Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Awakening

Goodness, already the 4th of December! I’m deeply impressed that I’ve so far managed to write, address, and actually mail twenty-six Christmas cards. (Mind, I only succeeded in doing this because I was nagged by the resident elf, who did the actual mailing, and needed the cards to insert in the boxes of dates that I send to the various publishers, editors, and other professional acquaintances around the world at Christmas time. (In which respect, may I recommend the Sphinx Date Ranch, who produce dates (and other dried fruits and nuts) that cause widespread slavering upon receipt from the UK to New Zealand, and who will in fact ship things for you, but we do it ourselves because of needing to stick hand-written cards and notes into the boxes.))

I’ve also bought presents for eleven children (aided in this process by the Dover Publications Company, which has the world’s biggest selection of Entertaining Coloring and Origami books)—none of them mine (mine are all old enough that they just want money…and the occasional iPad). This still leaves a horrifying amount of Stuff to be done (like the other 38 Christmas cards on the list), but it does give me a pleasant glow of accomplishment, since I don’t usually get this far this early.

It did make me think, though, that there must be others of you in the early stages of Christmas Awakening (that’s when you sit bolt upright in bed, crying out, “Oh, crap, I forgot my mother-in-law!”), and thus perhaps wanting useful gift suggestions.

Just in case that’s the case [cough], I thought I might list a few Interesting Items for the OUTLANDER Fan on Your List. I thought of this, because I was just down at The Poisoned Pen, my local bookstore in Scottsdale, signing everything in sight, in preparation for their annual Christmas Shipping Frenzy. So I can assure you that they have

1. First-edition copies of THE EXILE, signed both by Yours Truly, and by Hoang Nguyen, the illustrator of that splendidly vivid volume,

2. Brand-new copies of the just-released anthology, SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH, featuring a short story (by me) that tells the story of Roger MacKenzie’s parents, and solves one of the mysteries raised by AN ECHO IN THE BONE (and of which there is a brief excerpt, a few postings back in this blog). Also autographed by me.

3. OUTLANDER: The Musical CD’s (see for details and song samples), also signed by me (not that I had anything to do with the composing or singing, but the people who did are all in Scotland. Since I’m here and they aren’t, I signed the things on their behalf).

4. A selection (and a pretty random selection it is, too) of Foreign Editions of various of my books. Foreign publishers are required by contract to send me X copies of each of my books that they publish; in practice, this means sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. But when they do, they often send a lot of them.

The Pen said they had had an increasing number of inquiries from people about foreign editions—they ship worldwide—and would like to have whatever I had on hand, just in case. So the elf and I gathered up whatever we could lay hands on easily, and I took these down to the store, where I signed all of them. (I know there are several Really Entertaining-looking Finnish editions of AN ECHO IN THE BONE, and at least two full sets of the Spanish editions, from FORASTERA (OUTLANDER) up through VIENTO y CIENDRES (This is A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES, though the title really means “Wind and cinders”).)

Anyway, if any of these items sounds like a great stocking-stuffer (I recommend a really big stocking, if you’re drawn to the notion of the Finnish ECHO), you can get them either here, or by calling the Poisoned Pen at 480-947-2974 , or emailing them at (Patrick’s the manager).

(You would have to contact them, I’m afraid, to find out exactly which foreign editions they have, because I didn’t think to list them.)

I should add that I’ll be going back in there next week to sign all the new orders, so if you happen to want any of these things (or any of the OUTLANDER or Lord John books, for that matter—these are all available in hardcover, trade paperback, or mass-market (including ECHO, if you want the UK mass-market paperback, which has entertaining maps, biographical sketches of the main characters, and an excerpt from Book Eight in the back)) personalized or done with an inscription. (I only know four bits of Gaelic to put in people’s books, but one of these is “Nollaig Chridheil”—aka “Merry Christmas.” I only get to use that one at this time of year, so would be delighted at the opportunity.)

Oh--and I mustn't forget The Old Wilmington Tea Company,

whose delightful "Lord John Grey" blend will warm the hands, if not the hearts, of recipients who don't even read my books. [g]

Nollaigh Chridheil!


  1. It's always a treat to hear from you on your blog, Diana!

    Well done to the Elf for helping you move things along - and may you all have a wonderful time heading into the Christmas and holiday season. :)



  2. Many thanks, Judie!

    And a Happy Holiday to you up in the semi-frozen north--though at least you have Tim Horton's to keep you warm. [g]

  3. P.S. Speaking of gifts 'n all...would you happen to know if Colly keeps a website for her nice soaps and candles? I could add her on to this list, since she does so many fragrant things with an association to the books.

  4. Hooray for Tim Horton's - I can't live without it! :)

    I haven't been super impressed with the Poisoned Pen - I ordered Echo in the Bone in the UK paperback version online on November 18th, and I haven't heard a thing back from them (except for the auto confirmation email), nor have I been charged for the book, nor have they replied to my emails asking for a status update! I'm sure this close to Christmas they're probably swamped, but I'm diappointed - I'd hoped to be reading it by now, especially after that teaser about Roger in that anthology, which left me on the edge of my seat!

