• “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 SCOTTISH PRISONER now out in paperback!

THE SCOTTISH PRISONER is out TODAY (well, yesterday…sort of…I work late, OK?) in trade paperback, for the US and Canada! (It came out in paperback already in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.)

Besides the story—half Jamie, half Lord John (and below is the beginning of the book)—this book also includes several preview excerpts from WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD, the next upcoming OUTLANDER novel. Some of you will already have seen some of these excerpts, some of you won’t. FYI, the excerpts include:

  • Claire, Jenny and Mrs. Figg
  • William meets a Whore
  • What happened to Lord John after Jamie said, “Oh? Why?” And
  • What Happened to Jem in the Tunnel

And here is the beginning of THE SCOTTISH PRISONER:

SECTION I: The Fate of Fuses

Chapter 1: April Fool

Helwater, the Lake District
April 1, 1760

It was so cold out, he thought his cock might break off in his hand—i. If he could find it. The thought passed through his sleep-mazed mind like one of the small, icy drafts that darted through the loft, making him open his eyes.

He could find it now; had waked with his fist wrapped round it and desire shuddering and twitching over his skin like a cloud of midges. The dream was wrapped just as tightly round his mind, but he knew it would fray in seconds, shredded by the snores and farts of the other grooms. He needed her, needed to spill himself with the feel of her touch still on him.

Hanks stirred in his sleep, chuckled loudly, said something incoherent, and fell back into the void, murmuring, “Bugger, bugger, bugger…”

Jamie said something similar under his breath in the Gaelic, and flung back his blanket. Damn the cold.

He made his way down the ladder into the half-warm, horse-smelling fug of the barn, nearly falling in his haste, ignoring a splinter in his bare foot. He hesitated in the dark, still urgent. The horses wouldn’t care, but if they noticed him, they’d make enough noise, perhaps, to wake the others.

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

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

His eyes were long accustomed to the dark; he found the vacant loose-box at the end of the row and leaned against its boards, cock already in his fist, body and mind yearning for his lost wife.

He’d have made it last if he could, but he was fearful lest the dream go altogether and he surged into the memory, groaning. His knees gave way in the aftermath and he slid slowly down the boards of the box into the loose piled hay, shirt rucked round his thighs and his heart pounding like a kettle drum.

Lord, that she might be safe, was his last conscious thought. She and the child.


Copies of the trade paperback version of THE SCOTTISH PRISONER are available from:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | The Poisoned Pen | Random House

Click here for information on hardback and e-book formats.


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THE METHADONE LIST – TWO ROBERTS

THE METHADONE LIST – Good Crime Fiction by a Couple of Roberts What I Know: Rob Byrnes and Robert Dugoni

I was amused, but pleased, to have my novella, “Lord John and the Plague of Zombies” recently nominated for an Edgar award by the Mystery Writers of America, for “Best Short Mystery Story” of 2011. Given that that particular story is not exactly a mystery, and certainly isn’t short [g], I didn’t really expect to win (which was a good thing, since I didn’t), but certainly was flattered to be nominated.

And I did have a tax-deductible reason to go to New York (for the awards dinner), where I had the double pleasure of seeing my husband in his tux (he wears it about once every three years) and of meeting a number of mystery-writing friends that I see too rarely. Among these was the talented Rob Byrnes, who writes gay crime caper novels (there’s a niche-market for you…). I’ve known Rob for years, and have read and enjoyed several of his books (I’m not sure, but I think I appear as a mention in one of the early ones—I was in the first draft, at least…). Think Donald Westlake with good dress-sense. His latest is HOLY ROLLERS, in which The Gang That Can’t Do Anything Straight sets out to steal $7 million dollars from the Virginia Cathedral of Love.

[That's Rob in the middle in the photo above. I don't know who the other gent is, but it's not Robert Dugoni.]

AND there’s my good friend Robert Dugoni, whose publisher has just this minute launched a wonderful promotion for his books, with his bestseller MURDER ONE available as an ebook—as of today—for $1.99. Bob writes prose as taut as a trampoline, and has plots like an octopus running an obstacle course. If thrillers are your thing, I strongly recommend him.


