• “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

LA Schmoozing – International Film Rights

Salmon ArmSchmoozing in L.A….

So— I had a wonderful time at the Word on the Lake writers festival in Salmon Arm, British Columbia (photos at left and below). Worked like a dog, but that’s normal for such events. <g> I gave two keynote speeches, taught three workshops (on Characterization, How to Make Them Turn the Page (a useful skill, when you write 900-page books), and How to Write (and How _not_ to Write) Sex Scenes. And a panel on how to carve a “writing cave” out of chaos— i.e., making time to write, which is pretty basic, but always fun to hear what everybody’s methods are. (Mine is to work in the middle of the night.)

But then, instead of going home, I flew directly to Los Angeles. And for why?

Salmon Arm gloamingWell, it was “Screening week”— during which international television buyers flock to Los Angeles to see previews of all the new TV shows. Sony (which owns the international rights to “Outlander”) was screening their new lineup, of course, and invited Ron D. Moore (Executive Producer of the new Outlander TV series) and me to come and do “up-fronts” (the hairdresser who came to do my hair prior to an interview told me that’s what they’re called; it just means we go out onstage before the preview is shown, and answer a few questions put to us by a moderator—takes about ten minutes) and attend cocktail party-dinners with the international clients. This is actually somewhat more work than one might think <g>— but it _was_ fun.

A car picked me up at the hotel every afternoon (some days I was doing outside interviews in the mornings, other days, mornings were free. I walked from my hotel to the La Brea tar pits (the Page Museum) on Wednesday morning, and all over downtown Beverly Hills on Thursday), and took me to the Sony lot.

I’d hand my driver’s license to the guard at Gate 3 and tell him I’m going to Stage 22. The driver takes me down a narrow street to where there’s a lane of grey indoor-outdoor carpeting, edged with elegant tables and white umbrellas, with a reception counter at the front. Here I disembark, chat with the nice people manning the counter— their job is to check in visitors, hand out VIP badges, and give people gifts as they leave (the gift is an international power adapter; they gave me one the first day, and keep offering me more— three of the four receptionists are OUTLANDER fans already, having read the book, and the other is a nice young man who compliments my fashion <g>— but I think one adapter is plenty, really), and walk down the lane, either to Stage 22 itself, or to the restrooms, which are in a big trailer discreetly parked behind a hedge at the end of the lane.

The little tables along each side, under the umbrellas, are bountifully equipped with drinks: huge silver samovars of coffee, military ranks of San Pellegrino Aranciata and Aranciata Rosso (delicious carbonated orange and blood-orange juice drinks) in bottles, arrayed with Diet Coke (yay), Coke, and a lot of stuff I didn’t take notice of because I don’t drink it. Between screenings, viewers come out here to enjoy the fresh air (it was pretty fresh on Tuesday and Wednesday; winds high enough that they had to take down the umbrellas) and have a refreshing beverage.

You enter the stage through a sort of refrigerator-style airlock (save that the doors are made of heavy, crude planks painted yellow), and find yourself in a big, dark space. Just ahead is a half-lighted waiting-lounging area, with comfortable small couches along one side, and a table with bags of fresh popcorn along the other. At the far end of this space is the green room— a curtained off chunk of space with two small couches, three tea-coffee samovars, and more substantial snacks: little bags of high-end trail-mix (pistachios, dried figs and white-chocolate disks), a platter of crudités, bags of pretzels, and a big plate of miniature cupcakes. Not wanting to go onstage with cake-crumbs in my teeth, I nibbled daintily on the pistachios and white chocolate.

The main part of the huge room is a viewing theater, curtained off from the waiting area/green room/backstage. It’s the size of a regular theater, but the seating is huge, very comfortable couches, capable of seating six in a pinch—but generally occupied by only two or three people each. Each couch is also liberally supplied with small pillows, and the viewers are given warm, soft blankets, because the place is cold (God forbid any of the potential buyers — because that’s who the viewers are — should get uncomfortable and leave a screening halfway through).

