• “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

The Dog Days of Summer


prickly-pear-2

pink-gecko-zoomIt is—plainly—the Dog Days of summer. When I got home from Calgary last night (at midnight), the first thing my husband said to me was, "Welcome to Hell!" It was 117 degrees (F.) last Friday (which was OK, because I was in Calgary, where the inhabitants kept apologizing for the <ahem> "heat" (it was about 85)), and 112 or so today.

Still, many things thrive in this climate—including prickly pear cactus (above) and geckos (right). This little pink guy (he’s about three inches long) is one of the family of office geckos who live in my cabinets, where they helpfully eat the little caterpillars who pupate between the pages of books and infest my chocolate supplies.

Dachshunds aren’t that wild about heat (neither would you be, if you were black and furry), but they still want to go out every day and hunt lizards and toads. I fill the tree basins while they do that, and while they aren’t wild about baths, cooling their tummies in a muddy puddle is a whole different thing.

hot-dog

Note: This blog entry was also posted on my FaceBook page on August 18, 2015 at 3:48 a.m.

22 Responses »

  1. My whippets would love your climate! Up here in Wisconsin we have a few weeks of warm weather, maybe some 90┬░ days, and the two love to lay directly in the sun! Talk about “hot dogs”. I guess they are stocking up for winter!

  2. Dear Diana ,
    I have not read fiction in 30 years sticking with study material or a rare magazine- having found the TV show last October ( company on ironing day- yes people still do that) and then stranded in an airport for several hours and going on a statement my English major daughter always makes that “the books are always better” I purchased book one . At that moment I became so engrossed with this series that all other things in my life stopped except those I could not avoid such as eating and breathing and an occasional bath. In fact I was so upset at the end of book one I immediately left home for the nearest B and N( not so near by the way) for book 2. Life really went to pot when I learned how to buy my next book on line and from that point I was never with the next one. I have read all the books multiple times ( the show as well) sometimes just finishing the last one and going back to page one. We are word people in this household doing some writing myself on very personal levels and while I have wanted to many times before I have never written to you . I know you don’t respond to all but in case I happen to make the cut I have a few questions/ comments. 1) it took a few reads to figure out time line of Clair’s initial trip through the stones and the time line in the show provided by letter on Column’s desk- it appears in the book she goes through the stones at spring Beltan and in the TV show she goes through at all hollows – am I correct? 2) who is the girl that was killed with an axe from Paris that Jamie is remembering while enroute to America with Jenny? And finally I would love to discuse at length all the symbolism of Christ that Jamie Frazier takes on through out the whole series. From the stripes on his back – to the nail pierced hand – to standing in another ‘s place for their “sin” at Ardmure over scrape of plaid to hips draped with loin cloth and candles at head and feet in the Abby after wentworth – to his prayer and cleansing times prior to battles and at the white rock- I could go on and on . I have to believe with your attention to detail this is no accident . For this I thank you . To be brave enough to let your faith show in what may be so totally hidden to many in the secular industry and for making good fiction something that reaches me on so many emotional levels . Who knows I may do another first and show up at a book signing sometime – I keep surprising myself since I opened to page one . Totally in love and dreading the last page ( oh I have a theory re the forget me nots Claire returned for)- sincerely , Kim Daugherty

    • Hi, Kim!

      Glad we caught your eye in a weak moment! [g] As to your questions/observations: Yes, you’re right; Claire passes through the stones on Beltane in the books, on Samhain in the show. For the excellent reason that the production needed to start filming in October, and rather than try to avoid the obvious (yellow leaves on trees, bad weather, etc.), they asked me if there were any major story issues that would be affected if they just started on Samhain, and I thought for a few moments and said the only thing that might be affected would be the August haying at Lallybroch, but as they were unlikely to make a big deal of that, I didn’t see a problem. So Samhain it was.

