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“Bear” (BEES)


Below is a new excerpt from GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, which will be book nine in my OUTLANDER series of novels.

Social Media Hashtags: #DailyLines, #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE, #BookNine, #goingnicelythankyou, #NOitsnotdone, #Illtellyouwhenitis, #readthenovellas

Egyptian-thingieJamie and Brianna came back in mid-afternoon, with two brace of squirrels, fourteen doves, and a large piece of stained and tattered canvas which, unwrapped, revealed something that looked like the remnants of a particularly grisly murder.

“Supper?” I asked, gingerly poking at a shattered bone sticking out of the mass of hair and slick flesh. The smell was iron-raw and butcherous, with a rank note that seemed familiar, but decay hadn’t yet set in to any noticeable degree.

“Aye, if ye can manage, Sassenach.” Jamie came and peered down at the bloody shambles, frowning a little. “I’ll tidy it up for ye. I need a bit o’whisky first, though.”

Given the blood-stains on his shirt and breeks, I hadn’t noticed the equally stained rag tied round his leg, but now saw that he was limping. Raising a brow, I went to the large basket of food, small tools, and minor medical supplies that I lugged up to the house site every morning.

“From what’s left of it, I presume that is—or was—a deer. Did you actually tear it apart with your bare hands?”

Brianna snickered.

“No, but the bear did.” She exchanged complicit glances with her father, who hummed in his throat.

“Bear,” I said, and took a deep breath. I gestured at his shirt. “Right. How much of that blood is yours?”

“No much,” he said tranquilly, and sat down on the big log. “Whisky?”

I looked sharply at Brianna, but she seemed to be intact. Filthy, and with green-gray bird-droppings streaked down her shirt, but intact. Her face glowed with sun and happiness, and I smiled.

“There’s whisky in the tin canteen hanging over there,” I said, nodding toward the big spruce at the far side of the clearing. “Do you want to fetch it for your father while I see what’s left of his leg?”

“Sure. Where are Mandy and Jem?”

“When last seen, they were playing by the creek with Aidan and his brothers. Don’t worry,” I added, seeing her lower lip suck suddenly in. “It’s very shallow there and Fanny said she’d go and keep an eye on Mandy while she’s collecting leeches. Fanny’s very dependable.”

“Mm-hm.” Bree still looked dubious, but I could see her fighting down her maternal impulse to go scoop Mandy out of the creek immediately. “I know I met her last night, but I’m not sure I remember Fanny. Where does she live?”

“With us,” Jamie said, matter-of-factly. “Ow!”

“Hold still,” I said, holding the puncture wound below his knee open with two fingers while I poured saline solution into it. “You don’t want to die of tetanus, do you?”

“And what would ye do if I said yes, Sassenach?”

“The same thing I’m doing right now. I don’t care if you want to or not; I’m not having it.”


Click to visit my BEES webpage which has information and links to more excerpts from this new book.


This excerpt was also posted on my official Facebook page on January 19, 2018.

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“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.

Happy Holidays 2017!


Social Media Hashtags: #DailyLines, #DRUMSofAUTUMN, #Solstice, #KeepingEachOtherWarm

MERRY CHRISTMAS, CHAG SAMEACH, JOYFUL KWANZAA, BLESSED SOLSTICE and/or a DELIGHTFUL WINTER SEASON to all of you!

-Diana

[Excerpt is from DRUMS OF AUTUMN. Copyright © 1996 by Diana Gabaldon]

Drums-holiday-blogJamie’s hair and shoulders were lightly dusted with snow, and flakes were settling on the exposed backs of his legs. I pulled the hem of his cloak down, then brushed the snow away from his face. His cheek was nearly the same color as the big wet flakes, and his flesh felt stiff when I touched it.

Fresh alarm surged through me as I realized that he might be a lot closer to freezing already than I had thought. His eyes were half closed, and cold as it was, he didn’t seem to be shivering much. That was bloody dangerous; with no movement, his muscles were generating no heat, and what warmth he had was leaching slowly from his body. His cloak was already heavy with damp; if I allowed his clothes to become soaked through, he might very well die of hypothermia right in front of me.

“Wake up!” I said, shaking him urgently by the shoulder. He opened his eyes and smiled drowsily at me.

“Move!” I said. “Jamie, you’ve got to move!”

“I can’t,” he said calmly. “I told ye that.” He shut his eyes again.

I grabbed him by the ear and dug my fingernails into the tender lobe. He grunted and jerked his head away.

"Wake up," I said peremptorily. "Do you hear me? Wake up this moment! Move, damn you! Give me your hand."

I didn’t wait for him to comply, but dug under the cloak and seized his hand, which I chafed madly between my own. He opened his eyes again and frowned at me.

"I’m all right," he said. "But I’m gey tired, aye?"

"Move your arms," I ordered, flinging the hand at him. "Flap them, up and down. Can you move your legs at all?"

He sighed wearily, as though dragging himself out of a sticky bog, and muttered something under his breath in Gaelic, but very slowly he began to move his arms back and forth. With more prodding, he succeeded in flexing his ankles— though any further movement caused instant spasms in his back— and with great reluctance, began to waggle his feet.

He looked rather like a frog trying to fly, but I wasn’t in any mood to laugh. I didn’t know whether he was actually in danger of freezing or not, but I wasn’t taking any chances. By dint of constant exhortation, aided by judicious pokings, I kept him at this exercise until I had got him altogether awake and shivering. In a thoroughly bad temper, too, but I didn’t mind that.

"Keep moving," I advised him. I got up with some difficulty, having grown quite stiff from crouching over him so long. "Move, I say!" I added sharply, as he showed symptoms of flagging. "Stop and I’ll step square on your back, I swear I will!"

I glanced around, a little blearily. The snow was still falling, and it was difficult to see more than a few feet. We needed shelter— more than the rock alone could provide.

"Hemlock," he said between his teeth. I glanced down at him, and he jerked his head toward a clump of trees nearby. "Take the hatchet. Big… branches. Six feet. C-cut four." He was breathing heavily, and there was a tinge of color visible in his face, despite the dim light. He’d stopped moving in spite of my threats, but his teeth were clenched because they were chattering— a sign I rejoiced to see.

I stooped and groped beneath his cloak again, this time searching for the hatchet belted round his waist. I couldn’t resist sliding a hand under him, inside the neck of his fringed woolen hunting shirt. Warm! Thank God, he was still warm. His chest felt superficially chilled from its contact with the wet ground, but it was still warmer than my fingers.

"Right," I said, taking my hand away and standing up with the hatchet. "Hemlock. Six-foot branches, do you mean?"

He nodded, shivering violently, and I set off at once for the trees he indicated.

Inside the silent grove, the fragrance of hemlock and cedar enfolded me at once in a mist of resins and turpenes, the odor cold and sharp, clean and invigorating. Many of the trees were enormous, with the lower branches well above my head, but there were smaller ones scattered here and there. I saw at once the virtues of this particular tree— no snow fell under them; the fanlike boughs caught the falling snow like umbrellas.

