• “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.”
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor

Birthday Retrospective

My Addictive Birthday Dish

Posted on January 9, 2017

Diana-n-birthday-wineSomeone asked what I planned to do for my birthday on Wednesday, January 11: to which I replied, “I’m going to make garlic pinenut chicken and eat ALL of it!”

A few people wanted the recipe for that, so… here you go! (Personally, I find this addictive, but not everybody likes garlic and pinenuts as much as I do.)



1) you need to really like both garlic and pinenuts, and

2) it’s spicy (not hot, but spicy)—though the level of spiciness is easily adjustable.


2-3 skinless chicken breasts
One head of garlic
1-2 bags of pine nuts
Olive oil/coconut oil/peanut oil/canola oil, etc.
Szechuan sauce w/ ginger and honey (made or bottled)

OK, this is really easy, aside from peeling all that garlic…

Put 2-3 tablespoons of oil (of your choice—I like coconut for this) in a heavy sauce-pan or saute-pan—enough oil to cover bottom of the pan.

Peel all the cloves from one head of garlic. Mince (in a mini-food-processor is easiest). Add to oil in pan.

Dice chicken breasts. Take a heavy chef’s knife and…I don’t know if there’s word for this, but you essentially rapidly pound the meat with the sharp side of the blade, but you’re not trying to cut through it. You’re macerating it, with the intent of emerging with something that looks like it would be popcorn chicken if you fried it.

Saute the garlic on med-low heat until it begins to turn brown (don’t let it burn!). Add the chicken and stir until chicken is cooked through.

At this point, add the Szechuan sauce (see Sauce Note below), stir in and let simmer for 3-4 minutes. Then add pinenuts, stir in, heat for another 2-3 minutes, and serve over rice.


1. I love Wild Thymes’s Chili-Ginger Marinade, with a large dollop of Dynasty Hot Szechwan Sauce. If you can get these, use about half a bottle of the Wild Thymes and a couple of tablespoons of the Szechuan sauce. (Leave out the hot sauce if you want a more delicate dish.)

If these aren’t easily obtainable, you can make a decent version yourself. To do that, you need:

Any kind of sweet-chili sauce or chili-garlic hot sauce (there are dozens of ‘em in the Asian aisle at the grocery story) as the basis of your sauce, depending on the level of spice you want.

Crystallized ginger. (You can use fresh ginger, which is great, but Really Powerful, and hot. Crystallized ginger isn’t. If you use the fresh kind, shred or grate it and don’t use more than half a teaspoon unless you’re a huge fan.)

A couple of tablespoons of honey.

Saute the ginger with the garlic. Stir the chili sauce and honey into the browned chicken (you don’t need to combine them). Taste and adjust with more chili or honey.

2. Personally, I like this with hot soy sauce—which I make by combining a cup or so of regular soy sauce with 2-3 tablespoons of spicy stir-fry sauce.

Disclaimer: I didn’t invent this dish. I ate it about ten years ago at a Chinese restaurant in Palo Alto, and as I don’t get there very often (now that Eldest Daughter has graduated from Stanford), I figured it was simple enough that I could cook a version of it myself, and I could.

New BEES excerpt: “John and Hal and William and Amaranthus”

January 14, 2017

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

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

“The boy needs help,” Hal observed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thought of Jamie Fraser necessarily recalled his attention to William.

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

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

John raised a brow.

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

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

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

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

(End of Excerpt.)

Social Media Comment:

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

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

Go to official BEES webpage for more excerpts and news…

8 Responses »

  1. My best friend of over 30 years was going through Chemo Therapy for Ovarian cancer and she was tired of crocheting during these 4 hours sessions each week and I had read all the Outlander Books and so I recommended them to her to read and after she bought the first book I let her know she can check them out at the library. She finished all 8 books and was deemed cancer free and she wanted to go to Scotland now. So we went in April of 2016. Just here and I and had a very good time in Scotland and Ireland and even though we wer on a tour group that did not stop at Culloden I had an online friend I met who was from Scotland and he arranged for an old friend and his wife to pick up up in Nairn where the buss finally came and we checked into the Newton Hotel and then off with Andy and Mhairi who live in Scotland and they took us to the Fraser headstone at Collodan and then some stones near by called Clavin Cairns. So mystical they were. My best friend were making plans to go back to Scotland thanks to your books when she died unexpectedly from the Ovarian Cancer just 6 months after we returned. Her children asked me take some of her ashes back to where she loved so much. So now I and my husband (who is now watching all the DVD’s I bought for both seasons of Outlander) are going back to Scotland and to Colloden to take some of her ashes there.

    Diana your writing made such an impact on her before she died that we went to the locations of where your books were written. Thank you for giving her the WANT to go out with a bang and take her first trip out of the US. and now I am taking part of her back. Even though it hurts me so bad.

  2. Happy belated birthday. Mine was on the 16th. Have you heard the story “The Over the Mountain Men?” See Wikipedia. There are other sources. My husband’s ancestors settled in what is now East Tennessee, Smoky Mountains around 1740, over the mountains from the North Carolina colony. We have recently retired after over 40 years in teaching. (He was a college president.) We are living on a ridge where we have a grand view of Mt. Le Conte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I reference the story above in connection with the Outlander novels set in the area east of us. It is a fascinating revolutionary war story of the overwhelming determination of the early Scotch-Irish settlers.
    When is book nine coming? When I saw the possible title, I cried.

    • For current news about GO TELL THE BEES THAT I HAVE GONE, Diana’s ninth Outlander novel, visit her official BEES webpage periodically:


      Diana’s BEES webpage also has links to excerpts (aka “Daily Lines”) from this new book, which she also posts on Facebook and Twitter. She has announced that BEES will not be released in 2017 (but SEVEN STONES will)!

      I too have Scots-Irish ancestors who first settled in southern Pennsylvania in the mid-1700s, who were involved in the American Revolution. Diana’s books make history come alive in the most wonderful way.

  3. Just finished watching the Outlander series, part one. It’s not to late for the rest of the series to get Susie Figgis for casting. The show is good but she would make it great! Thanks for the adventure!

  4. Just a quick note to say how much I enjoy your stories. I have shared your books with several of my friends. I found out if I nailed them with Season 1 of Outlander (TV) and told them I wasn’t saying anything more. They had to get your books if they wanted to know what came next. Can’t wait for “Bees”. Oh, and BTW I live in AZ in the Winter (Washington in the Summer) I was pleased to read that your are a native Arizonian. I know I’m just another snowbird but I do love easy going AZ. Take care and keep up the wonderful entertainment.

  5. My favourite character in your series is John Grey. Love the turmoil boiling in him beneath the veneer of civility. Do give him a lover he can keepand be happy with. I think he deserves it and don’t for Heaven’s sake kill him off.

  6. I love the books, have re-read most of them several times. Love the film series and the casting.

    My question is, if I may, I re-read The Outlandish Companion recently and the book ” King,Farewell” is referred to several times. I assume the title was changed at some point. Can you tell which Title took the place of “King, Farewell”.

    I read everything I can find about the series and the books. In short, I am a big fan of all things, “Outlander”.

    Best wishes and best of luck with the continuance of your career,

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