• “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

“Simian Crease” (Book Ten)

2023-03-11-new-orleans-dgSorry to be MIA—we went to New Orleans for several days (just for fun, weirdly enough <g>—ate, slept, walked around looking at interesting things and listening to great music) and I didn’t take my laptop with me.

I did get a bit of work done, though, in the middle of the nights (the ones where I woke up in time…):

I don’t think anything in this excerpt constitutes a spoiler, but it is from Book Ten.

[Excerpt from UNTITLED BOOK TEN. Copyright © 2023 Diana Gabaldon.]

I uncurled the tiny fist to check again. I’d caught only a glimpse, but… By reflex, I turned my left hand up and glanced at my own palm. It was a maze of wandering lines: head, heart, life, love, fate—and dozens more caused by the daily wear of age and work. A net to catch an unknown future.

But the twitching little starfish in my right hand was almost a blank slate, save for a single smooth, deep line across the upper palm. Only one. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis called it a simian crease.

The little fingers curled again, gripping my index finger. Weak, but definitely a grasping reflex. The birth had been easy—it was Mhairi MacDonald’ eighth labor, but things could go wrong with any birth. Apgar scores were on the low side, but tolerable—with the exception of some of the other reflexes; I couldn’t get a Babinski reflex at all—and the muscle tone overall, which was… the baby gave a sort of floppy, convulsive movement that nearly spilled her off my lap and made a grunting squeak that wasn’t quite a cry.

“Shh, sweetheart, I’ve got you… don’t worry, everything will be fine…” I picked her up and cuddled her—small, but warm and solid, wrapped in her older brother’s shirt, for lack of a blanket—against my shoulder and glanced at the mother, a cold, heavy feeling in my chest.

I knew. Had known by the time I’d started swabbing the little body with oil. Not all the signs were there, but… enough. The flattened nose, the unusual space between the big toe and the second toe… What could I—what should I tell them?

Old Mrs. MacDonald was helping her daughter, kneading her flaccid belly with a firm but kindly touch, whispering what I thought was a blessing in Gaidhlig. Mhairi lay on her sweat-soaked pillow, breathing slowly, eyes half-shut, making little grunts that sounded not unlike her new daughter’s.

Maybe I shouldn’t say anything …specific. “Down’s Syndrome” would mean nothing to anyone in this time, let alone “Trisomy of Chromosome 21”. There was no telling how much cognitive impairment there might be; perhaps only a little, perhaps it wouldn’t be very noticeable. And in this time, when girls largely worked in house and field and took care of children, it mightn’t matter that much; maybe she could function well enough in the bosom of her family.

If she could nurse. If she couldn’t, she likely wouldn’t live long. Her mouth was slightly open, filled by a large, protrusive tongue. I laid her on my lap again and stroked her cheek lightly. Her ears were still pink and slightly crumpled from birth, but looked normal, though small. Her eyes looked somewhat slanted, but were still tight closed, lashes invisible, but she turned her head at once at my touch, snuffling.

Rooting reflex. Check.

“Good,” I whispered. “Can you suck, sweetheart?”

My hands weren’t clean enough for me to consider sticking a finger in her mouth to try. We’d have to wait and see. I glanced over at the bed, half-hidden in darkness. Mrs. MacDonald was still kneading, but her head was raised and she was looking at me as she worked, a deep crease between her brows. Her mouth was pressed tight, but it dawned on me that neither I nor the child was her immediate concern.

“What is the word for a placenta in Gaidhlig?” I asked, rising to my feet with the baby. Mrs. MacDonald blinked and knuckled away a bead of perspiration running down her cheek. The door and window were closed to keep out flies drawn to the scent of blood, so there was a fire to provide light and hot water, and all of us—except the baby—were sweating in the moving shadows.

She shrugged. “There’s some as says “birth-cake’. That’s breith-cèic.” She glanced down at her working hands. “Whatever ye choose to call it, this one’s no lettin’ go.” There was a note of strain in her voice, though her gnarled old hands kept up a steady kneading.

“I have something that might help,” I offered. I’d brought my birthing kit along in a cloth bag. The bag didn’t have everything, but it did have dried raspberry leaves. A strong tea aided labor; it might—I hoped—dislodge an uncooperative placenta. I would have put the child to Mhairi’s breast to suckle, but given my doubts… best start with the tea.

Mrs. MacDonald hesitated for a moment, hands stilled and brows knit. Old Mrs. MacDonald thinks you’re a witch, Fanny had told me. But it doesn’t matter, because Mr. MacDonald is afraid of Mr. Fraser. She stared at me, eyes narrowed, but then glanced down at her gasping daughter, and gave in.

“Gie’ me the wean and do what ye can,” she said abruptly.

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 March 11, 2023.

Books by Sam & Graham from the Pen!

clanlands-coverThe Poisoned Pen, my hometown independent bookstore, asked me to share some special offers on books written by Sam Heughan and Graham MacTavish, two great guys and very talented actors. (And both are quite fetching in kilts. <g>)

For those who are new to the Outlander TV series, Sam Heughan is the actor who plays Jamie Fraser. Graham MacTavish portrays Jamie’s uncle, Dougal MacKenzie. Graham was also cast as Buck MacKenzie, the son of Dougal MacKenzie and Geillis Duncan.