[This is Bob Dugoni.]

COMING ATTRACTIONS – SHORT PIECES

“THE CUSTOM OF THE ARMY” will be released as an e-book on MAY 21!
Click to pre-order from Amazon, barnesandnoble.com, or the iBookstore!

And see below for an explanation:

Well, now. Over the last few years, I’ve written occasional short(er) pieces for anthologies. An anthology, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a collection of short stories or novellas (a novella is shorter than a novel, but longer than a short story), written by a number of different authors.

The notion behind an anthology is that readers who tend to read only within one genre will buy an anthology that features one of their favorite authors, but then will be exposed to other fine writers whose work they may want to explore further.

From my point of view, it’s just fun—and a nice mental break—to do these occasional short bits (I always do have multiple projects on the go; it keeps me from ever having writer’s block). As a side benefit, though, I then _have_ these pieces.

See, unlike the standard contract that covers publishing a novel (which normally says that the publisher can publish the book as long as it keeps selling above a certain minimal level), editors/publishers of anthologies normally make short-term contracts with their authors; they have the exclusive right to publish the story within a particular territory, but only for a relatively short period—after which, the rights to the stories revert to the individual authors.

So. What do you _do_ with, say, a 23,000-word novella? Well, prior to the advent of e-publishing, not that much. Unless you could collect several short pieces and publish them together as a book, that is. I did this with the first three Lord John novellas (“Hell-fire Club,” “Succubus,” and “Haunted Soldier”), which I (and Random House and a number of other, foreign publishers) published as a single volume titled LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS.

Ah, but now we _do_ have e-publishing, which offers new and entertaining possibilities! And I have five more short pieces, sitting here glowing with potential. [g]

BUT…bear in mind that bit above, about rights. The publisher of an anthology does have an exclusive right to publish a given story, within a particular territory, for a set period of time and/or in a particular form—and you can’t publish that story elsewhere until those rights expire and “revert” to you as the author.

So this leads us to an interesting situation. As I said, I have five short pieces (besides the three in HAND OF DEVILS):

“The Custom of the Army” is set in 1759, in London and Quebec, and while it probably _was_ all the fault of the electric eel, Lord John finds himself obliged to leave London for the wilds of Canada and the dangerous proximity of James Wolfe, the British general besieging the Citadel of Quebec. (“_Melodramatic ass,” was what Hal had said, hastily briefing him before his departure. “Showy, bad judgement, terrible strategist. Has the Devil’s own luck, though, I’ll give him that. _Don’t_ follow him into anything stupid_.”)

“Plague of Zombies” takes place in 1761, on the island of Jamaica, where Lord John is sent as commander of a battalion intended to suppress what seems to be a revolt of the escaped slaves called maroons. But things are not always what they seem. (_He rubbed the rest of the blood from his hand with the hem of his banyan, and the cold horror of the last few minutes faded into a glowing coal of anger, hot in the pit of his stomach. He’d been a soldier most of his life; he’d killed. He’d seen the dead on battlefields. And one thing he knew for a fact. Dead men don’t bleed_.)

“A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” is the story of Roger MacKenzie’s parents, Jerry and Dolly, and takes place during WWII. (_It was cold in the room, and she hugged herself. She was wearing nothing but Jerry’s string vest—he thought she looked erotic in it–”lewd,” he said, approving, his Highland accent making the word sound really dirty–and the thought made her smile. The thin cotton clung to her breasts, true enough, and her nipples poked out something scandalous, if only from the chill. She wanted to go crawl in next to him, longing for his warmth, longing to keep touching him for as long as they had_.)

