• “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

Happy Summer Solstice!


Social Media Hashtags: #DailyLines, #fromWRITTENinMYOwnHEARTSBlood, #electromagnetism, #BreeAndRoger

Image of Stonehenge in the Mist. From NASA-APOD.She flexed her fingers and picked up the pen, but didn’t write at once. She hadn’t thought further with her hypotheses and wanted them to be clear in her mind, at least. She had vague notions about how a time vortex might be explained in the context of a unified field theory, but if Einstein couldn’t do it, she didn’t think she was up to it right this minute.

“It has to be in there somewhere, though,” she said aloud, and reached for the wine. Einstein had been trying to form a theory that dealt both with relativity and electromagnetism, and plainly they were dealing with relativity here—but a sort in which it maybe wasn’t the speed of light that was limiting. What, then? The speed of time? The shape of time? Did electromagnetic fields crisscrossing in some places warp that shape?

What about the dates? Everything they thought they knew—precious little as it was—indicated that travel was easier, safer, on the sun feasts and fire feasts; the solstices and equinoxes… A little ripple ran up her back. A few things were known about standing stone circles, and one of the common things was that many had been built with astronomical prediction in mind. Was the light striking a specific stone the signal that the earth had reached some planetary alignment that affected the geomagnetism of that area?

“Huh,” she said, and sipped, flipping back over the pages she’d written. “What a hodgepodge.” This wouldn’t do anyone much good: nothing but disconnected thoughts and things that didn’t even qualify as decent speculation.

Still, her mind wouldn’t let go of the matter. Electromagnetism… Bodies had electric fields of their own, she knew that much. Was that maybe why you didn’t just disintegrate when you traveled? Did your own field keep you together, just long enough to pop out again? She supposed that might explain the gemstone thing: you could travel on the strength of your own field, if you were lucky, but the energy released from the molecular bonds in a crystal might well add to that field, so perhaps…?

“Bugger,” she said, her overworked mental processes creaking to a halt. She glanced guiltily at the hallway that led to the kids’ room. They both knew that word, but they oughtn’t to think their mother did.

She sank back to finish the wine and let her mind roam free, soothed by the sound of the distant surf. Her mind wasn’t interested in water, though; it seemed still concerned with electricity.

“I sing the Body Electric,” she said softly. “The armies of those I love engirth me.”

Now, there was a thought. Maybe Walt Whitman had been onto something… because if the electric attraction of the armies of those I love had an effect on time-traveling, it would explain the apparent effect of fixing your attention on a specific person, wouldn’t it?

She thought of standing in the stones of Craigh na Dun, thinking of Roger. Or of standing on Ocracoke, mind fixed fiercely on her parents—she’d read all the letters now; she knew exactly where they were… Would that make a difference? An instant’s panic, as she tried to visualize her father’s face, more as she groped for Roger’s…

The expression of the face balks account. The next line echoed soothingly in her head. But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face;

“It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of his hips and wrists;
It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist and knees—dress does not hide him;
The strong, sweet supple quality he has, strikes through the cotton and flannel;
To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem, perhaps more;
You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck and shoulder-side.”

She didn’t remember any more, but didn’t need to; her mind had calmed.

“I’d know you anywhere,” she said softly to her husband, and lifted the remains of her glass. “Sláinte.”


Copyright © 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share the link (URL) to this excerpt (“Daily Lines”), but please do not copy the text in whole or in part and post it yourself elsewhere, or share the text with others. Thank you.

Photo credit: “Sunrise Solstice Over Stonehenge,” the Astronomy Picture of the Day for June 20, 2016,” Copyright © by Max Alexander/STFC/SPL. Courtesy APOD-NASA.

This blog entry was also posted on my official Facebook page on June 22, 2019.

World Outlander Day 2019!


Sunday, June 2, 2019

Diana Gabaldon image on World Outlander DayGoodness….it’s #WorldOutlanderDay! People keep saying to me, “Did you ever think this would happen, when you started writing your book in 1988?” Well, no…

I thought that I’d write this whatever-it-was for practice, and then write a Real Book—perhaps a crime novel, as that’s what I mostly read at the time. I thought I could probably get that one published, eventually, and if so, then I’d write crime novels on the side (while doing my university job) for about twelve years, at which point I might be good/lucky enough to get onto the NYT Bestseller List. At that point (I thought), I’d quit my job and become a full-time writer.

So I thought I’d succeed, eventually—but I sort of didn’t plan on anything like this…

SO—THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU! Because we wouldn’t be here without your kind appreciation and support.

AND SO….what are y’all planning to do to celebrate #WorldOutlanderDay?

a) Re-read OUTLANDER

b) Re-read the whole series

DianaGabaldon-n-Cast-2c) Watch OUTLANDER Season One on Netflix

d) Watch OUTLANDER Season 4 on DVD/Blu-Ray/Collector’s Edition

e) Drink whisky (mind, you can do that while doing any of the above)

f) Have the White Sow tattooed on some appropriate part of your anatomy

g) (if female) Make Claire’s Red Dress and get your husband to take you out to dinner in it (remember to bring a Large Fan)

h) (if male) Learn how to do a Scottish sword-dance and do it for your wife if she’ll wear the Red Dress

i) Eat haggis (it comes in a can, if you’re short of sheep stomachs)

OR, you know, just relax and enjoy the following two excerpts, which just go to show that the more things change, the more they stay the same, and that it’s Really Good to have a healer along on the journey.

