• “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


Fireworks (public domain)

“In the light of eternity, time casts no shadow.”

[Excerpt from WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD, to be published June 10th.]

It was perhaps four o’clock ack emma. Or before sparrow-fart, as the British armed forces of my own time used to put it. That sense of temporal dislocation was back again, memories of another war coming like a sudden fog between me and my work, then disappearing in an instant, leaving the present sharp and vivid as Kodachrome. The army was moving.

No fog obscured Jamie. He was big and solid, his outlines clearly visible against the shredding night. I was awake and alert, dressed and ready, but the chill of sleep still lay upon me, making my fingers clumsy. I could feel his warmth, and drew close to him, as I might to a campfire. He was leading Clarence, who was even warmer, though much less alert, ears sagging in sleepy annoyance.

“You’ll have Clarence,” Jamie told me, putting the mule’s rein in my hand. “And these, to make sure ye keep him, if ye should find yourself on your own.” “These” were a heavy pair of horse pistols, holstered and strung on a thick leather belt that also held a shot-bag and powder-horn.

“Thank you,” I said, swallowing as I wrapped the reins around a sapling in order to belt the pistols on. The guns were amazingly heavy—but I wouldn’t deny that the weight of them on my hips was amazingly comforting, too.

“All right,” I said, glancing toward the tent. “What about—“

“I’ve seen to that,” he said, cutting me off. “Gather the rest of your things, Sassenach; I’ve nay more than a quarter-hour, at most, and I need ye with me when we go.”

I watched him stride off into the melee, tall and resolute, and wondered—as I had so often before—_Will it be today? Will this be the last sight I remember of him_? I stood very still, watching as hard as I could.

When I’d lost him the first time, before Culloden, I’d remembered. Every moment of our last night together. Tiny things would come back to me through the years: the taste of salt on his temple and the curve of his skull as I cupped his head, the soft fine hair at the base of his neck thick and damp in my fingers…the sudden, magical well of his blood in dawning light when I’d cut his hand and marked him forever as my own. Those things had kept him by me.

And when I’d lost him this time to the sea, I’d remembered the sense of him beside me, warm and solid in my bed, and the rhythm of his breathing. The light across the bones of his face in moonlight and the flush of his skin in the rising sun. I could hear him breathe, when I lay in bed alone in my room at Chestnut Street—slow, regular, never stopping—even though I knew it _had_ stopped. The sound would comfort me, then drive me mad with the knowledge of loss, so I pulled the pillow hard over my head in a futile attempt to shut it out—only to emerge into the night of the room, thick with woodsmoke and candlewax and vanished light, and be comforted to hear it once more.

If this time…but he had turned, quite suddenly, as though I’d called his name. He came swiftly up to me, grasped me by the arms and said in a low, strong voice, “It willna be today, either.”

Then he put his arms around me and drew me up on tiptoe into a deep, soft kiss. I heard brief cheers from a few of the men nearby, but it didn’t matter. Even if it should be today, I would remember.

[end section]

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40 Responses »

  1. Happy Hogmanay to you too!
    I love how you deal with loss, love and the here and now all together. This is what makes your books so special to all of us.
    I am looking forward to seeing Starz bring it all to life, and hope that all the new fans don’t drive you crazy. The ‘Books’, for me, are already alive, so Outlander, the show will just be icing on a very rich cake.
    May 2014 be an amazing success for you (as always), and wishing you health and happiness beyond measure.

  2. Happy Hogmanay!

    Every little excerpt is amazing. I can see the actions almost as though I were there.
    I’ve seen the photos of the actors chosen for the “Outlander’ series and am sorry to say I don’t see them as the characters in the book.

    I hope 2014 is a great year for you and yours. May good health be yours and happiness be upon you.

  3. Oh! You nearly have my in tears, your words are so evocative! Thank you for this, and Happy Hogmanay!

  4. Diana, I want to thank you for bring these characters so vividly to life that they breath. We care so much about them because they are alive as we read; they have hopes and dreams, faults and strengths, make mistakes and feel so passionately. In short, you are the finest writer I have ever read. I look forward to the next book and to the series.

  5. Diana your words have made Claire and Jamie and the rest of the clan live in our minds. They are as real as the people we meet each day. I’m looking forward to the Starz series with trepidation, knowing that the characters cannot completely fit the mental picture I have of each of them. I am starting Drums on my reread in preparation for MOBY. Can’t wait to get my hands on it. Happy Hogmanay!

  6. I hope you had a wonderful Hogmanay, and that a dark lad was your first visitor. Happy 2014! What a year it will be for you. Thank you for all you have given us fans over the years through your writing.

