Friday, February 12, 2010

WARRIORS on the way!

Just got word from the editor of the WARRIORS anthology that it will be released March 10! (In case you're beginning to cast round for new things to read.)

This is an anthology, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, with short stories and novellas by a lot of very talented people. I have a novella in this book, a Lord John story titled "The Custom of the Army" (and before a lot of you write, demanding that I stop wasting time writing about Lord John...I wrote this novella last year, _while_ finishing AN ECHO IN THE BONE. I normally do work on multiple projects at once; I get a lot farther, a lot faster that way). There's a longish excerpt from this story on my website ( ), and here's a further short one.

"The Custom of the Army" (in WARRIORS)
Copyright 2010 Diana Gabaldon

A month later, Grey found himself, Tom Byrd at his side, climbing off the Harwood and into one of the small boats that would land them and the battalion of Louisbourg grenadiers with whom they had been traveling on a large island near the mouth of the St. Lawrence River.

He had never seen anything like it. The river itself was larger than any he had ever seen, nearly half a mile across, running wide and deep, a dark blue-black under the sun. Great cliffs and undulating hills rose on either side of the river, so thickly forested that the underlying stone was nearly invisible. It was hot, and the sky arched brilliant overhead, much brighter and much wider than any sky he had seen before. A loud hum echoed from the lush growth—insects, he supposed, birds, and the rush of the water, though it felt as though the wilderness were singing to itself, in a voice heard only in his blood. Beside him, Tom was fairly vibrating with excitement, his eyes out on stalks, not to miss anything.

"Cor, is that a Red Indian?" he whispered, leaning close to Grey in the boat.

"I don't suppose he can be anything else," Grey replied, as the gentleman loitering by the landing was naked save for a breech-clout, a striped blanket slung over one shoulder, and a coating of what—from the shimmer of his limbs—appeared to be grease of some kind.

"I thought they'd be redder," Tom said, echoing Grey's own thought. The Indian's skin was considerably darker than Grey's own, to be sure, but a rather pleasant soft brown in color, something like dried oak leaves. The Indian appeared to find them nearly as interesting as they had found him; he was eyeing Grey in particular with intent consideration.

"It's your hair, me lord," Tom hissed in Grey's ear. "I told you you ought to have worn a wig."

"Nonsense, Tom." At the same time, Grey experienced an odd frisson up the back of the neck, constricting his scalp. Vain of his hair, which was blond and thick, he didn't commonly wear a wig, choosing instead to bind and powder his own for formal occasions. The present occasion wasn't formal in the least. With the advent of fresh water aboard, Tom had insisted upon washing his hair that morning, and it was still spread loose upon his shoulders, though it had long since dried.

The boat crunched on the shingle, and the Indian flung aside his blanket and came to help the men run it up the shore. Grey found himself next the man, close enough to smell him. He smelt quite unlike anyone Grey had ever encountered; gamy, certainly—he wondered, with a small thrill, whether the grease the man wore might be bear-fat—but with the tang of herbs and a sweat like fresh-sheared copper.

Straightening up from the gunwale, the Indian caught Grey's eye and smiled.

"You be careful, Englishman," he said, in a voice with a noticeable French accent, and reaching out, ran his fingers quite casually through Grey's loose hair. "Your scalp would look good on an Huron's belt."

This made the soldiers from the boat all laugh, and the Indian, still smiling, turned to them.

"They are not so particular, the Abenaki who work for the French. A scalp is a scalp—and the French pay well for one, no matter what color." He nodded genially to the grenadiers, who had stopped laughing. "You come with me."

[end section]

You can pre-order the book at, though if you'd like a signed copy, you can also order it from The Poisoned Pen (; I go by the store every week or so to sign their orders.


  1. I find it funny that anyone would dare tell you to stop wasting time. I can imagine it would be boring dor an imagination such as yours to work on one thing all of the time. After reading your work for nearly 20 yrs, I can't imagine it any other way.

  2. Just wanted to say, I enjoy Lord John stories just as much as Jamie and Claire's. Please, ignore the complaints and continue writing them:o)

  3. I love that you write about Lord John. I often read a book and wonder about another character's life. After reading your latest book I've wondered about the Bug's story.

  4. Love Lord John as well, and also enjoy the fact that your supporting characters are fleshed out enough to have their own series going on as well. Echoing Jewel, I also wonder that anyone has the gall to tell any author what they ought to be doing/writing. Sheesh.q

  5. Don't you listen to anyone telling you things about wasting time. I too love the LJ series...I was wondering if those short stories come out in Audio...if not I will of course settle for the book...happily...any of your books :) I think its wonderful too that you actually answer us all, especially as it takes time from your writing !

