• “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

THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT – A CANDLE FOR MEMORY AND HOPE

Advent x2 cross and chair full size

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

She was shaking. Had been shaking ever since Lionel Menzies left. With a faint sense of abstraction, she held out her hand, fingers spread, and watched it vibrate like a tuning fork. Then, irritated, made a fist and smacked it hard into the palm of her other hand. Smacked it again and again, clenching her teeth in fury, until she had to stop, gasping for breath, her palm tingling.

“OK,” she said, under her breath, teeth still clenched. “_OK_.” The red haze had lifted like a cloud, leaving a pile of cold, icy little thoughts under it.

_We have to go.

Where?

And when_?

And the coldest of all:

_What about Roger?_

She was sitting in the study, the wood paneling glowing softly in the candlelight. There was a perfectly good reading-lamp, as well as the ceiling fixture, but she’d lit the big candle instead. Roger liked to use that when he wrote late at night, writing down the songs and poems he’d memorized, sometimes with a goose-quill. He said it helped him recall the words, bringing back an echo of the time where he’d learned them.

The candle’s smell of hot wax brought back an echo of _him_. If she closed her eyes, she could hear him, humming low in his throat as he worked, stopping now and then to cough or clear his damaged throat. Her fingers rubbed softly over the wooden desk, summoning the touch of the rope-scar on his throat, passing round to cup the back of his head, bury her fingers in the thick black warmth of his hair, bury her face in his chest…

She was shaking again, this time with silent sobs. She curled her fist again, but this time, just breathed until it stopped.

“This will _not_ do,” she said out loud, sniffed deeply, and clicking on the light, she blew out the candle and reached for a sheet of paper and a ballpoint pen.

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AN ADVENT CANDLE – FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

November is the month of Los Dias de Los Muertos, the Days of the Dead, when we pray for our dead and hold them close. Tomorrow begins Advent, the season of hope. May your way lie in light, looking forward or back.

Candle for Dios de Los Muertos

[From “Virgins,” a novella published in the anthology DANGEROUS WOMEN, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. Copyright 2013 Diana Gabaldon]

Ian had made Jamie come with him to the cathedral of St. Andre, and insisted he go to confession. Jamie had balked—no great surprise.

“No. I can’t.”

“We’ll go together.” Ian had taken him firmly by the arm and very literally dragged him over the threshold. Once inside, he was counting on the atmosphere of the place to keep Jamie there.

His friend stopped dead, the whites of his eyes showing as he glanced warily around.

The stone vault of the ceiling soared into shadow overhead, but pools of colored light from the stained-glass windows lay soft on the worn slates of the aisle.

“I shouldna be here,” Jamie muttered under his breath.

“Where better, eejit? Come on,” Ian muttered back, and pulled Jamie down the side aisle to the chapel of Saint Estephe. Most of the side-chapels were lavishly furnished, monuments to the importance of wealthy families. This one was a tiny, undecorated stone alcove, containing little more than an altar, a faded tapestry of a faceless saint, and a small stand where candles could be placed.

“Stay here.” Ian planted Jamie dead in front of the altar and ducked out, going to buy a candle from the old woman who sold them near the main door. He’d changed his mind about trying to make Jamie go to confession; he knew fine when ye could get a Fraser to do something, and when ye couldn’t.

He worried a bit that Jamie would leave, and hurried back to the chapel, but Jamie was still there, standing in the middle of the tiny space, head down, staring at the floor.

“Here, then,” Ian said, pulling him toward the altar. He plunked the candle—an expensive one, beeswax and large—on the stand, and pulled the paper spill the old lady had given him out of his sleeve, offering it to Jamie. “Light it. We’ll say a prayer for your Da. And…and for her.”

He could see tears trembling on Jamie’s lashes, glittering in the red glow of the sanctuary lamp that hung above the altar, but Jamie blinked them back and firmed his jaw.

“All right,” he said, low-voiced, but he hesitated. Ian sighed, took the spill out of his hand, and standing on tip-toe, lit it from the sanctuary lamp.

