• “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 Literary Three-Way

By popular demand….

Ummm….OK. This one really _was_ Chris Humphreys’s fault. A couple of weeks ago, a number of game (and fairly uninhibited) people kindly took part in the Late-Night Sex-Scene readings at the Historical Novel Society conference in San Diego. Owing to circumstances I claim not to remember {cough}, I’ve been Mistress of Ceremonies for this now-traditional feature of the conference _twice_.

This time around, I had a lively lineup of volunteers, including Laurel Corona’s sweetly naïve French teenagers reading pornography, Deni Dietz’s drunken-sex-on-horseback, and Maggie Anton’s hot Talmudic sex scenes (as I remarked afterward, I had no idea what I was missing, being born Catholic…).

Anyway. At some point in the proceedings, Chris writes me to say that he and Gillian Bagwell would like to team-read a scene from her book, THE DARLING STRUMPET, which he describes as “the best blow-job in literature.” This being a scene in which the Earl of Rochester instructs Nell Gwyn in the, er, art of…um, well. Yes.

“Great,” I said. “You can be the—you should excuse the expression—climax of the evening.”

So we’re all set with our stellar lineup of readers—when I’m informed that Gillian and Chris have decided that the scene would work best with an outside narrator to carry the description, while _they_ do the dialogue, and would I kindly oblige? Gillian had kindly written up the script already, so I blinked and said, “OK. Why not?”

So that’s where this came from. I don’t vouch for the quality, either of the video or the performance (though Chris and Gillian both seemed to be doing very well, from my unusual vantage point)—but fwiw, here it is!

C.C. Humphrey, Diana Gabaldon, and Gillian Bagwell read from THE DARLING STRUMPET, by Gillian Bagwell.

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Jamie, or John?

Oookay, then!

Sorry to be so late in getting this post up; I’ve been in New Mexico for the last week, and the internet connection there was Just Abysmal; could barely keep it open long enough to tweet, let alone upload anything longer.
First things first: Upcoming appearances.

I’m flying to New York on Monday, and will be appearing (briefly) at the RWA convention, held at the Marriott Marquis. Appearances will be:

The Literacy Signing, where most of the published authors taking part will be available to sell/sign books—this is from 5:30-7:30 on June 28th, at the Marriott Marquis. This event _is_ open to the public, and I _believe_ that you’re allowed to bring in up to three of your own books from home to be signed, if you like.
The opening panel of the convention, where I’ll be taking part in a discussion with two other Random House authors, Steve Berry and Tess Gerritsen. This is part of the convention and open only to convention attendees. It’ll be from 8:30-10:00 AM on June 29th.

Then on July 5th—publication date for the cool new 20th-anniversary OUTLANDER edition!—I fly to Laramie Wyoming, where I’ll be doing the keynote speech for the Sir Walter Scott conference at the University of Wyoming. The conference program is here http://www.uwyo.edu/scottconf2011/program.html , but I don’t yet have a detailed personal schedule. I _will_ be doing at least one public book-signing, though; will post time and place as soon as I get them.

On July 8th, I fly _back_ to New York, for ThrillerFest, at the Hyatt. There, I’ll be doing a Livestream event with James Rollins (Powell’s Books is supplying books to be sold during this event—and I certainly _hope_ they’ll have the 20th-anniversary edition!) from 2-4:00 PM on July 8th.

On the evening of July 8th, I’ll be doing a joint signing with several other authors for a collaborative mystery novel called NO REST FOR THE DEAD. (This is one of those for-charity efforts—proceeds for this one go to cancer research—where a number of well-known authors take turns writing chapters, and the editor then goes through and kind of smooths things out so the story is coherent. Or so we hope, anyway.)

The signing will be held at 7:00 PM at the Center for Fiction, (17 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017), and authors attending will include Peter James, Marcia Talley, John Lescroart, RL Stine, Diana Gabaldon,Jeffery Deaver, Gayle Lynds and Andrew Gulli. (Just for my own part, I’m fine with people bringing their own books to be signed, too.) This is open to the public.

