Pacific Northwest Radio Interview with Outlander Kitchen’s Theresa Carle-Sanders

The randomly drawn winner of the Rafflecopter contest, who will receive a digital Outlander Kitchen Cookbook is:

Allison Wood from Campbell River, British Columbia!

There will be another opportunity to win a hardback of this great cookbook, watch this space!

Outlander Kitchen. Two household words that have culminated in a cookbook, which after years of hard work, is a dream come true for Theresa Carle – Sanders. I had the opportunity to meet Theresa for the first time in Seattle at the Outlander Fan Retreat, an event put on by Random House to welcome Diana Gabaldon’s newest novel, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.

OK Image Random HouseTheresa has worked with Random House to publish her cookbook, based on recipes Diana describes in the Outlander series. Interest in all aspects of Outlander have skyrocketed with the new series (now finishing Season Two, Dragonfly in Amber), which is a collaboration of excellence by Sony, STARZ, Tallship Productions (Ron Moore and Maril Davis), and Diana Gabaldon.

Recently, Lori Ness of Northwest Prime Radio had a chance to talk to Theresa about her new book.  Lori is no stranger to the Outlander world, having already interviewed Diana last year, as well as Àdhamh Ó Broin (Gaelic Consultant to Outlander). Listen here to hear Theresa chat with Lori about Outlander Kitchen.

This week, ONE lucky listener will win an electronic copy of Outlander Kitchen. At the end of the week, watch for my review of her cookbook (I’m gonna COOK!) and another chance to win . Click the Rafflecopter giveaway link to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For a schedule of Theresa’s appearances, click here (opens a Facebook link).  She will be in Seattle on Wednesday, July 27th at the Book Larder, a Community Cookbook Store (tickets are free, but limited and are available here).  Signed copies of Outlander Kitchen can be purchased at Talisman Books & Gallery.  Double-signed books may be purchased from The Poisoned Pen.   Diana wrote the foreword in Outlander Kitchen, so pick up a copy to read that an open the door to your favorite Outlander recipes!

Photo from OK FB pageCongratulations Theresa!


Photos from Outlander Kitchen, Random House (O’Malley Photography), Northwest Prime Radio.

La Dame Blanche

Are you ready for Saturday?  Read on for the recap, comment and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a little Outlander postcard:

Here is a recap of the Frasers’ previous antics:

Episode 3 left off with a lot of tension between Jamie and Claire. Claire found a useful occupation helping the estimable Mother Hildegard, where we also met the beloved Bouton.  Claire makes the mental “Mary Hawkins” connection by recalling seeing the family tree with Frank.  Fergus becomes part of the deception and steals mail…leading to the discovery of Sandringham’s musical “key” and it’s implications to stopping the Rising. Jamie and Claire decide to plan a dinner to bring the interested parties together.  Despite Murtagh’s urging Claire to tell Jamie that Black Jack lives, she continues the deception.

Enter Episode 4: La Dame Blanche
What is that you see? Is someone messing with the carriage pin? Hmmm, what is up with THAT?

e4cog Fast forward to Jamie playing yet another game of chess with the Master of Finance, who had practically begged Jamie to lose a game to plead his case, and this time Jamie is completely distracted by Claire’s presence and talking baby names.  Baby Lambert? Baby Dalhousie?  Jamie finds Lambert “too English” and Claire wants to “sneeze” over Jamie’s suggestions.  Le Comte St. Germain to the rescue!  Le Comte totally gives away the game and Jamie gives up. Claire realizes she is a distraction, so off she goes.  Monsieur Duvernay tells Jamie the King is intrigued by the Scottish “King’s” patrons who want to pledge boat loads of money to the cause.

ep4drinkmemeWhy yes, I’ll have a drink! Claire’s glass face is a dead giveaway to the bad taste of the drink and immediately falls victim to…to what?

Le Comte is lurking and watching, what has he done?

ep4comteClaire starts choking and moaning, she is whisked away by Jamie and they make a dramatic exit after drawing attention to themselves.