“Do it,” he whispered, handing it to Jamie, “or I’ll gie ye a good one in the kidney, right here.”

Jamie made a sound that might have been the breath of a laugh, and lowered the lit spill to the candle’s wick. The fire rose up, a pure high flame with blue at its heart, then settled as Jamie pulled the spill away and shook it out in a plume of smoke.

They stood for some time, hands clasped loosely in front of them, watching the candle burn. Ian prayed for his mam and da, his sister and her bairns…with some hesitation (was it proper to pray for a Jew?), for Rebekah bat-Leah, and with a sidelong glance at Jamie, to be sure he wasn’t looking, for Jenny Fraser. Then the soul of Brian Fraser…and then, eyes tight shut, for the friend beside him.

The sounds of the church faded, the whispering stones and echoes of wood, the shuffle of feet and the rolling gabble of the pigeons on the roof. Ian stopped saying words, but was still praying. And then that stopped too, and there was only peace, and the soft beating of his heart.

He heard Jamie sigh, from somewhere deep inside, and opened his eyes. Without speaking, they went out, leaving the candle to keep watch.

A QUICK TREAT FOR ST. ANDREW’S DAY

Thanks to Outlander_Starz (and Sam Heughan and Adhamh O’ Broin) for the lovely Gaelic lesson!

“Speak Outlander, Lesson 1: Sassenach”

[And on a more sober note, please take a moment for prayer or kind thoughts in support of those killed, injured or bereaved by the dreadful helicopter crash in Glasgow yesterday.]

Quickie Appearance – Tempe, Nov. 30th

For those who live in the Phoenix Metro area (and have survived Black Friday )…I’ll be doing a two-hour signing at Changing Hands bookstore in Tempe tomorrow (Nov. 30th), from 3-5 PM.

This is just a sign-and-chat; not a formal event. (_I_ don’t mind if you bring your books from home to be signed, but you might check with the bookstore to see if it’s OK by them.)

Address and phone:

Changing Hands Bookstore
6428 S McClintock Dr, Tempe, AZ 85283
480.730.0205

[Google maps link and other information on their website]

WELL, ALRIGHTY THEN! WE HAVE A NEW PUB DATE!

MOBY official US cover

I’m pleased to announce that WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD (aka MOBY) will be published by Random House (US) on June 10th, 2014.

To answer a few questions that I _know_ the answer to:

Canada always publishes on the same date as the US.

UK Cover

UK Cover

The UK (and its territories, Australia and New Zealand) usually publishes very near the US date, but not invariably on the _same_ day. It might be, it might be a few days earlier, it might be later, I don’t know. Will tell you as soon as I do.

Germany will likely publish quite close to the same date as the US, perhaps a little sooner. I don’t know about that yet.

Almost all other non-English publishers will publish about a year after the US/English edition, because they have to allow time for translation, and a Big Book takes a long time to translate. (Germany gets much faster translation because I have a close personal relationship with the German translator, and she works with me while I write.)

The book-tour for MOBY is being rescheduled as we speak. The launch party will be held in Scottsdale, AZ, by the Poisoned Pen bookstore, at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, 6-10 PM, June 10th.

That’s ALL I know for now. As soon as the dates are re-set (spoke to the Random House publicist this morning and she says she thinks most of the dates and events previously scheduled will be the same), I’ll post the list everywhere.

Publication Date Change – Sorry About This…

Well. I _really_ hate writing this, and I do apologize….but the pub date for MOBY is moving.

Two reasons for this:

1. The first—and by far the most important—is that I began to realize about a month ago that I needed a little more time in order to finish the book the way it needs to be done. I could get the necessary wordage on paper by the end of the year—but it wouldn’t be _good_. Good takes more time. And I’m really sorry, but you’re not getting a book that’s less than the best I can do.