THEN…

[Excerpt from OUTLANDER, Copyright © 1991 by Diana Gabaldon]

Outlander-anniv-editionApparently he was feeling better. I smiled, despite myself, but spoke firmly nonetheless. “You be quiet,” I said, “or I’ll hurt you.” He gingerly touched the dressing, and I slapped his hand away.

“Oh, threats, is it?” he asked impudently. “And after I shared my drink with ye too!”

The flask completed the circle of men. Kneeling down next to me, Dougal tilted it carefully for the patient to drink. The pungent, burnt smell of very raw whisky floated up, and I put a restraining hand on the flask.

“No more spirits,” I said. “He needs tea, or at worst, water. Not alcohol.”

Dougal pulled the flask from my hand, completely disregarding me, and poured a sizable slug of the hot-smelling liquid down the throat of my patient, making him cough. Waiting only long enough for the man on the ground to catch his breath, he reapplied the flask.

“Stop that!” I reached for the whisky again. “Do you want him so drunk he can’t stand up?”

I was rudely elbowed aside.

“Feisty wee bitch, is she no?” said my patient, sounding amused.

“Tend to your business, woman,” Dougal ordered. “We’ve a good way to go yet tonight, and he’ll need whatever strength the drink can give him.”

The instant the bandages were tied, the patient tried to sit up. I pushed him flat and put a knee on his chest to keep him there. “You are not to move,” I said fiercely. I grabbed the hem of Dougal’s kilt and jerked it roughly, urging him back down on his knees next to me.

“Look at that,” I ordered, in my best ward-sister voice. I plopped the sopping mass of the discarded shirt into his hand. He dropped it with an exclamation of disgust.

I took his hand and put it on the patient’s shoulder. “And look there. He’s had a blade of some kind right through the trapezius muscle.”

“A bayonet,” put in the patient helpfully.

“A bayonet!” I exclaimed. “And why didn’t you tell me?”

He shrugged, and stopped short with a mild grunt of pain. “I felt it go in, but I couldna tell how bad it was; it didna hurt that much.”

“Is it hurting now?”

“It is,” he said, shortly.

“Good,” I said, completely provoked. “You deserve it. Maybe that will teach you to go haring round the countryside kidnapping young women and k-killing people, and….” I felt myself ridiculously close to tears and stopped, fighting for control.

Dougal was growing impatient with this conversation. “Well, can ye keep one foot on each side of the horse, man?”

“He can’t go anywhere!” I protested indignantly. “He ought to be in hospital! Certainly he can’t—”

My protests, as usual, went completely ignored. “Can ye ride?” Dougal repeated.

“Aye, if ye’ll take the lassie off my chest and fetch me a clean shirt.”

AND NOW…

[Excerpt from GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, Copyright © 2019 by Diana Gabaldon]

Mackle-Laura-beeJamie and Brianna came back in late afternoon, with two brace of squirrels, fourteen doves, and a large piece of stained and tattered canvas which, unwrapped, revealed something that looked like the remnants of a particularly grisly murder.

“Supper?” I asked, gingerly poking at a shattered bone sticking out of the mass of hair and slick flesh. The smell was iron-raw and butcherous, with a rank note that seemed familiar, but decay hadn’t yet set in to any noticeable degree.

“Aye, if ye can manage, Sassenach.” Jamie came and peered down at the bloody shambles, frowning a little. “I’ll tidy it up for ye. I need a bit o’ whisky first, though.”

Given the blood-stains on his shirt and breeks, I hadn’t noticed the equally stained rag tied round his leg, but now saw that he was limping. Raising a brow, I went to the large basket of food, small tools, and minor medical supplies that I lugged up to the house site every morning.

“From what’s left of it, I presume that is—or was—a deer. Did you actually tear it apart with your bare hands?”

“No, but the bear did,” Bree said, straight-faced. She exchanged complicit glances with her father, who hummed in his throat.

“Bear, ”I said, and took a deep breath. I gestured at his shirt. “Right. How much of that blood is yours?”

“No much,” he said tranquilly, and sat down on the big log. “Whisky?”

I looked sharply at Brianna, but she seemed to be intact. Filthy, and with green-gray bird-droppings streaked down her shirt, but intact. Her face glowed with sun and happiness, and I smiled.

“There’s whisky in the tin canteen hanging over there,” I said, nodding toward the big spruce at the far side of the clearing. “Do you want to fetch it for your father while I see what’s left of his leg?”

“Sure. Where are Mandy and Jem?”

“When last seen, they were playing by the creek with Aidan and his brothers. Don’t worry,” I added, seeing her lower lip suck suddenly in. “It’s very shallow there and Fanny said she’d go and keep an eye on Mandy while she’s collecting leeches. Fanny’s very dependable.”

“Mm-hm.” Bree still looked dubious, but I could see her fighting down her maternal impulse to go scoop Mandy out of the creek immediately. “I know I met her last night, but I’m not sure I remember Fanny. Where does she live?”

“With us,” Jamie said, matter-of-factly. “Ow!”

“Hold still,” I said, spreading the puncture wound in his leg open with two fingers while I poured saline solution into it. “You don’t want to die of tetanus, do you?”

“And what would ye do if I said yes, Sassenach?”

“The same thing I’m doing right now. I don’t care if you want to or not; I’m not having it.”


Visit my GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE webpage for more information and access to over fifty Daily Lines (aka ‘excerpts’).


And thank you to Laura Mackle for the lovely bee!

