• “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

“A Bomb In The Hand…” (Book Ten)


Social Media Hashtags: #DailyLines, #BookTen, #dontbotheraskingwhenitwillbedone #really #dont, #youllfindoutwhenIdo

[Excerpt from Book 10 [Untitled], Copyright © 2022 Diana Gabaldon]

2022-03-31-Diana-Gabaldon-chair“What are you thinking?” I asked. “I know it’s about William.”

“Oh, aye?” He glanced at me, mouth curled up at one side. “And what do I look like if I’m thinking of William?”

“Like someone’s handed you a wrapped package and you’re not sure whether it’s something wonderful, or a bomb.”

That made him laugh, and he put an arm around me and pulled me in close, kissing my temple. He smelled of day-old linen, ink and hay, and the dribble of honey that had dried down the front of his shirt, like tiny amber beads.

“Aye, well, one look at the lad and ye ken he’ll explode before too long,” he said. “I only hope he doesna damage himself doing it.”

“Or you.”

He shrugged comfortably.

“I’m no very breakable, Sassenach.”
“Says the man with four—no, five bullet holes in his hide, to say nothing of enough surgical stitching to make a whole crazy quilt. And if we start counting the bones you’ve cracked or broken…”

“Ach, away—I’ve never broken anything important; just the odd finger. Maybe a rib, here or there.”

“And your sternum and your left kneecap.”

He made a dismissive Scottish noise, but didn’t argue.

We stood for a bit, arms about each other, listening to the sounds outside. The younger children had fallen asleep under bushes or in their parents’ wagons, their happy screeching replaced by music and the laughter of the dancers, the clapping and calls of those watching.

“He came to me,” Jamie said quietly. He was trying to sound matter-of-fact, but he’d stopped trying to hide what he was feeling.

“He did,” I said softly, and squeezed his arm.

“I suppose there wasna really anyone else he could go to,” he said, off-handed. “If he canna find his grace, I mean, and he couldna very well talk to anyone in the army, could he? Given that….” He stopped, a thought having struck him, and turned to me.

“D’ye think he knows, Sassenach?”

“Knows what?”

“About—what he said. The… threat to Lord John. I mean—” he elaborated, seeing my blank look, “does he ken that it’s no just a canard.”

“A—oh.” I stopped to consider for a moment, then shook my head with decision. “No. Almost certainly not. You saw his face when he told us about what Richardson was threatening. He’d still have been scared—maybe more scared—if he knew it wasn’t an empty threat—but he wouldn’t have looked the way he did.”

“Anxious? Angry?”

“Both. But Anyone would be, wouldn’t they? Under the circumstances.”

“They would. And… determined, would ye say?”

“Stubborn,” I said promptly, and he laughed.

“A bomb for sure, then.”


This is excerpt is from Book Ten (as yet untitled) of my major Outlander series of novels, Copyright © Diana Gabaldon 2021. All rights reserved. Please do not copy and repost this excerpt elsewhere; instead please share the link to this blog post. Thank you.

This excerpt (aka “Daily Lines”) was also posted on my official Facebook page on Thursday, March 31, 2022.

Writing Anniversary and An Interview


HAPPY WRITING ANNIVERSARY!

2021-12-Diana-Pen-BEESTo me, that is. On March 6th, 1988, I began writing what eventually turned out to be OUTLANDER. I intended to write a novel for the sole purpose of learning how to write a novel… and here was are, some 34 years on…

…and many thanks to all of you who have been with me through those years, as well as those who have just come aboard this voyage through time and space!

Rather than celebrate the occasion by telling what a bookseller of my acquaintance refers to as “your origin story” (because I’ve told it thousands of times, and if anyone wants to see it, it’s here on my website as well as hundreds of other places on the web), I went through some of the dozens of interviews I’ve done over the intervening years, and thought I might publish a few of the most interesting ones, over the course of this month (interspersed with discussions of Season Six, to be sure).

This interview was done nine years ago, for my friend Barbara Rogan’s blog on writing (Barbara now teaches writing, and the blog has shifted somewhat in form, but is still very much worth reading. It’s called “In Cold Ink,” and is on her website.).

Hope you enjoy it!


BR: Were you a great reader as a child? What were your favorite books?

Yes. My mother taught me to read at the age of three; I can’t remember not being able to read. I do remember turning up on the first day of kindergarten, flipping critically through DICK AND JANE and dropping it, remarking, “That’s a stupid book. Is there anything else to read?” (I was not a tactful child.)

I read—and still do read—just about anything. I read my way through the entire children’s section of the Flagstaff Public Library by the third grade, at which point I went on to the adult section (my mother having assured the librarian—who was Very Dubious about this—that I could take out anything I wanted to). Among the things I read repeatedly, though, were ALICE IN WONDERLAND, THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON, the Oz books, all the Andrew Lang Fairy Books, the entire series of biographies of famous people for children, and any Walt Disney comic I could get my hands on.

BR: Do you recall a specific moment when you realized that you’d like to write stories yourself?

Yeah. I was about eight, and coming back in the car from a family outing to the cinder hills near Flagstaff (we often went out there on Sundays when the weather was nice). It was summer and the daily thunderstorm was shaping up overhead. I remember looking up into the clouds and talking to God—I wasn’t praying, just talking to Him—and saying, “I want to write books. I think I’m supposed to write books.” Mind—at this point, the notion of WRITING A BOOK was the most far-fetched, impossible thing I could imagine. I might as well have said, “I think I want to fly to Mars.”