With a new memoir centered on New Zealand coming in November from Sam Heughan and Graham MacTavish, the Poisoned Pen bookstore offers the following:

WAYPOINTS: My Scottish Journey

sam-heughan-waypointsWAYPOINTS: My Scottish Journey by Sam Heughan (Radar, U.K., $60). This is Special Pricing for the U.K. edition signed by Sam in London on the title page and in Scottsdale by Diana on the title page, too. Click to purchase WAYPOINTS from the Pen.

In this journey of self-discovery, Sam Heughan sets out along the West Highland Way to explore his heritage and reflect on the personal waypoints that define him. The result is a love letter to the wild Scottish landscape that means so much to Sam, and a charming, funny, wise and searching insight to the world through his eyes.

Each of the copies of WAYPOINTS from the Pen comes with a charming little book from a Nova Scotia Press called IAIN OF SCOTLAND. Signed by Diana Gabaldon, who wrote the Introduction to the book. It includes a glossary of terms and tells the story of a boy…

 It’s September 1773, and Iain has just arrived in Nova Scotia with his parents and little sister after the long, disastrous, Atlantic voyage of the ship Hector. They wanted a new life in New Scotland — but the land agent lied to them. With no money, no food, no shelter, and winter fast approaching, how will they survive?

CLANLANDS: Whisky, Warfare, And An Adventure Like No Other

clanlands-coverThe Pen has a few remaining copies of CLANLANDS: Whisky, Warfare, And An Adventure Like No Other by Sam Heughan and Graham MacTavish (Mobius publishing, $25). These are signed by Diana Gabaldon on the first page of her foreward to the book. Also includes a book plate with a facsimile of Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish’s signatures. A New York Times Number-One Bestseller! Click to purchase CLANLANDS from the Pen.

A road trip book with a difference. Stars of Outlander—Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish—explore Scotland. From their faithful camper van to boats, kayaks, bicycles, and motorbikes, join these two Scotsmen as they explore a land of raw beauty, poetry, feuding, music, and warfare.

Sam and Graham begin their journey in the heart of Scotland at Glencoe and travel all the way to Inverness and Culloden battlefield; along the way they experience adventure and a cast of interesting highland characters. In this journey of finding themselves, friendship, and whisky, they discover the complexity, rich history and culture of their native country.

CLANLANDS ALMANAC: Seasonal Stories From Scotland

clanlands-almanac-coverAnd still available: CLANLANDS ALMANAC: Seasonal Stories From Scotland by Graham MacTavish and Sam Heughan (Mobius $19.99). This hardcover edition (red cover) is signed by Diana and includes a book plate with a facsimile of signatures of Sam and Graham. Click to purchase the CLANLANDS ALMANAC from the Pen.

A seasonal meander through the wilds of Scotland.

If CLANLANDS was a gentle road trip through Scotland, this almanac is a top-down, pedal-to-the-metal, up-and-down odyssey through the many byways of a Scottish year. An invitation to anyone who picks up the book to join us on a crazy camper van exploration over 12 glorious, whisky-fueled months. Mountains, battles, famous (and infamous) Scots, the alarming competitiveness of ‘Men in Kilts,’ clans, feuds, flora, fauna, with a healthy sprinkling of embarrassing personal reminiscences thrown in. Much is explored, all is shared. It is a camper van cornucopia of all things Alba.

One U.K. first printing of the CLANLANDS ALMANAC: Seasonal Stories From Scotland signed by Sam Heughan in London remains ($100). Contact the Pen’s friendly sales staff for more information on this last copy with Sam’s signature.

Always In Stock: Outlander and Lord John Books Signed By Diana

The Pen sells new signed copies of Diana’s books online, and will ship anywhere in the world. You pay only for the list price of the book plus shipping. There is no charge for Diana’s signature. See the Pen’s dedicated webpage for Diana’s books. Or contact the Pen.

“Need your help…”

arby-samspup-3monthsWell, aside from incessant travel, a new puppy (our son’s, but he comes over to run around in our big backyard), 2-300 emails a day, and the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival (at which I accidentally had breakfast with Alan Dershowitz)…you know, not that much…

But I’m digging my way through the email and engagements—but also writing, so thought I’d share a bit of Book Ten, for fun.

[EXCERPT FROM UNTITLED BOOK TEN, Copyright © 2023 Diana Gabaldon – possible spoiler, but not likely]

William opened his eyes and lay still. He’d got used to not knowing quite where he was upon wakening, save when he slept in the woods. Woods at night are mysterious places, and his inner ear heard sounds all night, some deep part of his brain evidently recognizing and dismissing things like wind through leaves, the falling of acorns or the patter of rain on the canvas of his lean-to, but still sensitive enough to apprise him of the heavy pad of a walking bear nearby—to say nothing of the branches snapping in its path.

The result of this behavior on the part of his brain was to keep him aware of his circumstances all night and thus unsurprised at dawn, even if he never woke all the way.

He’d slept like a log last night, though, worn out from his journey, plied with good, hot food and as much alcohol as he could drink. His memory of going to bed was confused, but he was lying now on the floor of an empty room—he felt the smooth boards under his hands, something warm over him. Light filtered through a burlap-covered window…

And quite suddenly, the thought was just there in his mind, without warning.

I’m in my father’s house.

“Jesus,” he said aloud, and sat up, blinking. All of the day before came flooding back, a jumble of effort, sweat and worry, climbing through forest and cliffs, and finally seeing a large, handsome house emerge, its glass—glass. In this wilderness?—windows twinkling in the sun, incongruous amid the trees.