“The Space Between” follows the events in the novel AN ECHO IN THE BONE, is set in Paris in 1778, and concerns Michael Murray (Young Ian Murray’s elder brother), Joan MacKimmie (Marsali MacKimmie Fraser’s younger sister), Mother Hildegarde (yes, she’s still alive), the Comte St. Germain (ditto (surely you didn’t think he was really dead, did you?)), and a number of other interesting people. (“_What a waste of a wonderful arse,” Monsieur Brechin remarked in French, watching Joan’s ascent from the far side of the cabin. “And mon Dieu, those legs! Imagine those wrapped around your back, eh? Would you have her keep the striped stockings on? I would.” It hadn’t occurred to Michael to imagine that, but he was now having a hard time dismissing the image. He coughed into his handkerchief to hide the reddening of his face_.)

“Virgins” is set in 1740, and is the story of 19-year-old Jamie Fraser and his 20-year-old friend Ian Murray as young mercenaries in France. (_Ian Murray knew from the moment he saw his best friend’s face that something terrible had happened. The fact that he was seeing Jamie Fraser’s face at all was evidence enough of that, never mind the look of the man_.)

Now, some of these stories have already reverted to me, and some haven’t. Some will revert in one territory sooner than they will in another. Those that haven’t yet reverted will do so one by one, as their original contracts expire.

What this means is that while I could publish “The Custom of the Army” right now, anywhere, in any form I liked, I can’t publish “A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” until this October—and “Plague of Zombies” doesn’t revert to me in North America (the US and Canada) until next April.

So. What we (my agents and I) have arranged to do is to e-publish the novellas with Random House (my usual novel publisher) in North America one at a time, as the rights to each one become available. Once all of the rights have reverted, we’ll be able to put the entire collection in the form of a printed book (and probably a larger e-book), but I didn’t want y’all to have to wait two years before getting any of these stories.

(Also, e-publishing gives you a chance to try a sample of Lord John (in case you’ve been debating whether to read that part of the series yet) easily and cheaply.)

Now, owing to differences in rights and reversions in different territories (and the generous accommodation of the publishers of one or two of the stories), we are able to publish a print volume in the UK/Australia/NewZealand later this year, including the first four of these stories. This collection, called A TRAIL OF FIRE, is scheduled for publication this October (yes! In 2012!).*

(Why A TRAIL OF FIRE? Well…as the cover copy says… “ _Trails of tracer bullets in the dark, and the fiery trail of a wounded Spitfire falling out of the sky. The trail blazed by night by the handful of heroic Highlanders who fought their way straight up a vertical cliff to stand on the Plains of Abraham in a fiery dawn. The burning of plantations in a Jamaican night, in a trail leading down from the mountains, straight toward Kingstown. And the trail of a torch burning green as it moves through the eerie surrounds of a Paris cemetery, down into the mysteries of the earth._”)

HOWEVER—“The Custom of the Army” will appear first in North America. It will be released as an e-book, on May 21st (that’s a month from now—mark your calendars )**. “A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” will be published as an e-book in North America in October, “Plague of Zombies” in April, and so on. I hope you’ll enjoy all these stories, in whichever form you encounter them!

*Because of the rights issues, A TRAIL OF FIRE won’t be published in the US/Canada until all of the story rights have reverted in this territory. This doesn’t mean you can’t get the book, though; just that it will be a bigger nuisance. The book can be legally imported from the UK, so you would—for instance—be able to order it from amazon.co.uk, or the Book Depository, or to buy it from an independent book-seller who imports UK books (The Poisoned Pen does import British books regularly; if you order from them, you can also get the book signed. www.poisonedpen.com). The drawback, of course, is that it’s a lot more expensive, owing to the high price of British books and the shipping costs. The e-books—being e-books—will be pretty cheap, so you might want to just get these one at a time as they come out. If you truly can’t wait, though…you will be able to get the whole collection in print form in October.

**Since it’s very easy to include additional material in an e-book, “The Custom of the Army” will include introductory notes, Author’s Notes about the historical details of the story, and a complete “Chronology of the OUTLANDER Series,” which tells you where ALL the novels, novellas, short stories, etc. fit in relation to each other, and what time periods are covered in each one. Such a deal!

A Nice Gesture From Audible.com!