I didn’t have the slightest idea how books were written, let alone how they got onto the library shelves (didn’t know people got paid for writing books, either; when I found that out, it seemed like an amazing bonus).

Anyway, God said (more or less), “Yes, that’s right. You should.”

BR: First novels are often autobiographical in some fashion or another. You haven’t got a drop of Scottish blood in you, you were never a nurse and you haven’t (as far as I know) time-traveled. Is there anything in OUTLANDER that did draw upon your own life experience and/or passions?

If you write an honest book, most of it is you, regardless of setting, time period, or the external aspects of your characters.

And the idiotic assumption that one can only write about one’s own life experience—if widely adopted—would have prevented most of the world’s great books being written. (Not saying you’re an idiot, mind you <g>.) It’s just that that stupid, “Write what you know” axiom has been propagated so much that people don’t stop to question it, and thus don’t realize that it’s backward. It’s not that you should limit yourself to using your own life as material; it’s that you shouldn’t write what you don’t know—but you can find out anything you need to know.

Outlander-cover-medium-220x319There’s also this little item called “imagination,” which I think is given remarkably short shrift these days. As a novelist, I can be Anybody. Any time, any place, in any condition of body or mind. Why should I just be me? How boring.

(Not even going to touch the equally prevalent attitude that a writer should for some reason be strongly drawn to write about his or her ethnic background—but only if s/he isn’t white. People keep pestering me to “write about your heritage,” by which they mean the New Mexican/Hispanic side. Why don’t they pester me to write about the English or German side, assuming I wanted to write about my heritage in the first place, which I don’t.)

But returning to what you actually asked <g>: Sure. Owing to a series of academic accidents, I taught classes in Human Anatomy and Physiology in several different institutions, including Temple University’s School of Nursing. Now, this had nothing whatever to do with my own scientific interests, background, or research specialties—they just paid me for doing it. But the material was undeniably interesting—and it gave me the broad but shallow grasp of clinical medicine that is the core of Claire’s work as a healer and physician.

Now, I was a field ecologist for some time. Which means I naturally look at what’s going on around me when I’m outdoors. I know what the basic features of a given ecosystem type are—which means that whether I’m looking at the Scottish Highlands or the North Carolina mountains, I know that there will birds species doing X, and plant species that fill Y niche, and so on. Beyond that, it’s just a matter of looking up the specific plants and animals, and that’s a matter of very simple research.

(Am constantly staggered by people who ask, “How did you do all the research for your books?” in tones implying that “research” is a terribly arcane skill. “If there’s something I want to know, I go look it up,” being the basic answer. Are people no longer taught how to use libraries? Apparently there are millions of people who use computers—because they’re using them to ask me these questions—who haven’t yet grasped how to use Google to look up the meaning of an English word like “absquatulate,” let alone own a real dictionary. But I digress…)

I’m sixty-one. I’ve been in love, been married, borne children, had people near me die. Naturally bits and pieces of all these experiences filter through into the books I write. Be strange if they didn’t, wouldn’t it?

BR: You have many readers who are passionate about your books and personally invested in the characters. Putting all modesty aside, why do you think readers connect so deeply with your characters?

I do write honest books, so far as it lies in my power to do so. People recognize reality (in terms of character and situation and emotion) when they see it, and it’s natural for them to empathize with people they see as real.

(The Washington Post recently asked me for “a few sentences” describing what I did for Valentine’s Day, for a column in which such bits from a dozen (female) authors were quoted. Most of the other participants went on about going out for a romantic dinner with their husband and toasting each other with pink champagne, or… well…take this one:

“I love seeing the glowing pyres of fat, deep red-red roses in full cry, displays of pink Champagne and boxes of chocolates that spring up all over London, and hope that a glorious bunch might find its way to me. Yet, if I was giving roses to a man on this particular day (and why not, for all sensual men love them), I’d buy flame orange, rich yellow or creamy, pink-tinged white; and pretend — because I’m old fashioned — that it was merely joie de vivre, or exuberance, or entirely accidental…”

And then there was what I said (the absolute un—er—varnished <g> truth:

“We’re having the saltillo tile floors resealed. This means having to move all the furniture, send the dogs to my son’s house for a sleepover, and walk around in our socks for two days. Our bed is disassembled and hidden in the closet, so I’m sleeping in a daughter’s room, and my husband is nesting somewhere in the living room (where all the furniture is). On the other hand, romance is not dead; he gave me a bathrobe and a card with a singing bug, and I gave him a jar of white anchovy filets and a tube of wasabi paste.”

Now, clearly one would like to escape now and then and wallow in thoughts of accidental roses… but which author do you think you might feel more connected with, on the basis of these brief snips?)

BR: It’s hard for readers to imagine characters in their embryonic state, when we experience them as fully-developed, complicated human beings. But characters don’t spring to life that way. Can you talk a bit about how you go about growing characters from stick figures into people?

But I don’t do that. I know there are a lot of popular assumptions about how writers work, and the notion that one decides that a specific character is needed, equips him or her with a name, and then sets to work collecting pictures of actors and drawing up index cards with the character’s taste in peanut-butter is certainly one of them. It’s possible that some writers really do do that, and God help them, if so—whatever works, you know?

