Dearest Diana and those who love these wonders,

      First I must say that I come to Diana Gabaldon late in life. Always a murder mystery type, I purchased the audio series of Outlander on a whim. I am sooooooo glad I found her! I agree will those that listen to the adventures of Jamie and Claire on audio books. Davina Porter is amazing in bringing all to life. I have a 10 year old granddaughter who lives an hour from me. My son has been raising her alone all her life, I am her surrogate mother (and sole source of estrogen influence). Each weekend I make the two hour round trip to pick her up and bring her to my home. We listen to audio books during the trip and she LOVES the Outlander series. She is a very mature little girl and I must give her a synopsis of what happened during my driving time without her. While she is with me I lower the volume during the more ‘descriptive’ scenes, both sexual and violent. I then discuss them with her face to face. Audio books, and this series particularly, have been a bonding experience between us. It has allowed us to venture into talks about slavery, love, war and history without my sounding “preachy”.

      Our previous audio books have been mostly Stephen King or Dean Koontz. Diana’s books have life lessons, history, joy and pain. They have made a strong bond between myself and my granddaughter even stronger and given us a wonderful starting point for her journey into young womanhood.

      Thank you Diana!

  169. Since the F-bomb resulted from an abbreviation used by Catholic priests when people confessed their sins..i.e., “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge”, it is hard for me to be offended by it. We have turned it into a “bad word”. The first time our children came home and used the word we explained where it came from and it lost a lot of its seedy glamor.

    I am reading your Outlander series for the 3rd time and must confess that it is just as good this time as it was the first time….well maybe not, but am still finding it hard to put down. Looking forward to the 8th book.

    • Dear Susan–

      Actually, that’s a very popular myth (regarding the origin of the F-word), but I appreciate the support! {g}

      –Diana

  170. The Outlander series is my favorite series of books–and I read a LOT of books. That anyone would want you to change them in any way is obscenity–and I know it when I see it. Let them write their own d***** books ;)

  171. I first read Outlander when I was 14-years-old. I would bring it to my (catholic) school, read it during lunchtime, recess, and any time the teacher wasn’t looking.
    To this day, I will never forget the look a teacher’s assistant gave me when she saw me reading it. “You should NOT be reading THAT book. You’re way too young!” The rather stern lecture went on for a few minutes about decency, my inability to understand what I was reading, and muddying the minds of children. It left me red-faced and fuming.
    I rushed home that day to explain what happened over supper to my parents. Both of whom shrugged and simply said, “Why should it matter? As long as you are reading, we’re happy.”
    I will now forever be grateful my parents were so encouraging because without it, I would never have fallen in love with the series!

  172. While there may be security in the trees you might move back and see the forest. Consider the gold mine of additional consumers. Dropping some of the more offensive context in you books may not sacrifice any of you current followers. Nevertheless, the derivative consequences of broader readership could be exploited to heighten your visibility. :)

    • Dear Dave–

      Ahhh…well, thank you for the advice, Dave. I’m tempted to inquire just what you consider “offensive context,” just out of curiosity. [g] However, the bottom line here is that I don’t actually write books with any notion either of pleasing a specific set of readers or of attracting more of them. I write the books I feel called upon to write, and the stories take the shape they seem to require. Life _does_ include offensive context, I’m afraid, and I don’t think that sanitizing a story in order to attract people who don’t want to feel uncomfortable is a moral thing to do. As a writer, I’m honest, or I’m nothing.

      Best wishes,

      –Diana

  173. Diana,

    I was recently reading your blog about being included as an actor for one of the OUTLANDER episodes. I was wondering as the writer if you’re regularly on set and what role you take on while you’re there?

    Have a beautiful day,
    Karen

    • Dear Karen–

      No, I’m the writer of the books, but not the scriptwriter–there are four of them (five, if you count Ron D. Moore, and I do [g]), and they take turns being on set when each writer’s script is being filmed. I’ve been on set twice, and may come back occasionally to visit. When I’m there, I get to see what’s being filmed and sit in on things like script readings and production meetings (fascinating), but what I’m largely there to do is promotional work for Starz or Sony–doing interviews and videos on set, sometimes with Ron or with cast members.

      –Diana

  174. Thanks for the education DG. I am rekilting An Echo in the Bone and Googled “fig-licker” which promptly brought up this page. I rarely need a dictionary when I read book. On the rare occasion that I do need one my Kindle usually provides an excellent source. Of course EXCEPT when it’s a Gabaldon novel. I really wish I had both a Gaelic to English dictionary and an Old English dictionary available when I read Outlander novels. The sex scenes and the expletives are not an issue. The Gaelic and Old English translations are though. I believe a fig-licker is indeed what I first guessed it must be.

  175. I was riding my unicorn earlier today and he and I were discussing time travel and decided that we’d go looking for some f-ing big rocks and travel back in time to a period in time when women allegedly didn’t enjoy sex but had a lot of it. We are also going to rescue on the babies from the fairies.

  176. Dear bookish–

    I don’t call this series a romance because it isn’t. I like well-written romance novels, read them frequently, and in fact, there is a list of novels I personally recommend (“The Methadone List”) available on this website, that includes a number of my favorite romance authors, as well as those who write in other genres. But _because_ I’m very familiar with what a romance novel _is_, I can tell you with considerable authority [g] that that isn’t what I write. If romance is what you like, there are many excellent authors who do that. You’re quite welcome to enjoy or dislike any elements of my books according to your own fancy–but it seems a trifle querulous (not to say contrary) to insist that I’m writing something that I’m not–_and_ that I’m not writing it in the way you prefer. [g] I hope you find something else that you’ll enjoy among the Methadone selections, though.

    Best,

    –Diana