      As for the Christ imagery–very astute of you. [g] I’m a practicing Roman Catholic, and I’ve seen a _lot_ of medieval and Renaissance art. (My husband, seeing the shot of Sam Heughan’s face when Captain Randall drags Claire away, leaving Jamie nailed to the table, exclaimed instantly, “Man of Sorrows! Did you _tell_ him to do that?” (I didn’t. I couldn’t tell Sam H. anything; he’s a wonderful actor, he reads the books, and he thinks.)

      Anyway, delighted you’ve enjoyed it all so far!

      Best wishes,

      –Diana

      • Dear Diana,

        My three cousins and I have been huge fans since your first book Outlander. With great sorrow we were informed that the eldest of us has been diagnosed with Liver cancer. She has started chemo to stop its spread only prolong to the enevitable, as it is inoperable. I think her hope is to lay eyes upon her first grandchild before she will succumb to it.
        I write this to you now in hopes that you will perhaps find time to brighten the day of a very special fan. A note or even the smalest of momentos from you would be greatly cherished by her.

        I thank you for any consideration of my request.
        Sincerly,
        Lesa

      • My sympathies, Lesa. Yes, of course I’d be happy to send your sister a note. Email me at dgabaldon@aol.com, if you would, and give me the details.

        –Diana

    • Dear Diana ,
      Thank you so much by honoring me with a response . I was really tickled to see I had connected so many dots ( I’d have to be an idiot if I couldn’t after the number of times I’ve read them) Guess you are keeping the axed girl from Paris under wraps for future story line along with forget me nots . I will impatiently but appreciatively wait. One last question . Who is the man playing with Claire’s feet at Aunt Jocosta wedding who says as he is fleeing ” I am the king of Scotland “? Another wait and see ? And yes, I saw the Pieta (spelling?) Mary and Christ in Wentworth as your husband did ….. thank you – blessings , Kim

      • Hi, Kim,
        Welcome to the fandom! There are many groups worldwide should you like to meet others with whom you can discuss the books and the series. We are benign nuts as Diana calls us. And everyone i have met through Diana’s books has been thoughtful, interesting and fun. I hope you’ll join a meet-up sometime. Groups can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

        -Jenny C, Richmond, VA

      • Hi Kim,
        If I might be so bold, to find out about the French girl (in flash-back scenes), you might want to pick up Diana’s graphic novel, THE EXILE. It’s available in print or as an e-book but keep in mind that a graphic novel IS an illustrated story – a comic book for adults, as it were. This story is not written from Claire’s perspective like OUTLANDER but takes place within the first book. It’s from Jamie’s and Murtagh’s points of view, so you’ll see things that were happening that Claire did NOT see – a behind-the-scenes sort of thing. This book was written (illustrated by Hoang Nguyen) in 2010, long before the TV series was in the works so the characters won’t look like those in the show but the artwork is really beautiful. It’s a fairly short read, but I hope you enjoy it.

        The full story is told in Diana’s novella, “Virgins,” which was released in the anthology DANGEROUS WOMEN (2013 – Gardner Dozois & George RR Martin, Editors). Currently, it has not been released as a stand-alone novella but the anthology has a lot of good contributions by other successful authors.

        Enjoy!

        –Susan H.E.

  3. Well, Diana…I’m sure you have A.C. , busy schedule you have, have been a reader of your books since the 1990′s…my daughter was fighting for her life in the hospital and my sister purchased “Outlander” for me…I was “hooked”! Really helped me through this trying time…she lived…and did well as she could…in 1984 she was in a bad car accident… Traumatic brain injury and spine injury as well…she was aware of all around her…even though she couldn’t speak consistently..she could sign…yes no and her face expressions told it all! She was a miracle! She persevered through a lot…anyway Diana..she finally gave up in 2012…and ” went home”! Miss her everyday…so..love your books..am a fan of the series…thank you for your talent..and sharing it with all of us!!