  5. Is that the Japanese edition? I like the title in Japanese, I have to say. I almost want it. Quite what I'd DO with it, I don't know, considering how shoddy my Japanese is (comic books, yes; actual books, not so much), but...I really love that cover!

  6. Dear Michelle--

    I happen to know--because I signed them--that they only got in their order of UK ECHO's this week, so I imagine that's why you hadn't been charged for one yet.
    Hope you enjoy it!


  7. Dear Clarice--

    Well, that's _one_ of the Japanese editions--or part of one of one of the Japanese editions. [g] Japan publishes each book in three tiny volumes (suitable for reading on the subway), each with its own cover design.

    The pink one at the top is the Korean OUTLANDER, though, I know that much. [g]


  8. Hi Diana,

    Thank you! After first seeing your entry, out of curiosity I had hit up to see what was going on, and noticed that I was getting an awful lot of books. And my Japanese isn't terribly functional when I'm blindsided by that much kanji, so the multiple part thingt sorts out my confusion a bit! I was just struck by the title, as the lower bit says "Claire" in Japanese's phoenetic alphabet, and I've been scribbling that a lot on my assignments as of late (being that my first name actually is Claire!). Although I was also giggling at the title in general, which more or less says "time traveller." And "Time Traveller Claire" just sounds so very Japanese to me; I can imagine an anime adaptation with that title all too well. Oh, Japan, never change. <3

  9. Hi Diana!
    Ughh, Christmas chores! I have had live garland on my porch waiting to be tied to my stair railings for a week. No other ornaments put up at all aside from a snowman nightlight, which only required me to take the guy out of the box and plug him in.

    My problem is that I'm simultaneously working on a novel (in the am) and freelance magazine work (in the afternoon) and a non-fiction book (in the evening) and the novel again (before bed). Little email hints from editors about deadlines click in regularly, just to bring the tension level up just a bit. Add to that farm animals and a husband...well, Christmas takes a backseat.

    So I am very heartened to see you were able to get something accomplished in that direction. My husband is making noises about getting the Christmas tree, so you've inspired me. I think I take a break from the computer and will do that. Hopefully I won't come across any Christmas toilets!


    PS Love the graphic novel! I got it last week. My husband, who is British, loves your novels too and I had to fight him for first reading rights on this one. I showed him the wedding night pic and he said bloody hell! I think he was very impressed with the artist's rendering of Claire!

  10. That's good to know, thanks! I was starting to get pretty worried that my order had been lost somewhere!

  11. Dear Diana,

    This is perfect. I had one of those bolt-in-bed moment two days ago, followed by: "crap, I forgot to order Outlander from France for Mom".
    (She doesn't read English, and where she lives, they don't have francophone bookstores, so I tend to get her things from France. Only it takes a month to get it.)

    I will call Poisoned Pen and see if they have Outlander and any sequels in stock.
    They still owe me a small credit because of a mistaken order they shipped along with my cherished "Hoang and Diana" signed EXILE.

    Out of curiosity, if one was to, say, send you a Christmas card, where would one address such a greeting?

    Enjoy the holiday season!

  12. Dear Anne-Marie--

    My mailing address is 10810 N. Tatum Blvd., Ste.#102-321, Phoenix, AZ 85028.



  13. It's good to hear from you again! I just celebrated my birthday a few days ago and my mother~ who is now also a huge fan, thanks (only partly) to me :0)~ gave me the three Lord John Gray books and the mass market editions of The Fiery Cross and A Breath of Snow and Ashes (which i've been wanting because they are so much easier to hold when i'm trying to read them!) HOORAY!!! New books to read! I've read and re-read all the Outlander books but I've never read the LJ ones, so as soon as i finish re-reading ABOSA and An Echo in the Bone, i look forward to a new (to me) part of the series! Now i'll just have to keep begging for The Exile for Christmas and then i'll be Happy~ for now :0) Thank you so much for your exceptional writing! Once i pick up one of your books i have such a hard time putting it down and returning to "real life". lol

    PS~ I haven't even Started decorating for Christmas yet, procrastination at its finest :0) So i'm slightly in awe at how much progress you've made. lol I hope your Holiday season is wonderful and still as productive as you have time to fit in ;-) Best Wishes

  14. I was delighted to learn from an earlier blog entry that Songs of Love and Death was available for Kindle - a chance to read it instantly on my Kindle here in Australia, one less book for my overfull shelves, and a copy I can take out and about with me (and a Christmas gift suggestion for something I'd like). But no. It isn't. Not if you're in Australia. My only choice is print, either at the inflated local prices (if it's reached here yet) or waiting (in the busy Christmas period) for a month or so by international postage. Sigh. Nothing changes.

    When will the Outlander series be available to Australian Kindle readers?


  15. Dear Meghann--

    Well, that's pretty much up to the Australian publisher(s). (Different publisher for the SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH anthology, I mean, from the one(s) (two different ones) for the OUTLANDER series. The ebooks are certainly available to them (I mean, they don't have to wait for them to be translated or formatted or anything; they just need to arrange for Amazon to carry them).


