All I want for Christmas is…Outlander


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So, Black Friday is looming and that means I need to start thinking about Christmas and what gifts I’ll be buying.  Cuz if I miss a deal on something I didn’t know I needed I’d be pretty upset!  So, I’m making a list and checking it…twice and then discussing it with my husband.  The following is a transcript of what I like to call the Great  Christmas fight.

ME:  I’m getting some great coupons in my inbox.

DH: It’s ridiculous. It gets worse every year!  We are just not going to buy anyone anything! Christmas isn’t about presents!  We buy them something they don’t need and they buy us something we don’t need!  Ridiculous!

ME: We have this conversation every year.  I LIKE giving gifts.  You suck the joy out of Christmas you…you…joy sucker!

DH: We aren’t doing it.

ME: You say that every year too and yet Christmas comes and there are presents under the tree.  Why do you bother to get worked up?

DH: mumble….mumble…commercialism…humbug…mumble


The only thing worse than the unneeded pressure my husband inflicts on the season is answering the dreaded “what do you want for Christmas” question.  I NEVER have an answer.  So, this year I was determined to be prepared!

DIL: What do you want for Xmas?

ME: A new Shark floor cleaner because my old one broke and a good saute’ pan!

DIL:  That is so boring.  What do want that is fun!?

ME: Sigh (so much for being prepared)…Let me think about it…

I’m terrible at this!  I don’t shop except for this time of year.  I can find things I like if I’m out there, but unless I see something…I can’t think of anything I need or want.  Luckily for me, middle granddaughter was over to the house and heard me sighing and made a suggestion with potential.

GD:  Isn’t there any Outlander stuff you want?

ME: (lighting up like the proverbial tree) Outlander? Yeah….Outlander… (now I’m rubbing my hands together like the Grinch) I LIKE Outlander!

So, I’m putting together an all Outlander all the time Christmas list.


  • A trip to Scotland with a tour of the Outlander studios (hey, go big or go home)

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  • signed first editions of all of the Outlander books


  • a script signed by oh….everybody :)

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  • Tickets to the next premier (whenever that is)


  • the official Caitriot plaid


  • an Outlander Wedding ring, this one that combines the series and the books!


  • A print by Frogirl@thenewredplaid


  • These cuz Pop.Lander is a whimsical genius who made me want to play with dolls


  • And more hedgehogs cuz…well, just cuz one can never have too many  ;)


Given that my children are not independently wealthy, I’m guessing I might have a fair shot at the last three and if #Outlander Starz would like to kick in a casting announcement that would just be the topper on my plaid themed Christmas!

Happy Holidays Outlander fanmily!

PS I thought of one more thing! At shirt designed by Terry that says “I spit on cute!” She knows why 😜!



Jamie and Sam the literary connection



I love my readers!  So many of you take the time to engage in what are truly interesting conversations about the books and show.  I especially like it when someone from the film industry adds their unique prospective.  Recently, I got a response to my article on Hollywood and women. Jacki Lippman, one of those rare women who Is actually getting to make a film, shared her thoughts on the issue and went on to say that although she loves Claire she believed that Jamie was one of the  best fictional male characters out there.  In fact, she’s been studying him and the reaction book readers and now series watchers have to him.  The following is an article she wrote about when the fans helped Sam Heughan (Jamie) win The Radio Times “TV Champion”.  I loved her thoughts about how this character and Sam’s portrayal of him has resulted in such fan devotion.  I agree. One great literary character + One great actor + One great performance = a pretty amazing fan base.  The clan is busy voting again and who knows what they’ll accomplish this time.  Thank you to Jacki for letting me share her great words. Congrats to Diana, Sam and the whole Outlander team!  You’ve truly created something that inspires!


Okay,… now for what Outlander Starz has done right!



Lest you believe that I think Starz has done everything wrong, let me reassure you; I don’t, far from it.  If you have been following my blog for awhile then you know that I am predominantly positive and stay away from arguing about every little thing. Hopefully, that makes the times I do have a bone to pick hold more weight.  I want to make sure Starz and my readers understand that I know where my bread is buttered!  For God’s sake…they are actually bringing my favorite book series to life!  I’m well aware that this wasn’t done without foresight and risk.

So,…now, here is what I believe STARZ has done well.


They picked Outlander, they could have picked a show to produce with male-centric themes and familiar plots.  Instead, they chose to tell a different kind of story.  A story that was genre-bending and complex with a female protagonist. They had the foresight to see not only the possibility that a book series could be made into a successful TV series (we do need to thank GOT for opening the door), but recognized that there was already a ready-made audience for Outlander.  Legions of us had been waiting for years for someone to see that our beloved story of Claire and her Jamie needed to be told.  Kudos to Chris Albrecht, CEO of Starz for knowing a good thing when he saw it.