I hacked at the lower branches, torn between the need for haste and the very real fear of chopping off a few fingers by accident; my hands were numb and awkward with the cold.

The wood was green and elastic and it took forever to chop through the tough, springy fibers. At last, though, I had four good-sized branches, sporting multiple fans of dense needles. They looked soft and black against the new snow, like big fans of feathers; it was almost a surprise to touch them and feel the hard, cold prick of the needles.

I dragged them back to the rock, and found that Jamie had managed to scoop more leaves together; he was almost invisible, submerged in a huge drift of black and gray against the foot of the rock.

Under his terse direction I leaned the hemlock branches fan-up against the face of the rock, the chopped butt ends stuck into the earth at an angle, so as to form a small triangular refuge underneath. Then I took the hatchet again and chopped small pine and spruce branches, pulled up big clumps of dried grass, and piled it all against and over the hemlock screen. Then at last, panting with exertion, I crawled into the shelter beside him.

I nestled down in the leaves between his body and the rock, wrapped my cloak around both of us, put my arms around his body, and held on hard. Then I found the leisure to shake a bit. Not from cold— not yet— but from a mixture of relief and fear.

He felt me shivering, and reached awkwardly back to pat me in reassurance.

"It will be all right, Sassenach," he said. "With the two of us, it will be all right."

"I know," I said, and put my forehead against his shoulder blade. It was a long time before I stopped shaking, though,

"How long have you been out here?" I asked finally. "On the ground, I mean?"

He started to shrug. Then stopped abruptly, groaning.

"A good time. It was just past noon when I jumped off a wee crop of rock. It wasna more than a few feet high, but when I landed on one foot, my back went click! And next I knew, I was on my face in the dirt, feelin’ as though someone had stabbed me in the spine wi’ a dirk."

It wasn’t warm in our snug, by any means; the damp from the leaves was seeping in and the rock at my back seemed to radiate coldness, like some sort of reverse furnace. Still, it was noticeably less cold than it was outside. I began shivering again, for purely physical reasons.

Jamie felt me, and groped at his throat.

"Can ye get my cloak unfastened, Sassenach? Put it over ye."

It took some maneuvering, and the cost of a few muffled oaths from Jamie as he tried to shift his weight, but I got it loose at last, and spread it over the two of us. I reached down and laid a cautious hand on his back, gently rucking up his shirt to put my hand on cool, bare flesh.

"Tell me where it hurts," I said. I hoped to hell he hadn’t slipped a disc; hideous thoughts of his being permanently crippled raced through my mind, along with pragmatic considerations of how I was to get him off the mountain, even if he wasn’t. Would I have to leave him here, and fetch food up to him daily until he recovered?

"Right there," he said, with a hiss of indran breath. "Aye, that’s it. A wicked stab just there, and if I move, it runs straight down the back o’ my leg, like a red-hot wire."

I felt very carefully, with both hands now, probing and pressing, urging him to try to lift one leg, right, now the other knee… no?

"No," he assured me. "Dinna be worrit, though, Sassenach. It’s the same as before. It gets better."

"Yes, you said it happened before. When was that?"

He stirred briefly and settled pressing back against my palms with a small groan.

"Och! Damn that hurts. At the prison."

"Pain in the same place?"

"Aye."

I could feel a hard knot in the muscle on his right side, just below the kidney, and a bunching in the erector spinae, the long muscles near the spine. From his description of the prior occurrence, I was fairly sure it was only severe muscle spasm. For which the proper prescription was warmth, rest, and anti-inflammatory medication.

Couldn’t get much further away from those conditions, I thought with some grimness.

"I suppose I could try acupuncture," I said, thinking aloud. "I’ve got Mr. Willoughby’s needles in my pouch, and—"

"Sassenach," he said, in measured tones. "I can stand fine bein’ hurt, cold, and hungry. I willna put up wi’ being stabbed in the back by my own wife. Can ye not offer a bit of sympathy and comfort instead?"

I laughed, and slid an arm around him, pressing close against his back. I let my hand slide down and rest in delicate suggestion, well below his navel.

"Er… what sort of comfort did you have in mind?"

He hastily grasped my hand, to prevent further intrusions.

"Not that," he said.

"Might take your mind off the pain." I wiggled my fingers invitingly, and he tightened his grip.

"I daresay," he said dryly. "Well, I’ll tell ye, Sassenach— once we’ve got home, and I’ve a warm bed to lie in and a hot supper in my belling, that notion might have a good bit of appeal. As it is, the thought of— for Christ’s sake, have ye ot the slightest idea how cold your hands are, woman?"

I laid my cheek against his back and laughed. I could feel the quiver of his own mirth, though he couldn’t laugh aloud without hurting his back.

At last we lay silent, listening to the whisper of falling snow. It was dark under the hemlock boughs, but my eyes were adapted enough to be able to see patches of the oddly glowing snow-light through the screen of needles overhead. Tiny flakes came through the open patches; I could see it in some places, as a thin cloud of white mist, and I could feel the cold tingle as it struck my face.

Jamie himself was no more than a humped dark shape in front of me, though as my eyes became accustomed to the murk, I could see the paler stalk where his neck emerged between his shirt and his queued hair. The queue itself lay cool and smooth against my face; by turning my head only a bit, I could brush it with my lips.

"What time do you think it is?" I asked. I had no idea, myself; I had left the house well after dark, and spent what seemed an eternity looking for him on the mountain.

"Late," he said. "It will be a long time before the dawn, though," he added, answering my real question. "It’s just past the solstice, aye? It’s one of the longest nights of the year."

"Oh, lovely." I said, in dismay. I wasn’t warm, by any means—I still couldn’t feel my toes—but I had stopped shivering. A dreadful lethargy was stealing over me, my muscles yielding to fatigue and cold. I had visions of the two of us freezing peacefully together, curled up like hedgehogs in the leaves. They did say it was a comfortable death, but that didn’t make the prospect any more appealing.

Jamie’s breathing was getting slower and deeper.

"Don’t go to sleep!" I said urgently, poking him in the armpit.

"Agh!" He pressed his arm tight to his side, recoiling. "Why not?"

"We mustn’t sleep; we’ll freeze to death."

"No, we won’t," he said crossly. "It’s snowing outside; we’ll be covered over soon."

"I know that," I said, rather cross in my turn. "What’s that got to do with it?"

He tried to turn his head to look at me, but couldn’t, quite.

"Snow’s cold if ye touch it," he explained, striving for patience, "but it keeps the cold out, aye? Like a blanket. It’s a great deal warmer in a house that’s covered wi’ snow than one that’s standing clean in the wind. How d’ye think bears manage? They sleep in the winter, and they dinna freeze."

"They have layers of fat," I protested. "I thought that kept them warm."

