• “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

Myth and Mountain Birthdays (Repost)


US-ENTERTAINMENT-GOLDEN-GLOBE-ARRIVALS
My birthday was always the coldest day of the year. If not literally true, it was family legend, and everyone knows that myth is much stronger than meteorology, even in the north country, where the snow lies deep on the mountaintops, and houses are built to keep the heat in, not out.

This particular legend had its origin—reasonably enough—on the date of my birth, January 11, 1952. My family lived in Flagstaff, but the family doctor had been having a difference of opinion with the hospital board, and had moved his practice to the Williams Hospital. So, when my mother went into labor early in the morning, my twenty-one-year-old parents were obliged to drive thirty miles over a two-lane ice-slick road, through the teeth of a driving blizzard, in order to get to the doctor.

2012-12-15-DG-GrandCanyonWhen I was finally born, just at dark, my father was so unnerved by the entire experience that he went out to a nearby restaurant and ordered ham and eggs for dinner—forgetting that it was Friday. (Way back when, Catholics didn’t eat meat on Fridays.) Driving the thirty miles home through snow and black ice, he ran off the road twice, got stuck in the drifts, and—as he later recounted—managed to free himself only because he couldn’t stand the thought of freezing to death and leaving my mother with a one-day-old child.

At the age of two days, I too made the perilous trip through the dark pines of the frozen landscape, to become a third-generation native of Flagstaff. There aren’t a lot of us, if only because Flagstaff isn’t that old.

Among the early founders of the town were my great-grandparents. Stanley Sykes was born in Yorkshire, England, but at the age of fifteen, was diagnosed with consumption. The only chance, his doctor told him, was to leave England; go to Arizona, where the warm, dry air was good for the lungs (well, it was 1868, after all; the midwesterners hadn’t got here with their damn mulberries and bermuda grass yet). Stanley heeded this advice, and with his elder brother Godfrey, set sail for the New World and the healing balm of the desert air.

San-Fran-peaks-capLike many another outlander—my husband, for example—who thought Arizona was a desert, Stanley was startled to find that the northern third of the state sits atop the Colorado Plateau, and that the San Francisco Peaks are covered with the largest forest of Ponderosa Pine in the world. In search of desert, Godfrey went south… but Stanley stayed, seduced by the rush of wind through the pines and the clear dark skies of the mountain nights, thick with stars.

Great-grandmother Beatrice Belle Switzer came from Kentucky, along with her seven brothers and sisters, when the family farm was flooded out. It must have been a flood of biblical proportions, because once the Switzers started moving, they didn’t stop until they came to Flagstaff, which—at 7000 feet—they evidently considered high enough ground to be safe.

The air in Flagstaff may not have been hot, but apparently it was dry enough, since Stanley lived to be 92, finally dying on a vacation to San Diego (that fog will get you every time). I was four when he died, and still have a vivid memory of him in his armchair, the smoke from his pipe drifting in the lamplight, as he taught me the delicate art of building houses out of cards—a skill that’s stood me in good stead since.

His son, Harold—my grandfather—became the mayor of Flagstaff—and thereby hangs another family tale.

It was a scandal, in fact—or so everyone said—when my mother, Jacqueline Sykes, the mayor’s daughter, descendant of one of the First Families of Flagstaff, fell in love with Antonio Gabaldon. Tony was smart, handsome, athletic, hardworking—and a Mexican-American, born in Belen, New Mexico. In 1949, in a small Arizona town, this was miscegenation—or so everyone said.

My mother’s friends said so. Mrs. X, her English teacher, said so, telling her firmly that she couldn’t possibly marry a Mexican; her children would be idiots. The parish priest who refused to marry them said so; such a marriage would never last. The “interested parties” who took out a public petition against the match said so; it was a scandal. Her parents said so—and at last she was persuaded, and reluctantly broke the engagement.