So now I’ve set the scene, and it’s 4:16 a.m.— which is my normal bedtime. So I’ll leave you here for the moment and tomorrow, will tell you what it was like to see the complete first episode of OUTLANDER on a movie-sized screen, complete with Bear McCreary’s soundtrack (and enough amplification that you could feel the bodhrans in your bones).

Click here to continue and read part 2 of this blog,”Schmoozing in LA, Part 2 – Episode 1!”

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And…We Have a New Cover!

Outlander-TV-cover

OK. This is the new Starz TV tie-in cover for OUTLANDER—for the U.S. (The foreign markets may get slightly different covers; I don’t know for sure yet.)

No, the book itself hasn’t changed in the slightest; it just has a new cover to advertise the upcoming show (which as previously noted, airs on August 9th–in the US. If you’re not in the U.S.A., please check this page on global publishing or read my blog from November 15, 2013, where you will find out about international sales of the series.

This tie-in edition will be printed both as trade paperbacks (the large size) and mass-market paperbacks (the smaller size).

(Those who like the original cover(s) needn’t fret—those covers will all remain in print. This is an addition, not a replacement.)

Cool, huh? <g>

We Have An Air Date!

Starz Poster

We have an air date for the new OUTLANDER TV series!

OK. Let me start off with a few brief facts (in hopes of staving off reams of stuff about “But when is it showing in Outer Mongolia?”):

SONY is the corporation that actually owns the film rights.

STARZ is the American production company that is _making_ the tv show and who thus has the US licensing rights to air it. Sony will license the show to other countries individually.

This is the announcement about the Starz showing, which is why it’s for the US. The UK, France, Germany, Sweden, etc. are NOT being discriminated against; they (and a few hundred other countries) just don’t YET have licensing deals.

(Australia and Canada DO have licensing deals already: Foxtel SoHo will show it in Australia, Showcase in Canada. Neither of those channels has announced an air date yet, which is why it’s not here.)

OK. Y’all still with me? Good! [g] In that case…

STARZ’ production of OUTLANDER will air in the US on August 9th, at 9 PM EST, as the poster above says.

This is a regular cable-TV show (not a movie, not a mini-series), with a first season (and we hope there will be more) running 16 episodes. The first season covers OUTLANDER only; subsequent seasons, if we get them, will cover the other books.

Hang onto your seats: it’ll be FUN!

Thar She Blows….!

MOBY cover final US

It’s DONE!!!

As my husband says, “Finished” is a relative term to a writer. For me, there’s a sense of completion when I’ve seen the shape of the book; I know what I’m working with. Then there’s the BIG “Finished,” when I’ve done with the writing–the story is All There, and in the publisher’s hands; at this point, there _will_ be a book, even if I get run over by a train.

Revisions–usually very minor, and they were _really_ minor in this book–are generally done as I go along. I send my two editors (US and UK) chunks of the manuscript, and they send me their comments, and if there looks like anything that should be tweaked (often there’s not), I do that just as part of the daily writing.

So the next major “Finished” is the copy-edits. The copy-editor is the unsung heroine who reads the finished manuscript One. Word. At. A. Time, looking for typos, continuity errors, infelicities (like using the same word three times in the same paragraph, or using six clauses all separated by dashes <g>), and so on. This is god-awful tedious stuff, and it’s not a lot more fun on -my- end, when it comes back and I have to check through all of the copy-editor’s queries and either answer them or do something about them.

And once the copy-edits are done, the manuscript goes to the typesetters, and then we get galleys. That’s short for “galley-proofs.” These are typeset pages that look exactly as the pages will look in the book, including page numbers, gutters, decorations, etc.

The final “Finished!” is when I’ve read through the galleys, correcting any typos that escaped during the earlier processes (there are _always_ escaped typos, no matter how many people have combed through a manuscript, always), and errors introduced during the typesetting process (words hyphenated in the wrong place at the end of a line, lines transposed–very rare, but it happens–lines accidentally broken in the middle, and so on). This is also my Very Last Chance to change or fix anything, and for this manuscript, also the last chance to make sure all of the Gaelic and French and German phrases were correctly spelled. <g>

But I made it! The very last batch of corrected galleys went out of here by FedEx this afternoon. I’m FINISHED!!