"Ha ha," he said, and reaching back with some effort, grabbed me firmly by the bottom. "Well, then, ye needna worry a bit, he?"

With great deliberation I pulled down his collar, stretched my head up, and licked the back of his neck, in a lingering swipe from nape to hairline.

"Aaah!" He shuddered violently, making a sprinkle of snow fall from the branches above us. He let go of my bottom to scrub at the back of his neck.

"That was a terrible thing to do!" he said, reproachful. "And me lyin’ here helpless as a log!"

"Bah, humbug," I said. I nestled closer, feeling somewhat reassured. "You’re sure we aren’t going to freeze to death, then?"

"No," he said. "But I shouldna think it likely."

"Hm," I said, feeling somewhat less reassured. "Well, perhaps we’d better stay awake for a bit, then, just in case?"

"I wilna wave my arms about anymore," he said definitely. "There’s no room. And if ye stick your icy wee paws in my breeks, I swear I’ll throttle ye, bad back or no."

"All right, all right," I said. "What if I tell you a story, instead?"

Highlanders loved stories, and Jamie was no exception.

"Oh, aye," he said, sounding much happier. "What sort of story is it?"

"A Christmas story," I said, settling myself along the curve of his body. "About a miser named Ebenezer Scrooge."

"An Englishman, I daresay."

"Yes," I said. "Be quiet and listen."

I could see my own breath as I talked, white in the dim, cold air. The snow was falling heavily outside out shelter; when I paused in the story, I could hear the whisper of flakes against the hemlock branches, and the far-off whine of wind in the trees.

I knew the story very well; it had been part of our Christmas ritual, Frank’s and Brianna’s and mine. From the time Bree was five or six, we had read A Christmas Carol every year, starting a week or two before Christmas, Frank and I taking it in turns to read to her each night before bed.

"And the specter said, ‘I am the Ghost of Christmas Past…’"

I might not be freezing to death, but the cold had a strange hypnotic effect nonetheless. I had gone past the phase of acute discomfort and felt now slightly disembodied. I knew my hands and feet were icy, and my body chilled half through, but it didn’t seem to matter anymore. I floated in a peaceful white mist, seeing the words swirl round my head like snowflakes as I spoke them.

"…and there was dear old Fezziwig, among the lights and music…"

I couldn’t tell whether I was gradually thawing or becoming colder. I was conscious of an overall feeling of relaxation, and an altogether peculiar sense of déjà vu, as though I had once before been entombed, insulated in snow, snug despite desolation outside.

As Bob Cratchit bought his meager bird, I remembered. I went on talking automatically, the flow of the story coming from somewhere well below the level of consciousness, but my memory was in the front seat of a stalled 1956 Oldsmobile, its windscreen caked with snow.

We had been on our way to visit an elderly relative of Frank’s, somewhere in upstate New York. The snow came on hard, halfway there, howling down across the icy roads with gusts of wind. Before we knew where we were, we had skidded off the road and halfway into a ditch, the windscreen wipers slashing futilely at the pelting snow.

There was nothing to be done but wait for morning, and rescue. We had had a picnic hamper and some old blankets; we brought Brianna up into the front seat between us, and huddled all together under coats and blankets, sipping lukewarm cocoa from the thermos and making jokes to keep her from being frightened.

As it grew later, and colder, we huddled closer, and to distract Brianna, Frank began to tell her Dickens’s story from memory, counting on me to supply the missing bits. Neither of us could have done it alone, but between us, we managed well. By the time the sinister Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come had made his appearance, Brianna was snuggled sound asleep under the coats, a warm, boneless weight against my side.

There was no need to finish the story, but we did, talking to each other below the words, hands touching below the layers of blankets. I remembered Frank’s hands, warm and strong on mine, thumb stroking my palm, outlining my fingers. Frank had always loved my hands.

The car had filled with the mist of our breathing, and drops of water ran down inside the white-choked windows. Frank’s head had been a dark cameo, dim against the white. He had leaned toward me at the last, nose and cheeks chilled, lips warm on mine as he whispered the last words of the story.

"’God bless us, every one,’" I ended, and lay silent, a small needle of grief like an ice splinter through my heart. It was quiet inside the shelter, and seemed darker; snow had covered over all the openings.

Jamie reached back and touched my leg.

"Put your hands inside my shirt, Sassenach," he said softly. I slid one hand up under his shirt in front, to rest against his chest, the other up his back. The faded whip marks felt like threads under his skin.

He laid his hand against mine, pressing it tight against his chest. He was very warm, and his heart beat slow and strong under my fingers.

"Sleep, a nighean donn,"" he said. "I wilna let ye freeze."


This excerpt (“Daily Lines”) was also posted on my official Facebook page on December 21, 2017.

“A Hunting We Will Go” (BEES)


From Friday, November 24, 2017 (The Day After Thanksgiving):

2017-11-24-Diana-grbaby-pupsI finished carving and scavenging the turkey carcass around 1:30 a.m. last night. (Not that I was working all the time up to then. <g> The festivities wound down around 5:30 p.m., and everyone subsided into a digestive meditation, emerging periodically for a piece of pie or a handful of Moose Munch. Everybody fell asleep around 9 p.m., including me and the dogs.)

Below is a new Excerpt (“Daily Lines”) from GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, nicknamed “BEES,” the ninth book in my Outlander series of major novels. I am currently writing and doing research for BEES.

Happy Holidays!

-Diana


Please note that the Excerpt below may contain SPOILERS…

Social Media Hashtags: #DailyLines, #ForThanksgiving, #FamilyAndFood, #NoFootball, #BriannaAndJamie, #AHuntingWeWillGo

2017-11-DG-Santa-Fe-cottonwoodIt was a steep climb, and she found herself puffing, sweat starting to purl behind her ears in spite of the cool day. Her father climbed, as ever, like a mountain goat, without the slightest appearance of strain, but—to her chagrin—noticed her struggling and beckoned her aside, onto a small ledge.

“We’re in nay hurry, a nighean,” he said, smiling at her. “There’s water here.” He reached out, with an obvious tentativeness, and touched her flushed cheek, quickly taking back his hand.

“Sorry, lass,” he said, and smiled. “I’m no used yet to the notion that ye’re real.”

“I know what you mean,” she said softly, and swallowing, reached out and touched his face, warm and clean-shaven, slanted eyes deep blue as hers.

“Och,” he said under his breath, and gently brought her into his arms. She hugged him tight and they stood that way, not speaking, listening to the cry of ravens circling overhead and the trickling of water on rock.

“[Come and drink, a nighean, [Gaelic]]” he said, letting go as gently as he’d grasped her, and turning her toward a tiny freshet that ran down a crevice between two rocks. Come and drink.

The water was icy and tasted of granite and the faint turpentine tang of pine needles.

