• “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

Roger Wakes In A New Old Place (BEES)

On March 6th, 1988, I started writing a book for practice. That turned out to be OUTLANDER, and now look where we are….! So in honor of the occasion <cough>, here is (what I think will be) Roger’s first scene from BEES…

Social Media Hashtags: #DailyLines, #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGone, #BookNine, #Nopenopenopitynopenopenope, #Illtellyouwhenitsdone, #InHonorOf30YEARSDoingThisStuff, #RogerWakesUpInANewOldPlace, #MinorSpoilers

2018-03-bee-SueGraftonSheer exhaustion made Roger sleep like the dead, in spite of the fact that the MacKenzies’ bed consisted of two ragged quilts that Amy Higgins had hastily dragged out of her piecework bag, these laid over a week’s worth of the Higginses’ dirty laundry, and the MacKenzies’ outer clothing as blankets. It was a warm bed, though, with the heat of the smoored fire on one side, and the body heat of two children and a snuggly wife on the other, and he fell into sleep like a man falling down a well, with time for no more than the briefest prayer—though a profound one-—of gratitude.

We made it. Thanks.

He woke to darkness and the smell of burnt wood and a freshly-used chamber-pot, feeling a sudden chill behind him. He had lain down with his back to the fire, but had rolled over during the night, and now saw the sullen glow of the last embers a couple of feet from his face, faint crimson veins in a bank of charcoal and gray ash. He put a hand behind him; Brianna was gone. There was a vague heap that must be Jem and Mandy at the far side of the quilt and the rest of the cabin was still somnolent, the air thick with heavy breathing.

“Bree?” he whispered, raising himself on one elbow. She was close—a solid shadow with her bottom braced against the wall by the hearth, one foot raised as she pulled on a stocking.

She put down the foot and crouched beside him, fingers brushing his face.

“I’m going hunting with Da,” she whispered, bending close. “Mama will watch the kids, if you have things to do today.”

“Aye. Where did ye get—” he ran a hand down the side of her hip; she was wearing a thick hunting shirt and loose breeches, much patched; he could feel the roughness of the stitching under his palm.

“They’re Da’s,” she said, and kissed him, the tinge of ember-light glisking in her hair. “Go back to sleep. It won’t be dawn for another hour.”

He watched her step lightly through the bodies on the floor, boots in her hand, and a cold draft snaked through the room as the door opened and closed soundlessly behind her. Bobby Higgins said something in a sleep-slurred voice, and one of the little boys sat up, said “What?” in a clear, startled voice and then flopped back into his quilt, dormant once more.

The fresh air vanished into the comfortable fug and the cabin slept. Roger didn’t. He lay on his back, feeling peace, relief, excitement and trepidation in roughly equal proportions.

They really had made it.

All of them. He kept counting them, compulsively. All four of them. Here, and safe.

Fragmented memories and sensations jostled through his mind; he let them flow through him, not trying to stay them or catch more than an image here and there: The feel of a small gold bar in his sweaty hand, the lurch of his stomach when he’d dropped it and it slid out of his reach across the tilting deck. The warm steam of parritch with whisky on it, fortification against a freezing Scottish morning. Brianna hopping carefully down a flight of stairs on one foot, the bandaged one lifted and the words of “My Dame Hath a Lame, Tame Crane” coming irresistibly to his mind. The smell of Buck’s hair, acrid and unwashed, as they embraced each other on the edge of a dock and a final farewell. Cold, endless days and nights in the lurching hold of the Constance on their way to Charles Town, the four of them huddled in a corner, deafened by the smash of water against the hull, too seasick to be hungry, too exhausted anymore even to be terrified, hypnotized instead by the rising water in the hold, watching it inch higher, splashing them with each sickening roll, trying to share their pitiful store of body heat to keep the kids alive…

He let out the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding, put his hands on the solid wooden floor to either side, closed his eyes and let it all drain away.

No looking back. They’d made their decision, and they’d made it here. To sanctuary.

So now, what?

He’d lived in this cabin once, for a long time. Now he supposed he’d build a new one; Jamie had told him last night that the land Jamie had given him was still his, registered in his name.

A small glow of anticipation rose in his heart. The day lay before him; what should he do first?

“Daddy!” a voice with a lot of spit whispered loudly in his ear. “Daddy, I haveta go potty!”

He sat up smiling, pushing tangled cloaks and shirts out of the way. Mandy was hopping from foot to foot in agitation, a small black chickadee, solid against the shadows.

“Aye, sweetheart,” he whispered back, and took her hand, warm and sticky. “I’ll take ye to the privy. Try not to step on anybody.”

[end section]

[And many thanks to Sue Gunston for the lovely bee photo!]

Click to visit my official webpage for GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE for links to information and more Daily Lines (excerpts).

I first posted this excerpt (Daily Lines) on my official Facebook page and my official Twitter feed on Wednesday, March 7, 2018. You may share the URL (link above) to this excerpt, but please do not copy and paste the entire text and post it elsewhere. Thank you. -Diana

This text is copyright © 2018 by Diana Gabaldon. All Rights Reserved. This blog post was last updated on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, at 7:10 a.m. (PT) by Diana’s Webmistress.

