• “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. I have to say, seeing all the new coming work has giving me a small giddy fit.

    Tho I know deep inside the real fit is still knowing that the cliff hangers in the last book are still hanging there waiting to be set down in their own boo.k (s) :)

    Thanks for the tips on getting our hands on other publications from different areas.

    John has such an enigmatic character. I am not surprised he keeps popping up with his own stories twisting even more depth into the other’s with little tiny tid bits that make things go click , and some twist and hint of the Series’s in total. All of a sudden long thought dead people make an appearance and blow your head off with knowledge you wish you could have shaken Jamie or any character a few books ago with, lol.

    Thanks for all your work to make these characters come even more to life.

  2. Thank you Diana, this is great news!
    I had ordered “Warriors” from B&N last month, but it’s out of print, so my order was cancelled.
    Now my problem may be solved: I just have to figure out how I can manage to get to read your book in “e-version”!
    I am a hardcover reader, so I’m not at all acquainted with e-books. I can buy all my hardcover books from the US right away (shipping is truly expensive, but, all right …. reading is my primary hobby), but I have no chance of getting a NOOK here in Uruguay (affordably I mean).
    I’ve just seen that there is a “NOOK application for PC”, so I suppose there is the possibility of reading it in my netbook. I don’t know if anybody has any experience about it?

    • I downloaded the Nook for PC fine, but when I tried to buy the e-book found that a US based credit card is required (means a card billing to a US address).
      Seems I’ll have to wait for the hardcover version… :(

      • Hi Viviana,
        I would recommend that you research everything very thoroughly before you buy/or try to buy. Here in Australia, for a while, it was impossible to buy Diana’s e books for Kindle, as international publishing and copywrite considerations prohibited one from ‘finalising’ a purchase. I empathise with you, as I would come across links to purchase from Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, etc, only to be rejected at the last click. I am lucky enough to have been able to use a United Kingdom address to access e books via an Amazon.com.uk account. Remember, where there’s a will there’s a way. Wishing you good luck with your quest.
        Best wishes
        Antipodean Janet

      • Thank you very much Janet for your kind answer!
        Regards Viviana

  3. Diana,

    All I can say is that you are simply amazing! All of the work that you do is so inspiring to me, (writing several stories at once, the manor in which you write them, the traveling that you do for book signings, still being a family woman, etc.) and makes me want to motivate myself! :-)

    God has certainly blessed us readers with You!

    • Dear Miranda–

      Thanks very much! I have two secrets: I don’t watch television, and I don’t do housework. [g]


      • I could definetly get more done without the housework! lol Will have to try that as my excuse to get back to my writing.

  4. I am SOOOO confused!!! So, is this a book of short stories??????

  5. Yay for e-books! I love the short stories you publish in between full length novels. I wanted to let you know, I LOVEDLOVEDLOVED A Leaf On the of All Hallows. I bought the anthology for *that* story, not the Jim Butcher one (even though he’s one of my top authors, too!). I will definitely be pre-ordering!

  6. So glad you think of your readers who are anxiously awaiting tidbits!

  7. Diana;
    I am so looking forward to reading these stories! I can’t get enough!
    I am wondering about Master Raymond, will we see him again?


    • Dear Trina–

      Yes, actually you will. [g] Master Raymond is in “The Space Between”. That will be in an anthology titled THE MAD SCIENTIST’S GUIDE TO WORLD DOMINATION, which I _think_ will be published in the US (in print form) in January. It will also be in the UK print collection (A TRAIL OF FIRE), which will be published in the UK this October. (Won’t be available as an ebook for a year or so, owing to the rights issues mentioned.)


      • Thank-you so much, I will keep an eye out for it.
        I am looking forward to reading more about him. I can feel there is a lot more in that little man than meets the eye!
        Enjoy your weekend!

  8. Hi Diana and all,
    It looks like I’m not the only one hoping for an audio version. Even if it’s not on Audible, I really hope the text to speech feature on the Kindle is enabled. Some blind people have chosen not to use that, but I’ll use it if that’s what it comes down to. :) :)
    Using the Kindle opens up the possibility of many more books anyway.
    Any audio version would be nice–commercial or not.
    Thanks for taking the needs of the “minority” if you will into consideration.

  9. I’m just thrilled… I have been waiting anxiously for MORE, and I always seem to miss the anthologies!!!

  10. Excellent news! I will pre-order from Amazon and try to remember that I have done so – I received three copies of The Scottish Prisoner because I forgot I had already ordered it. They made great gifts for my Outlander friends!