She’d slaked her thirst and was splashing water on her flushed cheeks when she felt her father make a sudden movement. She froze at once, cutting her eyes at him. He also stood frozen, but lifted both eyes and chin a little, signaling to the slope above them.

She saw—and heard—it then, a slow crumble of falling dirt that broke loose and hit the ledge beside her foot with a tiny rattle of pebbles. This was followed by silence, except for the calling of the ravens. That was louder, she thought, as though the birds were nearer. They see something, she thought.

They were nearer. A raven swooped suddenly, flashing unnervingly near her head, and another screamed from above.

A sudden boom from the outcrop overhead nearly made her lose her footing, and she grabbed a handful of sapling sticking out of the rock-face by reflex. Just in time, too, for there was a thump and a slithering noise above and at what seemed the same instant, something huge fell past in a shower of dirt and gravel, bouncing off the ledge next to her in an explosion of breath, blood and impact before landing with a crash in the bushes below.

“Blessed Michael defend us,” said her father in Gaelic, crossing himself. He peered down into the thrashing brush below—Jesus, whatever it was, was still alive—then up.

“[Mohawk!]” said an impassioned male voice from above. She didn’t recognize the word, but she did know the voice and joy burst over her.

“Ian!” she called. There was total silence from above, save for the ravens, who were getting steadily more upset.

“Blessed Michael defend us,” said a startled voice in Gaelic, and an instant later, her cousin Ian had dropped onto their narrow ledge, where he balanced with no apparent difficulty.

“It is you!” she said. “Oh, Ian!”

“[Cousin!]” He grabbed her and squeezed tight, laughing in disbelief. “God, it’s you!” He drew back for an instant for a good look to confirm it, laughed again in delight, kissed her solidly and re-squeezed. He smelled like buckskin, porridge and gunpowder and she could feel his heart thumping against her own chest.

She vaguely heard a scrabbling noise and as they let go of each other, realized that her father had dropped off the ledge and was half-sliding down the scree below it, toward the brush where the deer—it must have been a deer—had fallen.

He halted for a moment at the edge of the brushy growth—the bushes were still thrashing, but the movements of the wounded deer were growing less violent—then drew his dirk and with a muttered remark in Gaelic, waded gingerly into the brush.

“It’s all rose-briers down there,” Ian said, peering over her shoulder. “But I think he’ll make it in time to cut the throat. A Dhia, it was a bad shot and I was afraid I—but what the dev—I mean, how is it ye’re here?” He stood back a little, his eyes running over her, the corner of his mouth turning up slightly as he noted her breeches and leather hiking shoes, this fading as his eyes returned to her face, worried now. “Is your man not with you? And the bairns?”

“Yes, they are,” she assured him. “Roger’s hammering things and Jem’s helping him and Mandy’s getting in the way. As for what we’re doing here…” The day and the joy of reunion had let her ignore the recent past, but the ultimate need of explanation brought the enormity of it all suddenly crashing in upon her.

“Dinna fash, cousin,” Ian said swiftly, seeing her face. “It’ll bide. D’ye think ye recall how to shoot a turkey? There’s a band o’ them struttin’ to and fro like folk dancing Strip the Willow at a ceilidh, not a quarter-mile from here.”

“Oh, I might.” She’d propped the fowling piece against the cliff-face while she drank; the deer’s fall had knocked it over and she picked it up, checking; the fall had knocked the flint askew, and she re-seated it. The thrashing below had stopped, and she could hear her father’s voice, in snatches above the wind, saying the gralloch prayer.

“Hadn’t we better help Da with the deer, though?”

“Ach, it’s no but a yearling buck, he’ll have it done before ye can blink.” Ian leaned out from the ledge, calling down. “I’m takin’ Bree to shoot turkeys, a mathair-braither…!”

Dead silence from below, and then a lot of rustling and Jamie’s disheveled head poked suddenly up above the rose-briers. His hair was loose and tangled, his face was deeply flushed and bleeding in several places, as were his arms and hands, and he looked displeased.

“Ian,” he said, in measured tones, but in a voice loud enough to be easily heard above the forest sounds. “Mac Ian…mac Ian…!”

“We’ll be back to help carry the meat!” Ian called back. He waved cheerily, and grabbing the fowling piece, caught Bree’s eye and jerked his chin upward. She glanced down, but her father had disappeared, leaving the bushes swaying in agitation.

She’d lost much of her eye for the wilderness, she found; the cliff looked impassible to her, but Ian scrambled up as easily as a baboon, and after a moment’s hesitation, she followed, much more slowly, slipping now and then in small showers of dirt as she groped for the holds her cousin had used.

“Ian mac Ian mac Ian?” she asked, reaching the top and pausing to empty the dirt out of her shoes. Her heart was beating unpleasantly hard. “Is that like me calling Jem Jeremiah [what are his middle names?] MacKenzie when I’m annoyed with him?”

“Something like,” Ian said, shrugging. “Ian, son of Ian, son of Ian… the notion is to point out ye’re a disgrace to your forefathers, aye?” He was wearing a ragged, filthy calico shirt, but the sleeves had been torn off, and she saw a large white scar in the shape of a four-pointed star on the curve of his bare brown shoulder.

“What was that?” she said, nodding at it. He glanced at it, and made a dismissive gesture, turning to lead her across the small ridge.

“Ach, no much,” he said. “An Abenaki bastard shot me wi’ an arrow, at Monmouth. Denny cut it out for me a few days after—that’s Denzell Hunter,” he added, seeing her blank look. “Rachel’s brother. He’s a doctor, like your mam.”

“Rachel!” she exclaimed. “Da said you got married—Rachel’s your wife?”

A huge grin spread across his face.

“She is,” he said simply. “Taing do Dhia…” Then looked quickly at her to see if she’d understood.

“I remember ‘Thanks be to God,’” she assured him. “And quite a bit more. Roger spent most of the voyage from Scotland refreshing our Gaidhlig. Did Da also tell me Rachel’s a Quaker?” she asked, stretching to step across the stones in a tiny brook.

“Aye, she is.” Ian’s eyes were fixed on the stones, but she thought he spoke with a bit less joy and pride than he’d had a moment before. She left it alone, though; if there was a conflict—and she couldn’t quite see how there wouldn’t be, given what she knew about her cousin and what she thought she knew about Quakers—this wasn’t the time to ask questions.

Not that such considerations stopped Ian.

“From Scotland?” he said, turning his head to look back at her over his shoulder. “When?” Then his face changed suddenly, as he realized the ambiguity of “when,” and he made an apologetic gesture, dismissing the question.

“We left Edinburgh in late June,” she said, taking the simplest answer for now. “I’ll tell you the rest later.”

He nodded, and for a time they walked, sometimes together, sometimes with Ian leading, finding deer trails or cutting upward to go around a thick growth of bush. She was happy to follow him, so she could look at him without embarrassing him with her scrutiny.

