• “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

“A Small Gift In Honor of My Birthday” (BEES)


Social Media Hashtags: #DailyLines, #GoTELLTheBEESThaIAmGONE, #BookNine, #ASmallGiftInHonorofMyBirthday, #ThankYouAll #VERYMuch

2018-01-11-DG-flowers“Lie down,” I said firmly, and pointed to my lap.

“Nay, I’ll be f—”

“I don’t care whether you’re fine or not,” I said. “I said, lie down.”

“I’ve work to—”

“You’ll be flat on your face in another minute,” I said. “Lie. Down.”

He opened his mouth, but a spasm of pain made him shut his eyes, and he couldn’t locate any words with which to argue. He swallowed, opened his eyes, and sat down beside me, very gingerly. He was breathing slowly and shallowly, as though drawing a deep breath might make things worse.

I stood up, took his shoulders and turned him gently so I could reach his plait. I undid his ribbon and unraveled the thick strands of auburn hair. It still was mostly red, though soft white threads caught the light here and there.

“Down,” I said again, sitting and pulling his shoulders toward me. He moaned a little, but stopped resisting and lowered himself very slowly, ’til his head rested heavy in my lap. I touched his face, my fingers feather-light on his skin, tracing the bones and hollows, temples and orbits, cheekbones and jaw. Then I slid my fingers into the soft mass of his hair, warm in my hands, and did the same to his scalp. He let out his breath, carefully, and I felt his body loosen, growing heavier as he relaxed.

“Where does it hurt?” I murmured, making very light circles round his temples with my thumbs. “Here?”

“Aye… but…” He put up a hand, blindly, and cupped it over his right eye. “It feels like an arrow—straight through into my brain.”

“Mmm.” I pressed my thumb gently round the bony orbit of the eye, and slid my other hand under his head, probing the base of his skull. I could feel the muscles knotted there, hard as walnuts under the skin. “Well, then.”

I took my hands away and he let his breath out.

“It won’t hurt,” I reassured him, reaching for the jar of blue ointment.

“It does hurt,” he said, and squinched his eyelids as a fresh spasm seized him.

“I know.” I unlidded the jar, but let it stand, the sharp fragrance of peppermint, camphor and green peppercorns scenting the air. “I’ll make it better.”

He didn’t make any reply, but settled himself as I began to massage the ointment gently into his neck, the base of his skull, the skin of his forehead and temples. I couldn’t use the ointment so close to his eye, but put a dab under his nose, and he took a slow, deep breath. I’d make a cool poultice for the eye when I’d finished. For now, though…

“Do you remember,” I said, my voice low and quiet. “Telling me once about visiting Bird Who Sings in the Morning? And how his mother came and combed your hair?”

“Aye,” he said, after a moment’s hesitation. “She said… she would comb the snakes from my hair.” Another hesitation. “She… did.”

Clearly he did remember—and so did I recall what he’d told me about it. How she’d gently combed his hair, over and over, while he told her—in a language she didn’t speak—the trouble in his heart. Guilt, distress… and the forgotten faces of the men he’d killed.

There is a spot, just where the zygomatic arch joins the maxilla, where the nerves are often inflamed and sensitive….yes, just there. I pressed my thumb gently up into the spot and he gasped and stiffened a little. I put my other hand on his shoulder.

“Shh. Breathe.”

His breath came with a small moan, but he did. I held the spot, pressing harder, moving my thumb just a little, and after a long moment, felt the spot warm and seem to melt under my touch. He felt it too, and his body relaxed again.

“Let me do that for you,” I said softly. The wooden comb he’d made me sat on the little table beside the jar of ointment. With one hand still on his shoulder, I picked it up.

“I… no, I dinna want…” But I was drawing the comb softly through his hair, the wooden teeth gentle against his skin. Over and over, very slowly.

I didn’t say anything for quite some time. He breathed. The light came in low now, the color of wildflower honey, and he was warm in my hands, the weight of him heavy in my lap.

“Tell me,” I said to him at last, in a whisper no louder than the breeze through the open window. “I don’t need to know, but you need to tell me. Say it in Gaelic, or Italian or German—some language I don’t understand, if that’s better. But say it.”

His breath came a little faster and he tightened, but I went on combing, in long, even strokes that swept over his head and laid his hair untangled in a soft, gleaming mass over my thigh. After a moment, he opened his eyes, dark and half-focused.

“Sassenach?” he said softly.

“Mm?”

“I dinna ken any language that I think ye wouldna understand.”