My mother’s parents sent her south, to the University of Arizona in Tucson, to leave the scandal behind; to forget. But she didn’t forget, and six months later, on a dark December night, she called Tony and said, “I still want you. If you still want me— come and get me.”

He drove down from the snow-covered mountain to the desert and brought her back the same night—and they were married at 6:30 the next morning, by a priest from another parish.

It was a long and happy marriage—dissolved only by death—and thirteen months after the wedding, I arrived, the third generation born on the mountain.

DG-Flagstaff-winter-viewWe (and the fourth generation) live in Scottsdale, but I still keep the family house in Flagstaff, and escape there regularly to write; to me, the ideal weather for writing involves a gleaming portcullis of icicles to keep out all intruders, soft white drifts on the pines and the sidewalks, and the muffled grind of cars in the distance, crushing cinders into the slippery packed snow as they labor uphill. No salt on these roads; the San Francisco peaks are in fact one mountain, the remains of an extinct volcano—or least we hope it is extinct; the U.S. Geological Survey is not so sure.

It’s 72 on this Christmas Day, and the dogs are swimming in the pool. My husband gives me warm slippers, though, knowing I’ll need them soon. My birthday, after all, is always the coldest day of the year.

(Oh… Mrs. X? You were wrong.)

Arizona Diary Essay (Copyright © 1999 by Diana Gabaldon. All Rights Reserved.)


Top image: Arriving on the Red Carpet at Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills on January 10, 2016. (Getty Image). Second image: At the Grand Canyon in 2012. (Photo by my husband.) Image of the San Francisco Peaks is from summit.org. Lower image: 2012 winter view from a household deck in Flagstaff, Arizona. (Photo by me.) This page is also located under the "About Diana" menu.

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Golden Globes!


From the Los Angeles area this week with Ron, Maril, and the stars, staff and crew from the Outlander series…

The Outlander TV series is nominated for three Golden Globes for its first season! MASSIVE congratulations to everyone—cast, crew, and fans <g>who’ve made the show the wonderful thing that it is! Wish us Luck!

Ron-Maril-DG-BAFTA-webThere’s Stuff going on every day: the TCA (Television Critics Assn.) (and a zillion follow-up interviews) on Friday, the STARZ pre-Golden Globes party Friday night, the BAFTA Tea on Saturday (that’s me above with Maril and Ron, on the red carpet). And the awards ceremony will be broadcast live TODAY at 5 p.m. (Pacific Time), with red carpet coverage beginning at 4 p.m. (More information below).

Blue Suede Shoes

blue-suede-shoesEither Sam and Catriona have grown, or I’ve shrunk… Actually, I just took my shoes off at last night’s STARZ pre-Golden Globes party. I’d bought some pretty new pointy-toed blue suede shoes (yesterday was Elvis’s birthday…), which do in fact fit very well, but they’re not best suited for standing for hours in conversation. So I ditched them next to a divan (this party happened at the Chateau Marmont, a classic old Hollywood hotel, and they had decorated the party venue on a patio that looked like a sheik’s boudoir—enbroidered divans and pillows everywhere, with little round Turkish-looking tables a foot high. I suppose we were meant to sit on the divans, but they looked so much like beds (and were so low) that no one did, so we stood up all evening). When I retrieved them, I found that someone had spilled a drink in one of them—poured it out when I went out to find my driver; no harm done. But it did mean I was about two feet shorter than everyone at the party! Comfortable, though…

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Outlander TV Show’s Nominations

Frank-headshotOutlander’s Golden Globe Nominations are:

  • "Best Television Series – Drama" Update: The winner of this category is "Mr. Robot."
  • Catriona Balfe (above, with Sam Heughan and I) is nominated for "Best Performance By An Actress In A Television Series – Drama,” for her portrayal of Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser. Update: The winner is Taraji P. Henson, from Empire.
  • Tobias Menzies (at right) is nominated for "Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role In A Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television" for his portrayal of Black Jack Randall and Frank Randall. Update: The winner of this category is Christian Slater.