2. The second thing has to do with the new Starz tv show. Two things about _that_:

a. While the original guess as to the date for the series release was April, that _was_ only a guess. In New York last month, the Starz people were telling me (and the assorted fans present; it’s not a secret) that it will be (take your pick), “June,” “July,” “August,” or “summer.” So, you know…later.

b. While I don’t have (and don’t want) “control” over anything to do with the show, I actually am (by contract) a consultant. And while I told the production people that I considered my main job to be staying out of their way, they are amazingly generous about including and involving me. And I am actually required to do promotional things for the PR side of the production. Sooo….am I going to say, “Sorry, I can’t be paying attention to all this fascinating stuff going on, and I’m not going to New York Comic Con, because I have to stay home and finish my novel?” Errr….no. (I mean, really—would _you_?)

So. I would have told you this a week or so ago, but once I’d made the decision that I needed an extra two months to do the book properly, all of the publishers needed to be officially informed. (Publishers hate finding out important things on Twitter or Facebook.)

Now, it’s up _to_ those publishers now to decide on a new pub date. They need to take into consideration all kinds of things, including the new date for the tv show’s release (not that there is an _official_ date as yet—and even if there was, it could move. Stuff Happens, as I’ve told you before), plus the usual considerations—where they can find a good slot in their existing schedule, what’s a good time of year for it, and so on.

I don’t have any idea what the new pub date might be. I’ll tell you the minute we know. But my immediate concern is for all the people I’ve seen this week excitedly making plans to come and see me in Portland or wherever.

Since the pub date is moving….I’m afraid (and my Deep Apologies to the poor publicists) all the tour events will have to be rescheduled, once a new date is chosen.

Now, I know a lot of you have been ordering tickets to the Portland event on April 6th. I’ll talk to the Random House people and the Portland people, and see what can be worked out. I’m happy to go and do that event, even if it’s not part of the official book-tour, if the organizers want that. But that’s up to them. I _will_ do my best to make sure you aren’t harmed by the change, though.

I’m sorry about this, and I thank you for your patience and understanding.

Casting Commentary

Sam Heughan and Friend at Outlanderworld

Sam Heughan and Friend at Outlanderworld

Goodness, can’t leave you lot to your own devices for long, can I? [g] Given the amount of traffic I see in the stats for this blog and my Facebook page, I conclude that the Casting Wars are still boiling along.

Well. Look.

1) People are entitled to their own opinions. Naturally, I’d prefer these opinions to be expressed—and received—civilly, but up to you, of course. I believe in the virtues of free discourse.

2) I—of course—am likewise entitled to an opinion. [cough]

Now, my opinion is based on rather more information than most others expressed here, because

a) I created Jamie Fraser and thus—presumably–have a pretty good idea of what he really looks and acts like.

b) While I haven’t yet met Sam Heughan, I’ve seen Rather a Lot of him (about 95%, at a rough guess), both in terms of

a. Photographs, and

b. Film, and

c. Bits and pieces, like audition tapes

Naturally, everyone forms mental images while reading. Everybody. I do it when I read other people’s books, too. Now, I can’t imagine why anyone—having read OUTLANDER—would form an image of Jamie as a 7-foot tall Bozo the clown on steroids, but you know….whatever floats your boat.

Why anyone should expect a film company to a) telepathically extract your personal vision of a character and b) try to replicate that onscreen is one of the Great Mysteries of the Universe, and I’m not about to try to solve it here—I got a book to write, among other things, and there are only so many hours in the day.

So I’m just going to say This about That:

Y’all have not seen Sam Heughan “be” Jamie Fraser.

I _have_.

Now, when they told me who they’d chosen and that they were sending me the audition tapes, I was in the car, driving from Phoenix to Santa Fe with my husband. Unable to get to my computer until we got to Santa Fe, I was madly googling “Sam Heughan” on my iPhone (my husband was driving, I hasten to add).

Frankly, I thought he looked bizarre. He’s 6’3”, that’s fine…very chiseled face, but oddly chiseled, and what’s with the large forehead and cleft chin?!? Jamie doesn’t have a cleft chin and his nose is not all that long, though it _is_ straight…and good grief, I know we wanted somebody who could play a 22-year-old virgin, but this guy hardly looks like he has hair on his behind, let alone the dangly bits…but…

But.

But you know, I _do_ understand what it is that actors do.