 “Diana has created an incredibly compelling heroine, thrust into a very complex world, not to mention, time.  The books weave a fascinating tapestry of history, spirituality, love and honor, not to mention plenty of time travel, sex and warfare.  With Diana’s stories guiding us and Ron’s mastery, we hope to bring Claire and Jamie to life for the millions of fans the world over.” Chris Albrecht, CEO Starz

Ever try to tell someone what Outlander is about?  I know I end up saying things like, “Trust me it’s so much better than it sounds.”  I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Tall Ship Productions pitched the show.  What did they say?!  LOL!   Whatever they said worked because the powers that be saw the potential.  Potential is one thing, but the commitment to make it work is an endeavor I’m only now starting to truly appreciate.  This was no small commitment; it was a calculated risk.  And, even though it’s big business and that’s what folks get paid the big money for, programming geared toward a female audience wasn’t exactly a sure bet.

In fact, everything about Outlander seems to fly in the face of what we all had been led to believe was a formula for successful TV. Not only did it have a female protagonist, it was a story that needed some set-up, so it’s pacing is slower, it’s a historical period piece, and even though there is adventure and violence and sex, people really do have to listen and watch to understand what is going on.  The People’s Choice Awards label it as a science fiction show and parts are fantastical in nature, but as Ron once said in order to make people care about the story , “We have to make you believe this really happened to this woman.” Realistic fantasy, historical accuracy, a love story with a time-travel twist, castles, horses, and…. yep, risky.

Despite all the possible red flags that folks could have used to predict failure, they went with it and this fan is sooooo grateful they did.

 “If you can get in business on a great book series where you’ve got a presold audience and there are storylines that have been worked out by an author that have had the test not just of time but of an audience having to read and accept it, then that’s a pretty good template for a television series,”  Starz CEO Chris Albrecht.



We have all heard the story.  Ron Moore was having dinner with his wife Terry Dresbach and Executive Producer Maril Davis and they were discussing possible new projects.  Somehow, Outlander slipped into the conversation and the two women discovered it was each other’s favorite book and the next thing Ron knows he is reading our big novel. Diana Gabaldon’s story of a fiesty WWII nurse who finds her self navigating the impossible had found a new fan, a male one.

“There’s violence and conflict told through the contemporary character of Claire and her view of the past,” he says. “I run into a lot of people who say, ‘My wife introduced me to this book, and I love it.’ I have yet to meet a man who has read it who hasn’t fallen for it. It’s a page turner.” Ronald D. Moore

Both Ron and Diana, who consults on the show (and is currently filming the script she wrote, woohoo!) have taken pains to make sure we know this is an adaptation and some things will have to change for a visual medium, but they are committed to making a story as true to the books as they can and one that the fans will like.  According to Moore, this is one more thing we have to thank Starz for, one more thing they did right.

“One of the very first notes that [Starz CEO] Chris Albrecht told me was to trust the book. He said, “We love the book. Make the show for the fans of the book and believe that anyone who doesn’t know this material, when they see it, they’ll be swept into the story like everyone else is. “I was really taken aback because nobody says that in this town. Generally, people [option] books and say, “We bought it for the cover, do what you want and nobody really cares.” Starz had integrity.

Of course, we have all also heard Ron say that he really has only one true mandate, “Not to mess up my wife’s favorite book!”  And despite what we think they should have left in or out, most fans would agree that it is a novel and entertaining version of our story that as Diana Gabaldon has said is “recognizably Outlander”.


Once they made the commitment Starz gave the showrunner what he needed to make Outlander the quality show that it is. They gave him a practically unheard of 16 episodes to tell the first book. Personally, to me this move speaks more to their commitment to the show’s success than anything else they have done.  If you have dreams of seeing the other eight novels turned into shows you needed to give this first book time to develop the characters and give the plot a strong foundation to build upon.

They put their money where their mouth is.  This isn’t some low-budget operation.  Do you know why there have been so few period pieces pre-GOT? Because they are damn expensive!  Moore and company had to create the foreign worlds of the 1940’s and 1740’s Scotland in modern-day Scotland. No small undertaking. The result of their investment is a beautifully filmed, produced, directed, and acted production that the fans and Starz can be proud of.