He’d changed—no great wonder there—still tall and very lean, but hardened, a man grown fully into himself, the long muscles of his arms clear-cut under his skin. His brown hair was darker, plaited and tied with a leather thong, and adorned with what looked like very fresh turkey feathers bound into the braid. For good luck? She wondered. He’d picked up the bow and quiver he’d left at the top of the cliff, and the quiver swung gently now against his back.

But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face, she thought, entertained. 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 poem had always summoned Roger for her, but now it encompassed Ian and her father as well, different as the three of them were.

As they rose higher and the timber opened out, the breeze rose and freshened, and Ian halted, beckoning her with a small movement of his fingers.

“D’ye hear them?” he breathed in her ear.

She did, and the hairs rippled pleasantly down her backbone. Small, harsh yelps, almost like a barking dog. And farther off, a sort of intermittent purr, something between a large cat and a small motor.

“Best take off your stockings and rub your legs wi’ dirt,” Ian whispered, motioning toward her woolen stockings. “Your hands and face as well.”

She nodded, set the gun against a tree, and scratched dry leaves away from a patch of soil, moist enough to rub on her skin. Ian, his own skin nearly the color of his buckskins, needed no such camouflage. He moved silently away while she was anointing her hands and face, and when she looked up, she couldn’t see him for a moment.

Then there was a series of sounds like a rusty door hinge swinging to and fro, and suddenly she saw him, standing stock still behind a [tree] some fifty feet away.

The forest seemed to go dead for an instant, the soft scratchings and leaf-murmurs ceasing. Then there was an angry gobble and she turned her head as slowly as she could, to see a tom turkey poke his pale blue head out of the grass and look sharp from side to side, wattles bright red and swinging, looking for the challenger.

She cut her eyes at Ian, his hands cupped at his mouth, but he didn’t move or make a sound. She held her breath and looked back at the turkey, who emitted another loud gobble—this one echoed by another tom at a distance. The turkey she was watching glanced back toward that sound, lifted his head and yelped, listened for a moment, and then ducked back into the grass. She glanced at Ian; he caught her movement and shook his head, very slightly.

They waited for the space of sixteen slow breaths—she counted—and then Ian gobbled again. The tom popped out of the grass and strode across a patch of open, leaf-packed ground, blood in his eye, breast feathers puffed and tail fanned out to a fare-thee-well. He paused for a moment to allow the woods to admire his magnificence, then commenced strutting slowly to and fro, uttering harsh, aggressive cries.

Moving only her eyeballs, she glanced back and forth between the strutting tom and Ian, who timed his movements to those of the strutting turkey, sliding the bow from his shoulder, freezing, bringing an arrow to hand, freezing, and finally nocking the arrow as the bird made its final turn.

Or what should have been its final turn. Ian bent his bow and in the same movement, released his arrow and uttered a startled, all-too-human yelp as a large, dark object dropped from the tree above him. He jerked back and the turkey barely missed landing on his head. She could see it now, a hen, feathers fluffed in fright, running with neck outstretched across the open ground toward the equally startled tom, who had deflated in shock.

By reflex, she seized her shotgun, brought it to bear and fired. She missed, and both turkeys disappeared into a patch of ferns, making noises that sounded like a small hammer striking a wood block.

The echoes died away and the leaves of the trees settled back into their murmur. She looked at her cousin, who glanced at his bow, then across the open ground to where his arrow was sticking absurdly out from between two rocks. He looked at her, and they both burst into laughter.

“Aye, well,” he said philosophically. “That’s what we get for leavin’ Uncle Jamie to pick roses by himself.”

[end section]

Visit my official BEES webpage for more “Daily Lines” (aka “Excerpts”) and other information about Book Nine!


Selected Social-Media Questions and Comments, and My Responses:

Comments posted on Social Media about this BEES excerpt—and questions for me—are in italics, followed by my replies:

Jeremiah Alexander Ian Fraser MacKenzie (A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES, page 978).

Thank you! I knew some kind soul would save me the trouble of looking it up. <g>

Thanks for all these appetizers, Diana, I’m always happy to read them. You are awesome. <3 I wish you and your family a HAPPY THANKSGIVING. How do you celebrate it this year?

Fruit-stuffed turkey and a lovely new soup (butternut/roasted tomato/garlic with red ginger)—and a rousing Cornhole tournament on the back patio!

WOW! A perfect treat on this Black Friday early morning, reminding me how simple life used to be back then! I’m still up from some midnight shopping. I hope to get a few hours of sleep before my kids wake up. I hope your Thanksgiving dinner was a success.

Yeah, if you have to hunt your own food (and cook it in an open hearth), life gets pretty simple. It’s not the same things as “easy,” mind <g>, but it’s very straight-forward.

“What are his middle names?” And yet you keep writing! I would’ve been obsessed and not continued to write until I found out… which explains why you have many books published and I have many unfinshed ones… lol. Thanks for this Turkey Day Treat!!! Made my night!!!!!

Well, he has middle names—I just didn’t recall them at the moment, but I knew somebody would pop up with them (and sure enough, they did. <g>…). But yes, I normally do just put in square empty brackets — […] — when there’s something that needs to be looked up, and take care of that later.

I’m not quite sure if I love or hate you… Every time I read a new bit (of BEES), I get more eager to read the whole thing. And (unfortunately) I am not really blessed with al lot of patience.

Well… luckily it doesn’t really matter whether you have the gift of patience or not. <g&rt;

Does Jamie ‘talk’ to Bree when she goes back to her time, like he ‘talked’ to Claire when in need? I am imagining that hunting would be a reminder of her absence. The way he reached out to make physical contact with her face reminds me of when Claire came back to him in the print shop.

I don’t think so. He loves Bree with all his heart—but Claire is his heart.

Were Ian and Rachel away from the Ridge? They weren’t at the “feast” when the MacKenzies came back? Or does this take place before that?

Only the people who live quite near the original cabin and new “Big House” site would have heard/spread the news. Fraser’s Ridge covers a lot of ground, and the clustering of homesteads depends on the terrain. Ian and Rachel have a very fine piece of land, but it’s located about a mile from the Big House. They wouldn’t have heard until morning—and I imagine Ian was out hunting already when the news came.

It truly amazes me how you write so well and so vivid about places and things that you may have not seen or done such as turkey hunting in North Carolina. I guess it doesn’ hurt that you are very talented and spend a lot of time researching. You make every part of your works so real to the rest of us. You will definitely always be a literary great.

YouTube and Google are a godsend to a writer, believe me. So far, I’ve looked up turkey-hunting, possum-hunting, frog-gigging, alligator hunting and How to Amputate a Leg, among other picturesque things.

Deer hunting season started this week in central Alabama. We live in a rural, heavily wooded area. Those trees are alive with hunters this week with the frequent pop of gunfire. I have found it most annoying this week as it upsets our dog and cats and wakes us all up at night too. Your account of deer and turkey hunting and Ian and Bree’s reunion changes my perspective of those faceless hunters in my nearby woods. I hope Jamie is okay down there picking roses!