The Starz network received six Golden Globe nominations in total, with Outlander garnering half of them.


Live Schedule:

globes-signs-webNBC’s live broadcast schedule of the Golden Globe Awards is:

4 p.m. (PT): NBC’s red carpet pre-show begins. Coverage of stars, producers, and authors in their glamourous gear walking by on the Red Carpet! On the east coast, this live program begins at 7 p.m. (ET).

5 p.m. (PT): 2016 Golden Globe Awards – the main awards begins, a three-hour show. It will be broadcast live from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. On the east coast, the live show will begin at 8 p.m. (ET). Check your local schedule to confirm.

In the U.S.A., you have paid cable or satellite TV, look for NBC in your channels guide. Or, if you use an HD antenna to access free TV broadcasts, look for the broadcast NBC affiliate in your area.

If you live in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, or San Francisco and subscribe to Playstation Vue, you may be able to legally stream NBC online. Other than that, NBC is not streaming the show. Some cable networks are streaming shows covering just the red carpet before the show, though.


Where to Watch – Outside the U.S.A.

Some cable subscribers outside the U.S. will be able to see the show. Foxtel in Australia will show the event. In Canada, CTV will broadcast it. However, watching the show won’t be available in the United Kingdom, even though the event host, Ricky Gervais, is from there. To be sure, wherever you live, CHECK with your local provider to see if and when the awards show will be shown in your area.

The main NBC site for the broadcast of the awards show is:

http://www.nbc.com/the-golden-globe-awards

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Happy Holidays!


2015-DG-treeMERRY CHRISTMAS, CHAG SAMEACH, JOYFUL KWANZAA, BLESSED SOLSTICE and/or a DELIGHTFUL EID-AlUdha to all of you!

[Excerpt from DRUMS OF AUTUMN.]

Jamie’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."


Click here to read excerpts (aka "Daily Lines") from Book Nine, the new book I am working on in the OUTLANDER series.


Also posted on my Facebook Page on Friday, December 25, 2015. The image is of my family Christmas tree for this year.

Outlander Bears (Signed)


2015-12-05-Diana-n-bears-crop
And…there will be bears! Should you be looking for something cuddly for Christmas, the Poisoned Pen is stocking a few of the Jamie and Claire bears (made by the North American Bear Company, licensed by Sony), signed. (It being difficult to sign a bear, they asked me to do hang-tags, as shown.)

2015-bear-tag[NB: I don't have any financial interest in the bears, but I do have a personal interest in the Poisoned Pen, my local independent bookstore.]

Click here to go to the Poisoned Pen’s webpage for the Outlander Bears, or

Click here for more information on the bears on my website.

Jamie-bear-cropClaire-bear-cropClick on the image at left for a closer look at the "Jamie" bear.

Or click on the “Claire” bear at right to see it in more detail.

Stirling Castle Video


Interview at Stirling Castle

During Book Week Scotland last month, BBC Scotland’s art correspondent Pauline McLean did an interview with me at Stirling Castle, asking questions from fans:

Click to watch the BBC Scotland video (web version).

Or if you have a Facebook account, you can also watch the video here:

Click for Stirling Castle video – Facebook version.

“Inquiries” (Book Nine)


This is an excerpt from Book Nine in my OUTLANDER series of major novels, which I am working on now. I originally posted this as one of my Daily Lines on my Facebook page on November 15, 2015. Note that this excerpt may contain SPOILERS…

Facebook Hashtags: #DailyLines, #BookNine, #NoItsNotFinished, #Maybe2017, #MaybeNot, #WhoKnows, #Inquiries

William had been half-hoping that his inquiries for Lord John Grey would meet either with total ignorance, or with the news that his lordship had returned to England. No such luck, though. Sir Archibald Campbell’s clerk had been able to direct him at once to a house in Garden Street, and it was with thumping heart and a ball of lead in his stomach that he came down the steps of Campbell’s headquarters to meet Cinnamon, waiting in the street.