For me, characters are pretty organic. I don’t plot a story and insert characters; the story exists because these particular people have needs and desires and motivations, and finding themselves in a particular situation, act upon them.

You hear about “plot-driven” stories vs. “character-driven” stories (and why always “versus,” I wonder? There’s nothing antithetical between plot and character)—but in fact, the plot is simply what the characters do. They may do what they do in part because of the situation and circumstances in which they find themselves—but they do what they do mostly because they are who they are.

For me, characters tend to fall into one of three main types: mushrooms, onions, and hard nuts. (That’s not a description of their personalities, btw, but rather of the way in which I work with them, and them with me.)

Mushrooms are the delightful people who spring into life unexpectedly and walk right off with any scene they’re in. Lord John Grey is a mushroom, as is Mrs. Figg, Lord John’s redoubtable housekeeper (“Mrs. Figg was smoothly spherical, gleamingly black, and inclined to glide silently up behind one like a menacing ball-bearing.”). They talk to me freely, and I never have to stop and wonder what they’d do in any given situation—they just do it.

Onions are the ones whose innermost essence I apprehend immediately—but the longer I work with them, the more layers they develop, and thus the more well-rounded and pungent they become. Jamie Fraser and Claire Beauchamp Randall are both onions.

Hard nuts are pretty much what they sound like. These are the people who “come with” a story by default, rather than developing organically by popping out of the mental compost. Historical figures, for instance, who were necessarily there, and have to be animated in a satisfying way, or people who exist only because another character was pregnant, leaving me with an unknown child to deal with. These, I just research (for the historical people) or live with (for the unknowns), and gradually, I begin to have a sense of them. But as with everyone else, they truly “develop” only in the context of their own situation and circumstance.

BR: I read some time ago about certain fanatical GAME OF THRONES readers who were furious that George Martin doesn’t churn the books out faster, ignoring any possible link between quality, time and effort. They seemed to feel he was holding the books hostage and could release them in the blink of an eye if he chose. The Outlander series inspires equal devotion among its readers. Have you ever had to deal with overzealous or irrational fans?

Deal with them? Well, they’re there, certainly. Most people have no idea how writers work, and many of them seem to feel that a writer is a sort of artistic Pez dispenser: all the stories are stacked up inside, one on top of the other, and all you have to do is bonk the writer on the head hard enough to make them spit one out.

(In re which, James Patterson and his marketing machine have done a lot to promote this injurious notion. For the record, folks—when the cover says, “by JAMES PATTERSON and someotherperson,” it was someotherperson who wrote the book. Don’t believe me? Google “James Patterson ghost writer.”)

That is, of course, not how it works. <cough> I explain, periodically, how it does work, and most of my readers are intelligent, well-meaning people who are happy to direct new readers to the places where I’ve explained my working methods.

But as for dealing with people who clamor for the next book, all I can be is honest. I.e., it’s my name on the front of the book, and with luck, said book will be out there for a long time. Ergo, it’s going to be as good as I can make it before I send it to the publisher.

BR: Would you like to have lived in the world you created?

To a point. <g> That point stopping well short of life-threatening disease, warfare, injury, extremes of temperature or gross poverty.

BR: Lord John Gray is one of my favorite characters of your invention. What made you choose a gay man in particular as a series character?

Well, that was an accident. Some years ago, I was invited to write a short story for a British anthology: historical crime stories. “Well,” I said to the editor, “it would be an interesting technical challenge, to see whether I can write anything under 300,000 words. Sure, why not?”

Well, the obvious first question was—what or whom to write about? I didn’t want to use the main characters from the OUTLANDER series for this story, because—owing to the peculiar way I write—if I were to incorporate some significant event in this story (and it would need to be, to be a good story)—that would make the event a stumbling block in the growth of the next novel.

“But,” I said to myself, “there’s Lord John, isn’t there?” Lord John Grey is an important character in the OUTLANDER series, but he isn’t onstage all the time. And when he isn’t… well, plainly he’s off leading his life and having adventures elsewhere, and I could write about any of those adventures without causing complications for future novels. Beyond that obvious advantage, Lord John is a fascinating character. He’s what I call a “mushroom”—one of those unplanned people who pops up out of nowhere and walks off with any scene he’s in—and he talks to me easily (and wittily).

He’s also a gay man, in a time when to be homosexual was a capital offense, and Lord John has more than most to lose by discovery. He belongs to a noble family, he’s an officer in His Majesty’s Army, and loves both his family and his regiment; to have his private life discovered would damage—if not destroy—both. Consequently, he lives constantly with conflict, which makes him both deeply entertaining and easy to write about. So I wrote the short story—titled, “Lord John and the Hell-Fire Club”—for the British anthology.

past-poisons-uk-300x300Well, it was a good story; people liked it. But just as word was spreading into the U.S. about it, the anthology went out of print (it was called PAST POISONS, edited by Maxim Jakubowski, for those bibliophiles who are curious). People kept asking me about the story, though, and I thought, “Well, I enjoyed writing it—maybe I should write two or three more short pieces about Lord John, just as time and inspiration allow… and when I have a handful, we could publish them as a book, and all the Lord John fans could get the stories easily.”