He breathed once more, closed his eyes, and began haltingly to speak, his voice soft as the beating of my heart.

Click here to visit my BEES webpage.


I also posted this excerpt (“Daily Lines”) from GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, Book Nine of my OUTLANDER series of novels, on my official Facebook page on January 11, 2018.

53 Responses »

  1. WOW!
    Can’t wait to read the book!

  2. I red Claire’s (and Jamie’s) history more than one time, but in the french translation. I am looking forward the next tome. Thousands of « mercis » for these excellent novels.

  3. I leave you my hotmail address. I made a mistake wryting my first post.

  4. A wonderful tease to the new book. I am so looking forward to it as well as the next season of Outlander. Also, a belated Happy Birthday. You share a birthday with my father – the most wonderful man I have ever known. My hero.

  5. I`ve read or rather listened to all 8 books over six times. You were quite right that the time in which Jamie & Claire find themselves is far more interesting. I do follow other writers but they also write in the 18th century. I’ve read your blog on your process for writing & I’ve listened to a few videos where you are speaking. I don’t recall if you ever said how you hold all this together. I mean you once said you write in scenes so do you use OneNotes or a program like that to stay organized?

    I was wondering how you might or what are your thoughts are on where or when to put an event in a story? There are so many events and twist or turns in all your books and to me they flow as if they were always meant to happen this way but truly you must have words on how best to set up such events/happening?

    What are your thoughts on the matter?

    Debbie

    • Dear Debbie–

      No, I’m not very organize, I’m afraid… [g] I don’t write with an outline, I don’t write in a straight line, and I have no idea where the beginning or ending of a book is until I’ve written them. As for keeping things in order…I really don’t. All I do is manage to _find_ a piece when I need it. What I do is pretty crude, but it works: For each book, I have a Word file (I hate Word, but haven’t had time to sit down and learn to deal with Scrivener) called the MFILE (for “Master File”). All this is, is a list of filenames, along with a few keywords for each. So when I’ve written something and realize that something else goes with it, I can pull up the MFILE and do a quick search on some unique (I hope) keyword, like “gangrene” or “sawmill”, and there’s the filename I need. So then I can pull up that file and paste it into the document with the new file, making a longer piece (then, if I remember, I’ll make a note in the MFILE listing, like “JAMIE9#.114 (inc. JAMIE9&.N6)”–that means that the file for GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE (“JAMIE9″) that I began on January 14 of 2018 now includes the older file that I began on November 6, 2017.

      Basically, it’s just a list of unique filenames, with enough keyword information as to allow me to find the one I want quickly.

      Hope that helps!

      –Diana

  6. First, you and my GMA Vera share the same birth date. Cannot wait for this amazing next novel.

  7. Diana,

    I am definitely a late bloomer when it comes to your books. In October of 2016, my husband and I took a 2 week vacation to Scotland. My husband of 34 years had never traveled outside the USA. We chose Scotland because we were intrigued, and new there was some connection that he has with Clan Douglas (lowlands). On a 3 day excursion to Skye the mini bus we traveled on had passengers who mentioned the STARZ show. I knew nothing about it and had not heard of your books at the time. We had a wonderful two weeks, and promised each other we would return soon.

    When I got home from Scotland my brother, who is a Catholic priest gave me Outlander. He said I should try it out. Well, I never got around to it till August 2017. Last night I finished book #7 A Breath Of Snow and Ashes. In October I canceled HBO and got STARZ. My husband and I are hooked and can’t wait for Season 4. I have decided to not pick up book #8 for a while, because I can’t get anything done. I get up every morning, go to work, come home, eat, then read!!. I will be 64 in March, and during my birthday week, we are going back to Scotland!!

    Your writing is very inspiring to me, as I always said I would like write a novel someday. I have only written short stories and have some ideas in my head. I hope going back to Scotland will further inspire me to put pen to paper.

    Thank you so much for taking me places that help me escape from the everyday grind, into a place that is exciting, fantastic and yes funny. Claire and Jamie are aging gracefully and I’d like to think they are helping me do the same.

    Best Wishes,

    Susan Francine

  8. Muito obrigadaD iana!/ Thanks a lot Diana!

    I look forward to read the new book.

    On my other comment i wrote “Robert” D. Moore instead ” Ronald” D. Moore.

    I search now in the Wikepedia and I think you inspired your books and character Jamie Fraser from Clan Fraser of Lovat and their origins of the surname[ Fraser.