You are welcome to share the URL (web address) of this blog entry. But please do not copy and paste any or all of the text and post it elsewhere, since it is my copyrighted material. Thank you. Instead, copy and paste this URL to share:

http://www.dianagabaldon.com/2019/06/world-outlander-day-2019/

If you decide to post a public Response (aka web comment) discussing this blog entry, note that comments are moderated, which means they don’t appear until and unless approved. This could take awhile, depending on how busy things are.

This blog entry was also posted on my official Facebook page. Yes, you likely have to have a Facebook account to view it there. No, sorry—neither my Webmistress nor I can change that. <g>


Possible BEES Back Cover Copy


Social Media Hashtags: #DailyLines, #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE, #Book9, #laterthisyear, #Godwillingandthecreekdontrise, #backcovercopy

Image of bee on plant by L. CornwellAt the moment, aside from madly writing the last two sections of the book (and juggling the pieces of the third), I’m messing with some sort of back-cover copy for the U.K. paperback versions of BEES (which might also be part of the flap copy for the U.S. hardcover).

This is always a problem with my books, for obvious reasons. <g>

My lovely editor made a valiant stab at it, but it ended up as a two-sentence description of each of the main characters, first sentence stating the character’s position at the end of the last book, and the second giving (what appears to be) their main motivation in this one. It’s a perfectly good summary, but not real gripping in an “and then what happens?” sort of way.

I am, needless to say, not spending a Whole Lot of time on the problem, but as I juggle my pieces, it occurs to me that it may best be solved by the same technique I’ve always used to sell my books: free samples, i.e., I’m contemplating just using a brief (as in 250 words or less) excerpt from the actual text that—while not telling you a lot about the actual plot, would shove you forcibly into it. Here’s one of my candidates:

[SPOILER alert just in case, because it is part of the actual text—though in fact there's nothing whatever spoilerish in the text itself...]

[Excerpt from GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, Copyright © 2019 Diana Gabaldon.]

166 words, not bad…


My official webpage for GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE is:

http://www.dianagabaldon.com/books/outlander-series/book-nine-outlander-series/

My BEES webpage has links to all of the more than fifty excerpts (Daily Lines) that I have posted so far, and other information about this new book.


Thanks to Lorianne Cornwell for sending the lovely bee image!

This text and BEES excerpt in this blog entry are Copyright © 2019 by Diana Gabaldon. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to share the web link (URL) to this blog entry, which is:

http://www.dianagabaldon.com/2019/05/bees-backcover/

But please do not copy and paste the entire text (or parts of it) and post it elsewhere. Thank you.

This blog entry was also posted on my official Facebook page on May 13, 2019.


“Doorways In Drumorty”


Graphic for "Doorways In Drumorty"A wee favor for a friend—

Mike Gibb is a lovely Scottish playwright, whose acclaimed “Doorways in Drumorty” is currently on an 18-city Scottish tour!

Details from play’s schedule are below (beginning tonight), and are also listed in the graphics from the play, at right. (Click on either graphic to view a larger version).

And click here to view a special promo video on Youtube showing a bit of the rehearsal for the show, which opens in a new browser window.

If the play is coming anywhere near you, I hope you’ll take advantage of the opportunity!

-Diana


“Doorways in Drumorty”

Text from the play’s promotional graphic (upper right):

‘Some folk in this toon are terrible for gossipin, ye ken’

Mike Gibb’s smash-hit Scottish play based on Lorna Moon’s short stories. Directed by Andy Corelli.

Set in a 1920s gisspy, rural Aberdeenshire community, this witty play is based on a book of short stories by Strichen-born Lorna Moon. Laugh-out-loud funny yet steering through a sharply satirical observation of the personal agonies of the town’s inhabitants beset by the strict observance of moral codes and prohibitions. This is a new prodution of Mike Gibb’s acclaimed play first performed in 2010 to sold-out audiences. Amongst the dozen other musicals and plays Mike has written is Outlander the Musical.

Upcoming Dates, Times and Venues for “Doorways In Drumorty”

Please be sure to confirm the dates and times with the venue. Dates, times, and prices are also listed on the playbill graphic (at right):

DoorwaysInDrumorty-datesApril 26th, Friday 7:30 p.m., New Deer Public Hall, New Deer, http://www.netshows.org.uk.

April 27th, Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Alvah Parish Hall, Bannf, http://www.netshows.org.uk.

April 28th, Sunday, 7:00 p.m., Little Theatre, Nairn, http://www.wegottickets.com

May

May 1, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., Biggar Corn Exchange, Biggar, http://www.biggarcornexchange.org.uk

May 2, Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Bowhill Theatre, Selkirk, http://www.bowhillhouse.co.uk

May 3, Friday, 7:30 p.m. East Kilibride Arts Centre, East Killbride, https://www.sllcboxoffice.co.uk

May 4, Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine, http://www.facebook.com/HarbourArtsCentre

May 8th, Wednesday, 8:00 p.m., Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock, http://www.beaconartscentre.co.uk

May 11, Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Aros, Portree, Isle of Skye, http://www.aroscommunitytheatre.co.uk

May 15, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., Victory Hall, Benderloch, http://www.wegottickets.com

May 16, Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Riddle’s Court, Edinburgh, http://www.wegottickets.com

May 17, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Kirkcaidy Old Kirk, Kirk Wynd, http://www.wegottickets.com

May 18, Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Dundee Rep Theatre, Dundee, http://www.dundeerep.co.uk

More Information:

Visit @AwkwardStranger, the Facebook page for the theatre company. Includes links to buy tickets, reviews, and comments from the production staff and public.