So I did that. I began writing the second Lord John story after returning from a book-tour, as a way of easing back into my writing routine, and continued working on it, picking away with one hand whilst picking up the threads of my novel with the other… and six months later, I’d just about finished it. Well, at this point, I left for another book-tour, in the U.K., and stopped in New York on the way, to have lunch with my two literary agents.

I was telling them all about what I’d been doing, and casually mentioned that I’d nearly finished the second Lord John short story. “Oh?” said they. “How long’s this one?”

“Well, I knew you’d ask,” I said. “So I checked last night. It’s about 85,000 words; I need maybe another 5,000 to wrap it up.”

The agents looked at each other, then looked at me, and with one voice said, “That’s the size normal books are!”

“I thought it was a short story,” I said.

“Well, it’s not,” they said—and proceeded to take it off and sell it all over the place. Publishers were thrilled. “It’s a Gabaldon book we weren’t expecting—and it’s short! Can she do that again?” they asked eagerly. To which my agents—being Very Good agents—replied, “Of course she can,” and emerged with a contract for three Lord John Grey novels.

Now, the Lord John books and novellas are in fact an integral part of the larger OUTLANDER series. However, they’re focused (not unreasonably) on the character of John Grey, and—Lord John not being a time-traveler—tend not to include time-travel as an element. They’re structured more or less as historical mystery, but do (like anything else I write) include the occasional supernatural bit or other off-the-wall elements. (Yes, they do have sex, though I don’t consider that really unusual, myself.) And they do reference events, characters (particularly Jamie Fraser) and situations from the OUTLANDER novels.

In terms of chronology, the Lord John books fall during the period covered in VOYAGER, while Jamie Fraser was a prisoner at Helwater. So if you’re wondering where to read the Lord John books in conjunction with the larger series—you can read them anytime after VOYAGER. See my Chronology of the Outlander Series webpage for more information.

BR: Was his sexuality or your portrayal of it an issue for any of your publishers, domestic or foreign?

I think some of the foreign publishers may have boggled slightly at it, but no one’s ever said anything directly to me about it, no.

BR: The upside of great literary success is plain to see: millions of books sold, legions of devoted fans, awards, invitations to the White House, the opportunity to inhabit a wider world full of interesting accomplished people. Is there a downside?

The major drawback is the sheer amount of travel and appearances (both in person and online) associated with being very popular in a lot of different places. I really like to talk to readers and sign books—but I could do without the enormously time-consuming (and energy-sapping) travel involved in getting to them.

Then there are the constant demands for “content”—updates to websites, phone interviews, interviews for blogs <g>, podcasts, Twitter, Facebook, etc. (though I know how to deal with Twitter and Facebook; I spend an average of 10-15 minutes a day on each, and that’s It. I have no Friends [on social media] <g>, and I don’t follow anybody).

And there are the readers who think they’re entitled to dictate when and what a favorite writer writes, and yap at me in public about why am I writing all this Other Stuff, when THEY only want Jamie and Claire? And why am I gallivanting all over the place, when I should be home WORKING? These people are, of course, sadly mistaken about the importance of their opinions, but can be a little annoying. Luckily most of my readers are very intelligent and have beautiful manners.

BR: What do you know now about writing that would have helped you when you first started out?

I’m not sure I actually know anything more about writing now than I did when I started—though I like to hope that I improve with experience. Most of the novel (sic) things I do, in terms of ambitious structure, time-juggling, and playing with literary devices, are things that are the result of experience; I couldn’t have done them when I was first writing, whether I knew about them or not.

BR: What do you know now about publishing that you wish you’d known earlier?

Just who has the power in various situations. For example, it took me eight years of hassling with Barnes and Noble in an attempt to make them move my novels out of the Romance section—until I finally got fed up and wrote a rude letter to Steve Riggio, then the CEO. Twenty-four hours later, I got a call from the B&N VP of Marketing, telling me they were moving the books to Fiction, where they’d belonged all along. Had I known that Mr. Riggio was the only person in that company who could change the diktat on where books went, I’d have started with him.

BR: Do you think women writers are taken as seriously as men by the literary/critical establishment?

Of course not.

BR: What’s the most common misconception readers have about you? (Here’s your chance to correct it!)

Well, they all seem to think I’m much taller than I actually am, and they can’t pronounce my name, but neither of those misapprehensions is actually offensive. <g>

(For the record: I’m five-foot-three. And my name has two pronunciations, both accurate: If you’re speaking Spanish (it is a Spanish name, and it is my own, not my husband’s), it’s pronounced “gaah-vahl-DOHN” (rhymes with stone). If you’re speaking English, it’s “GAH-bull-dohn” (still rhymes with stone).)


The image of me with copies of BEES to sign was taken in November, 2021, at the Poisoned Pen bookstore.

This post also appeared on my official social media accounts on March 4, 2022.

Great Scot Award 2022


2014-Diana-ScotlandMANY thanks to the National Trust for Scotland Foundation (USA) for naming me as the recipient of the 2022 “Great Scot” award! I’m Extremely Honored and very grateful!

They’ve asked me to share their press release on my official social media accounts and website.