    Did you inspired when you create James Alexander Malcom Mackenzie fraser by “Another John Fraser, who was Provost of Inverness, tried to get fair treatment for the prisoners.”?

    I saw too the 18th list of Provost of Inverness “1764–1767: James Fraser”.

    Once more, your books are fabulous and you have done an excellent research and wrote this fabulous historic and romance books inspeired by Clan Fraser of Lovat and their origins of the surname[ Fraser.

    A big hug from Sintra, Portugal.
    Carla Manita

    • Muito obrigada, Carla!

      No, Jamie wasn’t based on a specific historical Jamie Fraser (though many of them had aspects similar to his!). There were a lot of them, as you noticed. [g]

      Glad you’ve been enjoying the story!

      –Diana

  9. Dear Diana,
    These books! The texture and tapestry of these stories! I was so late to the party-just started reading last year when i picked up book 1 in the library. I was supposed to be shelving-I work there part time. Read the first paragraph and I have barely come up for air since. I checked out Outlander and EVERY other book of yours that we had. I felt like a greedy thief leaving that day with my bulging tote but I knew I was in the midst of a game changer. Love that I take my book and my dictionary everywhere! (I must look a bit kooky juggling my reading supplies in the car -while parked and waiting on a child not while driving lol). Love translating Latin with my husband (he has far more than me)! LOVE all literary references, and Diana, the history. My God the history. Thank you for feeding this hungry soul:)
    Amy

  10. Diana, is your husband ever jealous of Jamie?

  11. Dear Diana,

    Love all eight books so far ( re-read them twice). They have spiced up my marriage of 26 years. Both my husband and I watch the series together . Then when the season is over we rewatch the whole thing from start to finish again and again.

    Patiently waiting for season four and book nine.

    Carlene

  12. Diana,
    I just want to thank you so much for your books. Not only is the whole story so absorbing and entertaining, but the characters are my fictional best friends! The other reason I wanted to thank you is that you have managed to bring back so many happy childhood memories of visiting my great-grandmother (Granny Rilda) at her little house tucked away in a hollow up on a ridge in Eastern Kentucky. After I would get home it would be weeks before my mom could get me to brush my teeth with a toothbrush. Granny used willow twigs and I thought that was just too cool. I loved drinking water out of the dipper from the enamel pail she kept on the back porch. She didn’t have a springhouse, but she had a wellhouse that was always cool and damp inside. Not only was her well in there but also her food. Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, onions, and the smells were so distinct. She kept “Banty” chickens and my child self loved those perfect sized portions of chicken and tiny eggs! But I think what brings my grandparents back with the most force is your dialogue. My pa (left us 10 years ago) used your words. Slugabed, crack-brained, thrapple, and so many more of the. Reading an aggravated Fraser makes me always think about my pa and my heart smiles. You haven’t used two of his favorites yet, about to perish with a thirst, and larupin. I can’t wait to stumble on them someday! Again, thank you for all of the enjoyment of your stories, and for bringing back beautiful parts of my childhood!

  13. Love it all! I have now read every word in the Outlander series (all novellas too) written by you. It is easy to see why you are the favorite author of so many people, myself included! The excerpts are great, but I am anxious to read what happens next. I hate to sound so needy, but any clue when we will be able to read “Bees”?

    • Dear Sheila,

      It’s wonderful that you and others are excited about BEES, but this question is sent to Diana each week so often in various ways: on her official social media accounts, asked in web comments like yours, and even sent to me, the Webmistress! :-)

      And the answer is always the same. When Diana and her publishers announce the release date of GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, Book 9 of the Outlander series, it will appear on her official BEES webpage at:

      http://www.dianagabaldon.com/books/outlander-series/book-nine-outlander-series/

      The news will also be announced on her web blog, on her social media accounts, and no doubt immediately will spread all over the international news media very quickly. (Her books are now translated into 34 languages!)

      Diana’s books require hours and hours of historical and other research besides the many hours of writing and editing the actual book. She will not release a book until she feels it is the best she can do. And you wouldn’t want anything less.

      Have you tried the books Diana suggests on her Methadone List?

      http://www.dianagabaldon.com/resources/the-methadone-list/

      Those might help some in the interim.

      Cheers,

      Loretta
      Diana’s Webmistress

  14. Hi Diana

    As the Outlander cast is having a 7 month break until they start filming again, will this give you the time to finish ‘ Go tell the Bees I am gone’ ? I do so hope so and even more please. Bree and Roger have children now. Thank you for giving me hrs of pleasure reading your books, include the Lord John Grey.

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