• “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


“THE CUSTOM OF THE ARMY” will be released as an e-book on MAY 21!
Click to pre-order from Amazon, barnesandnoble.com, or the iBookstore!

And see below for an explanation:

Well, now. Over the last few years, I’ve written occasional short(er) pieces for anthologies. An anthology, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a collection of short stories or novellas (a novella is shorter than a novel, but longer than a short story), written by a number of different authors.

The notion behind an anthology is that readers who tend to read only within one genre will buy an anthology that features one of their favorite authors, but then will be exposed to other fine writers whose work they may want to explore further.

From my point of view, it’s just fun—and a nice mental break—to do these occasional short bits (I always do have multiple projects on the go; it keeps me from ever having writer’s block). As a side benefit, though, I then _have_ these pieces.

See, unlike the standard contract that covers publishing a novel (which normally says that the publisher can publish the book as long as it keeps selling above a certain minimal level), editors/publishers of anthologies normally make short-term contracts with their authors; they have the exclusive right to publish the story within a particular territory, but only for a relatively short period—after which, the rights to the stories revert to the individual authors.

So. What do you _do_ with, say, a 23,000-word novella? Well, prior to the advent of e-publishing, not that much. Unless you could collect several short pieces and publish them together as a book, that is. I did this with the first three Lord John novellas (“Hell-fire Club,” “Succubus,” and “Haunted Soldier”), which I (and Random House and a number of other, foreign publishers) published as a single volume titled LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS.

Ah, but now we _do_ have e-publishing, which offers new and entertaining possibilities! And I have five more short pieces, sitting here glowing with potential. [g]

BUT…bear in mind that bit above, about rights. The publisher of an anthology does have an exclusive right to publish a given story, within a particular territory, for a set period of time and/or in a particular form—and you can’t publish that story elsewhere until those rights expire and “revert” to you as the author.

So this leads us to an interesting situation. As I said, I have five short pieces (besides the three in HAND OF DEVILS):

“The Custom of the Army” is set in 1759, in London and Quebec, and while it probably _was_ all the fault of the electric eel, Lord John finds himself obliged to leave London for the wilds of Canada and the dangerous proximity of James Wolfe, the British general besieging the Citadel of Quebec. (“_Melodramatic ass,” was what Hal had said, hastily briefing him before his departure. “Showy, bad judgement, terrible strategist. Has the Devil’s own luck, though, I’ll give him that. _Don’t_ follow him into anything stupid_.”)

“Plague of Zombies” takes place in 1761, on the island of Jamaica, where Lord John is sent as commander of a battalion intended to suppress what seems to be a revolt of the escaped slaves called maroons. But things are not always what they seem. (_He rubbed the rest of the blood from his hand with the hem of his banyan, and the cold horror of the last few minutes faded into a glowing coal of anger, hot in the pit of his stomach. He’d been a soldier most of his life; he’d killed. He’d seen the dead on battlefields. And one thing he knew for a fact. Dead men don’t bleed_.)

“A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” is the story of Roger MacKenzie’s parents, Jerry and Dolly, and takes place during WWII. (_It was cold in the room, and she hugged herself. She was wearing nothing but Jerry’s string vest—he thought she looked erotic in it–”lewd,” he said, approving, his Highland accent making the word sound really dirty–and the thought made her smile. The thin cotton clung to her breasts, true enough, and her nipples poked out something scandalous, if only from the chill. She wanted to go crawl in next to him, longing for his warmth, longing to keep touching him for as long as they had_.)

“The Space Between” follows the events in the novel AN ECHO IN THE BONE, is set in Paris in 1778, and concerns Michael Murray (Young Ian Murray’s elder brother), Joan MacKimmie (Marsali MacKimmie Fraser’s younger sister), Mother Hildegarde (yes, she’s still alive), the Comte St. Germain (ditto (surely you didn’t think he was really dead, did you?)), and a number of other interesting people. (“_What a waste of a wonderful arse,” Monsieur Brechin remarked in French, watching Joan’s ascent from the far side of the cabin. “And mon Dieu, those legs! Imagine those wrapped around your back, eh? Would you have her keep the striped stockings on? I would.” It hadn’t occurred to Michael to imagine that, but he was now having a hard time dismissing the image. He coughed into his handkerchief to hide the reddening of his face_.)