He’d pushed himself and the horse past fear and fatigue, and then—there he was, just sitting on the porch. James Fraser.

There had been other people on the porch and in the yard, but he hadn’t noticed any of them. Just him. Fraser. He’d spent miles and days deciding what to say, how to describe the situation, frame his request—and in the end, had simply ridden right up to the porch, breathless, and said, “Sir, I need your help.”

He drew a deep breath and rubbed both hands through his disordered hair, reliving that moment. Fraser had risen at once, came down the steps, took him by the arm. And said, “You have it.”

“You have it,” he repeated softly, to himself. Yesterday, that had been enough—the relief of knowing help was at hand. The relief was still with him, but other things had crept in while he slept.

The thought of Papa was still a blade in his chest and a stone in his belly. He hadn’t forgotten, even under the onslaught of people and the comfort of a lot of whisky.

There had been an avalanche of people, flooding out of the house, running from the yard and from what seemed to be a party going on under a huge tree. He’d noticed only three people in the swirling mass: Mother Claire, little Fanny, and a few moments later, his sister.

Sister. He hadn’t expected to find Brianna here. He’d been too stunned, by fear, dread, apprehension, fury and desperation, all happening at once, to even try to imagine his reception at Fraser’s Ridge. And, he admitted to himself, because I could scarcely stay in the saddle, and if I’d tried to make the speech I’d thought out, I’d have fallen on my face before I got the first sentence out.

But he had got it out, and he’d got his answer.

The encouragement of that was enough to get him on his feet. The thing that had covered him was a homely piece of knitting the color of vomit, and he folded it carefully and set it aside. He looked about for a utensil of some sort, and found a battered tin pot, placed by the door with a large bottle beside it, with a label tied round its neck, reading “Drink Me.” He pulled the cork and sniffed. Water. Exactly what he needed, and he drank thirstily, holding the bottle with one hand and unbuttoning his breeches with the other.

He’d just about finished when the door opened. He choked, spraying water, and tried to cover himself with his other hand.

“Good morning, William,” Fanny said. “I brought you something to break your fast. But there’s porridge and bacon downstairs. When you’re wead-ready.” She was holding a thick slice of buttered bread and a wooden cup that smelled like beer, and looked amused.

“Thank you, Fanny,” he said, buttoning his breeches with what dignity he could summon. “Ah…how have you been?”

“Very well, thank you,” she said, and straightened her back, thrusting a pair of new small breasts into sudden prominence. “I’ve learnt how to talk. Prroperly,” she added, rolling her ‘r’s slightly.

“So I perceive,” he said, smiling. “Your voice is lovely, Frances. Is that beer?”

“It is. I made it,” she said proudly, and handed him the cup.

It was small beer, and noticeably sour, but he was still thirsty and it went down without effort. So did the bread and butter, which he wolfed in a few bites. Frances watched him with approval.

“Why is it that women like to feed men?” he asked, swallowing the last mouthful. “We’re very grateful, of course, but it seems a good deal of effort for little gain.”

She’d gone a bit pink in the face, and he thought she looked like a small flower, the sort you found hiding in the grass in a spring meadow.

“Mrs. Fraser says women want to keep things alive, and men want to kill things,” she said, taking the empty cup. “But we need men to do that for us, so we feed them.”

“Indeed,” he said, rather startled at hearing this sort of opinion attributed to Mother Claire.

“Are you going to kill the man who took Lord John?” she asked seriously. Her flush had faded, and her eyes were serious. “I listened. I heard what you told Mith-Mister Fraser.”

He took a deep breath, and felt the fresh-scented air of the woods cleanse him of the last traces of fatigue.

“Yes, Frances,” he said. “I am.”

[end section]

Click to visit my Book Ten webpage for information on this book, and to read more excerpts from it.

Some folk asked for a photo of my son’s (Sam Sykes) new puppy (above). This is Arby, aged three months. His mother was (we’re told) a French bulldog, and his father is, um, unknown (but I kind of suspect one of the local coyotes, given his long legs and markings). Very sweet and smart!

He’s got those sort of watered-silk markings on his back legs that some French Bulldogs have—though his actual coat looks a LOT more like a coyote…

This excerpt was posted on my official Facebook page on February 10, 2023.

Season 8 and Prequel Series Are Greenlit!

outlander-blood-of-my-bloodSo…. we got news!

OUTLANDER, SEASON 8 is greenlit!



Let there be rejoicing!!!

Season 8 – Ten Episodes

The Starz Outlander TV series has been renewed for Season 8. Ten episodes will be produced in this final season.

Click to watch the announcement video on Youtube in a new browser window.

What About Season 7?

Season 7 of Outlander is currently in production, and will have 16 episodes in total. It is slated to premiere in the summer of 2023, and is based on AN ECHO IN THE BONE, the seventh in my Outlander series of major novels.

Prequel: The Story of Jamie’s Parents

Starz has also greenlit a prequel series to the current Outlander TV show today. “Outlander: Blood of My Blood” will tell the story of Jamie’s parents, Brian Fraser and Ellen MacKenzie. I will serve as a consulting producer.

Read the first excerpt from my prequel novel about Brian and Ellen.

Matthew B. Roberts will be the executive producer and write episodes for “Outlander: Blood of my Blood,” along with Ronald D. Moore and Maril Davis of Tall Ship Productions. Roberts will also serve as the showrunner.

The Outlander TV series is produced by Tall Ship Productions, Left Bank Pictures and Story Mining & Supply Company, in association with Sony Pictures Television.