  4. Hi Diana,
    I am another one of your faithful fans, and am impatiently awaiting the next season of Outlander on Starz. I have read each of the books including the Lord John Series & Outlandish Companion multiple times.
    But, that’s not what I’m writing about. I just want to thank you for many hours of enjoyment & escape. I discovered “Outlander” when I was in the process of downsizing my home to move to take care of my mother, who had gone over the line from visually challenged to legally blind & at the same time was taking care of my sister who was at the start of a many years long battle with cancer. My significant other had moved out of my life, my job was in a state of severe change & I was at a very low point.
    I went to the library to look for the fattest book I could find that would allow me to escape from my life for a bit every day & found “Outlander”. Needless to say I was hooked! Jamie, Claire, Frank, Jack, and all the others gave me an escape for a little while every day. They didn’t change my life outwardly, but surely gave me some ease.
    I’ve now purchased & read & reread all the volumes & am waiting for the next installment! I hope that all the Frasers & Co. are speaking to you unceasingly so that the next book can come out faster!
    I no longer need the escape that I once did, but am still totally hooked on the stories!
    So thank you for what you & your characters gave to me at a time when I desperately needed a break!
    Ellen

    • Thanks so much, Ellen! I’m glad that the books could have given you escape when you needed it–but I’m _really_ glad you don’t need it as much any more!

      Best,

      –Diana

  5. when will they share with the fans who will play brianna and roger??

  6. Diana,
    I have wanted to write to you on several occasions but there was so much I wanted to share. Then I read your excerpt “Narcolespy” and read your Dog Days post and thought today would be the day. I first want to tell you that I spent my entire hot, humid, Tennessee summer reading your Outlander series, again. (when it was too hot for anything other than swimming) I have read through them twice since the TV series aired. This may seem typical for one of your avid readers but, I have Narcolespy and rarely sit still for much., but I can sit for hours and read your books!
    Narcolepsy has two forms, one of which you described in the excerpt, where the general just passes out. They think these episodes are caused from extreme emotion, such as anger, or stress, which the general may be feeling In a time of war. I, thank goodness, have the form where i don’t pass out, I just get very tired and must move around. I teach school so moving around all day is a must anyway, but when it is free time for me to read from your books, it isn’t a problem to be still. In essence, I went from only sitting when I worked to sitting a lot to read Outlander. Another symptom of Narcolespsy is vivid dreaming, in color, every dream. Sooo, I can picture all of your writing as if I was there. I have been to Boone,North Carolina and Blowing Rock, so i can see the last scene in Moby wonderfull, just as you wrote it. So exciting!!!
    Thank you so much for the wonderful stories. I know book nine will be fantastic!
    Cathy

  7. Dear Diana,

    It’s only 108 F. here, so I guess I should be grateful to be cooler than are you and yours.

    Having finished reading O.C.I, I wanted to thank you and IMT, et. al. for compiling the Guide to Gaelic Grammar, as well as providing the Glossary. I had no trouble with any of the other language insertions, but the Gaelic threw me for a loop. Those bits in O.C.I were much appreciated.
    While reading the horoscopes, I wondered (just for kicks) if a professional astrologer who has never read or heard of the Outlander series (if, indeed such a person can be found–or even exists) might take a crack at doing readings for Jamie and Claire. Since there are variations of interpretation among practitioners, and since the readings that are published in O.C. I bear such striking resemblances to your described characters, would someone with no conscious or unconscious emotional attachments to the characters (as all of us who are fortunate to have become acquainted with and devoted to all of them are) have come to the same conclusions.
    Lastly, I hope that there will be more books featuring Lord John and his comings and goings. I have been a nurse for nearly 40 years and have found gentlemen of his ilk to be sensitive, perceptive, excellent caregivers and generally great friends (no sexual tension to hinder the scope and breadth of the relationship). All that and a British accent!
    Thanks for being you and for all your books. Bobbie

  8. While visiting relatives in the Philippines, I met geckos hanging about their homes. It was surprising to me since these people are so clean. Then I discovered their purpose. I wondered if people in the US did the same. And here you are! (My husband was a Filipino. I am now a widow. We were married 38 years.)