WELL, HERE’S A NIC E THING!

In honor of my fans’ obvious enthusiasm , Audible.com told me they would put ALL of the OUTLANDER audiobooks (the main books of the series) on sale for $7.49 each, until May 1st! (If you have or create an audible.com account–if you don’t have one, it doesn’t cost anything to make one, and you don’t need to sign up for their monthly membership credits unless you want to–then you’ll see the sale price on the books when you go to the page.)

Here’s their message, with link to the sale:

Here’s the link to the Outlander sale page:

Anyone who is logged into an Audible account will see the $7.95 sale price; If you’re looking at the page and not logged into an account, you’ll see options to buy the audiobooks at full price or for $7.49 as part of signing up for Audible membership. (So it’s best to log in to an existing account or create a new one to take advantage of the sale!)”

Thanks to Audible.com!

An Open Letter to the Tournament of Books

About the TOURNAMENT OF AUDIOBOOKS

This is a letter for the organizers at Audible.com (if I can figure out how to send it to them!), but I wanted to share it with all of you–especially the kind folk who’ve been supporting THE FIERY CROSS all through the tournament.

I know the lengths to which some of Ms. Stevens’s fans have gone, and I’m not comfortable about any of you guys wasting your time in similar endeavors. So–

An Open Letter to the Organizers and Supporters of the Audible.com 5th Tournament of Audiobooks:

I can’t say how much I appreciate all the time, trouble, and support taken by my readers through all the voting in the Tournament of Audibooks—and I’m very much pleased to have seen THE FIERY CROSS do so well through the various rounds. But…
I’m afraid that this latest round of voting has fallen prey to the demons of technology, with people (on both sides) using various ploys to place multiple votes in support of their favorite. I do appreciate the fervor and devotion that causes fans to do this—and it’s not illegal; there’s nothing in the rules of the tournament preventing multiple voting, but it’s not sporting, guys. And it’s not fair—not fair to you, to have you waste your valuable time doing something like that, and not fair to the organizers of the Tournament, to have it become a futile click-fest.
I’m perfectly happy to concede the final tournament round to Ms. Stevens; this is her first book and I’m sure the publicity will be helpful to her. I wish her all the best.

Audible.com Tournament of Books

Since a nice reader just reminded me in the comments to the previous post–I’m very flattered to find that THE FIERY CROSS has made it to the Final Round of Audible.com’s Tournament of Audiobooks! That took a LOT of voting to propel the book through the four previous rounds, and I’m really grateful to all of you who did vote. I think it’s a huge compliment–and completely earned!–to Davina Porter, who’s done such a fabulous job with all my books, and did her usual masterly work with THE FIERY CROSS.

I think this final round’s voting goes until April 23rd–so should you feel the urge [g], do go by and vote for your favorite!

Here is the regular voting page – you click on “view matchup” to get to vote–but some people mentioned having trouble with that one.

Here is the HTML voting link, in case the first one doesn’t work for you.

And thanks very much for all your kindness!

Nice New Resources

TIMELINE

Barbara Schnell, who maintains the German version of this website (to go there, just click on the German flag at the top of the Home page), has compiled an elegant and helpful timeline of historical and fictional events from the books, and has helpfully provided an English version as well!

In addition, she has a link to a constantly-updated list of interesting interviews and reviews, which you can find here.

Danke, Barbara!

TRAVELOGUE: VILNIUS, Part 2 – Diplomacy in Action

Andrius, the nice Almalittera publicist who organized my appearance at the Vilnius Book Fair, met me at the airport and drove me into the city to my hotel, the Radisson in the Old City (there’s a New City, too, but I saw very little of this). Vilnius is an old (founded in 1527) Eastern European city, only twenty years free of Soviet occupation; it’s a little worn around the edges. At the same time, there’s a lot of evidence of vitality; a lot of new shops, and a large number of Extremely Well-kept churches. Vilnius has a lot of churches—at least fifty, Andrius told me—and a number of these are Russian Orthodox, some with onion domes. We passed one of these on the way in from the airport—with about a dozen large domes, all newly upholstered in brilliant kelly-green weather-proofed panels; it looked like a patch of Irish toadstools.