Stay tuned…


JANUARY 11, 2023

2023-01-11-hawk-Diana-GabaldonWhat do you-all do when a new birthday looms—or stretches out enticingly before you, like a friendly dog wanting a belly-rub? Look back? Look forward? Or just sit quietly and enjoy the moment?

I’m inclined to the last option there. I try to take a few deliberate minutes, to sit in my office in the depths of the night and Just Be. Whatever I am now, I won’t be again. On the other hand, what I am now, and what I’ve been every day since I was conceived, will go on with me in some form.

But it’s worthwhile checking, to see what’s me, and what might be mere baggage that I’m carrying—for myself, or another. Nothing wrong with baggage, but you ought to pack carefully; you don’t know how far you may have to carry it.

And, like Claire—you may have only today in which to prepare.

[Excerpt from UNTITLED BOOK 10, Copyright © 2023 Diana Gabaldon. No spoilers if you’ve read GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, but if you haven’t, then there definitely are…]

I woke with a list in my head. This was by no means unusual, but this list came with a spurt of adrenaline attached. I had—at most—only today in which to prepare not only to leave the Ridge for an unknown stretch of time, but to prepare the Ridge for being left.

I swung my feet out of bed, heart already speeding up, and then sat for a moment, trying to focus on what had to be done first. Well, that was simple… I fished the chamberpot out from under the bed and saw that it was clean and dry. Which meant either that Jamie had risen early and considerately gone out to the privy, or that he’d got up in the night and pissed out the window. While I had personally never felt the lack of a penis, I did admit that it was a handy thing to have along on a picnic…

My own sanitary needs being accomplished, I was clear-headed enough to brush my teeth, splash water over my face and run my wet hands through my hair. The hair was unlikely to be improved by the experience, but my hands were dry enough to pull my stockings on.


Find something like coffee.

Drink coffee-like substance.

Eat whatever was left over from yesterday’s feast, while inspecting pantry, pie-safe, simples closet and large cauldron Compile mental sublist of things to be found, things needing to be collected or dug up, put in cauldron to begin cooking…

Sylvia and her daughters had ceremoniously removed to Bobby’s cabin last night. I was happy for them all, but it did leave me somewhat short-handed. So… summon Fanny, Joanie and Fizzy and give them my list to start working on. Find Bree and run through separate list of people who might give trouble—medical, political or otherwise—over the next… how long?

“God knows,” I muttered. William had been looking for Lord John for three months [ck time]; what if Richardson had decided to take him to London and denounce him to the House of Lords or something?

Find Roger…. no, Jamie would already have found Roger and informed him that he was now, de facto, Himself for the foreseeable future.

Back to the list… By now, I was padding downstairs in my stocking-feet, shoes in hand.

Send Jem or Germain or the girls for Jenny and Rachel. Feed them first, my subconscious chimed in.

I inhaled hopefully. Yes, I could smell porridge and toast. And bacon? Yes, definitely bacon. Likely they were already eating, then. I was ravenous, in spite of everything I’d eaten yesterday.

Would Jenny and Rachel want to come down to the big house while Ian was gone with us? Company and help for Brianna… all those children… but then there were Jenny’s goats to be considered…

I emerged into the kitchen, to find William seated at the table, surrounded by children and closely attended by Fanny, armed with a platter of crispy bacon and a pot of peach jam.

“Mother Claire!” William half-rose to greet me, prevented from pushing back the bench to stand up by the weight of the children sharing said bench. “Er… how are you?”

“Somewhat better than you, probably,” I said, sitting down on a spare stool to put my shoes on. “Did you sleep at all last night?” He was very thin; his cheekbones showed like blades and his skin was an unhealthy sort of grayish-yellow under his tan. This looked still more disagreeable by contrast with his sprouting beard, which was red.

“I don’t remember sleeping, he said, rubbing a hand over his stubble, “but I definitely woke up, so I must have. I feel much better,” he assured me, taking a handful of bacon from Fanny’s platter. “Or I will, as soon as I’ve eaten. Thank you, Frances.”

“You should have milk, too,” she informed him. “To coat the insides of your stomach, after everything you drank last night.”

“Everything I drank?” A look of amusement crossed his face, despite the signs of road-weariness and hangover. “Were you keeping count, Frances? How very thoughtful of you. You’ll make some lucky man an excellent wife one day.”

She blushed crimson, but he smiled at her, and she gulped air and managed a tiny simper in return before tottering off to fetch more toast.

“What did I drink last night?” William asked me, lowering his voice. “I admit that I don’t recall very much about last night. I was… so very much relieved. To—to have…”

“Reached shelter?” I asked, sympathetically. “I imagine so. You’ve been alone for quite a while.”

He paused for moment, spreading jam on a slice of toast, then said quietly, “I have. Thank you. For—” he gestured briefly round the lively kitchen, then cleared his throat. “Do you think—er, that Mister Fraser will be…”

“Back soon? Yes.” He offered me the toast and I took it. I was starving and it was delicious, warm and crunchy and sweet. “Fanny?” I said, swallowing. “Has Mr. Fraser had any breakfast?”

“Yes’m,” she said. “He was just going out when I came down, but he had a piece of fried chicken in his hand.”

“Did he say where he was going?”

“No, ma’am. He wasn’t armed,” she added helpfully. “Except his knife.”

“His dirk, or the little knife?” Her smooth brow crinkled in concentration, then relaxed.