    The excerpt was just lovely, I have a lump in my throat, and it is not from the bad cold I have right now.

  7. Happy Hogmanay to you Diana! I think we all strive for that last sigh to four loved ones as they walk/drive/ride away. I’ve been guiilty of watching my husband as he walks back to work from lunch, remembering the swing of his arms, the resoluteness of his stride. Those images are imprinted on my mind and soul.
    Hope 2014 is a wonderful year for you.

  8. Re above comment…..I meant “that last sight of our loved ones”

  9. Diana: I hope you have a happy Hogmanay as well!

  10. Thank you for all your hard work over the years to bring Clare and Jamie to us in such vivid ways.

  11. That excerpt was beautifully written and so real. ‘Evocative’ above is a perfect description. And that is your talent, your style that we love. The Scottish Prisoner-Bonnie Lad excerpt before is another memorable one.
    May your New Year be happy and bright and just as productive and surely as satisfying as in the last years.
    You are loved as an author as you must know. I am so happy I found Outlander and all your work and look forward to number eight. I feel certain you are still a scientist. I am just grateful you let all those marvelous people inside you come out for us to meet. With love and respect, DBD

  12. Lovely thoughts. Thank you.

    • Diana,
      Happy Hogmanay and may 2014 be the best of all possible years for you (not that all your future years won’t be even better) . Your books are so exciting, full of love and adventure and many difficulties to be overcome. It is one of my best times of my day, to open your book and go traveling. You write with intelligence and wisdom. I took Outlander to Scotland with me this August and we traveled the field through Culloden. Your story came alive on that field. It was so sad.

  13. Diana,
    Happy Hogmanay and may 2014 be the best of all possible years for you (not that all your future years won’t be even better) . Your books are so exciting, full of love and adventure and many difficulties to be overcome. It is one of my best times of my day, to open your book and go traveling. You write with intelligence and wisdom. I took Outlander to Scotland with me this August and we traveled the field through Culloden. Your story came alive on that field. It was so sad.

  14. I wanted to share with you, that I borrowed your ” Lord let me see what I need to see, let me do what has to be done” I had a final exam the end of December …my “book bag” for this one class was a carry on suit case…I had the prayer and my rosary on the table as I took the final exam…I don’t know if I passed yet…but I sure felt better

  15. Thank you for giving us so much of yourself, again and again. Words can’t really express our deep appreciation for the joy you give us and the many hours of another life we have a chance to glimpse. Heartfelt thanks.

  16. Happy New Year from Bonnie Dundee and Lang May Your Lum Reek ! Looking forward to book 8 !

  17. A belated Happy Hogmanay to you. Your writing is beautiful, transporting us and holding promise of love really transending time, and at times just hilarious (your depiction of the women sitting on the bed “like a row of hens” in the cabin had me crying with laughter).
    The longer the series goes the more I appreciate how the characters grow, mature and look backward and forward on their lives…and how they see others and themselves. Their revelations, regrets and belated understanding is part of all our lives as we grow older.
    Thank you for your humor, imagination and the ability to pick us all up and take us into this wonderful place.

  18. May God’s blessings continue to shine on you and yours, Diana.

  19. Is it possible to buy an online version of “The space between” without the rest of the anthology?

    • Dear Christine–

      It will be, in February, and if you live in the US (and, I think, Canada, though not sure of pub date there). It was published as part of the MAD SCIENTIST’S GUIDE TO WORLD DOMINATION in the States and Canada last February, and I get the reprint rights back a year after first publication–so this is the first chance I’ll have to get it out as a standalone ebook. Hope you’ll enjoy it! (I’ll post the actual pub date and cover art as soon as I have them.)


  20. Oh boy did this ever stir up memories for me ….when my Husband squadron was deployed or on a exercise and I drove him to the flight line on returning home …I left his coffee cup as is and I would put my lips to where his had been …I kept a stinky flight suit out of his flight bag and would put it over my bedroom chair just to smell him …. funny the things we do to keep them with us .

  21. Happy Hogmany to you too Diana! What joy you bring to us with your writing. You truly have a gift and we are blessed that you share it with us all. On a happy note, I had mentioned to you earlier in another post that I had Jamie and Claire to take my mind off things when my mum had gone in for breast cancer surgery. You had written that you would pray for us and I was really touched. Well it’s a few months later and my mum is now cancer free! So thank you again!
    Oh and Elaine, I’m an ex-pat from Dundee now living in Canada. Lang may your lum reek ana! It’s going to be an excellent year for us as all I think!

  22. Happy birthday Diana! All the happiness and love to you! Have a great day!

  23. Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag :-) (= Happy Birthday!)