  11. Doing happy dance!

  12. Diana-
    Like everyone else on here, I just love your books and am once again in the middle of a reread of the series, currently in The Fiery Cross. As a fellow Catholic, I have two questions. Couldn’t you have had Brianna use Natural Family Planning as she was concerned about a second pregnancy? Or was that not well known in the 60′s? I would have thought as a physician, Claire would have had that knowledge. Also, we find out Jamie is a Mason in Voyager. I was always under the impression that they were, um, not fond of Catholics? (In fact, isn’t the Knights of Columbus a response to the Masons?)
    Anyhow, thanks for your writing, they are by far my favorite books- and I love to read. :)

  13. Brilliant news – I have pre ordered the UK print already! I have an iPad but I definitely prefer to read special books – of which this is most certainly one – in the traditional fashion.

  14. OK I’ve preordered from Amazon. Can anyone tell me what happens next? Does amazon automatically post it to my list I see when I go to “manage your Kindle?” Sorry to be a nuisance as I’ve already posted to this topic but am new to eBooks and trying to decide whether or not I want to be a regular subscriber (i.e. purchase a Kindle). I presently have the Kindle application for my Mac but am not enthused about reading a story or novel from my computer so am giving serious consideration to buying a Kindle. The decision to publish Diana’s stories and novels in Kindle format may just be the thing that pushes me over into making a decision to buy one.

    • Jerry: Kindle sends it directly to your account when it becomes available…or at least that is my recollection. I have a Kindle and a Kobo, but still get the books I love in print form. I use the
      e- format for books I will only read once (like my book club’s selections). I’m also getting the anthologies that way, it is less expensive than a printed book, I get to read my favourite authors, and when the stories come out in print, I can add those to my hardbound book collection. There is only a limited number of shelf space available after all. This way I’m not cutting down more trees than I have to, then having to find homes for books I no longer want. It has worked very well for me the past two years.

      Happy Reading

  15. Hi, Diana,

    Will “A Trail of Fire” be published as an e-book in UK/Australia/NZ this year, or just as a paper volume? Although I love a physical book and still buy them, I’ve taken to reading on my iPad on long-haul flights. (Easier to carry a dozen or two dozen books that way…)

    Thanks for the updates on your travel and work!

  16. You state that the first four will be published in the UK/Australia/New Zealand in Oct. What about “Virgins” I have the others in the anthologoes already except for a space between, (I’m waiting for that to be available)( It will be nice to have them all together eventually) but I have not seen where “Virgins” is published. Please let me know so I can get it.

    • Dear Lori–

      VIRGINS was written under contract for an anthology titled DANGEROUS WOMEN, edited by George RR Martin and Gardner Dozois. That anthology doesn’t yet have a firm pub date, but prior anthologies by these editors have come out in the fall for the last few years. So my guess is that DANGEROUS WOMEN will be out (in the US at least) this fall. VIRGINS can’t be published elsewhere until the reprint rights come back to me, which will–I think–be roughly a year after first publication in the anthology.


  17. Thank You! I LOVE my ebooks and I need something to tide me over until Written in My Own Hearts Blood comes out. I’ve been re-reading the series and I’m currently on Voyager…..again. It’s great how I keep picking up more details though each time I read them :)

    Thanks again, and keep them coming!


  18. This has nothing to do with anything you’ve put here. I have read all of your stories at least 3 times each and parts of some of them more than that. I just finished “An Echo in the Bone” for the third time and what I cannot figure out is where is it that Brianna tells Lord John, as Claire puts it, “Brianna told you what we are”. I cannot find that passage no matter how many times I read the books. I don’t expect you to write me back but if anyone out there has read that would you let me know where it is. Thanks

    • Dear Fiona–

      That doesn’t take place “onstage,” so we in fact don’t know exactly _what_ Brianna told Lord John. Yet.


      • I have frequently wondered the same thing and am glad to hear that the conversation between Brianna and Lord John may “see the light of day”. I suppose I will add this to my list of things to look forward to as new books come out.

  19. Hi there,
    Thanks for the latest update on all your characters. We wait in eager anticipation and will be hitting the iBook store on the 21st.

  20. I love Lord John….(well I also love Jamie), but would it be possible to get the backstory on Hal and Minnie’s meeting? In The Scottish Prisoner, Hal indicates a bit of this history and it is tantalizing. It would be wonderful to learn about Minnie’s spy history as well.

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