“Virgins” is set in 1740, and is the story of 19-year-old Jamie Fraser and his 20-year-old friend Ian Murray as young mercenaries in France. (_Ian Murray knew from the moment he saw his best friend’s face that something terrible had happened. The fact that he was seeing Jamie Fraser’s face at all was evidence enough of that, never mind the look of the man_.)

Now, some of these stories have already reverted to me, and some haven’t. Some will revert in one territory sooner than they will in another. Those that haven’t yet reverted will do so one by one, as their original contracts expire.

What this means is that while I could publish “The Custom of the Army” right now, anywhere, in any form I liked, I can’t publish “A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” until this October—and “Plague of Zombies” doesn’t revert to me in North America (the US and Canada) until next April.

So. What we (my agents and I) have arranged to do is to e-publish the novellas with Random House (my usual novel publisher) in North America one at a time, as the rights to each one become available. Once all of the rights have reverted, we’ll be able to put the entire collection in the form of a printed book (and probably a larger e-book), but I didn’t want y’all to have to wait two years before getting any of these stories.

(Also, e-publishing gives you a chance to try a sample of Lord John (in case you’ve been debating whether to read that part of the series yet) easily and cheaply.)

Now, owing to differences in rights and reversions in different territories (and the generous accommodation of the publishers of one or two of the stories), we are able to publish a print volume in the UK/Australia/NewZealand later this year, including the first four of these stories. This collection, called A TRAIL OF FIRE, is scheduled for publication this October (yes! In 2012!).*

(Why A TRAIL OF FIRE? Well…as the cover copy says… “ _Trails of tracer bullets in the dark, and the fiery trail of a wounded Spitfire falling out of the sky. The trail blazed by night by the handful of heroic Highlanders who fought their way straight up a vertical cliff to stand on the Plains of Abraham in a fiery dawn. The burning of plantations in a Jamaican night, in a trail leading down from the mountains, straight toward Kingstown. And the trail of a torch burning green as it moves through the eerie surrounds of a Paris cemetery, down into the mysteries of the earth._”)

HOWEVER—“The Custom of the Army” will appear first in North America. It will be released as an e-book, on May 21st (that’s a month from now—mark your calendars )**. “A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” will be published as an e-book in North America in October, “Plague of Zombies” in April, and so on. I hope you’ll enjoy all these stories, in whichever form you encounter them!

*Because of the rights issues, A TRAIL OF FIRE won’t be published in the US/Canada until all of the story rights have reverted in this territory. This doesn’t mean you can’t get the book, though; just that it will be a bigger nuisance. The book can be legally imported from the UK, so you would—for instance—be able to order it from amazon.co.uk, or the Book Depository, or to buy it from an independent book-seller who imports UK books (The Poisoned Pen does import British books regularly; if you order from them, you can also get the book signed. www.poisonedpen.com). The drawback, of course, is that it’s a lot more expensive, owing to the high price of British books and the shipping costs. The e-books—being e-books—will be pretty cheap, so you might want to just get these one at a time as they come out. If you truly can’t wait, though…you will be able to get the whole collection in print form in October.

**Since it’s very easy to include additional material in an e-book, “The Custom of the Army” will include introductory notes, Author’s Notes about the historical details of the story, and a complete “Chronology of the OUTLANDER Series,” which tells you where ALL the novels, novellas, short stories, etc. fit in relation to each other, and what time periods are covered in each one. Such a deal!

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135 Responses »

  1. Thank you Diana, for not letting us suffer from withdrawal symptoms until your next Jamie-and-Claire goodie!

  2. It is like I got an early birthday gift! Best news I have heard in awhile. Thank you Diana!

  3. Looking forward to it! I have all of your books on paper, print and audio. Do you know if/when this collection will come out on Audible? I have the anthologies that contain them, but not the audio. I love to listen over and over as I drive to work (1 1/4 hours each way, daily). I love the narrators, especially Davina Porter!!