Whereupon my husband took me out to celebrate, and after two bottles of a nice cold Austrian wine, a lobster quesadilla (divine), a bowl of Chama chili and a four-hour nap…I was Nicely Mellow. <g>

We’re done–and there _will_ be a book on June 10th! (in the US and Canada; I believe the UK/Australia/NZ are saying they plan to release it June 5th, and Germany is saying July 21st.) Hope you’ll enjoy it!

Oh–I’ve had a lot of inquiries lately about getting signed copies of WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD (My Own Heart’s Blood = MOHB = MOH-B = MOBY. Geddit?). For a list of places where I’ll be going and doing signings visit my official Appearances page on this site. If you don’t live in one of those places I ‘m visiting, but do want a signed book, the simplest thing to do is probably to order it from The Poisoned Pen bookstore, here in Scottsdale. They’re my local independent bookstore, always carry ALL my titles in all available formats, and will ship anywhere in the world. Just tell them how you’d like your book to be inscribed; I normally go by there every couple of weeks to sign their orders.

(Note from Diana’s webmistress: You can also request free, signed bookplates for your copies of MOBY. Click here for more information.)

26 Years Ago Today…

Outlander blue cover

I get the occasional question as to how I came to write OUTLANDER, and given that today is the 26th anniversary of my doing so, thought I’d maybe post this explanatory message—which I wrote a few years ago in thanks to the Compuserve folk who Witnessed the Creation , now updated.

Dear All–

On March 6, 1988, I started writing a novel. I wasn’t going to tell anyone what I was doing, let alone ever try to publish it. I just wanted to learn how to write a novel, and had concluded—having written All Kinds of nonfiction at that point—that the only way to do that was actually to write one. (I was not, btw, wrong in this assumption.)

Now, as a (rather convoluted) side-effect of my day-job, I’d become an “expert” in scientific computation (really easy to be an expert, if there are only six people in the world who do what you do, and that was my position, back in the early ’80′s), and as an even weirder side-effect of that, I became a member of the Compuserve Books and Writers Community (then called the Literary Forum), somewhere in late 1986.

Well, when I decided to learn to write a novel by writing one, I also decided a few other things:

1) I wouldn’t tell anyone what I was doing. Aside from the feeling of sheer effrontery involved in doing so, I didn’t want a lot of people telling me their opinions of what I should be doing, before I’d had a chance to figure things out for myself (as I said, I’d written a lot of non-fiction to this point, and nobody told me how). Also didn’t want a lot of busybodies (in my personal life) putting in their two cents, asking when I’d be done, and when it would be published, etc.—since I had no idea whether I could even finish a book.

2) I would finish the book. No matter how bad I thought it was, I wouldn’t just stop and abandon the effort. I needed to know what it took, in terms of daily discipline, mental commitment, etc. to write something like a novel. (I had written long things before—a 400-page doctoral dissertation entitled “Nest Site Selection in the Pinyon Jay, Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus,” (or, as my husband says, “Why birds build nests where they do, and who cares anyway?”), an 800-page monograph on “The Dietary Habits of the Birds of the Colorado River Valley,” etc.—but I’d never written fiction, other than lame short stories for English classes.) And

3) I’d do the absolute best that I could with the writing, every day. Even though this was a practice book that I’d never show anybody, it didn’t matter. If I wasn’t trying my best, how would I ever know if I was any good, and more importantly, how would I get better?

(In this regard, I had some evidence to go on. I’ve read all my life—hugely—and noticed that in most cases, while I’d enjoy all of an author’s books, including the first one, the books got noticeably better as the writer kept on writing. So, I concluded, with perfect logic, writing was like ballet dancing or piano-playing; if you practiced, you got better at it. I was not wrong in this conclusion, either.)

So, anyway, the book I wrote for practice was OUTLANDER, and here we are, 26 years and (almost) 14 books later. I just wanted to acknowledge the role of the Forum and my friends there, in that process.