I’m happy to say that I think their risk and investment are paying off because they believed that a female centered show marketed to women can succeed despite pre-premier nay-saying by entertainment pundits.  The premiere episode saw huge viewership of 5 million across all platforms. And surprise, surprise men watched!  (we made sure our guys were on the couch right beside us!) The viewership among men and women was equal!  This bonus was definitely something the critics didn’t predict!  One of my greatest joys as a fan of the series was to watch the critics being surprised and won over by a story about a woman who was neither a sex object nor a stereotype, but a brave heroic complex and kind woman with integrity.  They allowed the world to see the woman we book fans admired and loved in all her “frustratingly principled” glory.  She is the type of woman rarely seen portrayed on TV.  They never knew what hit’em!  And,  it was because Starz executives were brave enough to think outside the gender box.  As a result, Outlander’s success helped Starz make huge gains in cable box office standings.

If the increase in my readership is any indication, next season’s viewership will push them even further up the cable ladder.  Because, just as Chris Albrecht predicted, we are a dedicated bunch of fans that make a social media army that is pretty hard to defeat (can anyone say vote) and we love to spread the gospel that is Outlander on Starz.


” A rapt audience is ‘the best marketing and
promotional arm you could have.’ – Chris Albrecht,
CEO, Starz

Chris has said that he can see Outlander going on for a long long time.  I sure hope so because the best is yet to come and I want to be be there with a few 100 thousand of my best friends and ‘fanmily” to watch and talk about it all!





Women’s Image Award…A real reason to be proud of Outlander



photo credit Daisy Carlos

Hurray, for the women of Outlander! Anne Kenny, Anna Foerster, Toni Graphia, and Caitriona Balfe were recently notified that they had won Women’s Image Network WIN award nominations for film and television.  The nonprofit organization celebrates, “media and deserving individuals who promote gender parity to advance the value of women and girls.”    I believe that this award is something these women, the fans, and the show should be very proud of.

The Hollywood film industry has been around since roughly 1910. In the plus 100 years since, we have seen many changes in the productions produced by the studios located there.  Technology advances alone have enabled show runners to make films that can truly suspend our disbelief and boggle the mind. They have helped us cope with and make sense of the changing world around us. Which makes the issue Hollywood has with women that more puzzling. Few advancements have been made for women in over 60 years. In fact, their record is so dismal that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is reportedly investigating their hiring practices.  How can what is perceived as a progressive or liberal industry be so behind the times when it comes to treating women as  equals?  The disparity is staggering.  Women are paid less then men in all areas of film production and aren’t being hired for positions as “content creators”  in  its inner sanctum of writing, directing, and producing.

There are many who believe that this disparity is part of a much larger issue about women and Hollywood.  It isn’t just employment opportunities and parity in pay, but how films are marketed to women and the portrayal of women in film.  In short, male-dominated Hollywood, those who run the studios, finance, and cast films don’t value women. One female star, Geena Davis, has been voicing her concerns about Hollywood for quite awhile and  has gone beyond just talking about gender bias and created a foundation that studies gender bias in film and advocates for change.  She recognized the power Hollywood has and became concerned that its influence on future generations of women was significant.

Here are some facts gleaned from her institutes’ website

“Founded by Academy Award®-winning actor and advocate Geena Davis, the Institute is the only research-based organization working within the media and entertainment industry to engage, educate, and influence the need to dramatically improve, gender balance, reduce stereotyping and create diverse female characters in entertainment targeting children 11 and under.”

Research Facts

  • Males outnumber females 3 to 1 in family films. In contrast, females comprise just over 50% of the population in the United States. Even more staggering is the fact that this ratio, as seen in family films, is the same as it was in 1946.
  • Females are almost four times as likely as males to be shown in sexy attire. Further, females are nearly twice as likely as males to be shown with a diminutive waistline. Generally unrealistic figures are more likely to be seen on females than males.
  • Females are also underrepresented behind the camera. Across 1,565 content creators, only 7% of directors, 13% of writers, and 20% of producers are female. This translates to 4.8 males working behind-the-scenes to every one female.
  • From 2006 to 2009, not one female character was depicted in G-rated family films in the field of medical science, as a business leader, in law, or politics. In these films, 80.5% of all working characters are male and 19.5% are female, which is a contrast to real world statistics, where women comprise 50% of the workforce.

All facts are supported by research conducted by Stacy Smith, Ph.D. at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism

I’m happy to say that since Patricia Arquette’s Academy Awards speech in 2015, other highly visible women in Hollywood are speaking out and calling-out gender bias; Jennifer Lawerence,  Kate Winslet, Sandra Bullock, and others.  Bullock,  in a recent article in VARIETY, expressed her frustration and hopes.