The Soviets had closed down all the churches during the occupation, I was told, using them for storage, stabling, and other purposes. Most of the churches had been re-opened and restored, with one exception: we passed a huge building on the crest of a hill, surrounded by a tall fence topped with barbed wire, and a big central dome protruding above this. I asked what this was, thinking that perhaps it was a church still being restored, but was told it was a prison. That is, it was originally a church, but the Soviets had used it as a prison, and it was still used for that purpose—until a new prison could be built elsewhere.

Having just about survived the trip to Vilnius, I got to my hotel and had about four hours before the first official event—dinner at the residence of the US Ambassador to Lithuania!

OK. So far I’ve been in a lot of interesting situations, but a diplomatic dinner has not been among them. What the heck does one wear to dine with an ambassador?

I applied logic to the situation and deduced that I was probably not the only guest; the Ambassador must be hosting whatever other American authors were coming to the Book Festival—all of whom had the same limitations of luggage that I had. Also, the dinner was at her residence, not at the embassy…ergo, probably a more casual affair. Aha. Black pants should meet the case, with my good boots (yes, I still have the German bondage boots with the chains, but hadn’t brought them on this trip) and something dressy on top. That was a lovely hand-painted, fringed velvet jacket, given me by a group of fans some years before. (When he first saw it, my husband paused for a moment, then said, “Why have they given you a jacket covered with sperms?” [ahem] It is, of course, covered with peacock feathers, but I will admit a passing resemblance to multicolored spermatozoa. Luckily, if the ambassador noticed this, she was too diplomatic to mention it.)

Andrius picked me up, along with the other two American authors, Ruta and Ina, Ruta’s editor, and another person named Ruta who was from the publishing company (Ruta is a very popular Lithuanian name; it means “Ruth”), and delivered us to the Ambassador’s residence on the banks of the Neris River. Two weeks before my arrival, temperatures had been thirty degrees below zero, and there was a fair amount of snow on the ground. Now the weather had warmed up considerably, and the evening was punctuated by frequent thundering crashes as mini-avalanches cascaded off the roof.

The US Ambassador to Lithuania is the charming and impressively competent Ann Derse, who—with her husband and her dog (a black Lab retired drug-sniffer from Customs named Tracy)–made us all welcome. “Us all” included the three American writers (me, Ruta Sepetys, who is the elegant blond lady in the photo above, and another woman whose last name I unfortunately didn’t catch, but her first name was Ina, which I’m sure helps a lot), several hosting publishers, and several members of the local intelligentsia (really, they were introduced that way, which caused me to wonder if a single one is an intelligentsium or merely an intelligentsi, and what people would think if you put that on your business card…), including a very nice journalist from a Lithuanian magazine on current affairs, a Swedish film-maker (who lives in Vilnius part-time), a writer with several nonfiction books about the Holocaust to his credit, and a gentleman with the impressive title of Executive Director for the Commission on Nazi/Soviet War Crimes. Obviously, this was going to be a Serious-minded Occasion.

It was, too. After wandering around a bit with wine-glasses in hand, introducing ourselves to each other (several guests came up to me and began talking in Lithuanian—something that happened throughout my visit. Evidently I look like a Lithuanian; who knew?), we all processed in to dinner—very elegant, with diplomatic white and gold china, stamped with the US shield-and-eagle logo, and little menu cards explaining what the food was going to be. (Explanation not really needed; salad with brie and sliced almonds, roasted salmon with capers and kalamata olives (in a divine butter sauce—this was Utterly Delicious—and quite fortunate, as it was Ash Wednesday and I couldn’t have eaten meat (had slight trouble with deciding when to start fasting for Ash Wednesday, owing to the air travel crossing time zones, but I was pretty hungry by the time we got to dinner)—and fruit salad (which nobody ate) for dessert).