(Do you know that, btw? What they do is magic. They can become somebody they aren’t—and their physical outline is just Really Not That Important. (Within limits. Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher is a long way outside those limits…).)

So I sat down at my computer, sort of looking warily through my fingers. Willing to suspend disbelief if I could, but kind of dubious, you know?

So here he is, dark-haired, in a long-sleeved gray T-shirt, and I’m thinking, “Boy, he doesn’t look _anything_ like his IMDB photos, he actually looks pretty human, that’s a relief…”

And five seconds later, Sam Heughan was GONE, and it was Jamie Fraser right there in front of me. True. No costume, no makeup, no props, nothing but cues from an offstage casting director, and…it was him.

He did two scenes. First, a confrontation with Dougal, right after Dougal’s ripped his shirt off in the tavern.

“Devil take ye, Dougal MacKenzie! I dinna owe ye that!” Blazing blue eyes, swelling shoulders, and…bam. Showed this small bit to a (male) friend recently, who blinked at the screen and said, “Man, he’s powerful!” He was.

Second scene was even better; it’s the scene where Jamie explains to Claire exactly why he’s about to punish her. [g] And he had it all: patience, seriousness, annoyance, patience, humor, menace, humor, and…enough sex to drop anyone with functioning ovaries in their tracks.

Now. In the months since then, the production people have been kind enough to show me the occasional glimpse of this or that. I _have_ seen the red hair in its full glory (it took seven tries—and 27 hours in a salon chair, I was told by the victim), and speaking as someone married to a red-head (himself Jamie’s original body model) and with two more in residence…it’s definitely the right kind of red.

Red hair—as I notice a few red-heads have been mentioning—looks Way Different, depending on the light. Unless it’s truly carroty (and Jamie’s is Definitely Not), sometimes it looks almost brown, sometimes it’s red-gold and sometimes it’s all different colors and sometimes it has almost-blond highlights and sometimes…well, let’s put it this way: it doesn’t look like Bozo the clown or Shamus the Wrestler, it looks like Real Hair, just red. (And if you really worry about this, do go and google “red deer images” and _see_ what the heck a red deer’s pelt looks like.)

But beyond the physical details (which are, um…Really Good, and decency prevents me going further, save to say that while Jamie certainly doesn’t look like Thor (gag me with a spoon), he—and Mr. Heughan—look Very Nicely Muscled indeed)….Sam Heughan can _act_. And he totally nailed it.

So. Feel perfectly free to express your own opinions. (I don’t know quite what people expect as a result. Surely they don’t figure that Starz will say, “Oh, no! Robyn MacGillicuddy Stimson thinks Chris Hemsworth should be Jamie! Get Hemsworth’s agent on the phone!” Or at least I hope they don’t think that…) You’ll change your mind in due course.

Or I’ll pay you a dollar. [g]

Fan Event in New York – Behind The Scenes Video


Ron-Diana-ComicCon2013Thought you all might enjoy a glimpse of what’s going on with the new cable-tv show (at least those of you in the US; this video was produced and posted by Starz, who are the US distributors of the show, and I’m afraid the video isn’t viewable by other countries–yet. I’m hoping they’ll figure out how to do that shortly, but it’s not in my hands, sorry).

This video is a Fan Event put on by Starz while I was in New York last weekend at Comic Con, promoting the new show with Ron D. Moore, the executive producer and show-runner. You’ll get at least a glimpse of the sets and characters and preparation going into the show–followed by 45 minutes of detailed Q&A with me and Ron. (At the upper right is a captured image of Ron and me from the video.)

And a little later this week, I’ll be posting a round-up of the actors who have been announced so far, along with such photos and information as I have. _That_ will be available to everybody! Hope you enjoy it!

FERGUS (Ontario) SCOTTISH FESTIVAL AND HIGHLAND GAMES

JOIN ME IN FERGUS, ONTARIO NEXT WEEKEND!