He was leaving the property, then, but not going far.

“Did he come armed?”

2023-01-01-DG-farmer-goatsHappy New Year! And here’s a glass of…whatever…to 2023 and its myriad excitements (God knows WHAT might happen, but it’s likely to be Interesting…)

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.

“A Bird In The Hand” (Prequel)

Merry Christmas! (Or Seasonal Greeting of your Preference)

[Excerpt from Untitled Outlander Prequel, Copyright © 2022 Diana Gabaldon]

2022-12-Diana-Gabaldon-deerBrian Fraser and Murtagh FitzGibbons Fraser are hiding out on one of the battlements of Castle Leoch, where they’ve sneaked in to take part in the funeral festivities for the recently deceased Chief, Red Jacob MacKenzie. Brian would be worse than unwelcome, if anyone recognizes him as the Old Fox’s son, illegitimate or not, and the two young men are keeping out of the way while they figure things out. There are several doves sitting in the sun on the wall near them, and Brian very slowly inches close to them. He’s just inveigled one into sitting on his hand (he’s done this trick before), when a tall young woman comes striding out of a doorway at the end of the battlement near them, but comes to an abrupt stop when she sees what’s up.

Brian saw her from the corner of his eye—a braw lass, tall—very tall—square-shouldered and looking well able to mind herself should things come to blows. From the corner of one eye, he caught sight of fluttering red hair, loosened for mourning, he supposed. She’d stopped when she saw them, but now came toward them, stepping slow and careful.

He could feel the dove’s heart, beating in his palm, soft and rapid. His own blood pulsed in his ears, not much slower. The young woman came to a halt, three paces from him; he didn’t look at her, but heard the rustle of her petticoats and felt his heart speed up to match the dove’s.

She watched with interest, still as a nesting quail herself, so as not to startle the dove. Brian moved his other hand slowly into the fold of his plaid, broke off a corner of the lump of bread he’d put away in case of sudden hunger, and moving still more slowly, brought it up and placed it delicately between his lips. The dove shoogled its head a bit, nervous at this novel development, but its eyes were bright and fixed on the bread.

He made a faint “tchi, tchi, tchi,” between his teeth and the bird drew itself up, interested. He turned his hand, little by little, to cause the dove to change its footing in order to stay upright, and ended with her on the back of his hand, her sharp wee claws digging in a bit. Smooth and slow, he brought her up to his face, still making the shooshing noise, so she wouldn’t be startled by his breath.

One second… two seconds… the dove turned her head, one way and then the other, fixing one eye at a time on the desired crumb. Three seconds… f—   The dove darted out her neck like a snake and pecked the crumb neatly from his lips, launching herself off his hand in the same movement.

“Mother of God!” Brian and the lass both said, startled. They looked at each other and laughed. They were still looking a moment later, when a high female voice raised in exasperation from a window above jerked the lassie’s attention upward and away.

“Tha mi direach a’ tighinn!” she shouted, adding—in a lower tone and with lowering brow—“Take care ye dinna swallow your own spit and die, ye wee besom.”

He laughed again, and she looked at him again, deep blue eyes still creased into triangles of amusement.

“Do that wi’ a raven, a charadh,” she said. “And I’ll be truly impressed.”

And then she was gone in a flurry of skirts, loose hair flying like a shower of gold, hot from the forge.

He stood still for a moment, staring into the empty doorway as though he could make her reappear there. Instead, Murtagh came out of the shelter of a nook where he had tactfully receded.

“I should ha’ paid more attention when ye did that the first time,” he said, nodding at Brian’s hand, where the dove’s claws had left small red scratches. “But I’m of that braw lassie’s opinion, a bhalaich— ye’ll have to do it with a raven. And then move on to owls, maybe. Did ye ken who she is?” he asked, dropping his mocking.

“She lives in the castle,” Brian said, lifting his chin toward the tower above, “or yon female coo up there wouldna have been bawling for her. And given what I’ve heard of Red Jacob MacKenzie’s looks, I’ll wager ye a quart o’ beer that’s the eldest daughter. Ellen, is it—her name?”

“Aye, Ellen.” Now Murtagh was peering into the dark doorway, too. “And aye, that was her. I was down in the courtyard a wee while ago and someone pointed her out to me; she’d come down to welcome a tacksman come in wi’ his henchmen. She was dressed that wee bit better, mind, but no mistaking a lass that size for anyone else. Christ, she’s as tall as me!”

“Taller,” Brian said, laughing. He glanced at Murtagh’s spindly shanks. “And likely weighs twice as much.” He felt like he’d already drunk the quart of beer—too fast. His head seemed light and slightly foamy.

Murtagh shrugged. “If ye’re on top, what does it matter?”

“And what if ye’re not?”

“Aye, well, she might crush me, that’s true. But I’d die happy.”

“Let’s be going,” Brian said, as the sounds of multiple feet and men’s voices announced the imminent advent of a large party. “Anyone sees us who kens us, we’ll just die.”

“Well, aye, you will. My Auntie Glenna willna let ‘em kill me.”

“How long is it since ye last saw her?”

“Och, ten years, maybe twelve…”

“Ye didna even have a beard, twelve years ago. She willna ken ye from a hole in the ground. And ye willna be having much conversation wi’ her, either, wi’ your teeth knocked out. Come on!” He grasped Murtagh’s upper arm and yanked him toward the door at the other end of the battlement.

