• “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.”
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor



This year’s Historical Novel Society conference takes place Jun 21 – Jun 23 this year, at the
Vinoy Renaissance Resort, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA. And once again, I’ve somehow been persuaded/drafted into the job of ring-master…er, Mistress of Ceremonies for the Late-Night Sex-Scenes Reading, a regular feature of these proceedings.

I inadvertently started this a few years ago, when I attended the HNS and was put on a panel discussing sex-scenes in historical fiction (actually, sex hasn’t altered much in the last few thousand years, so this is pretty generally applicable stuff). There were six people on the panel, and we were mutually introduced electronically and left to figure out how we wanted to handle things.

Having done a number of workshops at writers conferences on How to Write Sex-Scenes, I mentioned that I thought it was virtually impossible to discuss the craft of such scenes without using examples to illustrate what you were talking about. General consensus on that point. OK…six people on panel. If each of us read _one_ scene—and a brief scene at that–it would use up all the time, and there’d be no time either for us to make illustrative remarks, or for the audience to ask questions. Quandary.

So—God help me—I suggested that we ask the organizers if we might have use of the hotel’s ballroom for an hour or so following the main banquet (the panel being next day). We might, I said, announce at the banquet that the panel members would be reading examples of their work, in order to reference these scenes in the next day’s panel; anyone who was interested could remain to hear them, and anyone who wasn’t could go to bed or the bar, depending on individual preference. Universal approval.

So we did. And the results were sufficiently entertaining that the Late-Night Sex-Scene Readings have been a regular feature for the last three or four years. Last year, Gillian Bagwell emcee’d the proceedings, doing a lovely job—and providing a popular YouTube video of herself, me, and Bernard Cornwell enacting one of Gillian’s scenes from her novel, THE DARLING STRUMPET.

Now the time approacheth for all good men and women who don’t mind reading their sex scenes out loud in public—and who will be members of this year’s Conference—to step up to the plate. [g] The Late-Night readings are not, alas, open to the public (though if any good YouTube videos result, I’ll be sure to let you know).

The requirements are:

1) The reading needs to be your own original work (unless you’re team-reading someone else’s scene with them).

2) It does _not_ have to be published work; reading from a work-in-progress is acceptable.

3) It should be no more than 5-7 minutes in length.

4) You agree that people who take photos or video of you reading may post these online. (Mind, it isn’t common for people to _do_ this, but it does happen.)

Now, ideally, the scene is short enough to be dramatically complete in 5-7 minutes, but that’s not a requirement, just a suggestion.

Since we want to keep the program somewhere between 45-60 minutes, that means we can manage six or seven readers (to allow time for getting on and off stage, introductions, and hysterics on the part of the audience).

So if you’re interested in doing this, drop me an email at dgabaldon@aol.com, and let me know just a bit about your scene—what period you’re writing in, for instance, and whether it’s a serious or comic scene (or some combination thereof). If we have a _lot_ of volunteers, I may need to ask for more information in order to make a decision, but in recent years, about the right number of people have shown up. I look forward to hearing from you! [g]

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35 Responses »

  1. Bernard Cornwell….who knew? lol

  2. While I’m not feeling quite THAT exhibitionistic, I AM wondering if you will be doing any readings/signings while in St. Pete? I’m a local and quietly geeking out over the fact that you’ll be in the vicinity. I noticed that the conference has a booksigning scheduled, but is that only open to conference attendees?

    • Dear Jenn–

      The organizers asked me if I’d be willing to do a signing for the public, and I said yes, but haven’t yet heard details. Will post them as soon as I do!


  3. Hi Diana!
    Made a request through Mary Burns to read, but am much happier going to the source! Royal Mistress (pub. date May 7th) is, as its title reflects, ideal for a sex scene!
    Thanks for considering me.

    • Dear Anne–

      Thanks! I’ll put you on the list and get back with you a little later, when I’ve seen how many volunteers we have.


      • Ok, so i realize this a SUPER old post, but was just reading on the blog (which I stopped doing since I started on FB) and saw that my two FAVORITE authors have a mutual post. I felt this needed acknowledgement. AHHHH!!!! Amazing Amazing AMAZING!!! (favorite novels are Voyager and A Rose for the Crown.) happy sigh.

  4. I’d like to do a short reading from THE AFFLICTED GIRLS this time, Diana. Thanks!

  5. I could do a short reading from “The Autobiography of Henry VIII” about Henry going back and forth between the beds of his pious wife Catherine of Aragon and his mistress Bessie Blount. I’m not home now to check the exact pages but can do that when I return.

  6. Any chance you will be appearing to the general public while in St. Petersburg? I know a lot of people would love to see you! (Myself included)

  7. Diana:

    Just keep on writing as fast as you can! I am 76 years old and am afraid I will miss some of your books!

    Thanks for all the hours of reading, just finished my 4th time thru them all, so I wil be ready for this fall.

  8. Hello Diana,
    I’ve just read an interview in which you speak about Yaoi and gay pornographie for women. Since I discovered the outlander and Lord John Serie, I realise that I can be aroused by gay sexes scenes, sometime even more than hetero sexe scene.
    First I thougt that I was not normal, then, reading your blog and reviews from your fan, I understant that I’m not the only woman like that but I still ask myself why ?
    Why is it so hot to see or imagine two males together ? How do you explain that ?