Aaaand, on July 9th, I’ll do a Spotlight Interview (at the Hyatt) for ThrillerFest, Kathleen Antrim being the interviewer. That’s from 1:00-1:50 PM. And then I’ll do a book-signing for the convention (open only to convention attendees) from 5:00-6:00 PM at the convention bookstore in the hotel.

Then I rush home on the 10th {g}, and do the Official Launch Party for the 20th-anniversary OUTLANDER on July 11th, at The Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale. 7:00 PM!

Righto. Now, I had promised to show you the two openings I have for SCOTTISH PRISONER. As it stands, I’m opening the book with Jamie’s point of view—but I _could_ open with Lord John’s first chapter instead, and do Jamie’s second.  I did it this way because I’d like people to realize right away that this is Jamie’s book, as much as Lord John’s—but it _is_ a Rather Unusual {cough} way to open a book.

So—those of you who don’t read excerpts should stop Right Here.

Those of you who _do_…here you go, and hope you enjoy them! Let me know what you think: Jamie first, or Lord John?

THE SCOTTISH PRISONER
(Copyright 2011 Diana Gabaldon)
Chapter 1:

Helwater, the Lake District
April 1, 1760

It was so cold out, he thought his cock might break off in his hand. If he could find it. The thought passed through his sleep-mazed mind like one of the small, icy drafts that darted through the loft, making him open his eyes.
He could find it now; had waked with his fist wrapped round it and desire shuddering and twitching over his skin like a cloud of midges. The dream was wrapped just as tightly round his mind, but he knew it would fray in seconds, shredded by the snores and farts of the other grooms. He needed her, needed to spill himself with the feel of her touch still on him.
Hanks stirred in his sleep, chuckled loudly, said something incoherent, and fell back into the void, murmuring, “Bugger, bugger, bugger…”
Jamie said something similar under his breath in the Gaelic, and flung back his blanket. Damn the cold.
He made his way down the ladder into the half-warm, horse-smelling fug of the barn, nearly falling in his haste, ignoring a splinter in his bare foot. He hesitated in the dark, still urgent. The horses wouldn’t care, but if they noticed him, they’d make enough noise, perhaps, to wake the others.

Wind struck the barn and went booming round the roof. A strong chilly draft with a scent of snow stirred the somnolence, and two or three of the horses shifted, grunting and whickering. Overhead, a murmured “‘ugger” drifted down, accompanied by the sound of someone turning over and pulling the blanket up round his ears, defying reality.

Claire was still with him, vivid in his mind, solid in his hands. He could imagine that he smelled her hair in the scent of fresh hay. The memory of her mouth, those sharp white teeth …he rubbed his nipple, hard and itching beneath his shirt, and swallowed.

His eyes were long accustomed to the dark; he found the vacant loose-box at the end of the row and leaned against its boards, cock already in his fist, body and mind yearning for his wife.
He’d have made it last if he could, but he was fearful lest the dream go altogether and he surged into the memory, groaning. His knees gave way in the aftermath and he slid slowly down the boards of the box into the loose piled hay, shirt rucked round his thighs and his heart pounding like a kettle drum.

[end section]

(more stuff in this chapter, of course)

Chapter 2: The Fate of Fuses

London
Argus House

Lord John Grey eyed the ribbon-tied packet on his knee as though it were a bomb. In fact, it couldn’t have been more explosive had it been filled with black powder and equipped with a fuse.
His attitude as he handed it to his brother must have reflected this knowledge, for Hal fixed him with a gimlet eye and raised one brow. He said nothing, though, flicking loose both ribbon and wrapping with an impatient gesture and bending his head at once over the thick sheaf of densely-written sheets that emerged.

Grey couldn’t stand to watch him read through Charles Carruthers’s post-mortem denunciation, recalling each damning page as Hal read it. He stood up and went to the window of the study that looked out into the back garden of Argus House, ignoring the swish of turning pages and the occasional blasphemous mutterings behind him.