Information was originally posted on my official Facebook page on April 11, 2019.

BEES – More Chapter Titles!


2019-03-25-DGabaldon-crop

Here’s a bit to enliven your day… the next seven Chapter Titles from BEES!

(The titles for chapters in Section One are listed in a previous blog post.)
.
[SPOILER SPACE — in case some people think the titles might give anything away. Though somehow, I don’t think so…]
.
SECTION II: No Law West of the Pecos

   CHAPTER 8: Lightning

   CHAPTER 9: Erstwhile Companions

   CHAPTER 10: What Is Not Good for the Swarm Is Not Good for the Bee (Marcus Aurelius)

   CHAPTER 11: Mon Cher Petit Ami

   CHAPTER 12: The Hound of Heaven

   CHAPTER 13: Reading by Firelight

   CHAPTER 14: Duck, Duck, Goose

Visit my official webpage for GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE for more information.


Copyright © 2019 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.

Please do not copy and paste the text of this blog yourself and post it elsewhere. Instead, I ask that you provide a link to this blog page. Thank you.

Image credit: This photo of me was taken by a lovely French journalist/blogger named Victoria Arias (Twitter name: @mangoandsalt), who was one of several journalists who came on a brief tour of Outlander filming locations in Scotland. It was taken in a small room of Falkland Palace, made up to look like an apothecary’s workroom—they said it was used in Season Two, for the apothecary’s where Claire meets Mary Hawkins unexpectedly. Taken on my trip to receive a VisitScotland Thistle Award.

Click here to view the full image.

Scotland Visit and Thistle Award


2019-03-Gabaldon-Thistle-AwardA few weeks ago, I travelled to Scotland to receive a special “International Contribution to Scottish Tourism” award at VisitScotland’s Thistle Awards ceremony, which I was Very Honored (!) to receive for services to Scottish Tourism (VisitScotland being kind enough to credit me with—doubtless single-handedly <cough>—increasing Scottish tourism by 67 percent by means of “the Outlander Effect.”)

Mind you, the Outlander Effect is you guys, my readers and fans of the Outlander TV series, so this is really your award, as well!

Many, MANY thanks to all the great people, from Hamish, Louise, Jennifer and Lord Thurso from VisitScotland, to the staff of Hopetoun House, to Jamie Crawford and Marie from Publishing Scotland, and all the lovely journalists, bloggers and photographers—and, of course, the fans (Viva Barcelona!)—who made the week so memorable—and last but by NO means least—the wonderful people of Scotland!

What Happened In Scotland…

These news media aricles give some details about my recent visit to Scotland, the award, and other events:

“Diana Gabaldon: On Superfans, Whisky and the ‘Miracle’ of Outlander,” by Alison Campsie for The Scotsman. Explores the effects of Outlander on a town, as well as some ‘superfans’ from Barcelona. (Note from Diana’s Webmistress: I LOVE this article!) Published on March 17, 2019.

“JACOBEAN QUEEN: Outlander Author Diana Gabaldon Hits the Tourist Trail and Visits Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe’s Filming Locations Ahead of Season Five,” by Matt Bendoris for The Scottish Sun. “Fans mobbed the American as she visited Scottish locations ahead of season five of the hit telly show.” Published on March 18, 2019.

“Outlander’s Diana Gabaldon: The Story of the First Lady of Lallybroch,” by Lorraine Wilson for The National. Published on March 23, 2019.

“Outlander Author Receives Top Tourism Award, a press release from VisitScotland. Released on March 14, 2019.

“Outlander author Diana Gabaldon to be honoured in Edinburgh,” by Brian Ferguson for The Scotsman. Published on March 13, 2019.

Click here to read/download a copy of “The Outlander Effect and Tourism” by VisitScotland.

“Thistle Be Our Night,” by Anne Sykes for VisitScotland. This article lists the fifteen individuals and businesses that received a 2019 Thistle Award for promoting Scottish tourism. Published on March 15, 2019.

“Outlander author Diana Gabaldon calls for greater protection of Scottish heritage sites,” by Brian Ferguson for The Scotsman. ‘Outlander creator Diana Gabaldon today called for greater protection for Scottish heritage sites from the impact of over-tourism and threats from housing developments.’ Published on March 15, 2019.


VisitScotland and the Thistle Awards

For those not familiar with VisitScotland, it is the official national tourism agency for Scotland, “an executive non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government,” according to Wikipedia. Tourism is an important part of the Scottish economy, and VisitScotland maintains a network of tourism websites with resources for visitors including the main webpage, VisitScotland.com.

The Thistle Awards are given by VisitScotland to recognize the best businesses or individuals who benefitted Scottish tourism each year.


BEES Update With Chapter Titles!


Social Media Hashtags: #DailyLines, #SortOf, #GoTELLTheGEESThatIAmGONE, #comingtogether, #noitsnotdone, #youllhearaboutitwhenitis

2019-02-honebees-on-lacetop-cropWriting a book (for me) has multiple phases. As many of you know (from having heard me talk, or reading THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION books), I write (for a long time) in small, disconnected pieces and scenes. Eventually these start sticking together to form Chunks, and in the latter stages, the Chunks begin to line up along a sort of mental timeline (composed of historical events I want to use and personal events that transpire with one or another of the characters), and—in the fullness of time, I begin to pull together related Chunks and scenes, to write bridges (where needed to connect the pieces, establish a time or place, or provide a quick summary of what’s been happening that I don’t mean to show directly), and… generally, come up with something vaguely resembling a novel.