He’s not alone…


The questions and comments above were posted originally on Social Media my official Facebook or Twitter accounts).

Image captions: Relaxing with my grandson and two of our family’s dogs. And then a photo that I took of a big old Cottonwood tree in Santa Fe.

To add a comment or question, or to read web comments made about this blog entry from others, please click on the “Comments” link below. Note that comments on my website are moderated (all of them are read and approved by me). It may take a few days or longer—depending on my current schedule—for a comment to appear.

“My father?” (BEES)


Given that it is Thanksgiving… what are y’all making for dinner?

Ours is pretty traditional – fruit-stuffed turkey (no bread stuffing, because I hate stuffing and I do the cooking) roasted on a bed of apples, carrots, grapes and small potatoes, with rosemary-suffused olive oil rubbed under the skin. Candied yams, because… Thanksgiving. Mashed potatoes (I don’t like those, either, but husband and younger daughter love them) with gravy (using the pan juices from the turkey, with broth from Penzey’s chicken soup base). Butternut squash soup, made with butternut squash (reasonably enough), roasted tomatoes and roasted garlic (I bought a thumb of ginger this morning; debating the wisdom of adding just a tinge to the soup). Devilled eggs. Fresh berries. Olives and sliced peppers with a small antipasto platter (ham, deli-sliced roast beef and provolone, because younger daughter and I love roast beef sandwiches). A dish of pickled green asparagus and lightly salted white asparagus.

Pumpkin or apple pie for dessert, with home-made whipped cream. Oh, and champagne, of course. <g>

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

-Diana


Please note that the Excerpt below may contain SPOILERS…

Social Media Hashtags: #DailyLines, #BookNine, #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE, #flashback, #Williamisseventeen, #WhataboutWilliamsThirdFather

2017-11-20-FB-Wm-3rd-dadThe upper gallery at Ellesmere. A broad, square open staircase led upward to the second floor. Here the roof soared high overhead, and a gallery surrounded the stairwell on three sides, with tall windows on one side and various portraits on the other three walls.

“Isobel told me this was painted soon after her marriage,” Lord John had said, nodding to the portrait of a very beautiful young woman. The painter hadn’t been particularly skilled—the woman’s hair was simply dark, some color between brown and black, and her gown clumsily rendered—but William recognized her face; the same face he’d seen every day for years, in a miniature he’d carried with him from home to London, to school, and now would take with him to the army.

He thought the painter had loved her, perhaps; the face was done with both care and feeling.

“Someone told me I have her mouth,” he said, softly, as though not to startle her.

“You have,” said Lord John, raising a brow. “Who told you that?”

“Mother Isobel.” He turned away from the portrait, feeling suddenly unsettled. “It seems strange to see her—Mother Geneva—here, alone.” There were several portraits of her at Helwater—but always portraits done with her younger sister, with her parents. Even the portraits of her by herself were always side by side with similar portraits of Isobel.

“So it does.” Lord John spoke softly, too. It was hushed as a church here on the landing, an illusion enhanced by the tall, quiet windows with their stained-glass borders. And by the fact that everybody in these pictures is dead…

He turned restlessly away, toward the opposite wall, across the open well of the staircase. The wall was dominated by a large portrait of an elderly man in a formal wig and the robes of an Earl. Not bad looking for his age, William thought. Bit of a tough, though, from his expression. The thought made William smile.

“That’s him, is it? My father?”


Selected Social Media Comments:

…about this excerpt from Book Nine, with my responses… <g>

Wait…didn’t William find out Jamie was his father in book 7 or 8? Editing to add that I was so excited to read the daily lines that I missed the hashtag.

#Thatllteachyalltoreadthehashtags!

Love the snippet. Can I ask what the yellow plant in the image is? A bottlebrush?

Beargrass!


Click here to visit my BEES (Book Nine) webpage.


These “Daily Lines” (or “excerpt”) and comments were first posted on my official Facebook page on November 20-21, 2017.

“A Bit of Trouble?” (BEES excerpt)


First, the NY Times is Wrong About BEES…

A recent New York Times article about the Starz Outlander TV show, titled “‘Outlander’ Finally Unveiled Jamie’s Big Secret; Here’s How the Writers Did It.” by Jennifer Vineyard, implied that my next book, GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, might be finished soon. Vineyard stated that “Gabaldon is putting the finishing touches on Book 9.”

This is certainly not the case (see my hashtags, below). Ms. Vineyard should have checked with me first; I am not difficult to find. <g>


“A Bit of Trouble?” (Daily-Lines/Excerpt from BEES)

The following Daily Lines (or excerpt) are from GO TELL THE BEES THAT I HAVE GONE, book nine in my Outlander series of major novels. Note that Daily Lines (excerpts) may contain SPOILERS!

Social Media Hashtags: #DailyLines, #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE, #BookNine, #Noitsnotfinished, #nowherenear, #maybelate2018, #maybenot, #whoknows, #gowatchtheshow

AZ-bee-DGabaldon-crop.jpgI was startled from a solid sleep by Jamie exploding out of bed beside me. This wasn’t an uncommon occurrence, but as usual, it left me sitting bolt upright amid the quilts, dry-mouthed and completely dazed, heart hammering like a drill-press.

He was already down the stairs; I heard the thump of his bare feet on the last few treads—and above that sound, frenzied pounding on the front door. A ripple of unrest spread through the house: rustling bedclothes, sleepy voices, opening doors.

I shook my head violently and flung off the covers. Him or me? was the first coherent thought that formed out of the fog drifting through my brain. Night alarms like this might be news of violence or misadventure, and sometimes of a nature that required all hands, like a house fire or someone having unexpectedly met with a hunting panther at a spring. More often, though…

I heard Jamie’s voice, and the panic left me. It was low, questioning, with a cadence that meant he was soothing someone. Someone else was talking, in high-pitched agitation, but it wasn’t the sound of disaster.

Me, then. Childbirth or accident? My mind had suddenly resurfaced and was working clearly, even while my body fumbled to and fro, trying to recall what I had done with my grubby stockings. Probably birth, in the middle of the night… But the uneasy thought of fire still lurked on the edge of my thoughts.

I had a clear picture in my mind of my emergency kit, and was grateful that I’d thought to refurbish it just before supper. It was sitting ready on the corner of my surgery table. My mind was less clear about other things; I’d put my stays on backward. I yanked them off, flung them on the bed, and went to splash water on my face, thinking a lot of things I couldn’t say out loud, as I could hear children’s feet now pattering across the landing.

I reached the bottom of the stairs belatedly, to find Fanny and Germaine with Jamie, who was talking with a very young girl no more than Fanny’s age, standing barefoot, distraught, and wearing nothing more than a threadbare shift. I didn’t recognize her.