His anxiety was dispersed the next instant, though, as Sir Archibald himself came up the walk, two aides beside him. William’s impulse was to put his hat on, pull it over his face and scuttle past in hopes of being unrecognized. His pride, already raw, was having none of this, and instead, he marched straight down the walk, head high, and nodded regally to Sir Archibald as he passed.

"Good day to you, sir," he said. Campbell, who had been saying something to one of the aides, looked up absently, then halted abruptly, stiffening.

"What the devil are you doing here?" he said, broad face darkening like a seared chop.

"My business, sir, is none of your concern," William said politely, and made to pass.

"Coward," Campbell said contemptuously behind him. "Coward and whore-monger. Get out of my sight before I have you arrested."

William’s logical mind was telling him that it was Campbell’s relations with Uncle Hal that lay behind this insult and he ought not to take it personally. He must walk straight on as though he hadn’t heard.

He turned, gravel grinding under his heel, and only the fact that the expression on his face made Sir Archibald go white and leap backward allowed John Cinnamon time to take three huge strides and grab William’s arms from behind.

"[Come on, you idiot — French]," he hissed in William’s ear. "Vite!" Cinnamon outweighed William by forty pounds, and he got his way—though in fact, William didn’t fight him. He didn’t turn round, though, but backed—under Cinnamon’s compulsion—slowly toward the gate, burning eyes fixed on Campbell’s mottled countenance.

"What’s wrong with you, gonze?" Cinnamon inquired, once they were safely out the gate and out of sight of the clapboard mansion. The simple curiosity in his voice calmed William a little, and he wiped a hand hard down his face before replying.

"Sorry," he said, and drew breath. "That—he—that man is responsible for the death of a—a young lady. That I knew."

"Merde," Cinnamon said, turning to glare back at the house. "Jane?"

"Wh—how—where did you get that name?" William demanded. The lead in his belly had caught fire and melted, leaving a seared hollow behind. He could still see her hands, long-fingered and white, as he’d laid them on her breast—crossed, the torn wrists neatly bound in black.

"You say it in your sleep sometimes," Cinnamon said with an apologetic shrug.


A Time Of Waiting… and of Preparation…


Advent2015Advent is a time of waiting, and of preparation. Of contemplation—of what is past, and what is to come. During Advent, we make wreaths, made of leaves or evergreens, with four candles, and we light one candle for each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. May your candle burn quiet in the dark, and may you be at peace.

Prologue

In the light of eternity, time casts no shadow.

“Your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” But what is it that the old women see?

We see necessity, and we do the things that must be done.

Young women don’t see—they are, and the spring of life runs through them.

Ours is the guarding of the spring, ours the shielding of the light we have lit, the flame that we are.

What have I seen? You are the vision of my youth, the constant dream of all my ages. Spark to my tinder.

At the brink of war again, I am a citizen of no place, no time; no country but my own… and that a land lapped by no sea but blood, bordered only by the outlines of a face long-loved.

This Prologue is from WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD.

(This blog entry was also posted on my official Facebook page on November 29, 2015.)

New Book Recommendation


Survivors-coverI’m pleased and proud to recommend a new book to you: THE SURVIVORS, my brother-in-law’s debut novel in a new series starring psychologist Cal Henderson.

When Cal Henderson was a child, his mother waved to him from the backyard one summer day, then shot herself. Cal, reasonably enough, went and hid under the bed. When he’s eventually rescued, he finds that before shooting herself, his mother had killed his father and his two older brothers, and seriously wounded Scottie, the friend who had been visiting Cal. What happened? And why did it not happen to Cal? Paralyzed by survivor’s guilt, the boy tries to forget and go on with what’s left of his life.