I took the image above during the first few days of December, 2022, in Flagstaff. I was leaving Lowell Observatory, and paused on the overlook (which gives you a panoramic view of the city below). I took one more step, and a herd of seven or eight mule deer scattered from the forest right below me. This lovely creature stayed a moment, though…


New excerpts will be posted on my Outlander Prequel (Untitled) webpage as I release them, as well as other information about this future book.

Please do not copy and paste the text of this excerpt (in whole or in part) and post it elsewhere or use it in any other way without my express permission because it is copyrighted material. Please share the link (URL) to this webpage instead. Thank you.

This excerpt was also posted on my official Facebook page on December 25, 2022.

“A Fugitive Green” Ebook and Audiobook

2022-07-fugive-green-ebook-coverI wrote “A Fugitive Green” for inclusion in the collection of my short(er) fiction titled SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL, first published in 2017.

Now some of the novellas from that collection are being released as standalone e-books, starting with this one, which…

IS NOW AVAILABLE AS A STANDALONE E-BOOK in Kindle, Nook and Apple’s iBookstore formats. Also as a (wonderful!) audiobook, narrated by the fabulous Jeff Woodman.

Click here to visit my webpage for “A Fugitive Green.” Buy links are available to purchase this ebook or audio version via pull-down menus there.

Or here are some links to popular vendors for the different e-reader devices and formats.


    Apple iBookstore Edition (for iPhone, iPad, and Mac)

    Nook Edition (Barnes & Noble)

    Kindle Edition (Amazon)


    Audiobook (Audible.com)

    Audibook (Amazon.com)

Or visit your favorite ebook or audiobook vendor’s website.

If you are curious about the Outlander and Lord John Grey short stories and novellas that I have written, see the list of all my short fiction by title. Where the pieces were published in collections or multi-author anthologies is indicated.

What Is “A Fugitive Green” About? (Plus an Excerpt…)

It’s essentially the story of Minnie Rennie and her not-yet-husband, Harold (Hal), Duke of Pardloe. With a cameo appearance by Jamie Fraser:

In which, a 17-year-old apprentice dealer in rare books is sent from Paris to England by her father, to obtain incunabula and medieval books of devotion – and whatever secrets of political intrigue or finance may come to hand in the process. In the course of her business, though, Minnie meets Harold Grey (Lord John’s elder brother), the newly-widowed (and alarmingly deranged) Duke of Pardloe, and things fall out.

Chapter 1: Survival

Paris, April, 1744

Audible-A-Fugitive-GreenMinnie Rennie had secrets. Some were for sale and some were strictly her own. She touched the bosom of her dress and glanced toward the lattice-work door at the rear of the shop. Still closed, the blue curtains behind it drawn firmly shut.

Her father had secrets, too; Andrew Rennie (as he called himself in Paris) was outwardly a dealer in rare books, but more privately, a collector of letters whose writers had never meant them to be read by any but the addressee. He also kept a stock of more fluid information, this soaked out of his visitors with a combination of tea, wine, small amounts of money and his own considerable charm.

Minnie had a good head for wine, needed no money, and was impervious to her father’s magnetism. She did, however, have a decently filial respect for his powers of observation.

The murmur of voices from the back room didn’t have the rhythm of leave-taking, no scraping of chairs… she nipped across the book-crammed shop to the shelves of tracts and sermons.

Taking down a red-calf volume with marbled endpapers titled Collected Sermons of the Reverend George V. Sykes, she snatched the letter from the bosom of her dress, tucked it between the pages, and slid the book back into place.

Just in time; there was movement in the back room, the putting down of cups, the slight raising of voices.

Heart thumping, she took one more glance at the Reverend Sykes, and saw to her horror that she’d disturbed the dust on the shelf—there was a clear track pointing to the ox-blood leather spine. She darted back to the main counter, seized the feather-duster kept under it and had the entire section flicked over in a matter of moments.

She took several deep breaths; she mustn’t look flushed or flustered. Her father was an observant man—a trait that had (he often said, when instructing her in the art) kept him alive on more than one occasion.

But it was all right; the voices had changed again—some new point had come up.

She strolled composedly along the shelves and paused to look through the stacks of unsorted volumes that sat on a large table against the west wall. A strong scent of tobacco rose from the books, along with the usual smell of leather, buckram, glue, paper and ink. This batch had plainly belonged to a man who liked a pipe when he read. She was paying little attention to the new stock, though; her mind was still on the letter.

The carter who had delivered this latest assemblage of books—the library of a deceased professor of History from Exeter—had given her a nod and a wink, and she’d slipped out with a market basket, meeting him round the corner by a fruiterer’s shop. A livre tournois to the carter, and five sous for a wooden basket of strawberries, and she’d been free to read the letter in the shelter of the alley before sauntering back to the shop, fruit in hand to explain her absence.

No salutation, no signature, as she’d requested—only the information:

“Have found her,” it read simply. “Mrs. Simpson, Chapel House, Parson’s Green, Peterborough Road, London.”

Mrs. Simpson. A name, at last. A name and a place, mysterious though both were.

Mrs. Simpson.

It had taken months, months of careful planning, choosing the men among the couriers her father used who might be amenable to making a bit extra on the side, and a bit more for keeping her inquiries quiet.

She didn’t know what her father might do, should he find out that she’d been looking for her mother. But he’d refused for the last seventeen years to say a word about the woman; it was reasonable to assume he wouldn’t be pleased.

Mrs. Simpson. She said it silently, feeling the syllables in her mouth. Mrs. Simpson… Was her mother married again, then? Did she have other children?