Did Claire drink bitter cascara in the drink?  Well, Claire, does not know, but now they are on alert.  What problem will this create? Well, no spoilers here, but book readers know of the events to come.
Jamie comes up with a scheme to host a dinner party to bring the parties together, everyone Jamie has been rubbing shoulders with at court can meet Bonnie Prince Charlie at their Paris apartment, since said Bonnie Prince cannot be accepted at court.  Claire makes her recovery bed her place of fessing up to Jamie that Black Jack Randall is alive.


Say what?  Jamie is nearly jumping out of his skin at this “wonderful news” that Black Jack is still alive!  He professes that Claire has given him a gift, that he wasn’t robbed of spilling Black Jack’s blood himself and that now he can be the one do to it.  Thank you, truly, for more excitement to come.  Of course he isn’t going back to Scotland to run Black Jack through.

Claire encounters Murtagh and flippantly tells him Jamie knows that the Captain lives, and disses him by telling him she didn’t know why he was so worried.

mood meme
Claire confronts Master Raymond, who professes his innocence at selling any poison directly to le Comte, but of course!  Any servant could have purchased it.  Master Raymond invites Claire into his hidden lair, one of the scenes we have been waiting for.  While the details of this scene are not from Dragonfly in Amber, the vision of Master Raymonds hidden room, filled with skulls, certainly is. Kudos.

e4skullsMaster Raymond is a fortune teller, or is he? He plays fortune Yahtzee and tells Claire she will see Frank again but that he doesn’t know his fate.  Master Raymond is not as he appears.  She departs with a gift, the poison-induced-color-changing bauble we’ve ready about in the books.

cuckooCuckoo, cuckoo! Louise summons Claire to discuss her enceinte situation and she wants Claire to help her.  Isn’t Claire in the business of saving people?  She is now suggesting how Louise can abort the child?  Claire has no idea who Louise’s lover is, but Louise cannot leave her husband but she needs to convince her husband the baby is his, no small feat when they haven’t had whoopee together in months.  Louise is so child like, not taking into consideration her actions, only of the pleasure of the flesh in the here and now. She muses on how she can can raise a baby with a father who isn’t the father of the baby…sound familiar?  If it doesn’t, go watch Episode 1 again.  All the child needs is love.  Truer words have never been spoken.

Sneaky Jamie, he thinks he’s going to crawl into bed and give Claire a bit of himself, finally. Woah!

bite memWhat the hell are those BITE MARKS on his legs? Naive Jamie goes from stepping into a pot hole to jumping into his own grave. He has spent the evening with whores, one of whom bit him on both thighs when attempting to engage in soisant-neuf. This scene is hilarious in that Sam has played Jamie’s innocence so well, trying to make her believe that he is again alive with passion after being aroused by whores. Well, Claire is having nothing of it. This leads us to one of the biggest and most missed lines that did not happen in Season 1 – the destruction of Jamie’s fortress.

 “Now it’s like….like my own fortress has been blown up with gunpowder—there’s nothing left of it but ashes and a smoking rooftree, and the little naked thing that lived there once is out in the open, squeaking and whimpering in fear, tryin’ to hide itself under a blade of grass or a bit o’ leaf, but….but not….not makin’ m-much of a job of it.” Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon”

This is one of the most emotionally stimulating scenes from Outlander and we find it here.  Sam should definitely be nominated for an Emmy for this emotional and insightful portrayal of Jamie’s fragility from Wentworth and how he has finally found himself able to be alive. The speech is given over two scenes, but this is one of the most emotional moments so far in Season 2.  He goes to sleep elsewhere and Claire follows.  Make up sex, is there anything better? While Jamie’s fortress was blown apart by Black Jack Randall, Claire has helped him build a little lean-to, with a roof, no more hiding under a blade of grass, naked and afraid.