Twenty-five years later, Cal’s life looks solid. He’s a successful psychologist, practicing in Washington, DC, and skilled at working with people who lie for a living. Following the traumatic events of his childhood, he was adopted, took his adoptive family’s name, and has mostly moved on from his own family’s tragedy—suffering only the occasional blackout when something triggers a suppressed memory of that summer day.

But one day his childhood friend Scottie appears suddenly in Cal’s office, insisting that there must be answers to Cal’s family mystery, and that he and Cal must find them. The FBI wants a few answers, too—from Scottie. It’s an intriguing mystery/thriller that works out on three levels: what happened…and why. And what has it done to the two survivors? And of course, there’s a final question to be answered: will either of them survive—this?

I hope you’ll enjoy it!

Buy links:

“Technicalities” (Book Nine)


Below is an excerpt from Book Nine of the OUTLANDER novels, which I am currently writing. Note that there are SPOILERS…

“What do you mean, I can’t? Whose business is it whether I renounce my title or not?”

Uncle Hal looked at William with an affectionate impatience.

“I’m not speaking rhetorically, blockhead. I mean it literally. You can’t renounce a peerage. There’s no means set down in law or custom for doing it, ergo, it can’t be done.”

“But you—” William stopped, baffled.

“No, I didn’t,” his uncle said dryly. “If I could have at the time, I would have, but I couldn’t, so I didn’t. The most I could do is stop using the title of “Duke,” and threaten to physically maim anyone who used it in reference or address to me. It took me several years to make it clear that I meant that,” he added off-handedly.

“Really?” William asked cynically, glancing at his uncle. “Who did you maim?”

He actually had supposed his uncle to be speaking rhetorically, and was taken aback when the once and present Duke furrowed his brow in the effort of recall.

“Oh…several scribblers—they’re like roaches, you know; crush one and the others all rush off into the shadows, but by the time you turn round, there are throngs of them back again, happily feasting on your carcass and spreading filth over your life.”

“Anyone ever tell you that you have a way with words, uncle?”

“Yes,” his uncle said briefly. “But beyond punching a few journalists, I called out George Washcourt—he’s the Marquess of Clermont now, but he wasn’t then—Herbert Villiers, Viscount Brunton, and a gentleman named Radcliffe. Oh, and a Colonel Phillips, of the 34th—cousin to Earl Wallenberg.”

“Duels, do you mean? And did you fight them all?”

“Certainly. Well—not Villiers, because he caught a chill on the liver and died before I could, but otherwise…but that’s beside the point.”

Posted by Diana on FaceBook on October 11, 2015 at 1:50 a.m. (PT).

Diana’s FaceBook Hash Tags: #DailyLines, #BookNine; #Technicalities, #TheDirectApproach, #Noitisntfinished, #Illtellyouwhenwegetclose, #Gocolorafewpages


About “Daily Lines”:

I love for people to read excerpts (aka “Daily Lines”) from my new unpublished works, but I do have an agreement with my publisher about how much of a book is up on the internet at any one time—which means that I need to control said excerpts, and try to make sure they aren’t reposted elsewhere.

So I’d appreciate it if you would not copy my Daily Lines and post them yourself all over the Web. If you want to share or discuss my excerpts with your friends, please just give them the link to my Book Nine website (which has links to multiple excerpts):

http://www.dianagabaldon.com/books/outlander-series/book-nine-outlander-series/

Season One, Volume Two Released!


season-one-vol-two-graphic

AT LAST!!! Season One, Volume Two of the Starz Outlander TV series is available today in the U.S.A. and other selected markets! (The second eight episodes…)

Included are deleted scenes, such as Geillis Confronts Jamie. And a video of my first visit to the Outlander series sets! And other special features and extras…

The Outlander Volume 2 Original Television Soundtrack is also available, with 15 tracks from master composer Bear McCreary. Remember that McCreary’s beautiful music for Outlander was nominated for an Emmy in 2015!

Some ordering links:

Enjoy!