  16. Haha oh I love that there is a Lord John tea! How exciting. Good job on your Christmas triumphs as well ;-)

  17. Hi Diana!!
    Quick question for you. I'm currently reading Songs of Love and Death and was wondering you had mentioned that there was this story as well as another story about Roger Mac's family. Is it published and if so where do 'i find it? Thanks!!

  18. Dear Stacey--

    No, "Leaf" is the only story about Roger Mac's family.


  19. Just wanted to say, "Merry Christmas Diana!"

  20. Diana, speaking of your "Big Ass" books that I love so much, and since I suffer from carpul tunnel in both being such a clever girl came up with a solution...
    I actually cut some of your paper back editions in half, tape up the loose side, and viola, I have smaller books, that my poor wrists can hold for more than a few minutes at a time. I know, you may cringe at this, but, it works for me, and I have actually had others do the same.....hmmmmm, maybe you should consider a run of books like this...LOL

  21. "(that’s when you sit bolt upright in bed, crying out, “Oh, crap, I forgot my mother-in-law!”)"

    Funny! I've been thinking of jumping onto the Book Depository website and purchasing my mother-in-law the full outlander series. She's an avid reader and, well, I have to get her something. Oh, and I should hurry up as I am kinda running out of time for an international delivery, aren't I?!

  22. Thanks for your reply about the ebooks.

    So if I want to buy Outlander and Songs of- in Kindle editions here in Australia, who do I contact?

    For print, we generally get lumped in with the UK (but can buy print from anywhere - right now my only choice to read Songs of- is to order a print copy of the US edition).

    For ebooks, we're separate from the UK, and I have no idea how the nexus works between author, agent, publisher, bookseller when it comes to ebooks, except that there seems to be a lot I would buy and can't, because I am in Australia and the rights haven't been sold/considered/dealt with. Which publisher that deals with your books deals with Australian digital rights? Is it Amazon, or the print rights holder/licensee? I'm more than happy to contact them. Surely your agent is out there hustling to sell the digital rights, not just waiting for publishers to come to her/him?

    Price is interesting too. US Kindle price $12.99 (if it was available for Australian Kindle readers, it would probably be more expensive, as many books are to us here). Cheapest I can get it in print is just under $US25 and the list price for hardback here is nearly $US40.

    The Australian Consumer Association recently ran a review/test of e-readers available here, but sadly didn't address the core issue of content availability. I have written to them to advise them of this; perhaps they have some leverage.

    Meanwhile, we press our noses to the glass in envy at what US e-book readers can have and we can't. It's not just Australia; I've heard this same problem exists for European countries, Canada and elsewhere. Second-class citizens in the publishing world, sadly. And yes, I have written to Amazon to tell them how much I regret buying a Kindle.

    My print copy of Songs of- might be here by Christmas, lumbering through the post. My Kindle will gather more dust.


  23. Dear Deborah--

    My husband suggested some years ago that the publisher should consider issuing a "Reader-Friendly" edition of the whole series: cheap paperbacks of 150 pages or so. [g] I mentioned this to more than one editor, all of whom laughed and agreed that that was a good idea.

    My guess is that they aren't likely to do it until the whole series is complete--if then, by which time they'll probably figure that everybody can just read them as ebooks, since that solves the size problem.


  24. Dear Meghann--

    Well, the first six books are published in Australia by Random House Australia, while ECHO is published by Orion. But yes, it would be the print publisher who controls the ebook distribution within that publisher's territory. I have no idea why RH Australia hasn't yet got round to dealing with that, save that some places are slower than others to adapt to new technology.


  25. Meghann -- I thought I'd give you a heads-up on where I got my hands on a copy of "Songs of Love and Death," as well as "The Exile," being that I'm across the ditch in New Zealand and have similar problems getting a hold of these things. Earlier this year I got "Warriors" through, and then later discovered the website actually imports these things anyway; later this year they got "The Exile" to me on its American release date, and "Songs" a week or so after its American release (I have no idea what the problem was there, as originally they promised it on its release date). So, I only paid local shipping and got it overnight, essentially. I mention this because I am sure Mighty Ape sources a lot of its material from a partner in Australia, so you might want to have a poke around and see what's available...

  26. Hi again!! What is this Warrior book another reader posted about? If it has one of your stories in it I would love to know what it is so I can read it! Also i finished the story in Songs but don't recall reading any saving in Echo! Will have to reread I guess!! Thanks again!!

  27. Dear Stacey--

    [rolling eyes] That's because Roger and Buck hadn't yet gone back in ECHO; i.e., the events in "Leaf" aren't _in_ ECHO--that part of "Leaf" comes (technically [g]) after ECHO.

    WARRIORS is an anthology that came out in March of this year. Edited by George RR Martin and Gardner Dozois. There's a Lord John novella in it, titled "The Custom of the Army." Hope you enjoy it!


  28. Diana, some of us die hards just love the feel of a "real" book in our hands, nothing will ever replace that for me, as much as I think the e- readers are as cool as can be. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family!

  29. Diana, a resounding NO to 'user friendly' books if it means the end of the series. To end the Outlander series!!!! NEVER!!

    Merry Christmas Diana............Now I must get back to An Echo in the Bone :)

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