    PS : I have already said on this blog that the french traduction of outlander is a mess, al lot of sexe scenes were cut and the translator even put one who is not writting by you, totaly awfull. I think it’s the reason why there are less fan in France than in Germany…

  9. Any chance of another excerpt from MOBY for Jamie’s Birthday?

  10. Diana – I just wante to say Happy Samhain! May 1st takes on a whole new meaning to me since I have read all your books! This also marks 7 months until December 1st which I am hoping brings us close to book 8! I am going to re-read all 7 of the big books and limit myself to one a month which should get me close to jumping right into book 8! I can’t wait!

    • Dear Stephanie–

      Much obliged! (Though in fact, today is Beltane. Samhain is the feast of All Hallows, Nov. 1. )


      • Oh no! I got them mixed up! But I can only be embarrassed for a second because the reality is I am completely thrilled that you even responded. Love, Love, Love all your books!

  11. Dear Diana

    I am another who dearly loves your books and eagerly awaits the publication of the next one. That having been said, I have a complaint; as tenderly as I try to treat your wonderful, juicy, fat novels they end up in tatters because the glue binding splits.
    In replacing them, usually on ebay, I discovered that several copies from book clubs featured signature bindings that have held up wonderfully, though at the cost of an abridged text. It killed me that the beautiful reissue of Outlander also had a glue (perfect) binding.
    I suppose that it is a matter of cost, and wondered just how much difference in price a signature binding would incur. I cannot think that your many fans would balk at a few dollars more in exchange for durability.

    Thanks again for your books and apologies if I seem ungrateful,

    Eileen McNeely

    • Dear Eileen–

      Book club editions are not _supposed_ to be abridged. If you think any of my books _are_, I’d appreciate your telling me which ones, and what sort of abridgements were made.

      As for the physical characteristics of the books, I’m afraid that’s entirely up to the publishers–and given the shape traditional print publishing is in, I doubt very much that they’d consider an expensive upgrade, alas.

      Really glad you’re enjoying the books in spite of the difficulties with the binding, though–thank you!


  12. I LOVED watching the YouTube video!!! I might have to try and see this in person, though I hope you also do the YouTube video again.

  13. I’ve left it a bit late.. but .. wouldn’t it be nice to have an excerpt from MOBY in honor of Jamie’s May 1 birthday?

  14. Dear Diana

    This is my first posting, though I have been a fan for many years! I like everyone else am eargerly awaiting book 8, bu I realize a masterpiece takes time.

    I confess to reading the first book 5 or 6 times, and not only that, I have purchased the big book, which ended up in tatters and the paperback (2 of them) which ended up likewise. I have all your books, but then, I realized they were all on audio, so my husband bought me an ipod-nano- touch , and that was all she wrote. I have all seven books and listen to them over and over- it’s sicking, yet i ask you not to judge.

    listening to them afords me the opertunity to catch little things that make a difference as the stories unfold. And listening to the front to back and then back to front- well it’s so much fun to realize something in your sly devious mind !!!

    I love it ,love it , love it!!!!!

  15. Hi Diana:

    Began reading again after retiring and find your series to be compelling and close to the fact of the way it was back then. Am now reading “An Echo In The Bone” which is your last one however the bookstore says you have another coming in December!!! Yea………………keep on writing and don’t listen to your sons silly embarrassing pleas. Do you plan to ever do a signing in your home State Arizona??

    Mark Fooks

  16. Hi,
    I just love your books. I know that is redundant but have to say it anyway. I have reread the series several times over including the John Grey novels as well. Thank you for one of the most entertaining stories, and a gift of time well spent. I was tempted to write you several years ago asking how long before you would finish will all the stories. I was diagnosed with a type of terminal lung cancer (from radiation treatment at 20, I have never smoked) and my expiration date was 12 – 15 months. I resisted because I am sure you get many letters, variations on a theme asking you to HURRY. Well, I know that is not how it works so have been hoping that things would work out. Well, here we are and I am three years past my expiration date and have high hopes of making it through to reading IMOHB. Is this the last in the series? or will there be one or more books to wrap things up. I am pretty sure I will see the new year but don’t know if I have much more than that left in me.

    Heres hoping I get to read how it all works out. Thank you for the joy you have brought me so far.


  17. Dear Mrs Gabaldon

    I’ve read so many of these comments and realize how many of your fans are just like me! Re-reading your books till they are in tatters…introducing them to others ( I ‘pimp’ you out to my patients, and anyone I see with a book in hand! ) and waiting for your next work. Thrilled, ecstatic, over the moon doesn’t describe how I felt when I found out you will be in St Petersburg Fl for the HNSC AND a book signing at Haslam’s Bookstore! I and my sister (another huge fan ) will be there with Bells on!! ( literally!) Thank You SOOO MUCH for writing these wonderful novels…they have gotten me thru a bad marriage, the death of both my parents, pregnancy, divorce, and major depression. ( mmm looking back at that last sentence I wonder why??? the depression!!! *grin* ) Thank you, Thank you, Thank You and I CANNOT WAIT to meet you in person!!!! *bounces in chair*

    PS….The Vinoy is haunted btw! SERIOUSLY! *grin*

  18. I live in St Pete Beach, FL about 7 miles from the Vinoy and would love to attend a reading or signing, will you be having one.

    • Dear Sandra–

      Yes, I’ll be doing a public signing at Haslam’s Books from 2 to almost-4 (I have a signing for the conference that starts at 4) on Saturday, June 22. See you there!


  19. Hello Diana!

    Unfortunately, I canna attend the Historical Novel Society Conference, but I may have seen a possible public appearance at a bookstore in the area that Saturday, at 2pm. Verra much hoping that is possible and you share details when it’s confirmed!

    With fingers and toes crossed,

  20. Diana, you are killing me. I have been waiting for the release and it looks like it will hit the shelves just 4 days before my holiday cruise. Guess what I will be reading!

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