52 Responses »

  1. So nice to read this new excerpt and find Roger in a much better place. (I was just re-reading “The Fiery Cross”.) Thank you Diana, for many hours of great reading.

  2. Hi,

    I enjoy the books and the shows. I had quit reading for a long time, upon watching season one – I purchased the entire book series and anxiously await book 9.

    Thank you,

    Michelle L. Jackson

  3. So glad all 4 of them made it back to the ridge. Really hoping there is some recognition when Jenny meets Roger again….

  4. It is ridiculous how happy I am to know that the Mackenzies are back on the Ridge.

    Thank you.

  5. OMGOMGOMGOMG!!!!! I missed this on FaceBook!!!

  6. Love reading the “daily excerpts” from Diana. Does she know yet when she expects to be done with Book 9? It’s VERY hard to keep reading these “excerpts” and not having anything to go to afterward!

    • I won’t finish BEES until probably some time in the fall of 2019. Then once it is done, a publication date in the U.S. (and other market) will be set then. All of my major novels have taken years to research and write, and BEES is no different.

      Until then, there is SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL… and my Methadone list.



  7. So refreshing to read these snippits. I’m trying not to but sometimes I just can’t help it. So excited for Bees!

  8. Wonderful sense of calm (before the storm?), And peace. Thank you.

  9. I love the title of book #9. “Go Tell The Bees that I’m Gone” The first time I had ever read a story where the “bees” were being told of births, deaths, etc…was in the novel by Celeste DeBlasis titled “Wild Swan.” What a beautiful story, that ended up being a trilogy. I love that old tradition/ritual. All of your books, by the way, are simply amazing. Found “Outlander” by accident in 1991 on the shelf with the new books. Love time-travel stories, so I thought I’d give it a try. I was blown away! I passed it on to my best friend. Then…we had to wait for book 2. My friend and I literally read your Outlander series as soon as you finished each book. We would be at Barnes and Noble early on the day of release! It was pure torture to have to wait, but the reward was pure pleasure!

  10. Do you have any idea when Netflix will air season 3? I do not have access to Starz.

    • Karen,

      Sony International owns all distribution rights to the TV series, not Diana. Sony makes all the decisions, and does not have that information listed anywhere in one place.

      So you’d have to ask Netflix and/or Sony directly.

      If Diana or I knew, we’d post it. Sorry!

      Diana’s Webmistress

  11. I got to the end of this and I’d completely forgotten it was just an excerpt. Disappointment mingled with excitement. You’re one hell of a man if you’re willing to time travel to see the in-laws.

  12. He leído todos tus libros y ha sido una experiencia enriquecedora para mi, por todo lo que en ellos muestras sobre las personas y la historia.
    Espero con ilusión tu próximo libro “Bees”, que en España llegará, creo, en invierno,
    Hace 30 años estuve en Escocia (Invernes, Edimburgo, …) y tus novelas han hecho posible recordar aquel maravilloso viaje.
    Toda mi gratitud y felicidad para ti y los tuyos.

    Google translation:
    I have read all your books and it has been an enriching experience for me, for everything that they show about people and history.
    I look forward to your next book “Bees”, which in Spain will come, I think, in winter,
    30 years ago I was in Scotland (Invernes, Edinburgh, …) and your novels have made it possible to remember that wonderful trip.
    All my gratitude and happiness for you and yours.

  13. I liked it. I can’t wait.
    Recently I finished thr 8th book of outlandre’s saga.

  14. When can we expect the next excerpt?

    • Hi, Kimberly,

      You may expect the next excerpt as soon as 1) Diana releases one, and 2) I find time to format and post it on her website. (I also help with the maintenance, security, and other necessary nerdly background work on Diana’s website, which happily has a huge amount of global traffic.)

      There is no set schedule for releases of Diana’s excerpts.

      And I work as fast as I can. :-)

      Diana’s Webmistress

  15. You write such lovely scenes, Lass! Roger is a favorite character, and I am pleased to see everyone back together. Thank you for posting excerpts for your eager fans.

  16. I’ve read the 8 books of the series twice and can’t help but wonder how Bree and family got from the time period they wound up in when returning and seeing Jamie’s father to years later in the time period Claire and Jamie were in.

  17. Have so enjoyed your books Diana have read and re read the first four purchased starting in 1998. Have now read and totally enjoyed the future Outlander series books and Lord John. Outlandish Companion has become a valued friend. I was so lucky to find the adult coloring book Outlander which helped to fill the time waiting for the next season series. I am so fortunate to have read the books before the series and now await season three. The series must cut for time but the book is always there! Thanks you for your research and color in your books. Much appreciation, Ruth Veiner

  18. I have found all the books so well researched, so incredibly well written, and simply can’t wait to read The Bees. Thank you Diana for your creativity and tenacity. Just always wondered, however, why – in all the time travel for Claire (and even Brianna) – had she never sought to seek out her own people while in the 18th century. They seemed an adventurous bunch. Slàinte!

  19. I had inter-cranial surgery to repair two aneurysms that were close to bursting, when I woke up I’d lost two weeks of my life and felt like Roger. Was thankful but kept counting toes and fingers. This passage resonates wit me.. Its exactly what I’d think in Roger’s situation!

Leave a Response

Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.