I begin to see the shape of chapters, and to be able to put them—gradually— into a reasonable sequence and shape (though chapters do move around for awhile before settling into their final place in the story).

That’s where I am now, in terms of writing/assembling the book. I’m still writing it (naturally…), but a good deal of the daily work now includes the pulling together of pieces and the formation of chapters, sections, etc.

So, for your entertainment, here’s the Title list of chapters from Section One of GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE. (NB: Chapter titles do sometimes change—if I think of something better, which I do all the time—so this is by no means a guaranteed final list—but this Section is completely assembled. So is a lot more of the book, but I’m not showing you everything at once…)

Have fun!

SECTION I: A Swarm of Bees in the Carcass of a Lion

   CHAPTER 1: The MacKenzies are Here!

   CHAPTER 2: A Blue Wine Day

   CHAPTER 3: Meditations on a Hyoid

   CHAPTER 4: Home is the Hunter, Home from the Hill

   CHAPTER 5: Dead or Alive

   CHAPTER 6: Visitations

   CHAPTER 7: Animal Nursery Tales


Remember that there are almost fifty excerpts (aka “Daily Lines”) from the book on my official GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE webpage.


[And Many Thanks to Mardi Priest for the honeybees on Lacecap!]

This BEES update also appeared on my official Facebook page.

TALES FOR GULLIBLE CHILDREN (Methadone List)


For those of you wondering how to pass the dreary days of Droughtlander…let me introduce you to the newest addition to my Methadone List.

The List is my reply to people who cry, “So what am I supposed to read while I’m waiting for your next book, huh?”

The Methadone List is a descriptive list of a number of authors whose work I really like—and thus have no hesitation in recommending. The books on the List span a wide variety of genres (as you might suppose, given my eclectic tastes…), so the odds are good that you might find something appealing in there.

I’m about to send my webmistress a new entry, adding TALES FOR GULLIBLE CHILDREN, by Laura Watkins, to the List, so thought I might give y’all a heads up, both to this book and the rest of the list. To buy TALES FOR GULLIBLE CHILDREN on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Gullible-Children-Laura-Watkins-ebook/dp/B07NGPG7DY

Do any of y’all recall TALES BY THE BROTHERS GRIMM? Well, this book is a collection of stories about what might have happened if the Brothers Grimm imbibed a lot of Cheetos, Red Bull and a few adult substances and moved to Montana. While it can certainly be read by gullible children (with a good vocabulary), the appeal certainly isn’t limited to them.

SAMPLE from “How Grandpa Dave Became the King of France:”

by Laura Watkins

2019-Tales-Gullible-Children-coverUp to now, children, you’ve heard all about the wild adventures and heroic deeds of your Uncle Joey: how he cheated the devil (twice), vanquished a dragon, and stole the secret of fire from the gods. But did you know, children, that Joe’s father, your Grandpa Dave, was just as intrepid, and had just as many brave exploits as Uncle Joey? No? Gather round, then, and hear the story of how Grandpa Dave became the King of France.

It all began, children in the long, long ago, when Dave and his best friend Bill were younger, and they entered the doubles cheese-eating contest at the Missoula County Fair together. The competition was fierce, and in the end it came down to Dave, Bill, a single block of cheddar, and their mad desire to win it all. As the final buzzer sounded, Dave stuffed the last bite of cheese into his face, raised his arms in victory, and then collapsed onto the stage next to Bill like an elephant seal having a stroke. The audience thundered its applause as Bill and Dave were helped into the bed of a waiting pickup truck and trundled off home to recover.

The next day, Dave was lying on his couch, trying to sleep off his horrendous cheese hangover, when he heard a rap on the door. “Could you get that?” he said to Bill, who was sprawled on the other couch across the room.

Bill paddled his arms and legs in the air, trying to regain verticality, but to no avail. “Doesn’t look like it,” he said.

“OK, hang on. I have an idea.” After some deft maneuvering with a pool cue that had been fortuitously lying nearby, Dave managed to open the door without getting up, revealing two elegant men wearing tailcoats and blue silk sashes across their chests. Dave waved them inside, then poked the door closed with the cue.

“Mr. Koontz? I’m John Wallace, the organizer of the cheese-eating contest at the county fair. You and Mr. Farrell left last night without claiming your trophy, so I’ve taken the liberty of bringing it to you.”

“Hey, cool.” Dave extended the cue towards Wallace, hooking the trophy by the handle and passing it over to Bill. “We’re champions.”

“Erm, yes,” said Wallace. “Congratulations. And may I present Monsieur Gerard, the chairman of the French League of Cheesemakers.” The other man, tall and thin with an impeccably waxed mustache, made a courtly bow. Dave waved the cue in welcome, “Howdy.”

“Bonjour, Monsieur Koontz. And may I say, I hope that you will very much enjoy your sojourn in my country.”

“Huh?” Dave rolled sideways off the couch, landing on all fours, and got to his feet with a herculean heave. Gerard produced a blue ticket envelope from his inside his coat.

“Oui, Monsieur Koontz. I am pleased to be your escort on your voyage to France, which you have won through your efforts last night.”

“OK, back up,” said Bill, from the sofa. “We’re going to France? What the hell for?”

“It’s a collaboration between the Montana Dairy Farmer’s Association and the League of Cheesemakers,” explained Wallace.

“We call it Fromage Across the Ocean,” said Gerard.