  6. Glad y'all enjoy Lord John--so do I. [g]

    A lot of people seem to have the odd idea that they're entitled to demand anything they think they want from an author, singer, artist, etc.--and complain if the artist didn't do _exactly_ what they wanted in a recent book, song, picture, whatever--witness all the screaming about the cliff-hangers at the end of ECHO. Nowt as queer as folks. [g]

    As for the audio versions--Recorded Books doesn't normally record a single short story, but when the shorter pieces are collected in a book-sized volume, they'll certainly record it. HAND OF DEVILS is a collection of three (relatively) short Lord John pieces, and it's read by Jeff Woodman, who also read PRIVATE MATTER and BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE.

    Let's see...we already have "Custom of the Army", and I have a contract to do a novella later this year called "Lord John and the Plague of Zombies" (_That_ should be fun!)--so whenever I get round to doing a third piece, we'll have enough for a second collection. So yes, you'll eventually get all of Lord John in audio, but may have to wait a while.

  7. It's a little irritating to me to see readers insist that the characters that they like best are the only ones you should emphasize. It implies that either everyone else has the same favorites or that other readers with other favorite characters don't matter, and it certainly implies that what you want to write has nothing to do with it -- you should just write according to the demand of a certain segment of your readership. Well, of course, I'd never expect you to bow to that, and so have no worries in that regard! :D

    Thanks for much for writing more Lord John stories!

    Glad to hear that maybe someday we'll get an audio version of Custom of the Army, but even without it, I'll still hear Jeff Woodman reading in my head. To me, his voices for John, Tom Byrd, Harry Quarry, and Hal seem to truly be their voices.

    Karen (aka wynnleaf)

  8. I'm putting my name on the list of Lord John's fans, especially after reading "..Snow and Ashes" again, and the cliffhanger in "Echo" ... His friendship with Jamie just adds the most interesting layer of personality to both men, as does the interplay between LJ and Claire. Oh! This is funny ... as I waited for a train yesterday, I saw a man in the Marta station whose head made me think of Jamie ... the hair wasn't long at all, but still ... Jewel's comment about the 'nearly 20 yrs.' she's been reading your work applies for me, too! Thanks!

  9. Oh, love the Lord John books, and love Jeff's narration of them.

    I have to say, I like John a lot better in his own books than in the Outlander ones. Not that I don't like him in the Outlander books, but somehow I find him a much more compelling character when the whole focus is on him. Keep the Lord John books/stories coming!

  10. Diana, so many trying to 'push' you in the direction of 'getting on' with the next book - big compliment - shows just how passionate readers feel about your books - something many other authors can only dream about. If you don't ask, you don't get... hope you will forgive your fans the bouts of wishful thinking.

    I am with Karen on the point of favourite characters. It would be terrible if you reduced the cast. Barbara is so right in saying that the relationship between Jamie and John adds to their character profile. It is good to see Jamie having a male friend, an equal whom he can trust with his life. Yes, and his wife. If there had been the slightest inkling that Jamie was still alive, LJ would not have for one moment contemplated acting as he did. As someone who knows LJ inside out, I feel certain that you agree with me on him being a top of the class class decent guy. In fact, I think you added LJ just to prove the saying that all the best men are either married or gay *sigh*.

  11. I love the Lord John Grey mysteries. I only hope that we get to see WIllie in them too... maybe to get to know him better?

  12. Thankfully, I'm not one of those complaining about your "wasting time" on Lord John, who is my favorite character. So...MORE PLEASE! *wide grin*

  13. Thanks for the snippet! A nice evening treat. :) Lord John is fascinating to me. You get in his head... he comes out of your head, er, well however that goes - it's very cool. His POV is intriguing!

  14. You leave much longer posts than I do! I just realized how short mine are! :) Anyway, just found your blog and wanted to say hello. I am a huge fan of your series, have been since I was a little girl! I do not know if good luck is appropriate? Is there a writers taboo like there is a stage taboo of 'good luck?' Lets just go with gods speed! :)

  15. Dear Susan Ann--

    Nope, good luck is always appropriate and appreciated! [g]

    I actually had some today, too. Been in pain (ranging from aggravating to excruciating, but non-stop) for the last four days, and finally went to see my dentist today. I described what-all was happening, whereupon he took one X-ray, looked at it and said, "Man, you need a root-canal!" He then told his assistant to call round to the endodonts they knew and see if somebody could get me in quick--and within twenty minutes, I was in the endodont's office, being shot up with novocaine (and a huge relief it was, too).