How did that work, since I’d decided not to tell anybody what I was doing? Well, I stuck to that decision (I didn’t even tell my husband), but about six months into the writing, I was logging on intermittently late at night, picking up messages and posting replies—and found that I was having a argument with a gentleman (named Bill Garland, RIP) about what it feels like to be pregnant.

“Oh, I know what that feels like,” Bill assured me. “My wife’s had three children!” [pause here to allow the ladies to roll on the floor for a moment]

“Yeah, right,” I said. “_I’ve_ had three children, buster.”

So he asked me to describe what that was like.

Rather than try to cram such a description into a thirty-line message slot (all we had back in the old 300-baud dial-up days), I said, “Tell you what—I have this…piece…in which a young woman tells her brother what it’s like to be pregnant. I’ll put it in the data library for you.”

So—with trembling hands and pounding heart—I posted a small chunk (three or four pages, as I recall) of the book I was calling CROSS STITCH. And people liked it. They commented on it. They wanted to see more!

Aside from a few private moments associated with my husband and the birth of my children, this was the most ecstatic experience I’d ever had. And so, still trembling every time I posted something, I—very slowly—began to put up more.

Now, I don’t write with an outline, and I don’t write in a straight line, so my chunks weren’t chapters, weren’t contiguous, and generally weren’t connected to anything else. But they did have the same characters –and people liked those characters.

There were (and are) a lot of very kind and encouraging people who inhabited the Forum—some of them still there: Alex, Janet, Margaret, Marte… and many who aren’t, like Karen Pershing and John Kruszka (RIP), Mac Beckett, Michael Lee West–and Jerry O’Neill, whom I count as my First Fan and head cheerleader; always there to read what I posted and say the most wonderful things about it, one of the kindest people I’ve ever known.

So, over the course of the next year or so, these people kept egging me on. Asking questions, making comments*, urging me—eventually—to try to publish This Thing (it started out as a perfectly straight-forward historical novel, but then Things Happened, and what with the time-travel and the Loch Ness monster and all, I had no idea what it was).

*(Just to clarify—these were not critiques, just interested comments. I’ve never had a critique group nor ever would; nothing against them at all—I just don’t work that way. But regardless, I’d never put up _anything_ for public viewing that I didn’t think was completely ready for human consumption.)

Some of these people were published authors themselves and very kindly shared their own stories, and advice regarding literary agents and the publishing process (thank you, Mike Resnick, and Judy McNaught!), and in the fullness of time, John Stith very kindly introduced me to his own agent—who took me on, on the basis of an unfinished first novel. And…I finished it, to the supportive cheers of the Forum. A couple of weeks later, my agent sold it, as part of a three-book contract, to Delacorte, and bing!—I was a novelist.

Not saying I’d never have written a book without y’all—but man, you guys _helped_. Thank you!

–Diana

CANADIAN TOUR DATES FOR WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD

CANADIAN TOUR EVENTS/DATES

(Don’t panic; I’ll be posting the US tour dates tomorrow.)

Friday June 20
6:30pm TORONTO EVENT

Toronto Reference Library, Bram & Bluma Appel Salon
789 Yonge St.

This is a free, ticketed event. To reserve your ticket or for more information please visit:
www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/programs-and-classes/appel-salon/

Saturday June 21
1:00pm LONDON (ONTARIO) EVENT

Chapters, 1037 Wellington Road

This is a free event. For more information please visit www.chapters.indigo.ca
or phone 519-685-1008

Sunday June 22
1:00pm BARRIE EVENT
Chapters, 76 Barrie View Drive

This is a free event. For more information please visit www.chapters.indigo.ca
or phone 705-735-6735

Monday June 23
7:00pm OTTAWA EVENT
47 Rideau Street

This is a free event. For more information please visit www.chapters.indigo.ca
or phone 613-241-0073

Thursday June 26
6:00pm CALGARY EVENT
Costco
11588 Sarcee Trail NW

This is a free event, open to all Costco members.
For more information please phone 403-516-3701

Friday June 27
7:30pm VICTORIA EVENT

Alix Goolden Performance Hall, 900 Johnson St.

Tickets are $10. For more information please visit www.bolen.bc.ca or phone 250-595-4232

OUTLANDER_Starz – First Look OUTLANDER (tv) Trailer!

