Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Revised and Updated OUTLANDISH COMPANION Vol. 1 is out!

Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDISH COMPANION Volume One (Revised and Updated Edition) is now available!

For those of you who are not familiar with the original OUTLANDISH COMPANION, first published in 1999, Diana Gabaldon described it this way, in a post on Compuserve on January 14, 2015:
[It's] a non-fiction book, with a lot of information about the first four books of the series:  OUTLANDER through DRUMS OF AUTUMN.   It has detailed synopses of those books, for the use of people who can't remember what happened and want to catch up before reading the next book, but don't have time (they think) to go back and re-read the earlier novels.

It has numerous essays by me, about how I came to write the books, where characters come from, doing historical research and a few other things, an annotated Bibliography of all the references I used while working on those four novels, a Gaelic Glossary, a few fun things like professionally-cast horoscopes for Jamie and Claire, and so on.  My husband describes it as "the perfect bathroom book," since you can pick it up and open it anywhere. <g>
Please note that word "non-fiction"! This is NOT one of the OUTLANDER novels.

What's new in the Revised and Updated edition?

The sections on "Work In Progress" and "Outlandish Websites and Online Venues", which had become badly outdated, have been removed, and obsolete material has been removed from some of the other sections as well.

As for what has been added, Diana Gabaldon posted this on Facebook on February 18, 2015:
I put _in_ four new essays, and a new Section dealing with the TV show. The essays are: Jamie and the Rule of Three (about the hows and whys of Wentworth Prison), Book-Touring for Beginners (for those who think this is a glamorous thing to do ), A Brief Disquisition on the Existence of Butt-Cooties, and "The Shape of Things" (an essay on How I Write, and what the internal geometry of each book looks like to me).

Now, these essays have all appeared in one place or another on the internet, though the first three were originally done as blog-posts, and thus have been formalized and tidied up a bit for their appearance in the OC I. ("The Shape of Things" appears as a back-matter add-in to the 20th Anniversary edition of OUTLANDER.)

The new TV section has several pieces, describing the book-to-screen process (how we got from an option to a TV show), the adaptation process in theory and in practice, the actors and what they do, and an account of "My Brief Career as a TV Actor." Also a section including photos from the show kindly supplied by Sony.
For the full explanation in Diana's own words, look here

THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION Volume Two (pictured above), covering THE FIERY CROSS, A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES, AN ECHO IN THE BONE, and WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD, will be published on October 27, 2015.

For more details about both OUTLANDISH COMPANION books, see my OUTLANDISH COMPANION FAQ page.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Episode 101-108 Recaps

With the mid-season premiere of OUTLANDER only a few days away now, and the series FINALLY available in the UK, I thought this would be a good time to repost my reactions to Episodes 101-108:

Episode 101: "Sassenach"
Episode 102: "Castle Leoch"
Episode 103: "The Way Out"
Episode 104: "The Gathering"
Episode 105: "Rent"
Episode 106: "The Garrison Commander"
Episode 107: "The Wedding"
Episode 108: "Both Sides Now"

These are my initial impressions of each episode.  I plan to do similar posts for Episodes 109-116.  Hope you enjoy them!

Monday, March 23, 2015

UK OUTLANDER premiere!!

Today is the official UK premiere of the OUTLANDER TV series! Events will be held in London and Glasgow tonight, with the first 8 episodes available via Amazon Prime Instant Video starting on Thursday, March 26.

Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe will be attending the UK premiere, but Diana Gabaldon will not. She's traveling in France this week.

I'm delighted that fans in the UK will finally be able to watch the show!  I understand that many of you were disappointed that OUTLANDER will not be shown on broadcast TV, but let's try to focus on the positive side of things.  It's a wonderful adaptation, and I'm sure fans in the UK will enjoy it just as much as the rest of us have.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

2,000 followers on Twitter!

I've reached 2,000 followers on Twitter!  THANK YOU ALL!!

If you want to check out my tweets, you can follow me at @karenh3a.

UPDATE 3/23/2015: Thanks very much to the Heughligans (@Heughligans) for helping to get the word out about my presence on Twitter. Since their announcement on Saturday night, I've gained almost 200 additional followers!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Interesting comments by Diana Gabaldon

Diana Gabaldon posted some very interesting comments on Facebook and Twitter last night, explaining what she meant when she told Sam Heughan (in the very first OUTLANDER panel discussion back in January 2014), “I trust you’ll take this in the spirit intended, Sheugs--but I really want to see you raped and tortured.”

I remember Diana's original comments on that panel discussion very well indeed, and I understood what she meant at the time, but I'm glad she posted this explanation for the benefit of people who may have missed it, or not understood why she said what she did.