Speaking of the roof, Bonnie Prince Charlie makes a grand entrance, into their window after walking on the roof.  Alas, this is not the way he is supposed to meet Claire, but this is what happens in the book. After a little bit of conversation and an examination of his injured hand, Jamie and Claire deduce that the Prince is romantically involved with Louise and is the biological father of the unborn child. Prince Charlie was roof-hopping because Louise’s husband came home early and he had to make a hasty exit after they quarreled. #Markme. The Prince will win her back.

Prince Charlie and Louise are a pair who both live in a fantasy world, both dreamers, who have lofty ideals without real means to obtain their dreams. A man without a country and a woman without love, together they make a baby. Such is the life of dreams, where can I sign up?

You can almost see the wheels spinning in Jamie and Claire’s heads as they come up with the idea to use Louise and her husband – by exposing her pregnancy – in front of Prince Charles and allowing him to make a fool of himself.  A fool and his money are soon parted, at least that is what the Fraser,s are hoping for, that the Prince loses financial backing from the Duke of Sandringham.

Claire beats a quick exit to help Mother Hildegarde because the house staff won’t let her near any of the chores to get the house ready for the soiree.  And because she likes to be at L’Hopital helping ailing Parisians.  While waiting for Claire, Murtagh and Fergus have a little heart-to-heart on the behavior of women.Murtagh does not want to take advice from a child but Fergus has been around the “ladies” for too many years not to notice how fickle they are.  Fergus makes a point to tell Murtagh that Suzette is in love with any man who goes by her door.  Ouch.

A compound fracture is what that looks like, nasty business and a difficult injury treat, even in our time.  Claire learns how to perform a nerve block and is treated to the luxurious feel of the hangman’s grease…given to Mother Hildegarde by Monsieur Forez.  Ewww. Mary, Claire’s surgical helper, is clearly disgusted, but Claire is prompted to find out where Mother Hildegarde would get such grease.  The good doctor is, in his regular job, the executioner and I guess the bodies aren’t immediately buried – some of the dead make a detour for Monsieur Forez to take a bit of the blobby fat to make salve.  More ewww.  Mother Hildegarde confesses that while the bulk of physicians (who help her) are better than nothing, Claire is a great deal better than nothing.  Claire has finally won over Mother Hildegarde.  Time to go.

Murtagh tells Claire the wheel to the carriage was broken – remember the opening scene? That one where someone took out the cotter pin to the wheel? Yeah, sabotage. They beat feet back to the house, with Fergus ahead of them to let Jamie know they’ll be late.  Where is MacGyver when you need him?

Tick tock. No Claire…

ep4 clockMeanwhile, back at the house, Jamie is receiving guests sans Claire, and looking none to pleased about it, or about kissing the Duke’s ring, either.  Mary’s Uncle Silas and her betrothed arrive, as does the Prince, Louise and her husband arrive, whereby the Prince commences to inappropriately kiss Louise’s hand for way too long, but she lets him up to a point.  Fergus tells M’lord (Jamie) that Murtagh, Claire and Mary will be late.  Dun du dun….in walks le Comte St. Germain with his wife.  Jamie is clearly stunned, the Duke invited them.

While Jamie is greeting guests, Claire, Murtagh and Mary are attacked and Mary suffers the ultimate degradation for a virgin.  The only reason the attackers left as they did is because one of them recognized “La Dame Blanche” and high tailed it away.  Keep in mind that hand shot of the birthmark…

They get back to the house, Jamie is notified and they rush outside along with Alex Randall. Jamie and Murtagh are ready to draw blood, but they have a dinner party to attend. Too much at stake.

After getting Mary settled and giving Alex instructions on how to care for her (a man alone with a woman in a bedroom in the 18th century? Tsk, tsk). If her attack isn’t enough to taint her, this certainly is. Claire readies herself and Jamie lets her know the Comte is downstairs. Say what?