“Indeed. We’re seeking to inspire the next generation of cheese producers through a series of grants for travel to the world’s cheesiest regions. And since you’ve proved your dedication to the concept of cheese last night, Monsieur Gerard and I can think of nobody more worthy of a free trip to France for a comprehensive cheese-sampling tour.” Wallace dabbed away the sweat that had sprung from his forehead at the mere thought of so much cheese. “You leave tomorrow morning.”

Dave turned to Bill. “Any plans tomorrow?”

“None that I can think of.”

Dave turned back to Wallace and Gerard. “All right, then. See you tomorrow at the airport.”

Gerard bowed again, Wallace shook Dave and Bill’s hands, and in a twinkling, the two were gone. Dave shuffled into the bedroom, and in a moment there came the sound of a zipper unzipping, followed by thumps and rustling. Bill tilted off the sofa, righted himself with an effort, and rolled after Dave. “Whatcha doing in here?”

“Packing. You think I should take the .270, or the .308?” Dave held up a pair of deer rifles for Bill’s appraisal.

“Take ‘em both. Better to have ‘em and not need ‘em.” (This was a time, children, when baggage on plane rides was free, and you could take as many guns as you wanted. Everything is worse now.)

“Good thinking.” Dave tossed the rifles into the duffel bag on the bed. “Two handguns be enough, you think?”

“Better make it three. Don’t forget the ammo.”


SAMPLE from “How Uncle Joey Cheated the Devil:”

by Laura Watkins

“This story is from the mid-1990s, children, after your Uncle Joey stole the secret of fire from the gods and had his mullet singed off by a lightning bolt hurled by Zeus, but before he vanquished the dragon and rescued the maiden fair (which is another story altogether).

It was a couple of weeks before Christmas, and the only thing in the world that Uncle Joey wanted was a Super Rex Mighty Turbo Ultra RC Racer, one of the finest remote control trucks ever to cruise the streets and parking lots of Missoula. It could spin, it could climb, and it came with dual-action aimable pellet cannons. Unfortunately, it also came with a hefty price tag.

Uncle Joey didn’t get a very big allowance, so he couldn’t afford to buy a Super Rex Mighty Turbo Ultra RC Racer, but that didn’t stop him from dreaming. Every day on his way home from school, he’d stop in front of the big window of the neighborhood toy shop and look at the Super Rex, gleaming in its black and silver trim on a pedestal in the middle of the display. The chrome buttons and antenna of the remote seemed to call Uncle Joey’s name, and he would sigh, imagining himself on the playground, popping wheelies and spinning donuts as his classmates groaned with envy. Then, heavy-hearted, he would turn away, and plod home to his chores.

One day, he lingered a little longer than usual in front of the toy shop. As he prepared to pull himself away, though, he felt a hand settle on his shoulder. “Nice car,” a deep, cultured voice drawled. “A bit expensive, though.”

Joey turned to look. The hand was pale, hairless, and smooth, with long, white, well-manicured nails. It disappeared into the sleeve of a thick wool coat, and as Joey’s eyes traveled upward, he took in the wearer’s neat silk scarf, fastened with a gold and ruby pin, and his gleaming black top hat. The man smiled a smile that contained a few too many teeth. “Do you suppose that Santa Claus will bring it to you for Christmas, little boy?”

Uncle Joey shook his head, unable to break the stranger’s gaze. “No. My dad says toys like that are for kids who are a lot better behaved than me.”

“Mmm. On the naughty list, are you?”The stranger sighed, exhaling the scent of dead flowers. “Ah, well. Perhaps you can have one later, when you have a job of your own. Of course, at that point, you won’t have any time to play with it.” His eyes slid sideways, slyly. “Unless…”

“Unless what?””Joey felt himself oddly mesmerized, fascinated by the stranger’s manner.

“It’s possible that I may have access to a limited supply of complimentary Super Rex Racers, to be distributed to the right little boys.” He crooked his finger, and with a whir, a shiny new Super Rex zipped out of a nearby alley and parked obediently at his feet. “Naughtiness is no obstacle, though there is a bit of paperwork to be done. And of course, a small processing fee.”

Joey frowned. “How much?” He only had a few dollars in his piggy bank.

“Just one.”

“One dollar?”

“One soul.” The stranger smiled more broadly, withdrawing a rolled parchment from his sleeve. “Payable on demise, of course. Play now, and pay later.” A fountain pen appeared in his right hand. “All you have to do is make your mark on the line. Two strokes of the pen, and it’s yours.”


SAMPLE from “Uncle Joey and the Secret of Fire:”

by Laura Watkins

This is a story from the early 1990s, children, long before you were born. It was a dark and miserable time. There were no iPads, our telephones were stuck to the walls of our houses, and all of our games were on boards and all our books were on paper. Yes, like you flush down the toilet. SpongeBob had not even been thought of; instead, we watched Ren and Stimpy, featuring a superhero named Powdered Toast Man and a law enforcement agency called the Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen. No, really.

But the worst part of the early nineties, children, was your Uncle Joey’s mullet. Have you ever seen a mullet? It was a hairstyle that seemed to come from the depths of Hell itself: short and spiky on the top, long and greasy in the back. Uncle Joey’s, which he wore with polo shirts and thick aviator-framed glasses, was especially terrible. He looked like a less-hip Jeffrey Dahmer.

Where was I? Oh yes, the nineties. In the nineties, as you may know, fire had not yet been discovered; people ate nothing but cold cereal and, on special occasions, raw hot dogs. These were not very good, but there was nothing else, so people just sucked it up.