“Ach, here’s Herself now,” Jamie said, glancing over his shoulder. He had a hand on the girl’s shoulder, as though to keep her from flying away. She looked as if she might: thin as a broomstraw, with baby-fine brown hair tangled by the wind, and eyes looking anxiously in every direction for possible help.

“This is Annie Cloudtree, Claire,” he said, nodding toward the girl. “Fanny, will ye find a shawl or something to lend the lass, so she doesna freeze?”

“I don’t n-need—” the girl began, but her arms were wrapped around herself and she was shivering so hard that her words shook.

“Her mother’s with child,” Jamie interrupted her, looking at me. “And maybe having a bit of trouble with the birth.”

“We c-can’t p-pay—”

“Don’t worry about that,” I said, and nodding to Jamie, took her in my arms. She was small and bony and very cold, like a half-feathered nestling fallen from a tree.

“It will be all right,” I said softly to her, and smoothed down her hair. “We’ll go to your mother at once. Where do you live?”

She gulped and wouldn’t look up, but was so cold she clung to me for warmth.

“I don’t know. I m-mean—I don’t know how to say. Just—if you can come with me, I can take you back?” She wasn’t Scottish.

I looked at Jamie for information—I’d not heard of the Cloudtrees; they must be recent settlers—but he shook his head, one brow raised. He didn’t know them, either.

“Did ye come afoot, lassie?” he asked, and when she nodded, asked, “Was the sun still up when ye left your home?”

She shook her head. “No, sir. ‘Twas well dark, we’d all gone to bed. Then my mother’s pains came on sudden, and…” She gulped again, tears welling in her eyes.

“And the moon?” Jamie asked, as though nothing were amiss. “Was it up when ye set out?”

His matter-of-fact tone eased her a little, and she took an audible breath, swallowed, and nodded.

“Well up, sir. Two hands-breadths above the edge of the earth.”

“What a very poetic turn of phrase,” I said, smiling at her. Fanny had come with my old gardening shawl—it was ratty and had holes, but had been made of thick new wool to start with. I took it from Fanny with a nod of thanks and wrapped it round the girl’s shoulders.

Jamie had stepped out on the porch, presumably to see where the moon now was. He stepped back in, and nodded to me.

“The brave wee lass has been abroad in the night alone for about three hours, Sassenach. Miss Annie—is there a decent trail that leads to your father’s place?”

Her soft brow scrunched in concern—she wasn’t sure what “decent” might mean in this context—but she nodded uncertainly.

“There’s a trail,” she said, looking from Jamie to me in hopes that this might be enough.

“We’ll ride, then,” he said to me, over her head. “The moon’s bright enough.” And I think we’d best hurry, his expression added. I rather thought he was right.

More information and excerpts (Daily Lines) are available on my official webpage for GO TELL THE BEES THAT I HAVE GONE.


Selected Social Media Questions and Comments:

AZ-bee-DGabaldonDid you take the image of the bee in your garden?

Yes, a late-blooming weed of some kind. Bees all over it! (The full-sized version of the image above is at right. Click to view a larger version.)

I know it irritates you when people ask you for the last book. It is a loonngg time people wait between books. I find that waiting 6 months is a bit much in several of my favorite authors series. Your long term readers should be applauded as should the quality of writing that allows your fans to wait somewhat patiently. Just realize there are some of your readers that have chronic illnesses that truly fear they will miss the last of this incredible love story. So do not get angry at the impatient readers. It is an honor to your writing that there are some of us where time is not a given.

I’m never angry at them—just wonder why they think pestering me will make me write faster… I mean, I’m only capable of writing at a certain pace, if I’m going to make it a good book—and I do mean to. <smile>

Note from Diana’s Webmistress: BEES (Book Nine) is not the “last book” in Diana’s Outlander series of major novels. Diana has said there will be a Book Ten after BEES. And likely a prequel after that about Jamie’s parents.

Since you now have people and faces to your book characters [in the Outlander TV show,] have they made an impact on what your book characters are doing -or anything like that????

No. The show really doesn’t affect anything I do writing-wise.

What makes up Clare’s emergency kit?

It’s a leather satchel with a cross-body strap, so she can carry it easily through woods or across battle-fields.

Dangling a carrot in front of us, are ye? Not nice!

Well, you can always choose not to read the excerpts… <she says sweetly>

-Diana


This excerpt was released on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, about 2 a.m. on my official Facebook page.

DRAGONFLY 25th Anniversary Edition!


This post was made by Diana’s Webmistress:

dragonfly-25thanniv-coverA new special hardcover edition of DRAGONFLY IN AMBER was released in the U.S.A. and select global markets on October 24, 2017, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its initial publication. It features a beautiful new cover, a new introduction by Diana and a reader’s group guide. DRAGONFLY is the second major novel in Diana’s best-selling OUTLANDER series. The popular Starz Outlander TV series is based on these novels.

An event with Diana to celebrate this new edition of DRAGONFLY will be held TODAY, Sunday, November 5, 2017, in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the Doubletree Resort, beginning at 2:00 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Poisoned Pen Bookstore! Diana Gabaldon will give a talk for about 40 minutes, then answer reader’s questions from the audience. A book signing with Diana will follow the Q&A session. The event is open to the public, and tickets are not required. Note that it is FREE to attend Diana’s talk, which begins at 2 p.m., and the Q&A session afterward.

To join Diana’s book signing line after her talk and Q&A session, please note that a purchase of this new 25th anniversary edition of DRAGONFLY IN AMBER from the Poisoned Pen is required for each person in the signing line, and each person in the signing line may also bring up to 3 books from home for Diana to sign, too. Copies of DRAGONFLY 25th will be available for purchase at the event for the signing line. Purchases of this new book from other vendors or bookstores will NOT be allowed for entry into the signing line. A quick photo with Diana will be allowed at her discretion and as time allows, says the Pen.

Come and meet Diana as she signs your new book! All who stay for the signing line and purchase the new book will have their books signed in person by Diana, both those who live locally and those who have come from out of town!

Copies of this new edition of DRAGONFLY pre-signed by Diana are available ‘to go’ for those who can’t stay for the book signing line.

Free valet parking is provided for this event, as well as the usual do-it-yourself surface parking. Doors open at 1 p.m., and it will be open seating. Also, a cash bar will be provided by the resort.

Click for the latest details about today’s event from the Poisoned Pen’s event calendar!

For more information on all of Diana’s appearances, including this one, please see Diana’s official appearances page. And please check it often for updates and new events!


Signing Copies of DRAGONFLY 25th At The Pen!

Below is a fun “Where’s Waldo?” photo of Diana signing pre-ordered copies of the new 25th Anniversary edition of DRAGONFLY IN AMBER and some of her other titles at the Poisoned Pen in late October! Photo credit: Poisoned Pen bookstore.

2017-10-24-Diana-signing-crop


Copies Available By Mail, Too!