Minnie swallowed. The thought that she might have half-brothers or sisters was at once horrifying, intriguing… and startlingly painful. That someone else might have had her mother—hers!—for all those years…

“This will not do,” she said aloud, though under her breath. She had no idea of “Mrs. Simpson’s” personal circumstances, and it was pointless to waste emotion on something that might not exist. She blinked hard to refocus her mind, and suddenly saw it.

roaches-wikipediaThe thing sitting atop a pig-skin-bound edition of Volume III of History of the Papacy (Antwerp) was as long as her thumb, and for a cockroach, remarkably immobile. Minnie had been staring at it unwittingly for nearly a minute, and it hadn’t so much as twitched an antenna. Perhaps it was dead? She picked a ratty quill out of the collection in the Chinese jar and gingerly poked the thing with the quill’s pointy end.

The thing hissed like a tea-kettle and she let out a small yelp, dropping the quill and leaping backward. The roach, disturbed, turned round in a slow, huffy circle, then settled back on the gilt-embossed capital “P” and tucked its thorny legs back under itself, obviously preparing to resume its nap.

“Oh, I don’t think so,” she said to it, and turned to the shelves in search of something heavy enough to smash it with, but with a cover that wouldn’t show the stain. She’d set her hand on a Vulgate Bible with a dark-brown, pebble-grain cover, when the secret door beside the shelves opened, revealing her father.

“Oh, you’ve met Frederick?” he said, stepping forward and taking the Bible out of her hand. “You needn’t worry, my dear; he’s quite tame.”

“Tame? Who would trouble to domesticate a cockroach?”

“The inhabitants of Madagascar, or so I’m told. Though the trait is heritable; Frederick here is the descendant of a long and noble line of hissing cockroaches, but has never set foot on the soil of his native land. He was born—or hatched, I suppose—in Bristol.”

Frederick had suspended his nap long enough to nuzzle inquiringly at her father’s thumb, extended as one might hold out one’s knuckles to a strange dog. Evidently finding the scent acceptable, the roach strolled up the thumb and onto the back of her father’s hand. She twitched, unable to keep the gooseflesh from rippling up her arms.

Mr. Rennie edged carefully toward the big shelves on the east wall, hand cradled next his chest. These shelves contained the salable but less-valuable books: a jumble of everything from Culpeper’s Herbal to tattered copies of Shakespeare’s plays, and—by far the most popular—a large collection of the more lurid gallows confessions of an assortment of highwaymen, murderers, forgers and husband-slayers.

US-cover-SEVEN-STONES-tpbAmid the volumes and pamphlets was scattered a miscellany of small curiosities ranging from a toy bronze cannon and a handful of sharp-edged stones said to be used at the dawn of time for scraping hides to a Chinese fan that showed erotic scenes when spread. Her father picked a wicker cricket-cage from the detritus and decanted Frederick neatly into it.

“Not before time, either, old cock,” he said to the roach, now standing on its hind legs and peering out through the wicker-work. “Here’s your new master, just coming.”

Minerva peered round her father and her heart jumped a little; she recognized that tall, broad-shouldered silhouette, automatically ducking beneath the lintel in order to avoid being brained.

“Lord Broch Tuarach!” Her father stepped forward, beaming, and inclined his head to the customer.

“Mr. Fraser will do,” he said, as always, extending a hand. “Your servant, sir.”

He’d brought a scent of the streets inside with him: the sticky sap of the plane trees, dust, manure and offal, and Paris’s pervasive smell of piss, slightly perfumed by the orange-sellers outside the theater down the street. He carried his own deep tang of sweat, wine and oak casks as well; he often came from his warehouse. She inhaled appreciatively, then let her breath out as he turned smiling from her father towards her.

“Mademoiselle Rennie,” he said, in a deep Scotch accent that rolled the “R” delightfully. He seemed slightly surprised when she held out her hand, but obligingly bent over it, breathing courteously on her knuckles. If I were married, he’d kiss it, she thought, her grip tightening unconsciously on his. He blinked, feeling it, but straightened up and bowed to her, as elegantly as any courtier.

Her father made a slight sound in his throat and tried to catch her eye, but she ignored him, picking up the feather-duster and heading industriously for the shelves behind the counter—the ones containing a select assortment of erotica from a dozen different countries. She knew perfectly well what his glance would have said.

“Frederick?” she heard Mr. Fraser say, in a bemused tone of voice. “Does he answer to his name?”

“I—er—I must admit that I’ve never called him to heel,” her father replied, a little startled. “But he’s very tame; will come to your hand.” Evidently her father had unlatched the cricket-cage in order to demonstrate Frederick’s talents, for she heard a slight shuffle of feet.

“Nay, dinna bother,” Mr. Fraser—his Christian name was James; she’d seen it on a bill of sale for a calf-bound octavo of Persian Letters with gilt impressions—said, laughing. “The beastie’s not my pet. A gentleman of my acquaintance wants something exotic to present to his mistress—she’s a taste for animals, he says.”

Her sensitive ear easily picked up the delicate hesitation before “gentleman of my acquaintance.” So had her father, for he invited James Fraser to take coffee with him, and in the next instant, the two of them had vanished behind the lattice-work door that concealed her father’s private lair, and she was blinking at Frederick’s stubby antennae, waving inquisitively from the cricket-cage her father had dropped onto the shelf in front of her.