-Diana


Diana Gabaldon, Best-Selling Author of Outlander Novels, To Be Honored as NTSUSA’s 2022 Great Scot

  • Gabaldon’s novels, and the Starz television series they inspired, tell the story of a British army nurse who mysteriously travels back in time to 18th-century Scotland.
  • The ninth Outlander novel, the New York Times #1 Bestseller GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, was published in November 2021.
  • The Great Scot Award will be presented on April 14, 2022, at The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA’s first in-person fundraising gala since 2019.

Outlander-cover-medium-220x319January 18, 2022, New York City—American author Diana Gabaldon has brought the romance and drama of Scottish history to life for more than 50 million readers worldwide with her best-selling Outlander novels.

Now, The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA will recognize her extraordinary contributions to Scotland and America’s shared heritage by presenting Diana Gabaldon with the 2022 Great Scot Award at their 15th annual fundraising gala, A Celebration of Scotland’s Treasures, on April 14, 2022.

“2022 has been designated Scotland’s Year of Stories, and so it seems especially appropriate to honor Diana Gabaldon, whose stories have come to embody Scotland and Scottish culture for millions of readers and television watchers around the world,” said Helen E.R. Sayles CBE, The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA’s chair. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to thank her for inspiring so many to explore and fall in love with Scotland.”

Ms. Gabaldon’s first novel, OUTLANDER, was published in 1991, and the story has extended across eight additional New York Times bestselling volumes. The latest, GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, was published in November 2021.

Largely set in 18th-century Scotland, many of the Outlander novels use actual historic events as the backdrop for Claire and Jamie Fraser’s romance. Some of these, including the 1746 Battle of Culloden, are historic sites now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland.

Caitriona-Diana-Sam-STARZ-cropIn addition, National Trust for Scotland properties including Falkland Palace, Preston Mill, and the Village of Culross, have been used in filming the Sony / Starz television series based on Ms. Gabaldon’s work. The series stars Catriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, and its sixth season premieres on March 6, 2022.

“I have seen firsthand how American readers have embraced Scottish culture through their love of Outlander,” said Kirstin Bridier, executive director of NTSUSA. “Many of her readers have contributed generously to the preservation of National Trust for Scotland sites associated with the novels and television show—sites like Preston Mill. We could not ask for a better ambassador for our work.”

The presentation of the Great Scot Award is at the heart of a black-tie event that raises funds to support Scotland’s largest conservation charity. Past recipients of the award include documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, comedian Sir Billy Connolly, Golden Globe-winning actor Brian Cox, endurance athlete and world-record breaking cyclist Mark Beaumont, sculptor Andy Scott, and authors Denise Mina and Alexander McCall Smith.

A Celebration of Scotland’s Treasures is a festive evening that features a whisky tasting by The Macallan; the recitation of Burns’ Ode to a Haggis by Alasdair Nichol, Chairman of Freeman’s auction house and a frequent appraiser on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow; Scottish country dancing; and live and silent auctions. Before heading home, guests form a circle, clasp hands, and sing Auld Lang Syne.

Diana-the-Scribe-Scotland-cropThe National Trust for Scotland cares for 100 natural and cultural heritage properties across Scotland, including several sites that commemorate historic events described in Outlander or used for filming the Sony / Starz television show.

About The National Trust For Scotland Foundation USA

The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA (NTSUSA) exists to support the work of Scotland’s largest conservation charity. NTSUSA makes grants for projects that protect Scotland’s natural, built, and cultural heritage on behalf of future generations. Since 2000, NTSUSA has committed more than $10 million in funding for the National Trust for Scotland’s most urgent conservation priorities.

To learn more about the A Celebration of Scotland’s Treasures gala, visit:

http://www.ntsusa.org/about-us/celebration-gala/

To buy tickets, go to:

https://ntsusa.org/about-us/gala-payment-form/

Prices and ticket options are listed in detail there, and range from $600 to $2,500, with proceeds benefiting the organization’s foundation efforts.

Wish Diana a Happy Birthday…


From Diana’s Webmistress:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DIANA!

Today is her 70th birthday. If you’d like to send her a greeting, there are two ways:

2012-12-15-DG-GrandCanyon-smSend birthday wishes to Diana in a public web comment using the form below on this blog post, where it says “Leave a Response.” The comments are moderated so your comment will appear in a few hours. (“Moderated” means someone makes sure a human wrote the comment and it isn’t spam.)

And/Or send an email to Diana at dgabaldon@aol.com. Emails are not public.

Diana reads all emails and web comments and loves to hear from you.


Myth and Mountain Birthdays

If you haven’t read it already, Diana’s essay titled “Myth and Mountain Birthdays” describes how her young parents met and married, and tells the story of her birth in northern Arizona on “the coldest day of the year:”

http://www.dianagabaldon.com/about-diana/myth-and-mountain-birthdays/

Image at upper right: Diana at the Grand Canyon in winter. Photo by her husband, Doug.

Introducing The BEES Chapter Titles!


2021-04-15-BEES-PRH-US-coverGO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE officially went on sale on Tuesday, November 23, 2021!