Now, back in those ancient days, it was the custom in Missoula to mark the summer equinox with a great festival, the climax of which was a footrace all around the town. The winner would be covered in glory, and would win the lion’s share of the raw hot dogs at that night’s feast. Your Uncle Joey, being a gangly fellow and fleet of foot, had entered the race, and was much favored to win.

Even the gods on Mount Olympus, which, contrary to popular belief, is not in Greece but in the Rockies, bet amongst themselves on the outcome, and by the week of the race, you could not even get two to one on Joey.

What your Uncle Joey did not know, however, was that Bridger, a chubby, bearded young man from Joe’s school, had set his eyes on the crates of raw hot dogs being stacked in the town square, and he had resolved to win both the race and the hot dogs for himself. The night before the race, tiptoeing and cackling softly, Bridger snuck out to the race course and, a hundred yards or so before the finish line, began to dig a hole.

The moon was the only witness to Bridger’s evil deed. Beginning in the center of the path, he dug and dug, down and down, until finally, sweating and exhausted, he saw magma bubble up under his shovel, and he knew that he had reached the earth’s core. He scrambled up and out of the hole, giggling, and proceeded to disguise his handiwork with some branches and leaves.

“Ha ha!” he chortled. “I’ll slip off the course and hide in those trees over there to wait. When Joe comes along, he’ll think he’s won, and he won’t be paying attention to where he steps. He’ll fall in the hole and never be seen again, and I’ll run across the finish line myself. Then all those beautiful hot dogs will be MINE!” Slinging his shovel across his back, Bridger scuttled off back to his mom’s basement, washed his hands, and fell into a sinister sleep.

Now Zeus, the king of the gods, suffered from insomnia, and he was up late on Mount Olympus watching infomercials when his eye happened to catch what the wicked Bridger was doing. “Ho ho!” he said to himself…


Publisher’s Description of TALES FOR GULLIBLE CHILDREN:

It’s the early 1990s, and Missoula, Montana is a town plunged into darkness and chaos. Fearsome bearsnakes slither through the trees, a giant monster swims just below the surface of Flathead Lake, and the actual Devil lurks in an alley downtown, waiting to trick children into selling their souls. Fortunately, Missoula is also home to a young man. A man with a mullet. A man named Joe. (Uncle Joey to his nieces). Together with his family and his best friend Bridger, Joe will cheat the Devil, battle the bearsnakes, and track the lake monster to its lair in a series of hilariously dramatic tall tales. Along the way, they’ll defeat a dragon, rescue a fair maiden, deflate Tom Brady, and even travel to the mystical land of Canada. If you enjoy lying to kids, TALES FOR GULLIBLE CHILDREN is the book you’ve been waiting for.

Warning: book contains some naughty language. But who would you rather they learn it from, the TV, or Uncle Joey?


All excerpts from TALES FOR GULLIBLE CHILDREN are copyright © 2018 by Laura Watkins. All rights reserved. Please do not copy text and paste it elsewhere online or save for your own use. Instead, please share this URL (link) at the top of your browser page. Thanks!


Click here to go to my Methadone List webpage and check out this and other authors that I recommend!


Laura asked me to convey her delight and immense gratitude to all the wonderful readers who have purchased TALES FOR GULLIBLE CHILDREN (and/or read it on Kindle Unlimited), causing the book to briefly achieve the honor of being an Amazon #1 Bestseller, in Myths and Folklore! (My guess is that’s the nearest Amazon could come to describing it, there being no category for Subversive Fiction Set in Missoula, Montana.)

This addition to my Methadone List was originally posted on my official Facebook page on February 26 and 27, 2019,

From Diana’s Webmistress: Note that this ebook by Laura Watkins is sold only in a format for the Kindle reader. But don’t despair if you don’t have a Kindle! Click here to download an app from Amazon for your smart phone, tablet, or computer which CAN convert the Kindle format so you can read it on your device.

“It Could Be Worse”


Social Media Hashtags: #DailyLines, #HappyBirthdaytoFellowGoats !, #TheFIERYCross, #thingscouldbeworse

Cover art for THE FIERY CROSS by Diana GabaldonA grasshopper landed on the canvas above with an audible thump. I eyed it narrowly, but it didn’t seem disposed to come inside, thank goodness. Perhaps I should have accepted Mrs. Bryan’s offer to find me a bed in the house, along with a few other officers’ wives who had accompanied their husbands. Jamie had insisted upon sleeping in the field with his men, though, and I had gone with him, preferring a bed involving Jamie and bugs to one with neither.

I glanced sideways, careful not to move in case he was still asleep. He wasn’t. He was lying quite still, though, utterly relaxed, save for his right hand. He had this raised, and appeared to be examining it closely, turning it to and fro and slowly curling and uncurling his fingers—as well as he could. The fourth finger had a fused joint, and was permanently stiff; the middle finger was slightly twisted, a deep white scar spiraling round the middle joint.

His hand was callused and battered by work, and the tiny stigma of a nail-wound still showed, pale-pink, in the middle of his palm. The skin of his hand was deeply bronzed and weathered, freckled with sun-blots and scattered with bleached gold hairs. I thought it remarkably beautiful.

“Happy birthday,” I said, softly. “Taking stock?”

He let the hand fall on his chest, and turned his head to look at me, smiling.

“Aye, something of the sort. Though I suppose I’ve a few hours left. I was born at half-six; I willna have lived a full half-century until suppertime.”

I laughed and rolled onto my side, kicking the blanket off. The air was still delightfully cool, but it wouldn’t last long.