“I always make a joke: ‘Watch, we’re going to walk down the red carpet, I’m going to be asked about my dress and my hair while the man standing next to me will be asked about his performance and political issues,'” she said. “Once we start shifting how we perceive women and stop thinking about them as ‘less than,’ the pay disparity will take care of itself. There’s a much bigger issue at hand. I’m glad Hollywood got caught.”    Sandra Bullock in VARIETY

So, why should we care about this situation.  For the same reason Geena Davis started her institute, because our children are watching.

“We are in effect enculturating kids from the very beginning to see women and girls as not taking up half of the space.” Geena Davis

Many reviews of Outlander have included praise for the way women are portrayed and much has been made of the “strong female protagonist” Claire.  Like this.  The show has been called ground-breaking for its realistic portrayal of sex and relationships. Given the current climate of self-introspection (hopefully) in Hollywood, I believe this WIN award may give the show some attention that we can be proud of and hopefully, result in more shows with the types of women’s roles found in Outlander.  These women deserve the attention they are getting and more.   Another person who should be getting some credit is Ron Moore.  He recognized that Diana Gabaldon’s story of a strong, smart, resourceful, and kind woman needed to be told and fought for it.  He also deserves credit for hiring these women writers and directors. He is evidently more sensitive to gender equity than most of his peers.

If you were around back when the series was first filmed and then reviewed, you might remember the frustration fans experienced reading write-ups on the series by critics and entertainment journalists.  It was truly a lesson on what the industry thought of a show they knew was being marketed to women.  It was insulting to say the least. They questioned the show’s worth if men couldn’t be convinced to watch it (by the way they are, but that is beside the point).  They stubbornly hung on to the idea that Outlander was a Harlequinesque bodiceripper that would only appeal to middle-age bored love-starved housewives.  We fought back the little that we could, but were frustrated in our efforts when Starz/Sony began a marketing campaign that seemed to reinforce the “Bodiceripping Romance” idea (the kilt drops…really?)  We finally sort of gave up and hoped the story and the production would speak for themselves.  I felt kind of smug when the reviewers seemed surprised by how good it was cuz…we tried to tell them. Outlander is a quality program that presents women as something more than sex objects or stereotypes.

Now, my PSA to Starz PR. Here are some of the things I heard on social media today only:

“they think Sam is the only reason we watch.”

“I wonder if it’s because the audience is predominately women and the assumption is that we are all in love with Jamie.”

“I’m convinced the Outlander Starz PR team are a young bunch of female teenie boppers. Remember Tiger Beat? Yeah, that!”

“They push Sam 24/7 and I find it insulting to think that they think viewers are so one-dimensional…”

“Pocket Jamie from day one…”

“Sexism is alive and well at STARZ and the industry in general.”


Do you really believe that the only thing fans are interested in is sexy pictures of Jamie?  That we want dolls, teddy bears, and coloring books?

Now, my PSA for fans.  The loudest voice gets heard and  if what you really ARE interested in is sexy pics of Jamie then okay..  But, if not, let them know who you are and what you do want.

Congrats to Outlander and its talented women.





Brianna…a hard nut to crack



We are mid “Droughtlander” and anxiously awaiting a few casting announcements.  Brianna and Roger haven’t  been cast yet or if they have there hasn’t been an official announcement.  As anxious as I am for a peek at who they have chosen, I have to say I’m glad they are taking their time choosing these two. They are important to the rest of the books and hopefully, to the rest of the series.  Getting these two characters right is a big deal.

I’ve talked to very few book fans who weren’t half in love with Roger.  He is very likeable.  I’ve always felt him to be an interesting mixture of strength and vulnerability.  He is every bit as emotionally intelligent as Jamie and I’ve always felt that he “gets” Claire. In fact, I’ve felt they have a lot in common.  He is patient, forgiving, caring, smart, strong, and capable of loving unconditionally.  He stood up to Jamie and earned his respect. That fact alone tells you that Roger is a man worth admiration and respect.  Then there’s Brianna… she tends to inspire a variety of fan responses.   Some fans love her and some hate her.

I’ve always felt that Claire and Jamie were pretty easy to figure out.  It isn’t hard to understand what motivates them.  Claire is a kind woman who cares about the people around her.  Jamie does the best he can with the gifts and people he believes God has entrusted him. I’ve come to see their daughter as a bit harder to figure out.  I’ve come to see her as complex.