Here’s the “first-look” trailer presented at the recent Fan Event in Los Angeles, with a fascinating glimpse of the new cable-tv series (being produced by Starz), to be released sometime this summer!

Hope you enjoy it!

AND A VERY HAPPY HOGMANAY to all of you!

Fireworks (public domain)

“In the light of eternity, time casts no shadow.”

[Excerpt from WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD, to be published June 10th.]

It was perhaps four o’clock ack emma. Or before sparrow-fart, as the British armed forces of my own time used to put it. That sense of temporal dislocation was back again, memories of another war coming like a sudden fog between me and my work, then disappearing in an instant, leaving the present sharp and vivid as Kodachrome. The army was moving.

No fog obscured Jamie. He was big and solid, his outlines clearly visible against the shredding night. I was awake and alert, dressed and ready, but the chill of sleep still lay upon me, making my fingers clumsy. I could feel his warmth, and drew close to him, as I might to a campfire. He was leading Clarence, who was even warmer, though much less alert, ears sagging in sleepy annoyance.

“You’ll have Clarence,” Jamie told me, putting the mule’s rein in my hand. “And these, to make sure ye keep him, if ye should find yourself on your own.” “These” were a heavy pair of horse pistols, holstered and strung on a thick leather belt that also held a shot-bag and powder-horn.

“Thank you,” I said, swallowing as I wrapped the reins around a sapling in order to belt the pistols on. The guns were amazingly heavy—but I wouldn’t deny that the weight of them on my hips was amazingly comforting, too.

“All right,” I said, glancing toward the tent. “What about—“

“I’ve seen to that,” he said, cutting me off. “Gather the rest of your things, Sassenach; I’ve nay more than a quarter-hour, at most, and I need ye with me when we go.”

I watched him stride off into the melee, tall and resolute, and wondered—as I had so often before—_Will it be today? Will this be the last sight I remember of him_? I stood very still, watching as hard as I could.

When I’d lost him the first time, before Culloden, I’d remembered. Every moment of our last night together. Tiny things would come back to me through the years: the taste of salt on his temple and the curve of his skull as I cupped his head, the soft fine hair at the base of his neck thick and damp in my fingers…the sudden, magical well of his blood in dawning light when I’d cut his hand and marked him forever as my own. Those things had kept him by me.

And when I’d lost him this time to the sea, I’d remembered the sense of him beside me, warm and solid in my bed, and the rhythm of his breathing. The light across the bones of his face in moonlight and the flush of his skin in the rising sun. I could hear him breathe, when I lay in bed alone in my room at Chestnut Street—slow, regular, never stopping—even though I knew it _had_ stopped. The sound would comfort me, then drive me mad with the knowledge of loss, so I pulled the pillow hard over my head in a futile attempt to shut it out—only to emerge into the night of the room, thick with woodsmoke and candlewax and vanished light, and be comforted to hear it once more.

If this time…but he had turned, quite suddenly, as though I’d called his name. He came swiftly up to me, grasped me by the arms and said in a low, strong voice, “It willna be today, either.”

Then he put his arms around me and drew me up on tiptoe into a deep, soft kiss. I heard brief cheers from a few of the men nearby, but it didn’t matter. Even if it should be today, I would remember.

[end section]

THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Advent wreath four candles in daylight 2013

It’s a short Advent season this year, Christmas coming so soon after the Fourth Sunday, but we are the more expectant in our anticipation, and deeper in our gratitude for the blessings of home and family.

May the blessings of the season be with you and yours!

[This excerpt is from the end of THE SCOTTISH PRISONER (aka DIE FACKELN DER FREIHEIT, in German).]

It was cold in the loft, and his sleep-mazed mind groped among the icy drafts after the words still ringing in his mind.

“_Bonnie lad_.”

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 below, grunting and whickering. _Helwater_. The knowledge of the place settled on him, and the fragments of Scotland and Lallybroch cracked and flaked away, fragile as a skin of dried mud.

Helwater. Straw rustling under him, the ends poking through the rough ticking, prickling through his shirt. Dark air, alive around him.