Hal’s three boys were playing a game of tigers and hunters, leaping out at each other from behind the shrubbery with shrill roars, followed by shrieks of delight and yells of “Bang! Take that, you striped son of a bitch!”

The nurse seated on the edge of the fish-pool, keeping a tight grip on baby Dottie’s gown, looked up at this, but merely rolled her eyes with a martyred expression. Flesh and blood has its limits, her expression said clearly, and she resumed paddling a hand in the water, luring one of the big goldfish close so that Dottie could drop bits of bread to it.

John longed to be down there with them. It was a rare day for early April, and he felt the pulse of it in his blood, urging him to be outside, running bare-foot through young grass. Running naked down into the water… The sun was high, flooding warm through the glass of the French windows, and he closed his eyes and turned his face up to it.

Siverly. The name floated in the darkness behind his eyes, pasted across the blank face of an imagined cartoon major, drawn in uniform, an outsized sword brandished in his hand, and bags of money stuffed into the back of his breeches, obscene bulges under the skirt of his coat. One or two had fallen to the ground, bursting open so that you could see the contents–coin in one, the other filled with what looked like poppets, small wooden doll-like things. Each one with a tiny knife through its heart.

Hal swore in German behind him. He must have reached the part about the rifles; German oaths were reserved for the most stringent occasions, French being used for minor things like a burnt dinner, and Latin for formal insults committed to paper. Minnie wouldn’t let either Hal or John swear in English in the house, not wanting the boys to acquire low habits. John could have told her it was too late for such caution, but didn’t.

He turned round to see Hal on his feet, pale with rage, a sheet of paper crumpled in one hand.

“How dare he? How dare he?”

A small knot he hadn’t known was there dissolved under John’s ribs.

“You believe Carruthers, then?”

Hal glared at him.

“Don’t you? You knew the man.”

He had known Charles Carruthers–in more than one sense.

“Yes, I believed him when he told me about Siverly in Canada–and that–” he nodded at the papers, thrown in a sprawl across Hal’s desk, “–is even more convincing. You’d think he’d been a lawyer.”
He could still see Carruthers’s face, pale in the dimness of his attic room in [town], drawn with ill-health but set with grim determination to live long enough to see justice done. Charlie hadn’t lived that long, but long enough to write down every detail of the case against Major Gerald Siverly, and to entrust it to him.

He was the fuse that would detonate this particular bomb. And he was all too familiar with what happened to fuses, once lit.

[end section]

Quick Bits

I’m _just_ about to take off for the Historical Novel Society conference in San Diego, but wanted to remind everyone that I’ll be doing a signing at the Book Rack in Mesa on June 22nd, from 1-3 PM.

The Book Rack
1752 Signal Butte Rd.Suite 108
Mesa, AZ 85209

Our major crossroads are Signal Butte and the US60 and we are located in the Walmart Parking lot next to Cold Stone Creamery and Panda Express.

Our phone number is 480-380-0044.

And yes, to those who’ve been asking, I _will_ be at Bubonicon in late August.

I have a load of free Stuff described as “downloadables” (wallpapers, screen savers and the like) by Random House, which I’ll put up here  as soon as I get a chance–way up past mid-eyeball in finishing SCOTTISH PRISONER, which will likely be done wiithin a week! {crossing fingers}

And then…I have an informal poll question for y’all, which I’ll try to put up tomorrow night, i I’m not too wiped from a six-hour drive, a dinner cruise, and a dress {ahem} rehearsal in the bar for the Late-Night Sex-Scene readings. (I normally do these in my nightwear, but Chris Humphreys, who is doing a literary three-way with me and Gillian Bagwell, tells me he requires a sword, one of which I have borrowed from my son.)    SCOTTISH PRISONER is a two-man book–the men in question being Jamie and Lord John.  At the moment, it begins with Jamie’s story, with a scene that caused my husband to write, “Can you even _print_ this?” in the margin when he read it.   Now, I’ll definitely use that scene {g]–but not sure if I should lead off with it.  It might cause new readers either to slam the book shut and throw it back on the table–or rush to the cash register with it.   But I _could_ begin with Lord John’s part of the story, which is also very good, but a lot less…er…{cough}.  But I’ll show you both beginnings and you can give me your opinions, if you’d be so kind!

