• “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

“I’m a Doctor, Not An Escalator!”

Social Media Hashtags: #DailyLines, #MyBirthday, #ImHappyToHaveMadeItThisFar, #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE, #NOitsnotfinished, #Illtellyouwhenitis, #RightNowImEatingChocolate

2021-01-11-bees-photoThe first floor had now been walled in from the outside, though much of the inside was still just timber studs, which gave the place rather a nice sense of informality, as we walked cheerfully through the skeletal walls.

My surgery had no coverings for its two large windows, nor did it have a door—but it did have complete walls (as yet unplastered), a long counter with a couple of shelves over it for my bottles and instruments, a high, wide table of smooth pine (I had sanded it myself, taking great pains to protect my future patients from splinters in their bottoms) on which to conduct examinations and surgical treatment, and a high stool on which I could sit while administering these.

Jamie and Roger had begun the ceiling, but there were for the moment only joists running overhead, with patches of faded brown and grimy gray canvas (salvaged from a pile of decrepit military tents found in a warehouse in Cross Creek) providing actual shelter from the elements

Jamie had promised me that the second floor—and my ceiling—would be laid within the week, but for the moment, I had a large bowl, a dented tin chamber-pot and the unlit brazier strategically arranged to catch leaks. It had rained the day before, and I glanced upward to be sure there were no sagging bits in the damp canvas holding water overhead before I took my case-book out of its waxed-cloth bag.

“What ith—is that?” Fanny asked, catching sight of it. I had put her to work picking off and collecting the papery skins from a huge basket of onions for steeping to make a yellow dye, and she craned her neck to see, keeping her onion-scented fingers carefully away.

“This is my case-book,” I said, with a sense of satisfaction at its weight. “I write down the names of the people who come to me with medical difficulties, and describe each one’s condition, and then I put down what it was that I did or prescribed for them, and whether it worked or not.”

She eyed the book with respect—and interest.

“Do they always get better?”

“No,” I admitted. “I’m afraid they don’t always—but very often they do. ‘I’m a doctor, not an escalator,’” I quoted, and laughed before remembering that it wasn’t Brianna I was talking to.

Fanny merely nodded seriously, evidently filing away this piece of information.

I coughed.

“Um. That was a quote from a, er, doctor friend of mine named McCoy. I think the general notion is that no matter how skilled a person might be, every skill has its limits and one is well advised to stick to what you’re good at.”

She nodded again, eyes still fixed in interest on the book.

“Do you… think I might read it?” she asked shyly. “Only a page or two,” she added hastily.

I hesitated for a moment, but then laid the book on the table, opened it, and paged through to the spot where I had made a note about using gall berry ointment for Lizzie Wemyss’s malaria, as I hadn’t any Jesuit’s bark. I had told Roger about the need, but so far none had turned up. Fanny had heard me talk about the situation to Jamie, and Lizzie’s recurrent ague was common knowledge on the Ridge.

“Yes, you may—but only the pages before this marker.” I took a slim black crow’s feather from the jar of quills and laid it next to the book’s spine at Lizzie’s page.

“Patients are entitled to privacy,” I explained. “You oughtn’t to read about people that are our neighbors. But these earlier pages are about people I treated in other places and—mostly—a long time ago.”

“I prrromise,” she said, her earnestness giving emphasis to her r’s, and I smiled. I’d known Fanny barely a year, but I’ d never once known her to lie—about anything.

[Excerpt from GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, Copyright © 2021 Diana Gabaldon.]

Visit my official GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE webpage for access to other excerpts (aka “Daily Lines”) from this book.

Many thanks to Janet Boren Campbell for the lovely bee photo!

This blog entry was also posted on my official Facebook page on Monday, January 11, 2021.

42 Responses »

  1. Wishing you the very happiest birthday, Diana!

    • Hi Diana,

      Love your books. They give me a new world to imagine I can be. You are such an inspiration. Just an FYI, my mom has the Gabaldon name (Trinidad Gabaldon Luna). When I walked into the book store and saw you book, that is when my journey started.

      Thank you!!!