“Do you expect to disintegrate much further before supper?” I asked, teasing.

“Oh, I dinna suppose anything is likely to fall off by then,” he said, consideringly. “As to the workings… aye, well…” He arched his back, stretching, and sank back with a gratified groan as my hand settled on him.

“It all seems to be in perfect working order,” I assured him. I gave a brief, experimental tug, making him yelp slightly. “Not loose at all.”

“Good,” he said, folding his hand firmly over mine to prevent further unauthorized experiments. “How did ye ken what I was doing? Taking stock, as ye say.”

I let him keep hold of the hand, but shifted to set my chin in the center of his chest, where a small depression seemed made for the purpose.

“I always do that, when I have a birthday—though I generally do it the night before. More looking back, I think, reflecting a bit on the year that’s just gone. But I do check things over; I think perhaps everyone does. Just to see if you’re the same person as the day before.”

“I’m reasonably certain that I am,” he assured me. “Ye dinna see any marked changes, do ye?”

I lifted my chin from its resting place and looked him over carefully. It was in fact rather hard to look at him objectively; I was both so used to his features and so fond of them that I tended to notice tiny, dear things about him—the freckle on his earlobe, the lower incisor pushing eagerly forward, just slightly out of line with its fellows—and to respond to the slightest change of his expression—but not really to look at him as an integrated whole.

He bore my examination tranquilly, eyelids half-lowered against the growing light. His hair had come loose while he slept and feathered over his shoulders, its ruddy waves framing a face strongly marked by both humor and passion—but which possessed a paradoxical and most remarkable capacity for stillness.

“No,” I said at last, and set my chin down again with a contented sigh. “It’s still you.”

He gave a small grunt of amusement, but lay still. I could hear one of the cooks stumbling round nearby, cursing as he tripped over a wagon-tongue. The camp was still in the process of assembling; a few of the companies—those with a high proportion of ex-soldiers among their officers and men—were tidy and organized. A good many were not, and tipsy tents and strewn equipment sprawled across the meadow in a quasi-military hodgepodge.

[omitted stuff about what’s going on with the expedition]

Jamie’s free hand rested on my back, his thumb idly stroking the edge of my shoulder blade. With his usual capacity for mental discipline, he appeared to have dismissed the uncertainty of the military prospects completely from his mind, and was thinking of something else entirely.

“Do ye ever think—” he began, and then broke off.

“Think what?” I bent and kissed his chest, arching my back to encourage him to rub it, which he did.

“Well… I’m no so sure I can explain, but it’s struck me that now I have lived longer than my father did—which is not something I expected to happen,” he added, with faint wryness. “It’s only… well, it seems odd, is all. I only wondered, did ye ever think of that, yourself—having lost your mother young, I mean?”

“Yes.” My face was buried in his chest, my voice muffled in the folds of his shirt. “I used to—when I was younger. Like going on a journey without a map.”

His hand on my back paused for a moment.

“Aye, that’s it.” He sounded a little surprised. “I kent more or less what it would be like to be a man of thirty, or of forty—but now what?” His chest moved briefly, with a small noise that might have been a mixture of amusement and puzzlement.

“You invent yourself,” I said softly, to the shadows inside the hair that had fallen over my face. “You look at other women—or men; you try on their lives for size. You take what you can use, and you look inside yourself for what you can’t find elsewhere. And always… always… you wonder if you’re doing it right.”

His hand was warm and heavy on my back. He felt the tears that ran unexpectedly from the corners of my eyes to dampen his shirt, and his other hand came up to touch my head and smooth my hair.

“Aye, that’s it,” he said again, very softly.

The camp was beginning to stir outside, with clangings and thumps, and the hoarse sound of sleep-rough voices. Overhead, the grasshopper began to chirp, the sound like someone scratching a nail on a copper pot.

“This is a morning my father never saw,” Jamie said, still so softly that I heard it as much through the walls of his chest, as with my ears. “The world and each day in it is a gift, mo chride— no matter what tomorrow may be.”

I sighed deeply and turned my head, to rest my cheek against his chest. He reached over gently and wiped my nose with a fold of his shirt.

“And as for taking stock,” he added practically, “I’ve all my teeth, none of my parts are missing, and my cock still stands up by itself in the morning. It could be worse.”



This excerpt from THE FIERY CROSS is Copyright © by Diana Gabaldon, all rights reserved. It was also posted on my official Facebook page on January 11, 2019.

About reposting my excerpts (aka “Daily Lines”) from any of my books and short fiction, I’d appreciate it very much if you would NOT copy my them (word for word—in part or in their entirety) and post the text yourself all over the internet (including web pages and social media accounts) or anywhere else. These are copyrighted works. Instead, please do pass on the links (aka “URLs”) to my website and specific excerpts to anyone you think might be interested.

Best Wishes… and Sad News


Diana's dogs napping on a pillow.My best wishes for a good New Year to everybody.

I’m sorry that I have to begin the year myself with bad news; my lovely dog JJ died this afternoon (complications from a freak accident he suffered two weeks ago) and we buried him next to my garden, where he loved to hunt rabbits and toads with his brother, Homer.

Homer is bereft and so are we.

-Diana

In the upper-right image, JJ and Homer take a nap together. In the next photo, JJ looks for critters to chase in a prickly pear cactus:

Diana's dog JJ and a prickly pear.

familystuff-020-2

In the photo below, JJ and Homer were not sure of a visitor in 2012 and tried to hide:

Homer-and-JJ-under-table