Manana!  (You’ll have to imagine the tilde over the first “n” there.  I stink at putting in diacritical marks.)

More Tasty Fictional Food!

Well, there’s nothing absolutely fictional about bridies; they’re a perfectly legitimate item of Scottish cuisine {g}—but I’m Much Obliged to Theresa Carle-Sanders, professional chef and dabbler in historical foodstuffs, for her newest venture: Brianna’s Bridies, as described in DRUMS OF AUTUMN.

“Yon fellow wi’ the cast in one eye,” he said in a subdued bellow, indicating the gentleman in question by pointing with his chin. “What d’ye say to him, Brianna?”
“I’d say he looks like the Boston Strangler,” she muttered, then louder, shouting into her cousin’s ear, “He looks like an ox! No!”
“He’s strong, and he looks honest!”
Brianna thought the gentleman in question looked too stupid to be dishonest, but refrained from saying so, merely shaking her head emphatically.
Young Jamie shrugged philosophically and resumed his scrutiny of the would-be bondsmen, walking around those who took his particular interest and peering at them closely, in a way she might have thought exceedingly rude had a number of other potential employers not been doing likewise.
“Bridies! Hot bridies!” A high-pitched screech cut through the rumble and racket of the hall, and Brianna turned to see an old woman elbowing her way robustly through the crowd, a steaming tray hung round her neck and a wooden spatula in hand.
The heavenly scent of fresh hot dough and spiced meat cut through the other pungencies in the hall, noticeable as the old woman’s calling. It had been a long time since breakfast, and Brianna dug in her pocket, feeling saliva fill her mouth.

–DRUMS OF AUTUMN, 1997

Theresa’s done a wonderful rendition of bridies, with notes on a modern version (substituting vegetable shortening for the traditional suet, the latter being hard to locate in most grocery stores), including a vegetarian take for non-carnivores. Go here for pictures (including some from Theresa’s recent trip to the Highlands), cooking/baking instructions, and recipes!

AuthorChat Tonight!

I’m doing an AuthorChat online with Brenda Novak this evening–5:30 PM PDT/8:30 PM EDT. come and join us!

I can’t get the widget with the “join” link to show up here, and don’t have time to mess with it.  So–for the sake of convenience–here is the link to the widget.  See you online tonight!

WHAT’S YOUR LINE?

What’s your line?

Recently, I saw a thread in which people presented/discussed their favorite sentences/lines from the OUTLANDER/Lord John books. Everyone has their favorites, from the funny to the touching, the dramatic, or the philosophical. And sometimes just because they like the way it sounds. {g}

Here are just a few that I’ve seen quoted as people’s favorites:

“…but it all comes right in the end. So it did, I thought–though often not in any expected way.”

“…for I was gromished from the fall and my right ankle gruppit–and was just about to call once more when I heard sounds of a rare hochmagandy…”

“You’re no verra peaceful, Sassenach… but I like ye fine.”

“And what was the ransom, then, that would buy a man’s soul, and deliver my darling from the power of the dog?”

“And if thee hunts at night, thee will come home.”

“Holy God.”

“And when my body shall cease, my soul will still be yours. Claire—I swear by my hope of heaven, I will not be parted from you.”

“Seems I canna possess your soul without losing my own.”

“That’s all right,” I assured him. “We’re married. Share and share aline. One flesh; the priest said so.”

“Only you. Because ye will not let me lie – and yet ye love me.”

“Whatever (your feelings) are, though, they must be exigent, to cause you to contemplate such drastic expedients.”

“Don’t buy any peaches.”

“On your right, man.”

