• “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.”
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor

Return to Domesticity

People now and then ask me what I do to celebrate finishing a book. Do I have a special spa ritual, a nice restaurant I go to, do I buy champagne? In fact, I buy towels.

It takes me about three years to write one of the big books of the main OUTLANDER series, and that’s just about how long it takes for most of the towels around here to be worn out, destroyed in the wash, or taken away by Persons Unnamed to be used to wrap greasy engine parts in. So when a new book is finished, I ceremonially buy new towels for the household.

Back in the day when we had three kids (well, usually more like six, as our kids would bring home friends who liked living at our house more than theirs) and four dogs in the house, and the Person Unnamed would use good towels to wipe up Substances That Any Normal Person Would Use a Paper Towel For (if not a trowel and a blowtorch), I used to buy a special nice fluffy towel, (always red) which I would keep in my closet, hanging concealed inside my bathrobe, just so I could be sure of having something reasonably sanitary and findable, with which to take a shower.

Anyway, when I finished AN ECHO IN THE BONE, the household was down to three rather ratty towels. But I’d finished the book a mere five weeks prior to the publication date (you could hear the poor Production people screaming, all the way from New York, without a phone), and thus the next three weeks were a blinding flurry of last-minute copy-edits, galley proofs, corrections, etc. (which is why I have a brief “Errata” listing for that book, which will be along on the website soon. [cough] All books have errata, alas. And you’re right, Ian couldn’t have made it from Ticonderoga to the Dismal Swamp in the time apparent—but he could if “June 12″ had been properly corrected to “June 1″. We did instigate all the corrections in time for the trade paperback, which will be out this summer, they tell me.)

Once that was done, I had to race around like a mad thing, doing what I could of all the urgent stuff that I hadn’t been doing for the last three months while finishing the book, and doing all the urgent stuff one has to do before leaving on a two-month, four country, two-continent tour (I didn’t even try to count the cities. There were a lot of them, that’s all I can tell you).

So I never managed to buy towels.

Well, then, I arrived back from Australia right into the teeth of Thanksgiving (see post on the delights of turkey sandwiches….ahhhh. We ate all the turkey in three days, but there’s still plenty of white wine left; luckily, it goes really well with Chicken and Mushrooms in Orange Sauce on Noodles). So it was that I only this week got around to finally buying The New Towels.

And these are the towels I bought (I can’t think why anyone would care, but people always ask, so just in case you do care [g]). In Graphite and Cajun Blue. They are in fact delightfully soft, very absorbent, and so far have not been used to swab down muddy dogs nor conscripted into a game of tug-o-war. So, the book is finished, the touring is Done (until mid-January, at least), I’m back in the heart of my household, and the cycle of creation is complete. [g]

[I've not yet figured out how to do captions with photos. The picture at the top there is Homer, hunting lizards in the backyard, while the bottom one is of Homer and his brother JJ playing Tug-o-War with their friend Ranger. (My husband just came in, glanced at the picture and remarked, "You know, _you_ can double-dog dare somebody, and back it up!") Photos courtesy of Ranger's mistress, Susan Butler. Thanks, Susan!]

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Turkey is good. Turkey sandwiches are better. Eaten without the distraction of pumpkin pie, mashed rutabagas (not my idea of a good time, but tastes vary), yam fries with maple aioli, and the other fripperies of a Thanksgiving table, turkey achieves its highest calling between two slices of bread.

I like two kinds of turkey sandwiches. The night-of-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich, eaten late and alone, in the peaceful muzziness that follows a successful party, is moist white meat on 12-grain bread, with Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, and leafy lettuce. With a nice glass of a full-bodied chardonnay to go with. Ahhhhh.

Day-after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich is a little fancier. Eaten for lunch (with Diet Coke if working in the afternoon, otherwise, more wine [g]), again on 12-grain bread, but mixed white and dark meat, thickly daubed with gorgonzola cheese, heavily studded with walnuts, and layered with a sliced ripe pear. You put mayonnaise on the bread, but mostly to keep it all stuck together. Oooooh.

But of course turkey (etc.) is not the primary reason to celebrate Thanksgiving. (No, really. Add in a nice bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne, and I’m not saying, but….no, really.) So let us concentrate on the essentials.

I’m thankful for whatever it is that makes me write books.

I’m very thankful for those of you who read the books, because I might tell stories to amuse myself, but it’s having those stories read that closes the cosmic circle of creation.

I’m especially thankful to have met so many of you (in the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia) over the last two months. I’ve never met so many nice people in such a short period of time. But…

I’m most thankful of all to be home with my family!

Hope you all had a lovely day, and much to be thankful for, whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not.


Dear Readers–

Well, AN ECHO IN THE BONE debuts on the New York Times list next week at #2! (My publisher sent me a large bottle of single-malt Scotch in congratulation–and, I suspect, in apology for having released Dan Brown’s book a week before ECHO [g].)

HUGE thanks to all of you, and I’m thrilled that y’all seem to be enjoying the book!