Claire enters and the party begins! Making conversation around the table, the Duke, who is sitting across from Prince Charlie, starts dissing the Pope and his lack of availability when he was in Rome. Prince Charlie, who always takes himself waaaaay too seriously, dishes right back to the Duke about how a Catholic king must be restored to the throne. Who would have thought Claire would ask the Duke to tell a joke? His facial expressions were far better than the politically incorrect joke he told – way to go Simon!

ep4 duke
What else do you talk about at a dinner party in Paris? Jamie suggests the Prince discuss God’s plans for Scotland, but oh no! That line of conversation was waylaid by flitty Louise who wants to talk about the opera. How about marriage and women? What the hell is “pulchritude?”  Maybe babies are a better topic?  Oh yes, Jamie and Claire out Louise in front of the Prince, who as planned, makes a complete ass of himself at the dinner table.

Meanwhile upstairs Mary awakens and mayhem will ensue when she mistakes Alex as her attacker…wait for it.

baubLe Comtesse admires Claire’s bauble and her wiley husband tells her of it’s magical powers. Did the female viewers wish they were that morsel on the Comte’s fork as he fed himself?  Crash, bang, what the hell?

fightJamie and everyone else rise to find Mary under Alex on the floor in the sitting room. The mother of all fights, so far, ensues. What about dessert? The Duke must go elsewhere to sate his appetite. And who knew a curtain tie back could be such an effective weapon? Dinner is ruined, much like Mary’s reputation. Exit Prince Charlie with le Comte and the others, but not after le Comte sends for the Parisian police.  Rut roh.

curtain tieThis episode was completely action packed, setting the stage for many scenes that happen, at least in the book.  We have yet to find out how it will play out on screen, but for now, ENCORE!

Comment and you’ll be entered for a chance to win this very difficult to find Outlander souvenir:


All images except for the one just above are courtesy of STARZ, opinions are my own.


En France: Cauchmars, Godemiché, et Mamalons Percé

Last week we left off with the destruction le Comte St. Germain’s cargo ship, who vowed to make Jamie and Claire pay for their meddling.  This week’s Season Two Episode Two opens with visions of a woman in a beautiful costume (previously on display at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City), but who is that woman?  CUT!  Jamie is making passionate love to his bride, and both appear to be enjoying it.  All of a sudden Claire becomes Jack Randall who encourages Jamie by saying “don’t stop” and what happens next is a scene from American Psycho.  It’s a nightmare, a cauchmar, but Jamie feels Black Jack is alive…in his head.

dontstopThis face instead of Claire’s would give me nightmares, too.

Fast forward…

Running out of the house gowned in 18th century Dior, Claire is splendidly magnificent in a very simplistic way, ready for an outing, after insulting the maid and the footman.

dui                                          Terry’s Dior inspired gown.

As we travel through the streets of “Paris” (which is actually Prague), we are delighted by the scenes of regular life as viewed from the street. Ballast paved streets. Those streets never cease to amaze me in thier simplistic sturdiness. Ballast laid in patterns and filmed in such a way as to appear to be a fan to engage the flames of the political intrigue.  I’m sure none of that was meant to be; it’s how I see it in my mind’s eye.

ballaststreet                                          Ballast streets of “Paris.”

We listen to Claire’s tale about the Eiffel Tower, WWII, the coming revolution, but we don’t know where she is headed.  She is obviously looking for something, and then she arrives at her destination.  La Apothicaire de Maitre Raymond.  She enters the mystical world of Master Raymond, through a blue facade, wearing blue, and he calls her Madonna (sounds Spanish, though) and they launch into a repartee of herbal-speak.

adea                                                  Maitre Raymond

But the Maitre has already heard of Claire, from le Comte St. Germain, no less!  Maitre Raymond is well cast and just as froggy as I expected him, despite his wig. Claire finds a friend in Maitre Raymond through their mutual frenemy, le Comte.

What is Outlander without a good sword fight?  Murtagh takes Jamie through the ranks of getting back to his old physical self.  We see him struggle with the blade, his hand tremble, and he finally finds the verve and fends off Murtagh’s blade.  Old Jamie is coming alive!  By the way, sword fighting is just too cool for words.

adaara                     Training with his faithful Godfather, Murtagh.