_Bonnie lad_…

They’d brought down the Yule log to the house that afternoon, all the household taking part, the women bundled to the eyebrows, the men ruddy, flushed with the labor, staggering, singing, dragging the monstrous log with ropes, its rough skin packed with snow, a great furrow left where it passed, the snow plowed high on either side.

Willie rode atop the log, screeching with excitement, clinging to the rope. Once back at the house, Isobel had tried to teach him to sing “Good King Wenceslaus,” but it was beyond him, and he dashed to and fro, into everything until his grandmother declared that he would drive her to distraction and told Peggy to take him to the stable, to help Jamie and Crusoe bring in the fresh-cut branches of pine and fir. Thrilled, Willie rode on Jamie’s saddle-bow to the grove, and stood obediently on a stump where Jamie had put him, safe out of the way of the axes while the boughs were cut down. Then he helped to load the greenery, clutching two or three fragrant, mangled twigs to his chest, dutifully chucking these in the general direction of the huge basket, then running back again for more, heedless of where his burden had actually landed.

Jamie turned over, wriggling deeper into the nest of blankets, drowsy, remembering. He’d kept it up, the wean had, back and forth, back and forth, though red in the face and panting, until he dropped the very last branch on the pile. Jamie had looked down to find Willie beaming up at him with pride, laughed and said on impulse, “Aye, that’s a bonnie lad. Come on. Let’s go home.”

William had fallen asleep on the ride home, his head heavy as a cannonball in its woolen cap against Jamie’s chest. Jamie had dismounted carefully, holding the child in one arm, but Willie had wakened, blinked groggily at Jamie and said, “WEN-sess-loss,” clear as a bell, then fallen promptly back asleep. He’d waked properly by the time he was handed over to Nanny Elspeth, though, and Jamie had heard him, as he walked away, telling Nanny, “I’m a bonnie lad!”

But those words came out of his dreams, from somewhere else, and long ago. Had his own father said that to him, once?

He thought so, and for an instant—just an instant—was with his father and his brother Willie, excited beyond bearing, holding the first fish he’d ever caught by himself, slimy and flapping, both of them laughing at him, with him in joy.

“_Bonnie lad!”

_Willie. God, Willie. I’m so glad they gave him your name_. He seldom thought of his brother; Willie had died of the smallpox when he was eleven, Jamie, eight. But every now and then, he could feel Willie with him, sometimes his mother or his father. More often, Claire.

_I wish ye could see him, Sassenach_, he thought. _He’s a bonnie lad. Loud and obnoxious_, he added with honesty, but _bonnie_.

What would his own parents think of William? They had neither of them lived to see any of their children’s children.

He lay for some time, his throat aching, listening to the dark, hearing the voices of his dead pass by in the wind. His thoughts grew vague and his grief eased, comforted by the knowledge of love, still alive in the world. Sleep came near again.

He touched the rough crucifix that lay against his chest and whispered to the moving air, “Lord, that she might be safe; she and my children.”

Then turned his cheek to her reaching hand and touched her through the veils of time.

[end section]

The THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Candle - Work Candle  November 2013 fullsize

This is Gaudete Sunday—Rejoicing Sunday, because now we’re close enough to Christmas to pause in our preparations (both physical and spiritual) and look forward to the fulfillment of promised Joy.

We normally light the pink candle in our Advent wreath for Gaudete Sunday, and if I were at home, I’d take a picture of mine for you. As I’m in a hotel room, I can’t, so will give you this one of my nightly work candle; I light it every night when I come up to work, with a short “work” prayer: “Lord, let me see what I need to see; let me do what has to be done.”

[The following excerpt is from WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD, which will be published June 10th, 2014. Copyright 2013 Diana Gabaldon.]

I became aware of Germain hovering by my elbow, staring interestedly at the duke, who was now sufficiently himself as to lift an eyebrow in the boy’s direction, though still unable to speak.

“Mm?” I said, before resuming my now-automatic counting of breaths.

“I’m only thinking, _Grand-mere_, as how himself there—“ Germain nodded at Pardloe, “—might be missed. Had I maybe best carry a message to someone, so as they aren’t sending out soldiers after him? The chairmen will talk, will they not?”