For those folks who like chapter titles, here they are for BEES:

Part I

A Swarm of Bees in the Carcass of a Lion

1: The MacKenzies Are Here
2: A Blue Wine Day
3: Rustic, Rural, and Very Romantic
4: The Women Will Ha’ a Fit
5: Meditations on a Hyoid
6: Home Is the Hunter, Home from the Hill
7: Dead or Alive
8: Visitations
9: Animal Nursery Tales
10: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Part II

No Law East of the Pecos

bees-pollen-party-crop11: Lightning
12: Erstwhile Companions
13: “What is not good for the swarm is not good for the bee” (Marcus Aurelius)
14: Mon cher petit ami
15: Which Old Witch?
16: Hound of Heaven
17: Reading by Firelight
18: Distant Thunder
19: Daylight Haunting
20: I Bet You Think This Song Is About You . . .
21: Lighting a Fuse
22: Ashes, Ashes . . .
23: Trout-fishing in America, Part Two
24: Alarms by Night
25: Voulez-vous coucher avec moi
26: In the Scuppernongs
27: Cover Her Face
28: Math-ghamhainn
29: Remember, Man . . .
30: You Should Know . . .

Part III

The Beesting of Etiquette and the Snakebite of Moral Order

bees-white-flower-crop31: Pater familias
32: Lhude sing cuccu!
33: Spoilt for Choice
34: The Son of a Preacher-man
35: Ambsace
36: What Lies Unseen
37: Maneuvers Beginning with the Letter “V”
38: Grim Reaper
39: I Have Returned
40: Black Brandy
41. Awkward Sod
42. Sasannaich Clann Na Galladh!
43. The Men Ye Gang Oot With
44. Beetles With Tiny Red Eyes
45. Not Quite Like Leprosy
46. By the Dawn’s Early Light
47. Tace is the Latin for a Candle
48. A Face in the Water
49. Your Friend, Always
50: Sunday Dinner in Salem

Visit my GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE webpage for more information about this new book, the ninth major novel in my OUTLANDER series of major novels featuring Jamie and Claire. And the BEES webpage gives you access to the more than 100 excerpts I have posted.


Thank You to Pam Onasch, who sent me the lovely top photo of bees having a pollen party in a poppy—and to her brother, who took the picture!

And Many Thanks to Jaimee Butters for the lovely bee photo! (bottom image)


This blog entry was last updated on Friday, November 26, 2021 by Diana Gabaldon or Diana’s Webmistress.

BEES Virtual Launch Celebration on 11/22!


2021-11-22-PRH-BEES-virtual-event

I’m thrilled to announce the virtual GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE launch event to celebrate its publication! You will need a ticket (even the virtual world is not infinite, alas), but tickets are available NOW! You may sign up for a free ticket or one of the paid options; paid include a copy of the book.

So—I hope you’ll join us on Monday, November 22 at 7:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time-EST-U.S.A.) for a virtual event celebrating all things Outlander and launching my new book.

To determine your local time if you live in a different time zone around the world, go to;

http://www.dianagabaldon.com/appearances/time-zones-bees-launch-event/

This will be the only major book event that I’m doing this fall, where I will discuss BEES, the Starz Outlander TV show, and more. I’ll be in conversation with Maureen Lee Lenker from Entertainment Weekly, I’ll answer some of your burning questions (you can submit yours for review when you register for your ticket!) and there will be, um, a few secret things, as well.

You can find all information about the event, and order your tickets, at the link here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/an-outlander-celebration-with-diana-gabaldon-tickets-187791157407

This is a virtual event. You will need access to a computer, tablet or other device with an internet connection that is capable of streaming video.

Types of Tickets:

Note that the number who can join online has a maximum number, so please sign up for your tickets as soon as possible if you’d like to attend.

General Admission
Free
The registration for free admission ends on Nov 22, 2021. (You must sign up to attend.)
A free ticket gives you access to the conversation and a digital event kit featuring sponsor discount codes, an exclusive note from Diana, a digital book club kit, BEES themed food and drink recipes, a Q&A with Diana, downloadable OUTLANDER-themed knitting patterns, coloring pages, and Zoom backgrounds. With this option, you cannot participate in trivia or giveaways and will not receive a book or Fan Box.

Book plus Event Admission ($46.16 plus $4.44 Fee)
Sales end on Nov 22, 2021
A $46.16 ticket gives you a first-edition hardcover copy of GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE; access to the conversation; a digital event kit featuring sponsor discount codes, an exclusive note from Diana, a digital book club kit, GO TELL THE BEES themed food and drink recipes, a Q&A with Diana, downloadable OUTLANDER themed knitting patterns, coloring pages, and Zoom backgrounds; and you can participate in the trivia and giveaway portions of the event. Open to residents of the U.S.A. only.

VIP Outlander Event Fan Box Plus Event Admission
$70.00 plus $5.89 Fee
(Sorry… this option is Sold Out)


Launch Event Replay in the U.K.

For U.K. fans only, there will be second event viewing of the launch event on Tuesday, 23rd November at 7 p.m. (GMT). You will be able to watch the event through Waterstones bookstore. General admission tickets are free.

Sign up for your ticket at:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/an-outlander-celebration-with-diana-gabaldon-tickets-191093103617

Please note though, that if you want to watch the event live on Monday, November 22, you will need to purchase the *U.S.* ticket or sign up for the free option.

[Update: As of November 8, the paid ticket option for this event which includes a copy of BEES through Waterstones is sold out.]

New Season Six Trailer and Art from NYCC


New York Comic Con 2021 - Day 3

Left to right: Myself, Maril Davis, and Sam Heughan at NYCC on October 9. (Image Credit: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ReedPop)

I had a great time at New York Comic Con (NYCC) in the Big Apple on October 9!