The French look on as though Murtagh and Jamie are savages…oh wait, they are Scottish Highlanders and a bit like aliens to the locals, certainly savages to the British.  Murtagh, full of insults, to the people, the country, and the aroma.

Yet, we would think he is a stout Jacobite and he suggests that to kill the rebellion, the head of the snake (Prince Charlie) must be cut off.  Such words!  Me thinks he just wants to hasten his return to Scotland and stop wasting wine by selling it instead of drinking it.  After returning to Jared’s Paris apartment, the real action starts.

ftrAnd how about the asymmetric design of Claire’s dress? Just a hint of what is to come.

Without prolonging the details, the rest of the episode exposes different parts of decadent French culture, complete with a penile scene at Madame Elise’s with Jamie and Murtagh in the company of Bonnie Prince Charlie. While le Prince is attempting to convince Jamie to act on his behalf in seeking an audience with Le Roi Louis Quinze de France. Why? Because the Prince is not accepted at court, so Jamie has to do his dirty work.


So what was the deal with the dildos?  While Jamie and Murtagh clearly look uncomfortable during the “wifely” display at the brothel, the Prince was all for it, exclaiming he would buy all the dildos on parade!  Murtagh stands up to the Prince after Jamie does, but Charles wants only to hear God the Almighty whispering in his ear “Be King, be King, you are the King of Scotland.”   So to show his divine nature to his newfound friends, he goes to dip his sword into the nearest honeypot.  The Prince is well played.

Were there really male appendage toys in France at the time? Yes, there were and here is an example of one that is believed to be from 18th century France.

dilNo thanks, not for purchase or otherwise.  Image from Science & Society.

Continuing on with the body part theme, Claire goes to visit her friend, Louise de la Tour de Rohan, a social butterfly of the French court and while in need of Claire’s friendship, well suited to the Fraser cause.  Waxing?  And by a Turk?  Yes, it is a big thing there and while Louise is undergoing 18th century depilatory, we meet Mary Hawkins. The shy stutterer, who is aghast at Louise’s lack of shame while she spreads ’em on the chaise lounge ready to have her Brazilian bikini wax.

OUCH.  Never having done anything like THAT down THERE, the ripping of linen off flesh had me cringing

adfadfadamore than Claire and Mary…


Mary, where has Claire heard that name before?  She can’t place it, but will.  Louise extends the much anticipated invitation to court, ready for the next phase of stopping the rebellion.

Never meek, Claire goes for la cirer de sexe and shocks Jamie with her hairless honeypot.  As he enjoys bringing her pleasure, he again has the Claire-turns-into-Randall image, which is the quickest way for Jamie to experience coitus interruptus.  Again we see a frail man, still in the construction phase of his lean-to from that fortress he had prior to his torture at the hands of Captain Randall.

Red, I’m seeing red.

redSo is Jamie.  And Murtagh.  Not enough red in the socially right places, though.  THAT infamous red dress appears down Jon Gary Steele’s magnificent staircase, exposing at least down to Claire’s second rib.  Having seen the dress in person, it is a sight to behold, even holding Murtagh’s gaze longer than is proper. There is no other way to gain the King’s attraction than by distraction, from others.  Terry pulled off the corset-less masterpiece and Claire is held into the dress by pure sempstress genius, no tape, no nuthin’ but red holding in her girls.  Jamie can’t see down to her navel, and the “third rib” is purely colloquial, since you could see her third rib because the dress was that low.

No escape for Murtagh, but clearly his sensibilities are in shock as are Jamie’s. Jamie, being a Renaissance man, accepts Claire’s fan as good enough, albeit with a suggestion to have a larger one (which she procures).

I’m sure I’m not the only one who noticed the rather short nature of Claire’s dress, well above her ankles.