Before the food, we each introduced ourselves, and told a bit about what we did. Ruta Sepetys has written a wonderful book (BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY), a YA novel based on the experiences of her relatives during the Soviet occupation. (When the soldiers came round to arrest her grandfather and found him gone, they promptly arrested the rest of the family and deported them to Siberia, where a good many of them died), Ina is a journalist who’d written up a collection of Holocaust accounts from Lithuanian survivors, the rotund gentleman across the table (whose name I didn’t catch) had also done both books and movies dealing with genocide and related subjects (“I couldn’t sleep more than one night in three while working on [a particular book],” he told us), the Swedish film-maker had done a film called “The Forest Brothers,” about Lithuanian fugitives hiding in the woods during the occupation, and the Executive Director of the Commission on Nazi/Soviet War Crimes didn’t really require a whole lot of explanation. It was an Extremely Interesting dinner, and I learned more about the recent history of Lithuania in a couple of hours than I would have in several years of independent study. Emerged _very_ impressed at the determination and resilience of the Lithuanian people.

Oh, me? I was the comic relief. Not that I was _trying_ to be funny, but when I explained what I wrote and how I began writing—i.e., about “Dr. Who” and the man in the kilt, they rolled on the floor. (N.B.: I did _not_ tell the companion anecdote about the German journalist and the appeal of a man in a kilt; didn’t seem the time or place [delicate cough].)

And the evening was still the (Very Long) first day. I don’t usually have bad jet-lag, partly because I sleep at the drop of a hat, so snooze on and off through the flights, but also because I just keep my normal rhythm upon landing—I may collapse in a heap come bedtime, but I’ll feel fine the next day. So that’s what I did. And in Part 3, we’ll hear about Vilnius University, being made up in a foreign language, Vilma the interpreter, Lithuanian shopping malls, the Book Fair, basketball mania, and more amber than you could shake a stick at. Also, if I can figure out how to get it out of my Flip-it, a grossly inept video travelogue of Piliesas Street, main drag of the Old City of Vilnius.

• The photo above was _not_ taken in Vilnius, but in a hotel room in Tucson, Arizona, during the Tucson Festival of Books, earlier this month. I included it because it has both me and Ruta Sepetys in it, she having also come to the TFOB. The other ladies present are (from left to right) Kristina McMorris, Sarah McCoy, and Jenna Blum, and we were gathered together in order to do a Skype appearance for a church book-club, because we all had written things having to do with WWII (my modest claim to this historical period being a (more or less) short story titled “A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows,” which is to do with Roger MacKenzie’s parents, Jerry and Dolly.

• I did tell the church-people the anecdote about the German interviewer and the appeal of a man in a kilt—but only because they asked.

Travelogue: Vilnius (Lithuania), Part I

Now, normally I travel Business Class only when someone else is paying for it [g], or when conditions seem to warrant the extra expense. In this case, it was the latter.

Vilnius is one of those places where you can’t get there from here–wherever “here” is. It takes a minimum of three flights (and 22 hours) to get there, and two weeks before I left, the nice person who was making my travel arrangements apologized for the delay, saying that it was -30 degrees F., and “too cold for anybody to do anything.” Nothing daunted, I put gloves and wooly hat in the pockets of my big down coat, loaded three new novels onto my Kindle (Deborah Crombie’s NO MARK ON HER, Kim Harrison’s PERFECT BLOOD, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s NOBODY’S BABY BUT MINE–all really good books, btw), put three Russell Stover Coconut Cream Easter Eggs and a hairbrush into my book satchel, with an ARC of Louise Penny’s THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY for takeoffs and landings, and set off into the wild blue yonder.