  4. I am so happy to hear that you are publishing a collection of the shorter pieces. I love your books and have listened to them all many times. Please keep in mind that there is a whole group of us out here who cannot read E books or hard print. While I can stand the robotic voice with which I listen to your website articles, that just won’t do for stories. I would love to be able to purchase a audiobook version of your anthology.

  5. Yay! Just pre-ordered it for my Nook. I have really enjoyed the LJG series and will certainly look forward to reading all his adventures! Thanks, Diana!

  6. Dear Diana,

    I. Am. Thrilled. You are awesome. Since a teenager I have loved the detailed, vivid, humorous, and very human adventures you write. As a very young woman I wrote to you and you took the time to write me back. Thank you. Going to pre-order the novellas now. :)


  7. Ooh, so exciting, but I can’t decide whether to get the e-books or wait until October as I’m in the UK (I do both!) However, I am going to get all the Outlander series for my Kindle, so maybe I should just go straight to the e-books.

    Loving The Scottish Prisoner…. love all your books!

  8. Hello, Diana. On St. Patrick’s Day, my friend Sue met you at a Renaissance Fair in Phoenix. She hasn’t read your books (I’m working on that), but she knows how I rave about your books and characters and that you are my favorite modern author and that the Outlander series is my favorite book series. So, she bought a book and you graciously autographed it to me and posed for a photo. Thank you so much for the autograph and photo. I wish I could have met you myself. Sue gave me the best gift ever. No, I take that back. Her friendship for almost 24 years is the best gift. The autographed book and photo are the second best gift. Isn’t it amazing how a best friend knows everything? Even my family doesn’t know how I love your books. I do have one question. If I’m reading it correctly in your autograph, what does “Le meas” mean? Is it Gaidhlig? I’m overwhelmingly curious.

    Thank you for sharing your talent. I look forward to the next book. Cheers!

  9. Awesome!
    Thanks for doing this and explaining it all.
    I look forward to adding them to my e-reader :)

  10. I am an e-reader addict, and I’ve just pre-ordered The Custom of the Army from Barnes & Noble…I’ve NEVER pre-ordered a book, always worried I’d regret it. Not this time.

    Thanks for the heads-up!

  11. Hi Diana:

    Thanks for the heads up, I have all of the already published anthologies and now I will have two more to look forward to. I got the anthologies ‘Warriors’ and ‘ Down These Strange Streets’ for my ebook. It is delightful to know that two more can be added before too long

    I find the ebooks very convenient whist traveling, saves a lot of room in the suitcases, I can even read an electronic book in the car…something not be tried with a real book due to motion sickness. I have no idea why that should be so, but it makes the trip from Alberta to New Mexico go by much faster.

    One shelf of my bookcase is dedicated to your books, all in hardbound, so when the novellas come out they will join the rest. In the meantime WaHOOOO for ebooks!


  12. I am soooo excited!!! I just pre-ordered on Amazon!!! I cannot wait until May 21!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thank you Diana!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Looking forward to these ebooks. Do let us know when you find out if Random House Canada will make them available for Kobo please! Sure hope they will.

    Cannot get enough of these stories and characters!!!

  14. Looking forward to all these tasty tidbits, no matter when they show up! Thanks for the good news!

    Take care of yourself!

  15. Diana . . . Just wanted to say that we both love your novels, and thank you for your generous interaction here with all of us “fans”. Outlander was our Christmas present to each other in 2005 or 2006 – conceived by my husband as a result of my interest in my Scottish heritage. I had the privilege of visiting Scotland once, and was amazed at how I felt I belonged there. I hope to go back one day and visit again. These novels have made the lives of my ancestors so much more real to me, and have peaked my interest in geneology to learn more about their lives.

    Nevertheless, it took me a couple of years to actually get into Outlander – but then I was HOOKED! Have read all seven of the Outlander series, and “The Scottish Prisoner” – and now, waiting on “My Own Heart’s Blood”, we’ve both started back at the beginning to get to know Claire, Jamie and the rest of your beloved characters all over again. I actually stopped “Voyager” at the point where it felt that “Scottish Prisoner” fell into place – and read that – before going back to “Voyager” to just where Claire leaves Bri and Roger to go “home” to Jamie. Our hope/plan is to finish up Book 7 just as MOHB is released, so we can jump right in where we left off.