This apparently was a trend in the 18th century and is when shoes became a fashion accessory, just like those to-die-for gladiators Claire wore with the red dress.

satradfadfaTo read more about dress fashions, click here.

The last episode was also all about Terry’s stunning costumes.  Louise prances about in the bow-tie dress (was the neckline lower than her aereolae and the bow covered them?), Claire in her red dress, Mary looked magnificent in lavender satin.

adfea In runs Annelise de Merriac, who throws herself into Jamie’s arms while Claire, Louise, and Mary look on, puzzled.  I guess Jamie forgot to tell Claire of his monk-inducing and failed pursuit of the lovely Annelise (you can read a bit more about Jamie’s desire to be a monk in The Exile).  BUT, Annelise to the rescue, she takes Jamie to meet King Louis on his, er, throne.

kingthroneUp to now, this has to be the funniest part of the episode, watching the King try to pinch one off.  The poor man has stage fright! Parritch!  Bring some parritch!  Jamie’s grand introduction to the King and all he can do is suggest he eat a bowl of oats, mid valsalva maneuver.

Stuck in yet another awkward situation, Claire makes a quick exit to get some air, with a much larger fan, after discussing peters and pricks with the French noblewomen, and spying Miss Mary talking to a very young man.  Who is the young man?  Definitely not her intended, as he was described as old.  She still can’t place where she knows Mary from, either.

Enter Monsieur Duverney, there is no other man more hilarious than he.  Louise baits him into thinking Claire wants an assignation, which leads to the man making a complete and utter fool of himself by fondling Claire’s red-clad feet.  Jamie tosses him off the balcony, and a soggy Minister of Finance emerges from the pond, wig in hand. After le Monsieur promises his friendship to the Frasers, in walks the King, with his most recent paramour…and her breasts.

swmsIn another stunning declaration of her talent, Terry gives Outlander fans another infamous dress, the Nipple/Swan Dress. This was so well done and even Murtagh appreciated the costuming, much to Jamie’s chagrin.


The final scenes encompass the disastrous previous meeting with the Duke of Sandringham and his duplicitous nature. Murtagh swears to be his undoing, Jamie succeeds in garnering a sale of port, and Claire…Claire orders Jamie and Murtagh awa’ to deal with the Duke? Very un-Jamie like, to let Claire give him the fluff in public.  Ah well, Claire decides to dish on the Duke that she is aware of his two-faced actions and in the process meets Alex Randall, the younger brother of the very much alive, Jonathan Randall. To say that Claire was visibly shaken at the news of Black Jack’s survival is an understatement.  In addition, Alexander Randall was the very man with whom Mary Hawkins was conversing.  aaaaaaaaa

Fireworks. Thundering explosions. The chaos outside mirrored Claire’s own internal chaos of Jamie’s reaction – if she tells him – that Black Jack Randall was alive.  Well put: what then?

There was a lot of material covered in this episode, and mixing of different areas of the book, Dragonfly in Amber. Some additions, but all in all, Ron Moore et al did a fantastic job on the episode.  Terry Dresbach hit a grand slam on costumes.

Most photos from Starz.   All opinions are my own.




Droughtlander: The End.

Finally the epic stretch of Droughtlander is over.  The End.  Finis. For the majority of fans in the US, Starz aired the Season Two premiere of Outlander’s Dragonfly in Amber on Saturday, April 9, 2016.  Ron Moore, the Executive Producer, wrote the first episode, “Through a Glass, Darkly” and did he ever deliver a gripping epic end to Droughtlander. If you haven’t seen Episode 201 yet, then I suggest you tuck away this blog to read later.    At the end of Season One we leave Claire and Jamie on the boat, full of reassurances that all will be well.
Image from Starz
Opening scene of Season Two, we find Claire describing her pain as she is lying on the ground, then gets up and is looking around, at the stones, and through the grass as she realizes she is missing something – a something that is a ring from which a jewel has probably fallen out.