An exciting new trailer for Season Six of the Starz Outlander TV series was unveiled during a special Outlander panel discussion with Maril Davis (executive producer), Sam Heughan (the actor who portrays Jamie Fraser) and myself in person. Joining us virtually were stars Caitriona Balfe, Sophie Skelton, Lauren Lyle, Cesar Domboy, and John Bell. Please scroll down to view the new trailer.

2021-come-what-may-crop New tidbits about the TV series discussed included:

  • Come What May… New graphic art for season six was released at NYCC (see below and at right). It features snow, which is appropriate since these new episodes are based on A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES, the sixth book in my OUTLANDER series of major novels.
  • “They’re such a weird little family,’ Sam Heughan teased about the Christie family joining the show. If you’ve read my books, you know that the trio will be causing trouble in North Carolina.
  • Season Six of the Outlander TV series will be released by STARZ in early 2022. Season Seven will begin filming next year with a future release date to be announced. And,
  • Check out the article by TV Insider for more of what was discussed at this panel.

Here is the new Season Six trailer released at NYCC:

If you are having difficulty viewing the trailer above, click here to view it on the Starz website.

The Outlander TV series is produced by the STARZ network, and is based on my OUTLANDER series of novels. It is shown in the U.S.A. on the STARZ network, and on multiple cable and streaming channels around the globe.


Links and References:


‘Come What May’

Below is a new Season Six graphic for Outlander released by STARZ earlier this month at NYCC. Click on it to view the full-sized image.

Season Six graphic for Outlander released by STARZ in October, 2021.


GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, the ninth book in my OUTLANDER series of major novels, will be released in the U.S.A., Canada, the U.K., and Germany on November 23, 2021 or soon after.

Late-breaking: Appearance at NYCC with Maril and Sam!


Outlander-Starz-NYCC-panelLATE BREAKING NEWS: Are you going to New York Comic Con (NYCC) in a few days?

I’ll be there in person for a panel and autograph session along with Maril Davis and Sam Heughan from the Starz Outlander television show!

On Twitter, NYCC recently announced:

Diana Gabaldon, Maril Davis and Sam Heughan are joining us IN-PERSON for the “OUTLANDER Season Six Takes NYCC” panel… & they want to meet YOU.

Joining virtually will be Caitriona Balfe, Sophie Skelton, Lauren Lyle, Cesar Domboy, & John Bell.

This panel will take place on Saturday, October 9, 2021 from 11 a.m. to noon on the Empire Stage.

Outlander Panel Description: “Travel through the stones of Craigh na Dun and go back in time with the cast and executive producers of OUTLANDER as they take on New York Comic Con in support of the sixth season, premiering early 2022. Don’t worry, we’ll make sure to get you back to your own time.”

A paid membership is required to attend the panel in person or digitally via virtual membership. To buy in-person badges and passes or digital passes, go to the NYCC webpage at:

https://www.newyorkcomiccon.com

and click on the blue “Badges” button. Information on other guests attending the convention, including William Shatner, George Takei and many others is on the NYCC webpages.

An additional charge and separate advance reservation is required for the Outlander in-person autograph session. Fans who already have in-person passes for October 9 may register for autograph passes for Outlander (with Maril Davis, Sam Heughan and me) at http://NYCC21.com/Reservations.

NYCC in 2021: In-person and Virtual

New York Comic Con, an annual convention for fans of comics, movies, science fiction and fantasy will be held from Thursday, October 7 through Sunday, October 10, 2021 in New York, New York. This year NYCC will be a hybrid in-person attendance and also can be enjoyed virtually at home. The Javits Center will allow a limited capacity due to COVID-19. Those without in-person passes are able to purchase a digital ticket to enjoy the Outlander panel and other events.

Please consult the NYCC webpage for COVID-19 health guidelines for in-person attendees.

(Sorry that this was not organized and announced farther in advance by NYCC, likely due to the pandemic. Note that I as of October 5, I am not yet listed as a literary guest at NYCC.)

Signed Books, Tip Sheets, and Trolls…


2021-09-17-Diana-office-tipsheetsIt must be a dull week in Trollsville. I went by the Poisoned Pen (that’s my local independent bookstore, for those unfamiliar) yesterday afternoon to sign the latest pile of backlist titles (the Pen handles all my autographed books, and has done so for the last twenty-odd years) and while chatting with Patrick, the manager, was surprised (and displeased) to hear that some folk with too much time on their hands were posting intemperate messages on tumblr, claiming that the Poisoned Pen is a scam outfit, that they don’t really provide signed books, and that people who have pre-ordered BEES won’t get their copies signed.

<sigh>

This is a shot of my small office tonight (above image). I’m up in Flagstaff, in my old family house, just for the day. And what am I doing, in the middle of the night?

2021-09-17-tipsheet-DGSigning tip-sheets. A tip-sheet (see image at left) is a loose sheet of paper, which will eventually be bound into a book as it’s produced. It’s a method of dealing with huge numbers of books, where shipping the actual books to and fro would be both expensive and laborious. I do this now and then—on request—for some of my publishers (in the US, the UK (including Australia and New Zealand(, and Canada, on this go) when a new book is coming out.

Normally, I might sign something like a thousand tip-sheets for a publisher. This time…

The UK asked for 8,000 tip-sheets.