“Put up a bit of food for Mr. Fraser to take along,” her father called back to her from behind the screen. “For Frederick, I mean.”

“What does he eat?” she called.

“Fruit!” came a faint reply, and then a door closed behind the screen.

She caught one more glimpse of Mr. Fraser when he left half an hour later, giving her a smile as he took the parcel containing Frederick and the insect’s breakfast of strawberries. Then he ducked once more beneath the lintel, the afternoon sun glinting off his bright hair, and was gone. She stood staring at the empty door.

Her father had emerged from the back room as well, and was regarding her, not without sympathy.

“Mr. Fraser? He’ll never marry you, my dear—he has a wife, and quite a striking woman she is, too. Besides, while he’s the best of the Jacobite agents, he doesn’t have the scope you’d want. He’s only concerned with the Stuarts, and the Scottish Jacobites will never amount to anything. Come, I’ve something to discuss with you.” Without waiting, he turned and headed for the Chinese screen.

A wife. Striking, eh? While the word “wife” was undeniably a blow to the liver, Minnie’s next thought was that she didn’t necessarily need to marry Jamie Fraser. And if it came to striking, she could deal a man a good, sharp buffet in the cods herself. She twirled a lock of ripe-wheat hair around one finger, and tucked it behind her ear.

She followed her father, finding him at the little satin-wood table. The coffee-cups had been pushed aside, and he was pouring wine; he handed her a glass and nodded for her to sit.

“Don’t you think of it, my girl.” Her father was watching her over his own glass, not unkindly. “After you’re married, you do what you like. But you need to keep your virginity until we’ve got you settled. The English are notorious bores about that, and I have my heart set on an Englishman for you.”

[Excerpt from A FUGITIVE GREEN, Copyright © 2017 Diana Gabaldon.]

The image of the Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches is courtesy of Wikipedia and Gnu.

This blog entry was also posted on my official Facebook page.

Thank you, University of Glasgow!


MANY thanks to the University of Glasgow for so kindly awarding me an honorary Doctor of Letters degree at their Commencement ceremonies on June 28!

It was a wonderful occasion, and great to become a small part of such an ancient and estimable academic community.


Scotsman-image-Diana-degree-UGlasgowAn article by Alison Campsie in The Scotsman reported:

The historical fiction writer, Diana Gabaldon, who has had runaway global success with her Outlander series partly set in the Highlands, received a Doctorate of Letters from Glasgow University at a ceremony on Tuesday afternoon, June 28, 2022.

Dr. Gabaldon, who also has a science Ph,D., said having her novels, which revolve around the fate of a Highland Jacobite and his English wife, meant a great deal.

The writer said: “I’m very honoured to have been awarded this degree, particularly from such an ancient and venerable institution. It means a great deal to me, to have my work, which is based on Scottish history, recognised by one of the foremost academic institutions of Scotland.”

Dr. Gabaldon added: “I occasionally have had rather silly people ask if I don’t feel I am committing cultural appropriation by using Scottish history as the background (and a good bit of the plot) of my novels.

“To which I reply that I actually think the Scots have appropriated me, which is very nice of them.”


BEES (Book 9) Released in Spain

2022-07-07-BEES-Spanish-Edition-SalamandraToday Penguin Libros and Salamandra Editions released CUENTA A LAS ABEJAS QUE ME FUI in hardcover and ebook formats in Spain. The cover art for the hardcover edition is shown at left.

Penguin Libros y Salamandra Editions han publicado hoy CUENTA A LAS ABEJAS QUE ME FUI en formato tapa dura y ebook en España. La portada de la edición de tapa dura se muestra a la izquierda.

This book is a Spanish-language translation of book nine in my Outlander series of novels, GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE.

Este libro es una traducción al español del libro nueve de mi serie de novelas Outlander, GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE.

If you’d like to buy this Spanish-language edition of BEES, please use these direct purchasing links below which will open in a new browser window.

Si desea comprar esta edición en español de BEES, utilice estos enlaces de compra directa que se abrirán en una nueva ventana del navegador.

To purchase a hardcover edition of CUENTA A LAS ABEJAS QUE ME FUI from Penguin Libros (Spain) and Ediciones Salamandra go to:


To purchase the ebook edition of CUENTA A LAS ABEJAS QUE ME FUI from Penguin Libros (Spain) and Ediciones Salamandra go to:


BEES was released on November 23, 2021 in the U.S.A., Canada, the U.K., Australia and Germany (German-language translation). Other international editions and translations are forthcoming.

The Penguin Libros purchasing links above have also been added to the pull-down menus on my BEES webpage.

Celebration in Madrid on July 7, 2022:

To celebrate the release of CUENTA A LAS ABEJAS QUE ME FUI, I am thrilled to be in Madrid today to give a talk at El Cortes Ingles bookstore and be interviewed by Spanish journalist Carme Chappro at 6:45 p.m. A book signing with me will follow for those attending. The event is open to the public. I hope to see you there!

Para celebrar el lanzamiento de CUENTA A LAS ABEJAS QUE ME FUI, estoy encantada de estar hoy en Madrid para dar una charla en la librería El Corte Inglés y ser entrevistada por Carme Chappro a las 18:45. Seguirá una firma de libros conmigo para los asistentes. El evento está abierto al público. ¡Espero verte allí!

Please see my appearances webpage for more information on all upcoming events I plan to attend.


Note: Google Translate was used by my Webmistress to provide text in Spanish. Apologies for any errors or information lost in translation!