I once had a conversation with some fans where I mentioned the fact that Brianna was probably more difficult to write because of her being inserted into the story as a baby. Diana had to start from scratch! Add to the difficulty of creating a persona for an already established character, the fact that she is the child of two very strong and well-loved characters and you get fan expectations. In fact, one of the fans I was discussing Brianna with said she believed “Diana got lazy with Brianna’s character. Just because she was hard to write doesn’t give her permission to do a poor job.”  SAY WHAT?!

Further questioning revealed that this fan didn’t like Brianna as a character. I believe the words she used were selfish and bratty. I can remember at the time feeling a little incensed that someone would call Diana a lazy writer.  I still marvel at how she connects every little detail, every character to the on-going story.  You better remember what she writes because somewhere in one of the eight books those details and characters are going to come into play. Lazy? Have you seen the size of those books? And how many best sellers has she written? And whose books are so full of entertaining characters and plots that they made it a TV series? Lazy? Soooo not buying that one. But, when I was thinking of the casting of Brianna for the show that conversation came back to mind; selfish and bratty. Was she?  If not, then why would someone think that I wondered? Did Diana try to make her difficult to like?

As you probably know, Diana Gabaldon often shares insight into her writing process.  She once said that when she writes she is usually dealing with three types of characters; onions, mushrooms, and nuts.  Claire and Jamie are considered onions, they are multiple-layered and with each new book she gets a chance to add to the layers. Lord John is an example of a mushroom, he just sort of pops up fully formed. Then there are the hard nuts, characters like Brianna who HAVE to be written because they already have a place in the story.

So, I started thinking about how Diana chose to write Brianna. The reader might expect that the daughter of these two characters would be pretty wonderful, perfect in fact. Given how wonderful her parents were it would be reasonable to expect Diana to write a character that reflects the best of their character traits.  But, Diana is pretty good at not giving us the usual and the to be expected in her characters and story.  Brianna should be a character that is a perfect blend of Jamie and Claire…to quote Diana, ” says who?”

I think Diana made Brianna unique.  She IS a great mixture of the two of them, but there is the key word…mixture. Jamie and Claire each brought unique skills and aptitudes and personalities to the moment of Brianna’s conception.  But, like when you mix vanilla, flour, sugar, and eggs together and then bake it you have something entirely new…cake.  Jamie and Claire are some great genetic ingredients, but sometimes just a little too much of one thing and not another can change the taste of the whole thing! And then you still have to have the right temperature and bake it the right amount of time, etc.

So, I believe Diana decided that Brianna would be a product of both nature and nurture just like the rest of us.  The fact that she is a child of the sixties in America really should impact who she is a person.  As does being raised by Frank and then finding out he wasn’t her father. Her mother broke through gender barriers to become a doctor in a time of emerging feminism, that had to have made an impression.  In a way, her going back through the stones would have been an even harder adjustment than what her mother experienced.  At least Claire had some understanding of how to be the ” little woman” or what it meant to be submissive to men. I dare say Brianna never saw her mother playing the submissive role.

I’ve heard fans say they don’t like how she treats Roger. What I’ve seen is that she expects to be treated as an equal. She sticks up for herself and her needs. Maybe this is where people get the idea she is selfish and bratty?  But, isn’t that what we say we all want for our daughters, the ability to stand up for themselves? Brianna knows her own worth and expects to be treated as worthy of respect and fair treatment.  Roger, bless his heart, believes she is worthy too!  She isn’t easy, but he’s up for the challenge. It takes a strong man to love a strong woman.

So, what kind of person did Diana decide to create in the character of Brianna. I believe Brianna is the modern woman; she is




in touch with her own needs

not willing to settle






Yep, the nut didn’t fall far from either tree! Can’t wait to meet her on the screen!

Claire’s birthday!




Originally posted on My Outlander Blog!:

It’s Claire’ s birthday….huh…. What would a birthday celebration for Claire be like? Hmmmm…giving this some thought.  Let me set the scene.

The setting: Gotta be Frasers Ridge in the big house. I’d have them celebrate there because I think that’s where she was happiest.  This is where she built a life and home with her love.

The decorations: I picture the table set with a homespun cloth, candles and a crock full of the posey Jamie has picked from the fall colors found in their woods. No poison ivy this time <g>.

The food: I see the birthday cake is walnut layer with blackberry jam filling. Dinner is a beautiful roast turkey that Brianna shot and samples of the plenty Claire has stored in the pantry. The room is full of the delicious aroma of brewing coffee and the firelight makes the glass whiskey decanter glow.

The guests:  They…

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