The adventure started off in typical fashion–which is to say that the first flight of this carefully-arranged hegira was cancelled (thus ruining all the other connections). You don’t do a lot of this kind of travel without developing a certain philosophical outlook, though, so I merely ate an easter egg (with Diet Coke; you don’t get through this kind of thing without some source of caffeine, either) and spent a tranquil three and a half hours in the Phoenix airport (flying Biz Class helps the philosophical outlook, since you can go hang out in the airline’s lounge on these occasions; the bathrooms are better, and they usually provide daily papers, snacks, and alcohol), reading NO MARK ON HER, before flying off to Newark (rather than Washington Dulles, as originally scheduled). Began THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY, which is very good, though somewhat different from Penny’s usual, in that it involves Chief Inspector Gamache, but is not set in the magical town of Three Pines. Returned to NO MARK, though, as I didn’t want to finish the ARC too soon–a lot of takeoffs and landings still to come.

Well. The connection in Newark to the next leg—to Frankfurt—was only 40 minutes to start with—a long shot, considering that it takes about ten minutes to get to the gate and _off_ the bloody aircraft before even beginning the dash to the next gate (and Newark has roughly 175 gates). But the plane was put in a holding pattern, and by the time we finally landed and taxied _for miles_, my connection time had shrunk to nine minutes, and I was resigned to spending the night in Newark, rebooking _again_, and emailing Vilnius from my iPad to let them know I’d be a hair late.

BUT, what to my wondering eyes should appear, the instant I came out of the jetway, but a nice young gentleman in a suit and a German accent (I was technically on a Lufthansa flight, even though operated by Continental), who seized me, stuffed me into a waiting electric cart and—assuring me that my suitcase was being hastily excavated and would make it, too—dispatched us on a wild career down the terminal, the iron-lunged young lady at the wheel shouting, “BEEP-BEEP-BEEP!” at the oblivious walkers, several of whom avoided instant death only by an adroit leap sideways as we shot past.

I dived into the plane to find the whole German cabin crew standing in the doorway, impatiently glancing at their watches, and thirty seconds after I fell into my seat (leaping over the supine body of my seatmate, who had already put on her sleepmask and reclined at full-length under her blanket), we took off for Frankfurt. Another perk of flying Biz Class is that they offer more or less nonstop alcohol, and a good thing, too. White wine doesn’t really go with easter eggs, but you know, what the heck.

Lufthansa is really just about my favorite airline—insofar as it’s possible to contemplate the word “airline” without shuddering. The food was excellent, the service both amiable and efficient (beyond the alcohol and the warm nuts, one of the little amenities I like flying Biz is the napkins, which are cloth, dazzlingly white, and feature a buttonhole in one corner, so you can button it onto your shirt rather than laying it across your lap and dropping bits of arugula and glazed walnut into your décolletage, or tucking it into your collar and looking like you wuz born in a barn), and the seats really cool: each one was sort of sequestered in its own little cocoon of plastic, within which it adjusted everywhichway, so it doesn’t make any difference whether the person in front of you reclines or not.

I’m so accustomed to random sleeping that I don’t bother trying to readjust my metabolism when flying; I just take homeopathic No-Jet-Lag tablets and sleep when I’m tired. I wasn’t tired at this point, so went through the available movies—new to newish releases, but a pretty dismal looking crop—and watched Part I of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” Boringly incoherent, with indifferent acting and good special effects. Let us just say I now have zero desire to see Part II. After all, I read the book; I know how it ends.

Astonishingly enough, we landed in time for me to make the connection with my _original_ Frankfort-to-Vilnius flight, in spite of having to go through Passport Kontrolle in Frankfort and make my way from one end of the place to the next—pausing _en route_ to purchase a small bottle of Cola Light (this is supposed to be Diet Coke, but it really isn’t; it’s Coke Zero. Still, it works, and I’m not inclined to be fussy after twenty hours on the road) for the extortionate price of three euros (one small benefit to constant travel is that I have small amounts of all kinds of odd currencies on hand, emptied out of my pockets after trips, and therefore usually have enough on landing to get me a snack and a cab-ride before I have to change money–_really_ useful, if landing at a small airport in the middle of the night. Frankfurt is _not_ a small airport, btw. It’s about like O’Hare in terms of size and complexity, but much, much better run. They were having a ground strike at the time—this is what caused my first flight to be canceled; the plane I was scheduled to be on couldn’t get _out_ of Frankfurt—but were moving people with great dispatch, little congestion, and no public riots. Or maybe they just don’t let members of the public abuse the staff).