    I had to go do a book event two hours after getting root-canaled, but it was huge good luck, being seen, diagnosed, and treated so promptly!

  16. I think that's what they call a mixed blessing, Diana. Having had that type of dental treatment, I sure don't envy you. Hope your face feels like your own again soon.

  17. Since reading your books, I have often thought of the things I would or would not miss about living in this current time period. But I must say that medical/dental care is one thing I would not be able to do without! (I'm re-reading ECHO and just finished the part where Claire pulls a number of teeth from a poor girl with awful dentition. Ouch! Loved the part about the mother haggling over the price of the teeth!)

  18. I'm definitely not going to complain about "wasting time." I enjoy all of the books--J&C and LJG. None are a waste of time to me.

  19. Thankfully we live in a time and hemisphere where a root canal can save you from pain and loss of a tooth. I think if I were living in the 18th century, I would be a toothless thirty seven year old! :D

    I love Lord John. He is a great foil to Jamie's fierceness and raw masculinity. LJ also shows his own love story; love from another perspective.

  20. Hi Diana,

    I was just reading on Amazon that rights have been sold for a movie or series for all of the Outlander series. Is there any truth to that? Will you be able to have a real hand in the production of it or will someone cut the series to shreds and only show a small portion of it?

    I sure do hope that you have lots of say in it if the rumor is true..I would LOVE to see this series come to light in a movie theater, but only if they can do it justice. I don't think that it would be that great to go see if a lot of it was cut out to pare the length down if that makes sense.

    I can totally visualize a mini-series, may 4 parts for each book.. ;) Or maybe even something along the lines of how Lord of the Rings was done.. One fantastically long movie every 2 to 3 years that is about 3 or 4 hours long.. Even that would cut down the length of the story considerably, but it would be a sight better to do it that way than in a short Lifetime movie of less than 2 hours that cuts everything down so much that the movie can't be recognized by your loyal reader's.

    Any thoughts on this?

  21. Hello, Diana!

    I don't know if you've already seen it. It looks like THE EXILE is also being offered this early by Amazon for pre-order.

    Here's the link for it. I'll probably have my cousin pre-order it for me from the U.S.

  22. Diana, when I was listening to Breath of Snow and Ashes on audio the other day, I observed that your books seem to work especially well when read out loud. Your dialogues have such a natural feel to them, in fact, one of the characteristics I appreciate most about your style of writing. This leads me to ask:

    Do you yourself read out loud what you write as you go?

  23. Dear Anette--

    No, but I can hear the characters talk in my head. [g]

  24. *g* well, I won't tell anyone if you don't ;-)

  25. I don't want to clutter your message box, I just wanted to comment on the drawings I had seen on your 'main' website. I of course am always fearful of seeing images that might differ from those I have acquired in my mind. (10 years worth of images to be exact) I almost did not look, but I am glad I did. I know they are just roughs, but I really think you (or Hoang?) captured the essence of Claire and Jamie. I know once more sketches come out you will be bombarded with both positive and negative (because people always critique when they shouldn't), so I just wanted you to know that at least one fan of the books enjoys seeing these two in the flesh and agrees with your capture of them!
    p.s. I am glad I could send some luck over to that root canal of yours!
    Take care-

  26. I am new Outlander fan (i'm 19), I haven't read all the books yet, because I live in Brazil, and I am ordering the books from Amazon US (I prefer when they aren't translated) and it takes about 2 months to get here from the United States. My bigger problem is that I am not fluent in English, so I have to read it with the dictionary by my side lol :)

    I just wanted to say that I agree with the other comments. I believe that you have to take your time and not care about what people say over your writing speed. To write believable stories and characters like Lord John and Outlander must take a lot of time!

    Wish you well, and hope you are better from your teeth pain

    Ps: LOVED the sketches from Outlander Graphic Novel on your site

  27. Just read the excerpt and can't wait to read the rest. I enjoy the Lord John stories. Just had a question . . . with the long list of projects you're presently working on, is "Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner" on of them? I won't ask when it's coming out . . . just want to know that it's simmering somewhere. Thanks, DG! You're the best.

  28. Dear Jovita--

    Yes, the main projects for this year (provided I can stay home and actually _work_ on them) are

    1. Book Eight

    2. Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner

    3. RED ANT'S HEAD (or whatever the contemporary crime novel ends up being called), and


  29. Pretty ambitious program, Diana.

    Hope you'll be able to schedule them so that we get something every year rather than all of them at once in four years time *pretty please, with sugar on*

    I know the crime novel is one of you pets but have to admit I am not sure that even your amazing talent will entice me to that one. I have never been much of a fan of crime fiction... still, I'll wait and see what the story is about, before making up my mind.