    I would highly recommend to anyone who’s completed the series once: go back to the beginning, and read through again in anticipation of the new novel. The read is SO much sweeter the second time through, when you have some insight into the complexities of the characters and relationships. It’s like meeting precious friends, and getting to know them more deeply after a long absence.

    Thanks, again, Diana, for sharing your heart with us in Jamie & Claire. Your gift is much appreciated.

    Warm Regards,
    R & M

    • I have to admit that I re read the whole series prior to EVERY release, lol. I absorb books, so I find re reads important because there is always something new that makes more sense with the new aspect or char point of view.

  16. Love reading your work.

    Loved even more when Claire helps deliver the horse and fixes the goats leg. Since ‘doctors’ of the time took on all different kinds of patients…two and four legged….and since I am a ‘farmer’ myself in Phoenix… I adore it when Claire does something I have done. (Go figure, I like being similar to my favorite heroine!)

    I would really enjoy seeing Claire do more veterinary work. (Hint, Hint, Nudge, Nudge.)

    Thank You for your wonderful imagination!

  17. Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting the short stories out in e-book form as the contracts expire so we don’t have to wait as long to read them! Twenty days to “The Custom of the Army”!

  18. What good news!
    Also, I live in Turkey, and the other day, I saw the outlander series advertised in one of my husband’s glossy Turkish magazines. How nice not to have to make decisions about gifts for the rest of the year!

  19. Have all of the Outlander books so far and also the Lord John ones as well as the three anthologies with the first three short stories. They also included stories by other authors that I have been reading for years as well as some new ones. Have been checking to try to find publishing dates for Dangerous Women and The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination but haven’t been able to pin down a date. I prefer a nice hard bound book to e-book or audio tapes. When I read, I hear the voices (words) in my head and someone else reading out loud doesn’t sound right. It will be nice to have all the short stories in one book. In MOHB will you go into more detail about Roger and William Buccleigh’s interaction with Roger’s Dad? I have loved all of your books and wait impatiently for #8.

    • Hello Eugenia,
      I felt exactly ths same as you about, being contented to ‘listen’ to Jamie and Claire’s voices in my head. Me and my imagination, were perfectly happy with the status quo. UNTIL ……. I listened to Davina Porter’s narration of ‘genius’ Diana’s wonderful words. if you haven’t taken the opportunity to try the Audio versions, I would urge you to ‘give it a go’ as we say here in Australia.
      Best wishes
      Antipodean Janet

  20. I’ve checked out Custom of the Army on Åmazon. They want me to pre-order for my Kindle. Well I don’t have a Kindle and plan to look into downloading the story to my Mac when it comes available. This will be my first eBook download so wish me luck. It is my understanding that “Kindle files” are available as PDFs which I can certainly read on my Mac. If anyone has any tips on where or how to download to a computer I’d appreciate hearing them. Is Barnes &Noble any better since they don’t sell Kindles?

    I’ve purchased all of Diana’s shorter pieces as they become available in print but am so anxious to see Book 8 that Custom of the Army will have to be my temporary fix. Am just finished reading A Breath of Snow and Ashes for the seventh time and am looking forward to again rereading Echo in the Bone for the seventh time as well. I “read” the novels, including Lord John books, from both audible.com and in print form simultaneously and find that Davina Porter’s masterful narrations enhance my reading of the hard copy volumes so if you haven’t tried that yet you might want to give it a shot.

    The narrator of the Lord John books is also quite good and I’m pleased that Diana’s agents have done so well in finding excellent narrators. I certainly hope that Written in my Own Heart’s Blood will be available simultaneously at audible.com with the print version (hopefully by Davina Porter!) so I can “read” the novel simultaneously in both print and audio formats. Can’t wait until 2013 when Book 8 is available!

    • Scratch my question about reading eBooks on my Mac. I’m off to find the “Kindle Mac application” so I can read on my Mac.

      • Sad to say I have learned that the Kindle Mac application requires Mac OS X 10.6. I only have version 10.5.8. So I’ve decided to bite the bullet and order the newer version for fifty bucks. Diana can you see how devoted some of your fans are? ;)

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