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“John and Hal and William and Amaranthus”

January 14, 2017

2017-01-14-flowers2MANY, many thanks to everyone for all the lovely birthday wishes, wonderful presents, and kind thoughts! Having enjoyed my birthday to the max (though I still have three or four servings of garlic pinenut chicken left…), I’ve spent the last couple of days engaged in shoveling my office, correcting the final ms. of A FUGITIVE GREEN, and doing a ton of necessary non-fiction writing (book reviews, answers to questions from a couple of auction winners—no, I haven’t forgotten you! (I’m just long-winded…)— and bits of A Comprehensive Survey of How Publishing Works These Days). But now I return to Real Work…


Social Media Hashtags: #DailyLines, #Book9, #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGone, #noitisntfiished, #butitsgoingfine, #thanksforasking, #Illtellyouwhenitsdone, #dontworry, #JohnAndHalAndWilliamAndAmaranthus

“The boy needs help,” Hal observed.

“True,” John said, and sighed. “But he’s a man, if you hadn’t noticed.”

“Actually, I had, but I wasn’t sure you had—you being his father, I mean. One tends not to see that about one’s sons.”

“Or one’s daughters, I suppose,” John said, not taking any pains to remove the edges of the remark. He wasn’t in a mood to consider Hal’s feelings.

Hal made a grimace that ended as a pained half-smile. “Did I tell you that Hunter writes to me, once or twice a month?”

“No.” John was mildly startled by this. “He’s a Continental army captain, isn’t he?”

“Yes, he is—though against his will. They don’t believe in rank. Friends, I mean.”

This was said very casually, and John gave his brother a look, which Hal avoided by picking up a sheaf of orders and flicking through it.

“And his purpose in writing to you is…?” He couldn’t think Denzell Hunter had any hopes of appealing to Hal’s better nature.

“To inform me that Dottie is well.” Hal laid down the papers and gave John back the look. “Nothing more. That’s all he says—’Dorothea is in good health, though somewhat tired.’ Or ‘Your daughter is well, Yours in Christ, Denzell Hunter.’”

There was a silence, during which the shouts of a drill sergeant echoed like the distant calls of some large bird of hysterical temperament.

“Why do you suppose he does it?” John asked finally. “Religious conviction on his part, persuasion by Dottie—does she ever write, herself, by the way?—or an attempt at reconciliation by the water-dropping-on-stone method?”

“She’s written once.” Hal’s face softened a little at the thought. “Though she didn’t say a great deal more than he has. As for Hunter… I honestly don’t think he has unscrupulous designs upon my fortune, or anything of that kind.”

“I shouldn’t think so,” John said dryly. He hadn’t known many Friends personally, but the whole experience of Dottie’s wedding had convinced him that they tended to mean what they said about avoiding the vanities of the world. As for Denzell Hunter, beyond his own brief observations of the man—all favorable—his bona fides were vouched for by three of the few people in the world whom John trusted: Dottie, Claire, and Jamie Fraser.

Thought of Jamie Fraser necessarily recalled his attention to William.

“You’re right about his needing help,” he said, trusting in his brother’s ability always to know what he was talking about. “How, though? He understands the nature of his dilemma as well as we do—possibly better, as it’s his. And knowing his nature as well as I do, I’m sure that any attempt to convince him that his responsibility lies in taking up the duties of his title would be worse than futile.”

“Well,” Hal said thoughtfully, “any attempt by us, yes.”

John raised a brow.

“Who else did you have in mind? Dottie? He might listen to her, but she wouldn’t try to persuade him to go back to England. Under her pernicious influence—and Denzell’s—he’d probably end up as King of America.”

“Hmph. No, though you’re on the right track,” Hal said. “I was rather thinking of my daughter-in-law.”

“Amaranthus?” John was surprised, but couldn’t help smiling at thought of that very frank young woman. “Well, she’s certainly a Loyalist, and thus presumably disposed toward tradition…”

“She’s also disposed toward William,” Hal said bluntly. “Has he ever spoken to you about her?”

(End of Excerpt.)

Social Media Comment:

Barbara B. said: Diana, one thing I love is from all your pictures of your home is that it and you are so normal, it looks like a place I would stop by, sit and have coffee with a friend. (Unless you really live in a mansion and you keep your servants hid in a closet somewhere.)

My answer: Nah, we keep it real. <g>

Return to the BEES (Book 9) official webpage…

This excerpt (aka a “Daily Lines” release) was posted by Diana on her official Facebook page on January 14, 2017. It was also included in her blog, “Birthday Retrospective,” on January 31, 2017.

This page was last updated by Diana’s Webmistress on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at 7:38 a.m. (PT).