“Ye scream like a lassie,” he said, eyes returning to his work.

“Come to me, Claire, daughter of Henry, strength of my heart…”

“Stand by my side, Roger, son of Jeremiah, son of my house…”

“You are my courage, as I am your conscience,” he whispered. “You are my heart—and I your compassion. We are neither of us whole, alone.”

“That’s the Third Law of Thermodynamics,” I said. “No,” he said. “That’s faith.”

“What is it about ye that makes men want to take their breeks off within five minutes of meetin’ ye?”(coupled with) “Well, if you don’t know, my dear…I’m sure no one does.”

“Ian, … Ye, sound like your mother. Stop”

” I canna tell whether ye mean to compliment my virility, Sassenach, or insult my morals, but I dinna care much for either suggestion.”

“Lord, ye gave me a rare woman, and God! I loved her well.”

“I am the son of a great man”.

“I mean to make you sigh as though your heart would break, and scream with the wanting, and at last to cry out in my arms, and I shall know that I’ve served ye well.”

“Dinna be afraid. There are the two of us now.”

I do (naturally enough) like all of those, but my own particular favorite is probably the last sentence from THE FIERY CROSS:

“When the day shall come that we do part,” he said softly, and turned to look at me, “if my last words are not ‘I love you’-ye’ll ken it was because I didna have time.”

Now, I like that one particularly, because I didn’t write it. It’s something my husband actually said to me one day, quite casually, looking up from his Wall Street Journal (minus the Scottish accent). I do know a good line when I hear one, though.

(Doug, having seen this, says he appreciates the credit, but would rather I mention that he is the source of the advice on how to get rid of crabs (of the pubic lice variety) that Murtagh offers in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER.  This is true.   The part where Jamie is teaching his young nephew not to pee on his feet, remarking, “It’s hard when your belly-button sticks out more than your cock does,” is also one of Doug’s lines, along with the bit where Jamie (after a drunken night) wakes up, sniffs his oxter and remarks that he smells like a dead boar.  And people wonder where writers get their material…some of us marry it.)

People always do ask me “Which book is your favorite?”—and to me, it’s all One Huge Thing, so I can’t really pick. But I’m in the habit of saying, “The one I’m working on now—because that’s the one where I don’t yet know everything.”
I’m now in the Final Frenzy phase of SCOTTISH PRISONER (this is where I know Everything, and it’s a matter of how long I can sit at the computer without interruption and/or stopping to eat {g}), so at the moment, I’m in love with this book. Just for fun, here are a few of the lines that I particularly like from it:

“I haven’t seen a cove that sick since me uncle Morris what was a sailor in a merchant-man come down with the hockogrockle,” said Tom, shaking his head. “And he died of it.”

“He at once felt better, having taken action, and smoothing his crumpled neckcloth, went in search of fried sardines.”

“And then I heard other noises—screeching and skellochs, and the screaming of horses, aye, but not the noise of battle. More like folk who are roaring drunk—and the horses, too.”

“Distracted by the vision of amphibians in their thousands locked in slime-wrapped sexual congress amid the dark waters, he caught his foot in a root and fell heavily.”

“Abbot Michael was talking of neutral things: the weather (unusually good and a blessing for the lambs), the state of the chapel roof (holes so big it looked as though a pig had walked across the roof, and a full-grown pig, too), the day (so fortunate that it was Thursday and not Friday, as there would be meat for the mid-day dinner, and of course Jamie would be joining them, he would enjoy Brother Bertram’s version of a sauce, it had no particular name and was of an indistinct color—purple, the abbot would have called it, but it was well known he had no sense of color and had to ask the sacristan which cope to wear in ordinary time, as he could not tell red from green and took it only on faith that there were such colors in the world, but Brother Fionn—he’d have met Brother Fionn, the clerk outside?—assured him it was so, and surely a man with a face like that would never lie, you had only to look at the size of his nose to know that), and other things to which Jamie could nod or smile or make a noise. “

“Behind him, he thought he heard the echo of wild geese calling, and despite himself, looked back.”