    Cute dog. I have 3.

    During this summer, I had planned on doing quite a bit to down size and I found myself reading whatever I could about you, and the other members of the Outlander family. I don’t regret it and it has been fun and interesting. Your intellect, sense of humor, and willingness to share personal stories make for interesting reading and watching.

    I enjoy historical and adventure programs. If it wasn’t for Outlander, the TV series I would not have met you.

    Thank you.
    Diane

  9. Growing up in OK and living in Texas most of my life, I am well aware of the so-called Dog Days of Summer…..with humidity. :-) When I was around 12, my mother called for my friends and me to come in and “rest” because the temperature had reached 109 degrees F. I remember thinking she was crazy. It was SUMMER, who played INSIDE?? But today, still living in Texas…in August, I relish inside days…..especially when I’m reading one of your books!

  10. Diana,

    Like your other avid fans, there have been times when I felt like your books have been emotional and psychological life-savers. This is especially true that last 4 years – when I returned home (which “you can’t” and shouldn’t do) to care for my 90 year old mother (now 94). She was not happy about being alive, and that hasn’t changed.

    I have read and re-read all of the original Outlander series. I have read the Scottish Prisoner. I have Dangerous Women, etc. I find myself looking for books with your name associated them, just so I can buy and read them. It’s strange to become a “fan”actic at age 68, but I swear you keep me sane.

    Just wanted you to know that I’m grateful. Thanks!

    Keo

  11. Dear Diana
    I want to say so much but don’t know how to. I suppose I could start with some background about myself. I am 57 year old HR Manager and have read books from an early age, many classics many fictional . I consider myself to be well read. I have become a fan of books by Tess Gerritsen and other fictional crime writers. (Violent stories)

    I do however have a great passion for classic love stories developed as a young girl with books by the Bronte sisters, favourites such as Jane Ayre and Wuthering Heights, not forgetting Thomas Hardies Tess. However as I got older I left that genre behind, favouring the fictional crime novels. It is here that I want to tell you that I read your novels 20 years ago, sadly this isn’t true. I by chance, watched Outlander on Amazon Prime earlier this year, never having heard of it. Since then I have watched it twice and bought the fist two novels (just started Outlander)
    I am so consumed with the character Jamie that I am wondering if I am suffering from depression or need to see a psychiatrist!
    I can not tell you how much I have enjoyed your story of Jamie and Claire. I am as passionate about history and archeology as I am about reading. As a first novel, outlander surely must be one of the greatest love stories of all time. Thank you for the dreams it has evoked. As a young girl I also loved science fiction – lost in space, Star Trek
    Then aliens etc. Outlander hit it all for me and so despite having said all that, I still feel I haven’t explained how much I loved it.
    I look forward now to reading the lot! ( I am impressed at how much the program is true to the book so far that is)
    I wish you well and hope Jamie lasts forever!!
    Helen.

  12. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me sooner to look for you online. I have been reading your stories for over a decade now. Long before I discovered Outlander, I was completely obsessed with everything Scottish. I have no idea why that is. Another life and time, perhaps. And a few years after discovering your stories I finally took my dream vacation to Edinburgh and there met my husband who is Very Scottish. (Careful what we wish for, indeed) I have to say that your account of Bloody Scots in general is very accurate. You surely knew a few before putting them down on paper? Anyways, I’m reading number 8 and looking forward to #9. These stories keep me company during my long oncall weekends, and on those even longer winter evenings between shifts. I have SO many of your quotes highlighted and a good number of those copied in my journal of favorite quotes and phrases that I think I should start a new notebook dedicated strictly to your writings. An all time favorite is your description of Jamie’s living soul as Claire prayed for him at the Abby. You have an incredible gift. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

    Jan

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