Some of you may recall that my comments after that panel discussion in 2014 inadvertently inspired what Diana referred to as the "Necessary (Horrible) Thing" in WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD. <g>  (Hint: see chapter 133.)  What I was thinking at the time was very much along the same lines as what Diana said here:
the reason why Bad Things happen to people in my books is [....] to reveal the true nature and deep character of the person to whom the bad thing happens—in a way that you simply don’t get when a person is responding to the normal vicissitudes of life.
This is something that took me a long time to understand.  Actually, no, that's not accurate.  It took me a long time, and multiple re-reads/re-listens, to be able to see past my own very intense emotional response to these traumatic events (Wentworth, or J&C's separation in DRAGONFLY, or Roger's hanging), to view the story with enough objectivity that I could even begin to consider why Diana Gabaldon would put her characters through such ordeals.
It's not an easy thing to come to terms with, as a reader, especially when you've become so invested in the characters that you think of them as real people. <g> And I think the TV viewers who have not read the books will be in for one hell of a shock, to put it mildly.  I'm really looking forward to seeing their reaction.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I don't have a drop of Irish blood myself, but I'm reliably informed that everybody's Irish on St. Patrick's Day!  So, in celebration of the day, here are my top 10 most memorable Irish characters from Diana Gabaldon's books, in alphabetical order:

1) Bernard Adams.  You may remember that Lord John gouged his eye out at the end of BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE.  He later confessed to the murder of Lord John's father, the Duke of Pardloe.

2) Stephen Bonnet. One of Diana's most memorable villains.  I think Brianna gave him a more merciful death than he deserved.

3) Father Donahue, the priest who baptizes Germain, Jemmy, and Joan in FIERY CROSS.  He seemed a very pragmatic, adaptable sort of person, perfectly willing to baptize the children with whisky instead of water if that was the only option available.  (And IMHO he gets extra points for managing to keep a straight face while listening to Jamie's confession involving Claire and the butter churn. <g>)

4) Father Michael FitzGibbons, abbot of Inchcleraun monastery, Ireland.  The abbot is a decent man (despite his desire to get Jamie involved in the Jacobite scheme), with a curiosity about the natural world that I was surprised to see in a priest.

5) Jeffries, the Dunsanys' coachman in VOYAGER.  Besides Jamie, and Lord and Lady Dunsany, he's the only other eyewitness to the death of the Eighth Earl of Ellesmere.  I wonder if we'll see him again in a future book?

6) Aloysius O'Shaughnessy Murphy.  Ship's cook aboard the Artemis, in VOYAGER. He makes a truly memorable (or should we say infamous?) turtle soup! <g>

7) The O'Higgins brothers, Rafe and Mick, who helped to smuggle Percy Wainwright out of prison near the end of BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE.  They played only a relatively minor role in that book, but I thought they were pretty entertaining.

8) Tobias Quinn.  He was certainly a memorable character in THE SCOTTISH PRISONER, although I found him somewhat irritating and a nuisance most of the time.  I liked his sense of humor.

9) Finbar Scanlon. The apothecary in LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER.  Among other things, he cured Maria Mayrhofer of syphilis by deliberately infecting her with malaria.

10) Gerald Siverly.  He saved Lord John's life in "The Custom of the Army", but that's his only redeeming quality, as far as I'm concerned.  He was a very memorable villain in THE SCOTTISH PRISONER!

And last but definitely NOT least, here's to our favorite Irish actress, the amazing Caitriona Balfe!!

Have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day, everybody!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Signed copies of the updated OUTLANDISH COMPANION

If you're thinking of ordering (or have already pre-ordered) an autographed copy of the updated version of the OUTLANDISH COMPANION Volume One (due out March 31, 2015) from the Poisoned Pen bookstore in Arizona, here is something you need to be aware of.

Diana Gabaldon will be out of the country on the day this book is published.  When she returns home in early April, she will sign copies of the new book at the Poisoned Pen.  However:
I'll _just_ sign them, rather than inscribe names and messages.  Both in the interests of time and volume (it takes more than four times as long to do inscriptions as it does to do signatures), but principally because I'll be hosting an event for Susanna Kearsley's A DESPERATE FORTUNE on April 6th.
Look here for Diana's full explanation in her own words.

So if you are looking for a personalized inscription ("To xxxxx, Hope you enjoy your trip to Scotland!", etc.) in your copy of the new OUTLANDISH COMPANION Volume One (Revised and Updated Edition), unfortunately that won't be possible right away. You can, however, still get a signed copy of the book.  (Look here for ordering information.)  If you have questions about this, please contact the Poisoned Pen.

For more information about the updated and revised OUTLANDISH COMPANION Volume One, see my OUTLANDISH COMPANION FAQ page.