    • It absolutely amazes me that you keep Claire’s exact tone and word cadence. From the Outlander Starz series I can hear her voice. “You oughn’t to read” and describing her surgery. Its absolutely great. Thanks.

  2. hi
    I’m French now a retired English teacher . I came across your books through the Netflix serie Outlander which I enjoyed very much. Then I bought the books which were not part of the serie and I have read them all “thanks” to the lockdown we faced last spring and again this fall . Now Iam dying to read the last one “go and tell the bees ” but unfortunately the epidemic seems to have put a lot of things at a stand still . So as a way to help me wait I read the excerpts you allow us access to but Iam still eager to know when the book is due to be published as apparently the new season of Outlander seems to suffer delays due to that same virus
    friendly yours

    • Hi,

      Nice to hear from you!

      But as Diana and I have said a quad-jillion times, the publication date will be prominently announced on her webpages when known!

      To all dear readers who ask this question: I feel like I am stuck in a time loop, running round and round in a giant gerbil wheel, answering the same question over and over. Many readers asking when BEES will be released over and over does NOT make the process any faster! Please free me by reading the posts Diana has written about the publishing process, etc.

      Love you all, but my legs are tired… :-)

      Ever hopeful,

      Loretta M.
      Diana’s Webmistress

      P.S.: Lately I’m answering and approving many readers’ web comments because Diana is busy finishing BEES — and today she is enjoying chocolate on her 69th birthday. She does read all of your comments submitted.

      • Thank you for the work you do, Loretta! Happy New Year to you too! Love these tidbits provided under the Daily Lines! I am being patient (as patient as is possible!) so please give your legs some rest!

        Thank you again!

      • I suspect the anticipation and anxiety is heightened by the fact that it has been nearly 7 years since “Written in My Own Heart’s Blood” was published.

        Knowing that there is at least 1 more book coming in the series, I personally am beginning to fear that I will be dead and buried without know how Claire and Jamie’s story ends.

  3. Happy Birthday Diana.

    I have been working my way though the audiobook versions of the books again. Even though I have read or listened to them many times I always discover something new. I am continually (thrilled, impressed, delighted) by the depth and richness of the stories. I feel as though I am visiting with old friends. I’m glad for the little snippet from Bees that have been posted, but I’ll be patient waiting for the book because I’m sure the next book will be as full of deliciousness as the others.

  4. Happy happy birthday Diana,
    I am so grateful for these little snippets getting us through until the next book is ready for us- I know we are so ready for it! I really appreciate the amount of depth and research that goes into these artworks and so I keep reminding myself of how much goes into writing and birthing a book. So wonderful to have you here on this earth Diana and to see what an impact you and your stories have had on so many. Enjoy your chocolate and hope you have a very sweet cozy capricorn day. My birthday was only a few days ago so sweet to think that we are both Capricorns :)

  5. Diana,
    The happiest of Birthdays To you!! Hope it has been a day of joy and health spent with the ones you love! All the best!

    Brenda Peterson

  6. Happy birthday Diana. Hope you enjoyed your family and have a good and peacefull year. I too had my birthday at 11 january, actual 57 years. I enjoy your books and read them in spanish and english a lot of times. I am a Doctor, pediatrician, in Chile, and love your search and well described diseases and treatment available on those times.

  7. love the books. Introduced my friend to them, years ago with the publication of Outlander (originally Cross stitch)
    we are both addicts

    Happy Birthday and a healthy 2021

    I will be 76 in March and my friend will be 84 in February… hope number 9 comes out soon!!

  8. I absolutely love your books and have read/listened to them over and over. Wanted to wish you a happy birthday today, since you have given me so many happy days!

  9. Happy Birthday Diana !!! I have already ordered my autographed copy of Bees from The Poisoned Pen, and can hardly wait for it to come. It is my birthday present to myself. My birthday is December 18, 1951, so we are pretty much the same age. My husband of 40 years is dieing of Lewy-body dementia and is on hospice. Your books and my interest in the Starz show have helped keep me sane through this ordeal. Thank you so much for your lovely writing. It gives me somewhere to go when things get too rough.