Can’t attend the event on November 5? But you want a signed copy for yourself? Or as a holiday gift for someone special? Not to worry…

Click here to buy a new copy of the 25th Anniversary Edition of DRAGONFLY IN AMBER from the Poisoned Pen, signed by Diana!

The Pen’s information and purchasing link above is for the edition published by Diana’s U.S. publisher, Random House (Delacorte).

There is no extra charge for Diana’s signature! And you may request a short line such as “To Jill,” also written by Diana. The book is sold at regular list price, and you will need to pay for shipping. The Pen ships anywhere in the world! Please allow extra time which may be needed for signing and personalizing your book.

New copies of all of Diana’s books, signed by her, in multiple editions are always available for purchase from the Pen both online and in person.

“Taking Leave” (BEES) & Happy News!


New Grandson!

The family is thrilled and delighted to announce the safe arrival of a lovely baby boy. 9 pounds, 2 ounces, a very solid citizen with extremely good lungs. His parents haven’t yet decided on a name and we won’t know for sure what color his hair is until he has his first bath tomorrow, but we love him dearly, and are so grateful to all of you for your thoughts, good wishes, prayers and sweet gifts. Moran taing!


Social Media Hashtags: #DailyLines, #BookNine, #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE, #TakingLeave, #IdbewritingmoreifIwasntinSanDiegodoingComicCon, #Orwatchinggrandsonbeingborn, #orotherfunstuff, #ButIamsoImnot, #Ididpromiseyousomethingentertainingtonightthough

She sat, unobtrusive in the shadows. Head bent, the soft shush of her charcoal lost in the clearing of throats, the rustle of clothing. But she watched them, in ones and twos and threes, as they ducked under the open tent flap and came to the general’s side. There each man paused to look on his face, calm in the candlelight, and she caught what she could of the drifting currents that crossed their own faces: shadows of grief and sorrow, eyes sometimes dark with fear, or blank with shock and tiredness.

Often, they wept.

William and John Cinnamon flanked her, standing just behind on either side, silent and respectful. General [ ]‘s orderly had offered them stools, but they had courteously refused, and she found their buttressing presences oddly comforting.

The soldiers came by companies, the uniforms (in some cases, only militia badges) changing. John Cinnamon shifted his weight now and then, and occasionally took a deep breath or cleared his throat. William didn’t.

What was he doing? she wondered. Counting the soldiers? Assessing the condition of the American troops? They were shabby; dirty and unkempt, and in spite of their respectful demeanor, few of the companies seemed to have much notion of order.

For the first time, it occurred to her to wonder just what William’s motive in coming had been. She’d been so happy at meeting him that she’d accepted his statement that he wouldn’t let his sister go unaccompanied into a military camp at face value. Was it true, though? From the little Lord John had said, she knew that William had resigned his army commission—but that didn’t mean he’d changed sides. Or that he had no interest in the state of the American siege, or that he didn’t intend to pass on any information he gained during this visit. Clearly he still knew people in the British army.

The skin on her shoulders prickled at the thought, and she wanted to turn round and look up at him. A moment’s hesitation and she did just that. His face was grave, but he was looking at her.

“All right?” he asked in a whisper.

“Yes,” she said, comforted by his voice. “I just wondered whether you’d fallen asleep standing up.”

“Not yet.”

She smiled, and opened her mouth to say something, apologize for keeping him and his friend out all night. He stopped her with a small twitch of fingers.

“It’s all right,” he said softly. “You do what you came to do. We’ll stay with you, and take you home in the morning. I meant it; I won’t leave you alone.”

Visit my GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE (Book Nine) webpage….


The birth announcement was posted on my official Facebook page on July 19, 2017. “Taking Leave” was posted on same official Facebook page on July 23, 2017 at 12:08 a.m..

Denver Comic Con Fun


2017-Comic-Con-1Had a fabulous weekend at the Denver Comic Con (and got to zip up to Ft. Collins and visit daughter, son-in-law, and incipient grandchild, which was lovely)!

Click on an image to view a larger version.

2017-DenverComicCon-4I did a panel (so to speak) with the delightful Andrew Gower (or, as he modestly styled himself, “Shortbread-biscuit Man”—i.e., Bonnie Prince Charlie in the Outlander TV show), and had a great time. Did a few other panels on things like complex villains, the process of adapting a book to the screen, integrating love and sex into fantasy and sf (didn’t quite understand that one—I mean, either it’s there or it’s not; what integration?—etc.—and signed zillions of books, first for Del Rey (an arm of Penguin Random House, who are my publishers), and then twice for The Tattered Cover—the largest (I think) independent bookstore in the country (certainly in Colorado…), and a lovely establishment (they have two—or possibly three—stores in the Denver area, where I’ve done signings on many occasions). I signed all their leftover copies of SEVEN STONES as well, so there are at least a hundred signed copies of that book in stock—if you’re still looking for an autographed copy, I mean.

Many thanks to the Denver Comic Con for a great weekend, and to all the wonderful writers, artists, and Tyrannosauri I met there!

(The new [Facebook] profile picture [below] is of me getting ready to leave my hotel room for the first day of the con.)

2017-DenverComicCon-fbprofile


This blog was posted on my official Facebook page on July 4, 2017. Also, my Webmistress adjusted the lighting in my Denver Comic Con selfie pic. The original may be found here.

SEVEN STONES on June 27, 2017!


Seven-Stones-cover-lgAlrighty, then! Penguin Random House (U.S. and U.K.) and I are delighted to announce that SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL comes out June 27th!

(For those who’ve just stopped by…this is NOT (repeat NOTNOTNOT) Book Nine. SEVEN STONES is a collection of “Outlander short fiction”—i.e., novellas. (Not all that short, either, but these things are relative…. the individual novellas run from 30,000-50,000 words each, so this is a fairly substantial book.)

So, to introduce the book, every week we’ll have #DailyLines (excerpts) that feature a different novella, starting this week with THE CUSTOM OF THE ARMY. (Yes, we’ll have other #DailyLines, too. These snippets are special for the new book.)

Seven-Stones-cover-UKSocial Media Hashtags: #DailyLines, #SevenStonesToStandOrFall, #TheCustomOfTheArmy, #LordJohnGrey, #Quebec, #TheFrenchArentTheOnlyThingToLookOutFor

Straightening up from the gunwale, the Indian caught Grey’s eye and smiled.

“You be careful, Englishman,” he said, in a voice with a noticeable French accent, and, reaching out, ran his fingers quite casually through Grey’s loose hair. “Your scalp would look good on a Huron’s belt.”

This made the soldiers from the boat all laugh, and the Indian, still smiling, turned to them.

“They are not so particular, the Abenaki who work for the French. A scalp is a scalp—and the French pay well for one, no matter what color.” He nodded genially to the grenadiers, who had stopped laughing. “You come with me.”

Click here to read more about the stories in SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL.

Or click here for online buying links.


Also posted on my official facebook page.