[That's the cover for the Dutch edition of SCOTTISH PRISONER, and if you can figure out what it's supposed to be, you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.]

News from Mike Gibb

Mike Gibb (lyricist/playwright) has an announcement regarding OUTLANDER: The Musical:

“Delighted to announce that New York based writer Jill Santoriello is to join Kevin Walsh and myself (he means him, Mike, not me, Diana) in developing the libretto for a stage version of Outlander The Musical, based on the hugely successful series of books by Diana Gabaldon. Diana is also very happy to welcome Jill aboard.

Jill Santoriello is best known as the writer of the book, lyrics and music for the Award winning musical A Tale of Two Cities, which was staged at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on Broadway in 2008 and which recently enjoyed a two month run at the Hale Centre Theatre in Salt Lake City

For further information on Outlander the Musical and to hear song samples from the concept CD go to www.outlanderthemusical.com. The web site for A Tale Of Two Cities, where you can listen to samples of the music, is to be found at www.talemusical.com ”

[photo:  Allan Scott-Douglas, who sings the role of Jamie Fraser on the OUTLANDER: The Musical concept CD.]

Quick Note: May 20th, Authors and Appetizers

Just a quick update on wheres and whens:

May 20 –that’s THIS FRIDAY—I’ll be doing a brief appearance (and a longer signing {g}) at the Scottsdale Public Library’s “Authors and Appetizers” event. 6 PM, Civic Center Library. More info here. http://library.scottsdaleaz.gov/

How Do You Read?

How do you read?

I get frequent questions—from readers and interviewers—asking me whether I read. My initial response is always, “What, are you crazy?”, but I usually suppress this in favor of something more politic, like, “How can anybody not read?”

People do (not read, I mean), of course, horrifying as this concept is (my husband once had an employee who told him that her daughter had to read a book for school and so she had rented a copy for the child. Having been in her house, I’d noticed that she owned no books (totally creepy), but to have no idea of what or where the public library is?). But come on—to ask a professional novelist whether he or she reads?

Now, I do hear from other novelists who say that they can’t read books in their own genre, or can’t read while actively writing, and that makes some sense (I don’t read time-travel books, myself). But if you don’t read something, how do you refine your sensibilities, improve your craft, or merely fill up your creative well by listening to the lyrical song of someone else’s words?

Let’s put it this way: If there are any novelists who just don’t read, I probably don’t want to read what they write.

A refinement of the “Do you read?” question comes along every now and then, and this one is kind of interesting: “HOW do you read? I used to love reading, but now I have a job, kids, a house, etc., and I just seem to have no time to read anymore. I know you have a busy life, too, so I just wanted to ask, how do you manage to read?”

Now, that’s a question of logistics, isn’t it? So I took a look at “how” I read, physically. Because I do read pretty much all the time, and normally consume 3-4 books a week (lots more, when traveling), not counting whatever I’m reading for research. So how does it work?

Well, for starters, I always have at least one book within reach. If you’re accustomed to only reading in your favorite chair, when you have two or three hours of leisure, with a good light on and a glass of sweet tea beside you, then yeah, having a family is going to inhibit you some. I read everywhere. All the time.

I have a book on the counter while I’m cooking; I can’t (or shouldn’t {cough}) read while chopping vegetables, but I can certainly read while tearing up lettuce, sautéing garlic, or browning meat—and once something’s on the stove or in the oven, I just need to be there. No problem in reading while waiting for things to brown, cook, simmer, etc. (actually, I do pushups on my kitchen counter while reading during kitchen lag-time—I can read the back Op-Ed page of the Wall Street Journal and do 75 pushups (the sissy kind; I have weak wrists) while waiting for the dogs to eat their breakfast. (Why am I waiting for dogs to eat? Because the fat one eats faster and will muscle his brother out of the last quarter of his meal if I’m not watching)).