A word about the ending…I did say, did I not, “Nobody’s going to hit the end of _this_ book, and think it’s the last one?” [g] Indeed it is not. There will certainly be a Book Eight–and no, I have no idea when that one will be out. At the moment, I’m home on a (very brief) furlough from book-touring; back on the road Monday, and won’t be home for good until Thanksgiving, which is the soonest I could reasonably resume anything like a productive writing routine–as well as a prequel volume about Jamie’s parents, a Volume II of the OUTLANDISH COMPANION, and heaven knows what-all else. But the story is definitely not over!

ECHO is out–and the party’s at the BILTMORE!

Very exciting!

I’ll be back later with observations on Game Day [g], but wanted to let y’all know right away that the launch party for the book is tonight _at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel_, not at the Poisoned Pen bookstore. (The Pen is organizing the event and selling books, but they can’t possibly cram hundreds of people into the bookstore.)

Rosana, my webmistress, sent out an email this morning to the website subscribers, welcoming them to the party, but mistakenly ended it with “…at the Poisoned Pen.” I’m sure she’ll be sending out a quick PS shortly [g], but wanted to put in an early word here, since I don’t know when she’ll get my email about it.

Hope to see many of you in person, tonight and on the road–and I hope ALL of you will enjoy the new book! Thanks for buying it. [smile]

Quick Dog Update

For those who’ve asked after Homer and JJ, I’m pleased to report that all is well.

JJ (the idiot) ate about a quarter-pound of kapok pillow stuffing a month ago. Kapok is not the benign fluff they fill dog-toys with. Four thousand dollars and a foot of small intestine later, though, the hound is fine, and the house once more resounds to the thunder of racing dachshunds and the crash of what my son describes as “puppy-Sumo.”

(That’s JJ standing on my lap, and Homer wallowing on the floor, in our living room in Santa Fe.)


OK, I have _no_ idea what I’m doing here, none. As part of the promotion for ECHO, though, Borders asked me if I’d come talk to people during a two-hour online chat thingie on their Facebook page next Tuesday. “Sure,” I said–despite the fact that I’ve never been on Facebook in my life, have no idea how to get there, nor yet what to do when I _am_ there. But following initial advice from Youngest Daughter (who certainly _does_ know all about Facebook, and a good thing, too…), I created a “Celebrity” page, as well as making an individual account (which the Random House publicist said I’d need in order to do the chat on Tuesday).

So I did, and pretty darn confusing it is, though I imagine things will become clearer as I muddle around in it. I did somehow manage to link the page to this blog–thought I’d mention it in case any of y’all wondered what the heck that “Fan box” is doing there.

I’ll try to put some actual content on said page, as soon as I figure out how to do that…so if there’s anything you’d like to see there, let me know!

THE EXILE – graphic novel is DONE!

Great news! The artwork for the graphic novel is done (bar little tweaks here and there) and it looks terrific! We don’t have a specific pub date for this yet—sometime in 2010—but we do at least have a title. This is called THE EXILE (An OUTLANDER graphic novel).

I took some of the artwork with me to DragonCon last weekend (I did the Decatur Book Festival and DragonCon more or less simultaneously, which made for an interesting time all round), and was very pleased that everyone who saw it raved about it.

In celebration, here are two more sample pages, to show off Hoang’s mastery of color and light (and anatomy). One small note: Please don’t nab these pictures and go posting them all over the net. I don’t own the copyright; that belongs to the artist, Hoang Nguyen, and these are posted here by his kind permission and that of the Ballantine editor. If you’d like to share these with your friends—and I’m all for it [g]—please just send them a link to this page.

And Some of Australia

I don’t yet have a complete listing of places and events for Australia, but this is what we have so far:

Diana Gabaldon Australian Tour Schedule

1. Monday 9th November 2009 – Perth
10 am – 12 noon
Venue: Tompkins on Swan Function Centre
Address: Corner Dunkley Ave and Canning Highway, Alfred Cove (free parking is available)
Contact: Dymocks Garden City
Phone: 08 93647387
Email: gcorders@dymocks.com.au

2. Tuesday 10th November – Adelaide TBC

3. Wednesday 11th November – Melbourne TBC

4. Thursday 12th November – Melbourne TBC

5. Friday 13th November – Melbourne TBC

6. Sunday 15th November – Hobart
1.30pm for 2pm
Venue: Hadley’s Hotel
Address: 34 Murray Street, Hobart
Contact: Dymocks Hobart
Phone: 03 6231 6656
Email: hobart@dymocks.com.au

7. Monday 16th November – Sydney
12.30pm – 3pm
Dymocks Literary Lunch
Four Seasons Hotel
Address: 199 George Street, Sydney
Contact: Judy Benson
Phone: 02 9449 4366
Email: judybenson@bigpond.com

8. Tuesday 17th November – Sydney
1pm – 2pm
Stanton Library (free event)
Address: 234 Miller St. North Sydney
Contact: Constant Reader Bookshop
Phone: 02 9438 1763
Email: bob@constantreader.com.au

9. Wednesday 18th November – Canberra TBC

10. Thursday 19th November – Brisbane TBC

11. Friday 20th November – Brisbane TBC

And one more…NEW ZEALAND events!