And so I landed in Vilnius pretty much on time, to find that the temperature had risen, the snow was slushy, the skies gray—i.e., much like February in Flagstaff (where I grew up), as I kept reassuring my apologetic hosts—and the baggage claim area sported a large poster proudly informing all and sundry that Vilnius is “the Gender-Equality Capital of Europe!”

And the morning and the evening and the morning again and part of the afternoon were the First Day. _Now_ I was tired.

P.S. Where the Short Pieces Are (aka Chronology of the novellas and short stories)

P.S. WHERE ALL THE SHORT PIECES ARE:

“Lord John and the Hellfire Club” (short story—14,000 words) – originally published in the anthology PAST POISONS, edited by Maxim Jakubowski. Also published in the collection titled LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS. This story _precedes_ the novel LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER.

“Lord John and the Succubus” (novella – it’s around 25-30,000 words) – originally published in the anthology LEGENDS II, edited by Robert Silverberg. Also published in the collection titled LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS. This story _follows_ the novel LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER, and comes _before_ the novel LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE.

“Lord John and the Haunted Soldier” (novella – 25-30,000 words) Written for and available _only in_ the collection titled LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS. This story _follows_ the novel LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE.

LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS is a _collection_ of three stories/novellas: “Hellfire Club,” “Succubus,” and “Haunted Soldier. It is available in hardcover, trade paperback, and mass-market paperback, and in an ebook version. (The Poisoned Pen bookstore can provide _any_ of my books in _any_ format, autographed/inscribed, and will ship anywhere in the world. www.poisonedpen.com .)

“The Custom of the Army” (novella – 28,000 words) Written for (and so far available only in) the anthology WARRIORS (NB: The paperback edition of this book was published in three volumes; “The Custom of the Army” is in the third volume, “WARRIORS 3”), edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. This story _follows_ “Lord John and the Haunted Soldier,” and _precedes_ the novel THE SCOTTISH PRISONER.

“A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” (short story – approx. 18,000 words) originally published in the anthology SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, October 2010. Now available in hardcover and mass-market paperback. This story deals with Roger MacKenzie’s parents, Jerry and Dolly, during WWII.

THE SCOTTISH PRISONER (novel – 150,000 words). Published in US and Canada by Random House (and Random House Canada), available in hardcover and ebook versions. Will soon be released in trade paperback. Published in the UK by Orion; available in hardcover and trade paperback (and, I hope, ebook, but don’t know for sure). This book _follows_ “The Custom of the Army”, _precedes_ “Lord John and the Plague of Zombies,” and is a _hybrid novel_, using both Jamie Fraser and Lord John Grey as main characters.

“Lord John and the Plague of Zombies” (novella – about 24,000 words) originally published in anthology titled DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. This story _follows_ THE SCOTTISH PRISONER, chronologically.

“The Space Between” (novella – about 40,000 words), to be published in an anthology titled THE MAD SCIENTIST’S GUIDE TO WORLD DOMINATION, edited by John Joseph Adams. It will be published by Tor, presumably later in 2012, but there is no pub date set yet. This story concerns Michael Murray (Ian’s elder brother), Joan MacKimmie (Marsali’s younger sister), the Comte St. Germain (naturally he’s not dead, what are you thinking?), Mother Hildegarde, and a few other people. Jamie and Claire are there in spirit.

“Virgins” (short story (theoretically) – no idea how long it is, because I’m still writing it). To be published in the anthology DANGEROUS WOMEN, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. No pub date, but quite possibly later in 2012. This one is about Jamie (aged nineteen) and his friend Ian (aged twenty) as young mercenaries in France.

Yes, eventually some of these pieces will very likely be published as e-shorts, collected into a single volume, or both. When they are, I’ll tell you; stay tuned!

P.S. That green book up there is the Dutch edition of THE SCOTTISH PRISONER