• “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

Happy Summer Solstice!


Social Media Hashtags: #DailyLines, #fromWRITTENinMYOwnHEARTSBlood, #electromagnetism, #BreeAndRoger

Image of Stonehenge in the Mist. From NASA-APOD.She flexed her fingers and picked up the pen, but didn’t write at once. She hadn’t thought further with her hypotheses and wanted them to be clear in her mind, at least. She had vague notions about how a time vortex might be explained in the context of a unified field theory, but if Einstein couldn’t do it, she didn’t think she was up to it right this minute.

“It has to be in there somewhere, though,” she said aloud, and reached for the wine. Einstein had been trying to form a theory that dealt both with relativity and electromagnetism, and plainly they were dealing with relativity here—but a sort in which it maybe wasn’t the speed of light that was limiting. What, then? The speed of time? The shape of time? Did electromagnetic fields crisscrossing in some places warp that shape?

What about the dates? Everything they thought they knew—precious little as it was—indicated that travel was easier, safer, on the sun feasts and fire feasts; the solstices and equinoxes… A little ripple ran up her back. A few things were known about standing stone circles, and one of the common things was that many had been built with astronomical prediction in mind. Was the light striking a specific stone the signal that the earth had reached some planetary alignment that affected the geomagnetism of that area?

“Huh,” she said, and sipped, flipping back over the pages she’d written. “What a hodgepodge.” This wouldn’t do anyone much good: nothing but disconnected thoughts and things that didn’t even qualify as decent speculation.

Still, her mind wouldn’t let go of the matter. Electromagnetism… Bodies had electric fields of their own, she knew that much. Was that maybe why you didn’t just disintegrate when you traveled? Did your own field keep you together, just long enough to pop out again? She supposed that might explain the gemstone thing: you could travel on the strength of your own field, if you were lucky, but the energy released from the molecular bonds in a crystal might well add to that field, so perhaps…?

“Bugger,” she said, her overworked mental processes creaking to a halt. She glanced guiltily at the hallway that led to the kids’ room. They both knew that word, but they oughtn’t to think their mother did.

She sank back to finish the wine and let her mind roam free, soothed by the sound of the distant surf. Her mind wasn’t interested in water, though; it seemed still concerned with electricity.

“I sing the Body Electric,” she said softly. “The armies of those I love engirth me.”

Now, there was a thought. Maybe Walt Whitman had been onto something… because if the electric attraction of the armies of those I love had an effect on time-traveling, it would explain the apparent effect of fixing your attention on a specific person, wouldn’t it?

She thought of standing in the stones of Craigh na Dun, thinking of Roger. Or of standing on Ocracoke, mind fixed fiercely on her parents—she’d read all the letters now; she knew exactly where they were… Would that make a difference? An instant’s panic, as she tried to visualize her father’s face, more as she groped for Roger’s…

The expression of the face balks account. The next line echoed soothingly in her head. But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face;

“It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of his hips and wrists;
It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist and knees—dress does not hide him;
The strong, sweet supple quality he has, strikes through the cotton and flannel;
To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem, perhaps more;
You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck and shoulder-side.”

She didn’t remember any more, but didn’t need to; her mind had calmed.

“I’d know you anywhere,” she said softly to her husband, and lifted the remains of her glass. “Sláinte.”


Copyright © 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share the link (URL) to this excerpt (“Daily Lines”), but please do not copy the text in whole or in part and post it yourself elsewhere, or share the text with others. Thank you.

Photo credit: “Sunrise Solstice Over Stonehenge,” the Astronomy Picture of the Day for June 20, 2016,” Copyright © by Max Alexander/STFC/SPL. Courtesy APOD-NASA.

This blog entry was also posted on my official Facebook page on June 22, 2019.

6 Responses »

  1. I hope you find this comment. I’m sure it’s my ineptness that has made it so hard to find a way to make a comment:)
    I wanted to say thank you for all of the excerpts you have posted. It is so much fun to read them, many times over. I am excited to read the new book, absolutely, but completely happy to wait until you have it like you want it. They (the books) have all been incredibly amazing and absolutely absorbs me (and the rest of the world, it seems:) into the story. It’s like watching a movie in my head.
    I just wanted to tell you; you remember the part where Jamie is fighting the bear, Clair is trying to help with the fish, the Indians come up, Jamie says he is fighting the bear and she is hitting him in the face with the fish…I just started laughing like a loon when I first read that. I have told different people about that over the years, struggling with tears in my eyes from laughing, and even after so many years, every once in a while, that pops in my head and I just start laughing. Every time it pops in, I just see it. It is ridiculously funny! Thank you so much for the laughter, fun, escape from everyday sometimes and for creating interest in studying herbal medicine.
    PS. I absolutely can not believe you are 67? You look like you are 30. Amazing!
    Keep writing for us. It’s working for you:)

  2. Dear Ms. Gabaldon,
    Just a brief note to thank you for all of the Outlander novels and stories. I found them several years ago, I have no idea how. But I have read and re-read them over and over again. So muc so, that it almost seems real. Tonight I was reading in The Fiery Cross, and came to the part where Jenny signed her entire name in her letter to Jaime. It made me think of my own family, especially as I have been doing some research on my family tree. I have always loved the names of my Great grandmother and her sister because of their originality. Their names were Ada Editha Luginia Rachel Nance (Carver), and Mary Alice Cornelius Americus Nance. I have no idea the origin of all the names, but I love them just the same. My maternal grandfather also had a mouthful, Thomas Haynes, Appelton Renfroe. I just recently discovered that he was a junior!
    Thank you again for the friends your have shared.
    Sincerely,

    Rebecca C. K.

  3. Estimada Diana, hoy termine de leer la saga completa, empece en navidad y termino hoy, no podia para de leerlos, de reir y llorar con ellos, gracias por esa capacidad de redacción que te atrapa

    saludos, desde Chile.

    ————

    Web translation to English:

    Dear Diana, today I finished reading the complete saga, I started at Christmas and I end today, I couldn’t stop reading them, laughing and crying with them, thanks for that writing ability that captures the reader.

    Greetings from Chile.

  4. Dear Diana-
    I have been entranced with the Outlander books since you first came out with them. The stories are like none other I have ever read and I have been an avid reader since about the 4th grade. No one writes like you do, your characters are all well developed, plots are complex and require focus and attention in order to catch all the details that will mean something later on. I love your writing! Thank you for the work you do and the enjoyment you bring to all of us who are fans. I don’t know how else to say it.

    I met you in Flagstaff in January 2018 at the Scottish Tea put on there by a local group. I was staying in Mesa with friends and the drive up was worth it. Your talk was interesting, informative and totally enjoyable. I was a little star struck so when I asked you to sign my original Outlander book I couldn’t think of anything intelligent to say! But you were so gracious.

    I watch the series but am a true lover of the books and the unfolding of plots and characters as you have written them. However, Sam and Cait do an excellent job of bringing Jamie and Claire to life. I have instructed my family that my Outlander books are my most precious possession, I have read them so many times I feel they are old friends and they are to be buried with me!

    Keep writing, there will always be those of us who want to read whatever you write. Looking forward to to the next two books in the Outlander series. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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