    I am definitely looking forward to more of Lord John. Must admit, he is one character whom I would love to see time travelling. He'd be fascinated by the way society has changed in the last two hundred years. I see him as a thoroughly honourable man, in the benevolent rather than the pig headed way, and keeping everything crossed that he'll eventually find real personal happiness beyond Jamie.

  30. Dear Anette--

    Well, I'll post a few excerpts from the crime novel over time, so you'll be able to sample the style and character and see if you like it. [g]

  31. Dear Diana,

    I promise to keep an open mind about it, after all, you are one of a handful of authors to whom I assign the ability of make washing machine instructions sound interesting.

    Back to Outlander though... I have always been interested in music and loved your nod to Hildegard von Bingen, even though you have said that it was unintended. If you are still looking for things to put into the next book... how about some American music history. Being from across the pond, I know very little about it but I am sure there are some interesting stories you could dig up for us :)

  32. Dear Diana,
    It was lovely to get the chance to "look at you" in Sheffield and hear you speak about your transformation from bird dissector to novelist (g!). Thank you so much for your recommendation of Mike Carey's "Felix Castor" novels, I'm now enthralled and terrified in equal measure! Like the majority of your fans, I love all the books you've written, although I have my favourites, and will continue to devour everything you send our way but it's great to have something witty, dark and clever to keep me going in the meantime! I'm in the middle of a root canal treatment myself, courtesy of our good old NHS, so can sympathise with the pain you were suffering, hope it's all OK now.

  33. Just started reading the LJ books, almost done with Lord John and the Hand of Devils and I am a little disconcerted in that I can't stop reading things in the English accent that lives in my head now. Odds are very good that it's not even a good accent but I can't seem to stop reading everyday things in my own imagined LJ accent. lol has absolutely nothing to do with anything but just thought I'd add it in. =)

  34. You may this this is odd, but i'm only 13years old and i've read all your books and love them! i am unable to wait until your book Warriors comes out!

  35. Dear Andrea--

    I'm delighted that you like the books! [smile]

    WARRIORS is an anthology--I just have a novella in it--but I hope you'll enjoy "The Custom of the Army," which is the title of said novella.

  36. Dear Diana,

    I love the Outlander series! My Mum and I are rereading all of the books to relive how it all started. Jamie, such a man!, and Claire's relationship aside, the writing is brilliant and so intelligent and thoughtful. Reading the books makes me so curious about that time in history and I want to see everything that I have imagined when reading.

    It goes without saying that I am anxiously awaiting the next book in the series!! Really.

    Thank you for providing such a rich and yummy story and full bodied characters to become slightly obessed with.

    Well done, you!

    Resa :)

  37. Hi Diana,
    I moved 6 hours away from my husband to go to school this year, and decided to get your books as audiobooks to listen to on my long, *boring* drive and they have been a lifesaver! Although I tend to keep listening when I get home, which doesn't help the homework situation.....worth it though! So thank you for your wonderfully looong books!

  38. Will "The Custom of the Army" appear in a Lord John book or solely in "Warriors"?

  39. Diana I just have to say that LJG is not a waste!

    I feel that Jamie’s is partly who is because of John! They have helped each other in dire straights and have trusted each other wholly. Jamie has only had a few people in his life to trust. Clansmen out of the question! Uncles in it for their own reasons! Big Ian… he’s dead now but John has never asked Jamie for anything ever with the exception of help of John’s own father. That meant so much to John but something he could not trust to just anybody. Jamie did so for him. They have a huge friendship based on silence. And you do not get that with everyone. I feel in order for me to love Jamie unconditionally I have to love John unconditionally too. LJG was introduced right after Randall and I think it just set things off on the left foot for John and many READERS but I think you have established, just because a man has tastes for a man doesn’t mean they are not the same.

    Wow... I guess I had a lot to say and didn't know it!

  40. It's good to know that you had such dental care, Dianna. Are you aware of the diseases that link to bad oral health? If a person does not have a regular dental checkup or do not have dental procedures early (in some cases), there is a high risk for diabetes and other heart diseases. I'm glad that you had your root canal promptly and I'm sure you have a good dentist Saint Petersburg is a great place to relax, if you are writing a book, it will be a great place for you to put your thoughts on prints.

  41. There is a chance you're qualified to get a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.