Canada asked for a modest 2,000.

The US asked for 17,000.

(That’s 27,000 signatures, for those who are adding them up.)

This is NOT what I do for the Poisoned Pen. The Pen is an old-fashioned bookstore, that caters to people who truly love books, and to whom it makes a substantial difference as to whether a book was personally handled and signed by the author, rather than having a tip-sheet bound in ex post facto, so to speak.

I generally go by the Pen once or twice a month, and sign (and personalize, if requested) their orders. This usually amounts to 4-500 books at a time.

When I have a new book out, it’s all hands on deck, because I’m signing several thousand copies, and doing that requires a team of five people helping me:

Pen-signing-3Person 1 opens the cartons of books, dumps them and stacks the books at one end of the table.

Person 2 takes a book from the stack, opens it and finds the second title page (the one with both the book’s title and my printed name and a small, evocative photo). They then fold the dust jacket over the copyright and first title pages, so the jacket serves as a book-mark, allowing

Person 3 to open a book immediately to the right page. (This is called “flapping.” ) The flapped books are restacked next to—

Person 3. This person grabs a flapped book, opens it, turns it at a ninety-degree angle (because I sign uphill, not side to side) and sets the open book in front of me.

I sign it (fast), shut it and shove it toward—

Person 4, who grabs the hurtling book (you want a smooth surface for this, preferably wood, because plastic-topped tables build up a terrific charge of static electricity if you send books whizzing across them in large quantities, and people get shocked) and places it neatly on a growing stack.

Person 5 takes the stacks and puts them back into the original cartons (having run down to the other end of the table every other minute in order to retrieve said cartons), tapes the cartons shut and stacks them. There’s limited room in the backroom of a bookstore, and if you’re dealing with huge quantities, it’s lots easier to move the cartons from place to place than it is to load the books onto a cart and drive them to distant shelving, unload and come back. (This is also how you move a lot of books to an offsite signing/event venue.)

I can sign roughly 500 books per hour, doing this with help.

Awright. That’s how it works. Now—thanks to you all who’ve been ordering the book!—BEES is going to be kind of a big thing, apparently, in terms of copies needing to be signed, moved, etc.

Pen-signing-2-crop-fixedI don’t know how many copies of of BEES have so far been ordered from the Poisoned Pen (let alone how many they’ll eventually sell), but they had 20,000 pre-orders by August (thank you!!), and at that point, the Pen’s owner put out word that while I will sign all the books people want signed, there’s a limit (physically) to how many I can sign by December 10th— that being the latest shipping date on which you might reasonably expect the book to be delivered by Christmas 2021. That limit is 20,000. (See, I can’t sign books until they arrive at the bookstore, which won’t be until November.) Ergo, if you want a signed book, handled by me personally <g>, you can certainly have it—but if you order it now, I might not be able to sign it in time for it to be shipped for Christmas delivery (especially not this year, when shipping and delivery is a lot bigger and more complex in every area of business). And I can’t personalize them, sorry. (If you really want a personalized book, just wait until January or February, when we’re not working under a shipping deadline.)

As for the tip-sheets… those are sent back to the publisher when they’re done [after I sign them]. The publisher decides which bookstore accounts will get the books with signed tipsheets; I have no control over that and no idea where the books may end up.

But if you see a dump (that’s what the cardboard stands set up by the cashier’s desk are called) or other display of BEES in a chain bookstore that says, “Signed Books”—that’s what they are. Books with a signed tipsheet bound in.

2014-05-Diana-Pen3-smNow, to some people, it won’t make the slightest difference whether their signed book has a tipsheet (signed by me en masse), or was signed by me on the second title page (if you want to tell the difference easily, that’s how; the tip-sheets are blank, aside from my signature), as a complete book. To some people, it does make a substantial difference, and these are the Poisoned Pen’s book-loving customers.

I’ve known the Pen and its proprietor and managers for more than thirty-five years; I’ve been coming by to sign books for them for more than twenty of those years. (And no, there’s no extra charge for an autographed book.)

So, if you should happen to see any nasty little trolls grumping away to each other under some dank bridge… don’t bother dropping garbage on them; they make plenty of their own.

P.S. If you were keeping track…. 27,000 tip-sheets, plus 20,000 books is 47,000 signatures. Just for fun, try signing your name 25 times on a sheet of paper and see what it feels like… <g>

P.P.S. In the photos above with me in them, I am signing DRAGONFLY IN AMBER in hardcover and WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD when they came out in hardcover in the past. As I say, I do it pretty much all the time.

Pen-Signing-1 The image at left shows many copies of my books waiting to be signed by me in the storeroom at the Poisoned Pen.

Congratulations, Caitriona!


C-Balfe-2021-08-babyHUGE congratulations to Caitriona and her husband Tony on the birth of their lovely little boy! (Said little boy, along with Covid, is one of the reasons why Season Six of OUTLANDER has eight episodes, rather than the originally planned twelve—don’t worry, though, the last four episodes are not lost; they’ll just be pushed forward into Season Seven (which–God willing and everybody’s not down with the Zeta variant or something–will start filming early in 2022) which will end up with sixteen episodes!)


Caitriona posted the image at right on her official Instagram account after the baby’s birth, according to an online article in Parade magazine in August, 2021.