I have dogs; my son has dogs, and brings them down with him when he comes to visit. I take the rest of the Wall Street Journal to my office with me and whenever the dogs need to go out, I bring a chunk of it along—or if I’ve finished the paper, I grab my Kindle and read whatever’s up on that while the hounds burrow for gophers or play Questing Beast in the long grass and tumbleweeds.

I have a book on the bathroom counter and read while brushing teeth, applying sunscreen, and performing ablutions. I take the book into my closet and read while I’m getting dressed.

I try to walk five miles a day (and manage it about four days a week; get 2-3 miles on other days), with and without dogs. I have audiobooks on my iPod, and listen to these while walking (on my second re-listen of the entire Aubrey/Maturin series, by Patrick O’Brian—great books, one of my all-time favorite series).

If I have books for review (I do occasional reviews for a newspaper) or waiting for possible blurbs (there’s a small stack of ARCs from publishers), I pick one up whenever I go downstairs and take it along on errands (always take a book to a doctor’s appointment or the post office, is my advice).

Poetry books, and nonfiction books that aren’t for research, but just interesting—I’m reading Simon Winchester’s KRAKATOA at the moment—I leave in the bathroom, and read in small, digestible chunks. That enables me to comprehend everything easily, as I’m seldom dealing with more than a page at a time. {g} Have had KRAKATOA in there for two weeks; about halfway through the book, and now know all kinds of fascinating stuff about plate tectonics, with THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS and John Mark Eberhart’s poetry collection, NIGHT WATCH, waiting for their turn.

The only time (other than traveling) I really read without doing something else is for a brief period after dinner, while my husband watches TV, and for a still briefer period after I’ve tucked him in bed, when the dogs and I lie down on the Taos bed, and I read for 10-30 minutes before falling asleep.

It’s sort of like the way I write. Not in concentrated stretches of 4-5 hours (I do know some writers who claim that’s the only way they can write, and more power to them), but in stretches of an hour at a time, two or three or four times a day (depending where I am in the course of a book; toward the end, I really do write nonstop for ten or twelve hours—bar bathroom breaks (during which I read) and meals (ditto)—but that phase luckily doesn’t last long).

For today: Just finished Charlaine Harris’s new Sookie Stackhouse novel, DEAD RECKONING (good as always) this morning, 35% of the way through Anne Perry’s TREASON AT LISSON GROVE, which I picked up right afterward, four more pages about subduction zones in KRAKATOA, and about 25 pages into the ARC of a thriller off the blurb pile. Plus entertaining stuff from WSJ about the medical maladies of historical characters and why birth-control pills make women marry less-masculine men (also good op-ed piece by a British writer on pusillanimous response of Brits to killing of bin Laden).

Now mind, I don’t watch television. That helps.

Quick Question – 20th-Anniversary Edition

Well, it’s like this:  The new, snazzy, all-signing, all-dancing (well, singing, at least) 20th-anniversary edition of OUTLANDER will be released on July 5th.

On July 5th, I personally will be traveling from New York to Laramie, WY (which is one of those places that you can’t get there from here, so it will take all day, starting before dawn) in order to be the keynote speaker at the Sir Walter Scott Symposium held at the University of Wyoming. What with one thing and another (ThrillerFest, for one–it’s even more impossible to get _back_ from Laramie to New York, taking all night as well as part of the next day), I won’t be back in Arizona until sometime on the 10th.

Now, The Poisoned Pen bookstore has graciously offered to host an event for the launch of this book, if I’d like. The question, though, is really–would _you_ guys like this?

I’d be happy to spend an evening with you and sign your books (and perhaps read a few excerpts from the upcoming SCOTTISH PRISONER and the so-far-untitled Book Eight (I really must come up with a title one of these days), but I don’t know how much demand there might be for Diana Live {g}, given the nature of this particular book. I mean, it’s a _beautiful_ book, and stuffed full of entertaining extra material–but it’s not a brand-new novel, either.

Let me know what you think, and I’ll tell the bookstore in a couple of days.

Thanks