“Ah.” That was a thought, all right. General Clinton, for one, certainly knew that Pardloe was in my company when last seen. I had no idea who Pardloe might be traveling with, or whether he was in command of his regiment. If he _was_, people would be looking for him right now; an officer couldn’t be gone from his place for long without someone noticing.

And Germain—an observant lad, if ever there was one—was right about the chairmen. Their numbers meant they were registered with the central chairmen’s agency in Philadelphia; it would be the work of a moment for the general’s staff to locate numbers Thirty-Nine and Forty and find out where they’d delivered the duke of Pardloe.

Jenny, who had been tending the array of tea-cups, stepped in now with the third and knelt next to Pardloe, nodding to me that she would see to his breathing while I talked to Germain.

“He told the chairmen to take me to the King’s Arms,” I said to Germain, taking him out onto the porch where we could confer unheard. “And I met him at General Clinton’s office in the—“

“I ken where it is, _Grand-mere_.”

“I daresay you do. Have you something in mind?”

“Well, I’m thinkin’—“ he glanced back into the house, then back at me, eyes narrowed in thought. “How long d’ye mean to keep him prisoner, _Grand-mere_?”

So my motives hadn’t escaped Germain. I wasn’t surprised; he undoubtedly had heard all about the morning’s excitements from Mrs. Figg—and knowing as he did who Jamie was, had probably deduced even more. I wondered if he’d seen William? If so, he likely knew everything. If he didn’t, though, there was no need to reveal _that_ little complication until it was necessary.

“Until your grandfather comes back,” I said. “Or possibly Lord John,” I added as an afterthought. I hoped with all my being that Jamie would come back shortly. But it might be that he would find it necessary to stay outside the city and send John in to bring me news. “The minute I let the duke go, he’ll be turning the city upside down in search of his brother. Always assuming for the sake of argument that he doesn’t drop dead in the process.” And the very last thing I wanted was to instigate a dragnet in which Jamie might be snared.

Germain rubbed his chin thoughtfully–a peculiar gesture in a child too young for whiskers, but his father to the life, and I smiled.

“That’s maybe not too long,” he said. “_Grand-pere_ will come back directly; he was wild to see ye last night.” He grinned at me, then looked back through the open doorway, pursing his lips.

“As to himself, ye canna hide where he is,” he said. “But if ye were to send a note to the General, and maybe another to the King’s Arms, saying as how his grace was staying with Lord John, they wouldna start looking for him right away. And even if someone was to come here later and inquire, I suppose ye might give him a wee dram that would keep him quiet so ye could tell them he was gone? Or maybe lock him in a closet? Tied up wi’ a gag if it should be he’s got his voice back by then,” he added. Germain was a very logical, thorough-minded sort of person; he got it from Marsali.

“Excellent thought,” I said, forbearing to comment on the relative merits of the options for keeping Pardloe incommunicado. “Let me do that now.”

Pausing for a quick look at Pardloe, who was doing better, though still wheezing strongly, I whipped upstairs and flipped open John’s writing-desk. It was the work of a moment to mix the ink-powder and write the notes. I hesitated for a moment over the signature, but then caught sight of John’s signet on the dressing-table; he hadn’t had time to put it on this morning.

The thought gave me a slight pang; in the overwhelming joy of seeing Jamie alive, and then the shock of William’s advent, Jamie’s taking John hostage, and the violence of William’s exit—dear Lord, where was William now?—I had pushed John himself to the back of my mind.

Still, I told myself, he was quite safe. Jamie wouldn’t let any harm come to him, and directly he came back into Philadelphia…the chiming of the carriage clock on the mantelpiece interrupted me, and I glanced at it: three o’clock.

“Time flies when you’re having fun,” I murmured to myself, and scribbling a reasonable facsimile of John’s signature, I lit the candle from the embers in the hearth, dripped wax on the folded notes, and stamped them with the smiling half-moon ring. Maybe John would be back before the notes were even delivered. And Jamie, surely, would be with me as soon as darkness made it safe.

[end section]