I’ll be at the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games next weekend, August 9-11! (Well, I’ll actually be in evidence only on the 10th and 11th, but there are public events on Friday—the “Heavy” competitions, and the Tattoo—that you may be interested in as well.) The official website is here, but the part of the schedule that applies specifically to my own appearances is listed below:

Saturday, August 10

Doors Open: 8:00am
8:30am- Fergus Scottish Festival, Diana Gabaldon & the Ladies of Lallybroch through the ages. ~ Lynn Boland Richardson
9:00am-10:00am – Diana Gabaldon
10:00am- Booksigning and Photo Opportunities

1:30pm- Fergus Scottish Festival, Diana Gabaldon & the Ladies of Lallybroch through the ages. ~ Lynn Boland Richardson
2:00pm-3:00pm- Diana Gabaldon
3:00pm- Booksigning and Photo Opportunities
Sunday, August 11
Doors Open: 9:00am
9:30am- Fergus Scottish Festival, Diana Gabaldon & the Ladies of Lallybroch through the ages. ~ Lynn Boland Richardson
10:00am-11:00am – Diana Gabaldon
11:00am- Booksigning and Photo Opportunities

2:30pm-3:30pm- Diana Gabaldon
3:30pm-6:00pm Booksigning and Photo Opportunities

[I’ll also be doing the Opening Ceremonies onstage at the field, mid-day on Saturday. The bookstore is open Friday from 4-6 PM, but there are no formal events on Friday, bar (I think) a ceildih in the evening. Check the official website for more details: http://www.fergusscottishfestival.com/

NO, you won’t get advance copies of MOBY—I haven’t finished writing it yet [g], and it doesn’t come out until next March, in order to coordinate with the (hoped-for) launch of the STARZ TV series. BUT…you _will_ get free (yes, FREE!! [g]) copies of the advance Excerpt Booklet, which includes the first seven chapters of the book. Random House Canada said they’re printing several thousand, so there should be plenty for everyone who wants one.

(And no, sorry—Sam Heughan will _not_ be joining me.)

It’s Official!

STARZ GREENLIGHTS NEW ORIGINAL SERIES “OUTLANDER”

FROM “BATTLESTAR GALACTICA” EXECUTIVE PRODUCER RONALD D. MOORE

Network Will Team up with Sony Pictures TV

Series Based on Diana Gabaldon’s International Best-Selling Novels

Beverly Hills, Calif., June 25, 2013 – Starz Chief Executive Officer, Chris Albrecht, announced today that Starz will partner with Sony Pictures Television to greenlight “Outlander,” an original series adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s international bestselling books. The network has ordered 16 episodes of the series which will begin filming in Scotland this fall. It is slated to premiere in 2014.

The series adaptation for “Outlander” will be written by Ronald D. Moore (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation”). Moore is best known for his work on “Battlestar Galactica,” which won him a Peabody Award in 2006. Ronald D. Moore and Jim Kohlberg are executive producers of “Outlander,” which is produced by Tall Ship Productions, Story Mining and Supply Company and Left Bank Productions in association with Sony Pictures Television.

“We were drawn to ‘Outlander’ because it centers on a complex heroine who becomes immersed in an epic time-traveling tale,” said Starz Chief Executive Officer Chris Albrecht. “Ron Moore is the perfect showrunner to bring the rich world created by Diana Gabaldon, which generated a global fan following, to life. We are thrilled to partner with Sony Pictures TV on this project.”

Moore added, “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to bring these books to life. Diana’s created a rich and textured world filled with intriguing characters, and I believe that Starz is the perfect home for her story. I think we’ll make something that the millions of fans of these books will enjoy and recognize as ‘Outlander.’”

Diana Gabaldon’s seven-book series has sold more than 20 million copies and has graced the New York Times best-sellers list six times. The eighth installment of the “Outlander” series is slated to be released March 25th, 2014.
The “Outlander” series spans the genres of romance, science fiction, history, and adventure in one magnificent tale. It follows the story of Claire Randall, a married British combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate affair is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Starz will retain all domestic multiplatform pay TV rights to the original series.

“Outlander” TV Series Online
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OutlanderTVSeries.starz

Twitter: @Outlander_Starz – join the conversation with #OutlanderStarz