    And all the Best 2U!

  24. Thank you for your wonderful saga. I can never wait for the next one. When I finish one I spend weeks wondering what each of the characters are doing. I have just discovered the bulge stories and have thoroughly enjoyed them I am now going to reread the series before reading the new release.

  25. Diana,

    I just adore your books. I am reading the entire collection all over again to get ready for your last book in June (maybe later for me because I am in french Canada….Quebec).

    Can`t wait to see the movie…but I agree with one of your readers….for the role of Jamie I would see someone like Kevin McKidd…don`t you :)

    Thank you.
    What a tremendous talent you have.

    Diana V.

    • Dear Diana (nice name! [g])==

      Well, no, I don’t. Mr. McKidd’s doubtless a fine actor, but he’s nearly 50! Jamie’s 22 in the first book. And fortunately we have an absolutely wonderful Jamie in Sam Heughan; I’ve seen quite a bit of his acting and some bits from the OUTLANDER production and can assure you you’ll enjoy it. [g]


  26. One of the things I enjoy most about the Outlander series is the camaraderie when I find myself with others who also love these books. When someone asks “Have you ever read the Outlander series?”, it feels like I’ve been given a Masonic secret handshake! I attended your talk at the Fergus Highland Games last year, and it was as if all of us were connected. Since that time, my elder daughter has become consumed by the books, giving us yet another point of connection. I just showed her the trailer – it looks wonderful! Thank you!

  27. Dear Diana,

    Happy Belated Birthday!

    I was able to watch some of The Gathering in Los Angeles and was lucky to be watching when Sam and Cait came out. They are terrific as Jamie and Claire. They seem dedicated to the life changing roles they have undertaken. The four of you make a great team for the series. You as the creator are obviously most knowledgeable but it is pretty amazing how both seem to grasp the substance of Jamie and Claire. Ron, too. Should be spectacular production.

  28. I’ve just finished my first time with you, Diana, listening over the past weeks – in my car and while housekeeping – to Breath of Snow and Ashes and Echo in the Bone , and getting into trouble with my local library over keeping the audiobook sets far too long…and now, finally having found your website, realizing that I must borrow the entire Outlander series of books over the next few months to be ready for your next book.

    Having assiduously avoided time travel fiction in the past because fantasy has never appealed as much as real probability, I’m now hooked…and I realize why.

    It’s that mystery of Time – ephemeral and bewildering and seductive. I find myself rejecting the notion that what’s past is over. I can still conjure up the sound of my late husband’s voice after 21 years, treasure the image of a fortyish son as a cornsilk hair and blue-eyed babe in arms, and listen to my mom, who may have been a very old lady having lived between ’06 and ’08. but whose strength and the lilt of personality have not even diminished.

    Do you recall the CS Lewis tales when the Pevensee children vaulted through the picture frame into an alternate universe, plunged into several years of adventures, and then returned to reality through the frame, finding that the “real” world had moved forward only one second in time since they’d left? For me, truth lay in the contrast between what we call Time and what we call Eternity – an unending Now.

    In the meanwhile, thank you for Claire, Jamie, Bree, Roger, Ian, even Rollo. What a trip!

  29. I just finished watching the trailer for the TV show and I realized I’d better ask you about descriptive services. I have purchased your books for a blind couple I know, and they are thoroughly enjoying them. Many movies have SAP mode tracks embedded in them, which describe the scene to a blind person. It is supposed to be available for TV too, and I wanted to make sure you knew that there are probably a bunch of blind readers who would enjoy description. It is not your responsibility, and it may not even be possible for television, but I thought I would tell you about it because, without a doubt, you will have access to the ears that count in this regard.

    My friend told me her husband stayed up all night reading. He’s just getting to ‘Voyager.’ Thank you for the beautiful way in which you bring human feelings to a page and make me realize that I’m not so different from others after all.

  30. I love your books and I can wait for the next one and the new show.

  31. Wrote so fast I wrote it wrong. Wow just can not wait.

  32. The gift you have to move so many by your words is a blessing. I am fortunate that my life has crossed your path. I read and re read Outlander over and over. The book has fallen apart (literally) it is in 3 pieces! I always find something new and fall in love all over again. Thank you for a marvelous escape for over 15 years for me.

  33. Diana, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. A good friend at work introduced me to outlander and we (the book series and I) have been inseperable…the books travel with me no matter where I go…I have no idea how many times I have read all 7 of them..but they are tattered and much loved. May God continue to bless you and you in turn continue to bless us ;) p.s. I knew you were good people when I heard u had weinie dogs.. happiness to you.. marycathryn