In the meantime, let us take a moment to think about things, let our minds relax and let our lives fall gently into place (insofar as such a thing is possible…).
Personally, what I’ve done on New Year’s Eve (and will continue doing tomorrow) is:
1. Drink champagne with husband.
2. Arrange/Organize a new Daybook (I like the Levenger Circa Junior size notebooks for this, because of the handy size, good-quality paper, and flexible organization).
3. Eat a lot of Excellent Cheese. (I understand that black-eyed peas are traditional in some places, but I come from the Southwest, and we like cheese. With various combinations of meat, tortillas, chile and salsa, but cheese is a pretty common denominator.) We had six-cheese Mac for our New Year’s Eve dinner, along with a savory salad.
4. Shovel email. I try to do this daily, but it builds up with horrifying speed (I average about 200 emails a day, and while a lot of this is admittedly spam and ads, it still takes time to get rid of it). One of my resolutions is to try to process a whole day’s email 4-5 times a week. (You can’t do ANYTHING every single day, besides breathing and going to the bathroom; let’s be realistic about it.)
5. Find a brief excerpt from Book 10 with which to celebrate the advent (that’s why we call the previous month Advent; because Christmas is coming—and the New Year on its heels…) of 2023, which we hope will go down in history mostly for good reasons.
[Thanks for the photo to the nice person accompanying me at the Wigtown Book Festival, some years ago, who took it. At one point in the proceedings, as I was getting ready to go do a talk and book-signing, I was summoned outside, told that “someone wanted to say hello.” This proved to be the gentleman in the photo (whose name, alas, I didn’t write down), who greeted me and thanked me for saving his hill-farm by writing OUTLANDER: the TV production had rented several of his goats and chickens to provide atmosphere at Lallybroch—and he had brought two of the goats to meet me.
These were charming ladies, who arrived in the back of his hatchback car, and upon being decanted onto the street, both squatted and daintily relieved themselves in a shower of tiny black pellets before cordially coming to make my acquaintaince.]
[Excerpt from Untitled Book 10, Copyright © 2023 Diana Gabaldon. Minor spoiler possible.]
Jamie met his sister, half a mile from the Murrays’ cabin and looking worried. Her brow lightened a bit when she saw him, and further when she spotted the dog.
“There ye are, ye wee gomerel!” The puppy barked happily at sight of her and charged uphill. Jenny intercepted him before he could leap on her skirt with his muddy paws, and firmly shoved him down, grabbing his scruff and rubbing his ears while he squirmed with delight and tried to lick her hands. “What are ye doing wi’ him?” she asked the dog, waving a hand in Jamie’s direction. “And what have ye done wi’ your master, eh?”
“His master? Young Ian, ye mean?”
“I do.” She craned her neck to look round him, in obvious hope that Ian was behind him. “He hasna come home yet. Rachel’s heavin’ her guts out and Oggy wanted his wee cu, so I thought the hound must be wi’ Ian and best I come down and dig them out of wherever they’d slept last night.”
Jamie felt a tickle of unease between his shoulders.
“That’s what I was meaning to do, as well. I found the dog sleepin’ wi’ Meyers, but I havena seen hide nor hair of Young Ian.” Jenny raised one sleek black brow.
“When did ye see him last?”
Every woman he knew said this when something was lost. He gave Jenny a look meant to suggest that he didn’t think this any more helpful than the last thousand times he’d heard it. He answered, though.
“Yesterday, after the wedding, dancin’ wi’ Silvia Hardman and Patience—Higgins, I mean. Maybe an hour before…” He stopped abruptly. He’d been about to say, “Before William”, but didn’t want to be side-tracked in to a discussion about William right now. Jenny, Rachel and Oggy had left the festivities early; Rachel was feeling peely-wally and his sister needed to milk her goats. Had the news reached them?
No, he thought, keenly aware of his sister’s eyes, fixed with interest on his face. If she kent about him, it’s the first thing she would ha’ said to me.
And she’ll kill me if I dinna tell her about it now, he concluded.
“My son’s come,” he said abruptly. “William.”
Her face went blank for a second, and then went through such a flurry of expressions that he couldn’t follow it all. The end of it was a look of pure joy, though, and his throat went thick at sight of it. She laughed out loud, and he smiled, shy about his own feelings.
“Did he come armed?” she asked then, a slight tinge of doubt in her voice.
Click to visit my Book Ten webpage for information on this book, and to read more excerpts from it.
This excerpt was posted on my official Facebook page on January 1, 2023.