    Thanks again, Jane

    • Dear Jane,

      I am so sorry to hear about your husband’s illness. Blessings to you both.

      Thank you for saying my books and the Outlander TV show have helped in this very difficult time, and that you are looking forward to BEES.

      Saying a prayer for you and your husband.

      Sending hugs,


  10. I’m an ex pat Scot now retired & living in NZ. I’m a Star Trek & history geek, they are my ‘things’ – those ‘things’ are the ‘things’ that make me happy. Now I have another ‘thing’ to add to my ‘things’. I am currently reading my way through everything I can lay my hands on re your characters. I am especially fond of Lord John, how about another adventure from his past ? I do like the series (or what I have seen of it, seasons 1 & 2 only) but I’m a bit of a bookworm & it’s never quite the same when it’s not in the book. Keep it up and I’ll buy Bees as soon as it’s available. Incidentally where did you get the odd recipe for Stovies ?, all the recipes I know are eaten with a spoon as for soup or stew.

  11. Muchas Felicidades Diana! He descubierto hace poco la serie y los libros y los he devorado. Me han encantado. Espero poder leer pronto el noveno libro de la saga y que Jamie y Claire puedan seguir juntos muchas aventuras más.
    Mucha salud!

  12. Hello Diana and a belated happy birthday to you. Best wishes always. Love your books. Awaiting last one with trepidation. Just want to bring your attention to the title of a chapter where a mistake in French should be corrected. Here it is: Voulez-vous coucher avec moi? Is the right way to spell it. You wrote ‘couchez’ in the imperative where ‘coucher’ in the present tense should be written. Love your way of writing. Love the way you keep your readers posted. Thank you.

  13. I was so amused to see this little sniper today and the reference to Star Trek’s McCoy. I almost snorted into the tea I was drinking. If Brianna were there she would have laughed.

    I am looking forward to the release of your book.

    I listen to audiobooks while quilting, and do enjoy a good story while doing something with my hands.

  14. I was watching a season of Outlander, and Jamie and Claire’s house on the Ridge was so much more elaborate than I had pictured from the books. Is that what you were thinking of, or were you thinking of something more rustic?

  15. Hello Diana,

    Thank you for sharing the story of Jamie and Claire. I was young when I first came across the first book in the series. I really enjoyed it. Fast forward a few (or more) years and after re-reading the series, I still thoroughly enjoy it! The title of your latest book GO TELL THE BEES I AM GONE is intriguing and I look forward to it. Though I’m saddened to think there’s only one book left in your fantastic series, all good things must come to an end.

    Sincerely your humble reader.


  16. While waiting for my doctor in one of the treatment rooms, I continued reading one of your books. The moment she came in I turned it over, cover down on the chair and looked up. “Oh,” she said, you’re reading the Outlander series. I nodded. “Stay with it to the last book–you’ll love it.” I was surprised first of all that she recognized the paperback from where she was standing, and secondly that she even knew about it (before the t.v. series). I’ve enjoyed the journey, although I must admit that, with some of Jamie’s experiences, I had to look away and swallow hard. Looking forward to “The Bees.”

  17. It seems that Diana and I share a birthday! Best belated wishes to you this year (I spent mine having a Regency-themed costume picnic at the local botanic gardens for my 30th:-) ).

    This excerpt really grabbed my attention. Not just because it quoted Star Trek (I am a huge Trekkie), but because it shows the beginnings of Fanny’s interest in medicine. I am quite looking forward to the development of this relationship between her and Claire (and not just because she and Jamie have become Fanny’s adoptive parents.

    All the best to Diana- speeding writing and editing to her (no- I won’t ask when the next book will be published!)


  18. i have really enjoyed being able to read the snippets, and seeing how the story is fleshed out as it goes around. so i can reread the snippets over and over and sometimes there’s a few more lines to round it out. Very enjoyable. I’m hoping i won’t speed read when the books does come out but sit down and savor each chapter.

  19. Happy birthday Diana! Hope you had a great day – and VERY many happy returns. So pleased that all the unpleasantness over there seems to have settled down. I think your country is most fortunate in its new president. tons of love

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