Event Details

Monday November 2 – CAMBRIDGE
Cocktail event in association with Wrights Bookshop Cambridge
Time: 7.30pm
Location: St Peter’s School, SH1 Cambridge
Entry $25, for more information phone Wrights Bookshop, 07 827 4360

Tuesday November 3 – DUNEDIN
A Conversation with Diana Gabaldon in association with Dunedin Public Libraries and Whitcoulls
Time: 5.30pm
Location: Sir Clifford Skeggs Gallery, Municipal Chambers, The Octagon
Entry free, RSVP essential, ph: 03 474 3690 or library@doc.govt.nz

Wednesday November 4 – CHRISTCHURCH
An Evening with Diana Gabaldon in association with Women on Air on Plains FM and Paper Plus Merivale
Time: 7.30pm
Location: Christchurch Girls’ High School
Entry $12, to buy tickets phone Ruth, 03 384 4721 or Morrin, 03 329 9789

Thursday November 5 – AUCKLAND
An Evening with Diana Gabaldon in association with North Shore Libraries Foundation and Paper Plus Takapuna
Time: 7pm
Location: Westlake Boys High School
Entry $15, tickets from Event Finder (click http://www.eventfinder.co.nz/2009/nov/auckland-north/an-evening-with-diana-gabaldon )

An Hour with Diana Gabaldon in association with Palmerston North City Library and Whitcoulls
Time: 12pm
Location: Palmerston North City Library
Entry free, RSVP essential, ph: 06 351 4519 (leave a message) or promotions@pncc.govt.nz

Books and Bubbles hosted by Kerre Woodham in association with Paper Plus
Time: 7.00pm
Location: The Duxton Hotel, Wellington
Ticket price to be confirmed, contact Paper Plus Lower Hutt for more information 04 569 8406 or lowerhutt@paperplus.co.nz

CANADA Book-Tour Dates and Events, 2009

Tuesday October 13th (Halifax)

7:00pm EVENT: Chapters/Indigo, Halifax
188 Chain Lake Drive / (902) 450-1023 / Contact: Karolyn
This is a speaking event, short Q & A, and book signing

Wednesday October 14th (Ottawa)

7:00pm EVENT: An Evening with Diana Gabaldon
Centurion Conference Centre, Main Ball Room
170 Colonnade Road, Nepean
$10 Tickets / Call Leishman Books for tickets: 613-722-8313
This is a speaking event, short Q & A, and book signing

Thursday October 15th (Toronto)

EVENT: An Evening with Diana Gabaldon
McNally Robinson, Don Mills / 416-384-0084
The speaking component of this event will be held outdoors
The book signing will take place in-store following the talk

(no time was attached, but it’s probably 7:00 PM, too. Check with the bookstore to be sure, though.)

Friday October 16th (Winnipeg)

7:30pm EVENT: McNally Robinson, Grant Park
1120 Grant Avenue / (204) 453-0424
This is a speaking event, short Q & A, and book signing

Saturday October 17th (Calgary/Edmonton/Saskatoon)

10:00am EVENT: Calgary WordFest
Vertigo Theatre Playhouse, 161, 115 – 9 Avenue SE
Contact: Anne Green / 403-237-9068
Tickets are $20 in advance and can be purchased through the box office at 403-237-9068.
The suggested program is 30 minutes of speaking, to include a ten minute reading, followed by a signing.
www.wordfest.com / 403-237-9068

4:00pm EVENT: Costco, Edmonton
South Edmonton, 2616 91st Street NW
This is a signing ONLY event

Sunday October 18th (Saskatoon/Kelowna)

10:30am EVENT: Chapters/Indigo Saskatoon
3322 8th Street East / (306)244-5317
This is a speaking event, short Q & A, and book signing

7:00pm EVENT: Mosaic Books
Kelowna Community Theater, 1375 Water St, Kelowna
Contact Mosaic Books for Tickets: (250) 763-4418
Tickets are $20.00 or $40 for book AND ticket
Books will be 25% off at the store
This is a speaking event, short Q & A, and book signing

Wednesday October 21st (Victoria)

7:30pm EVENT: An Evening with Diana Gabaldon
Alix Goolden Performance Hall
907 Pandora Avenue, Victoria
Tickets are $10/each
Contact Bolen Books for Tickets /(250) 595-4232

Thursday October 22nd (SIWC)

(SIWC is the Surrey International Writers Conference, where I’ll be a presenter over the weekend. See their website at www.siwc.ca, if you’re interested. This is a very neat conference; I do it every year.)

12:00pm EVENT: Black Bond Luncheon
Customers receive entry ballot with purchase of book
WIN a seat at a luncheon with Diana Gabaldon
15 winners + Cathy Jesson and Don Hoglung
1381 Guildford Town Ctr. /(604) 589-3680

Sunday October 25th (SIWC/Surrey)

2:00pm EVENT: Save-On Foods #918
9014-152nd Street, Surrey / 604-930-1133
Contact: Maureen
This is a SIGNING ONLY event