Missing stone

The first minute or two is enough to gut wrench anyone and bring the strongest to tears.  Ron’s writing and Claire’s performance in the opening scene is a powerful promise to the remainder of the episode and keeps (me anyway), on the edge of my seat waiting for the next scene.
 As Claire discovers from a passing motorist, after she almost rips his head off, that it is indeed 1948 and the English have won the battle of Culloden, she has us all feeling the pain of loss in seconds, as if we had been on the battlefield losing the centuries old clan system and way of life.
Frank arrives to the hospital to find the wife he was convinced hadn’t left of her own volition.  Claire’s body language screams “I DON’T WANT TO BE HERE” louder than any verbalization can, and in fact, her spoken words give that very same attitude.  Here is where my first thought of a missed opportunity to have a grieving Frank is missed. Frank responds with a very flat “And I’m so very grateful” line after Claire tells him she is back, and the entire sequence is enough to make me just want to fast forward a bit.  It was flat and uninspiring, sounding nothing like a man who is relieved his wife-who-has-been-missing-for-years should feel. I have my own speculations on this front, which will be revisited later in the season.  On a side note, as Claire looks out the hospital room window, we see a lady walking a dog across the streeet and that dog belongs to Ron and Terry (information from Maril Davis’s tweets).
Discussions Frank has with the Reverend Wakefield are all excellently placed and are enough to believe he does have the patience of Job and is trying to pass along that patience to Frank. Claire bluntly tells Frank she is pregnant and Frank, for a microsecond, is happy and elated before he realizes that it couldn’t be his and not only because his wife has been gone for two years. Yes, two years. There is a comment where he says she’s been gone for two years and I thought I didn’t hear it correctly, but I did.  We have a compressed timeline in the show and book readers know she was gone for three years.  In the show she disappeared at Samhain 1945 (in the Outlander book it’s Beltane 1945), which would be six months later than the book.  We do know she returns in 1948, as stated by the passing motorist.  So she has been gone (for the show) about 2.5 years.
During the interchange and when Frank realizes that his wife has been well-swived by another man, we see him nearly explode in a rage and beat Claire, which actually reminded me of Black Jack Randall.  Instead of showing Claire’s hallucinatory moment with Frank as he leaned over the bed and “became” Captain Randall, this would have been a better placement of her hallucination given the violence both Jack Randal was prone to and the instant that Frank began his resentment of Claire.
We see him balling a fist, a la Black Jack Randall, and he lets his flash of anger dissipate; however, the seed has been planted.
What is this about Frank being sterile? I’ve often wondered how Frank knew he was sterile and this bit comes out during a talk with Reverend Wakefield.  Frank confides in the Reverend about how he and Claire had been trying to conceive to no avail and that one year earlier he had his fertility tested to find out he was sterile. WHAAAT? His wife is gone a little longer than one year (the show) and then he has his swimmers checked?  I have a feeling this is setting us up for future events and if you’ve read the books, you will know what I’m referring to.  If you are a show fan, well, just tuck that bit of info behind a door labeled “Frank Can’t Have Kids” and hopefully we will have enough seasons to unlock that bit of business. Diana is known for revisiting scenes and topics several books and years later, so don’t forget about this tidbit.  While the Reverend speaks of little Roger, he tells him that this is an opportunity to be a father to a child who otherwise would not have one.  Sage advice and well done.  By the by, Roger is just the cutest little kid.
Claire and Frank are new to each other again, neither can know of the experiences the other has had the past two-plus years, but Claire does confide in Mrs. Graham, who believes her far-fetched story and helps her to ease the instantaneous disruption of her past life.  Claire realizes she must tell Frank the entire story and does so after she tells him she wants to keep all questions and comments at bay until the end.  Frank tells her she doesn’t have to tell it and can do so in time, but she must tell and tell she does. It’s my opinion that Frank doesn’t really believe her, but then even he can’t explain how Claire came into possession of the historian-verified authentic 18th century clothing.  If it smells like a duck, sounds like a duck, and walks like a duck, it must be a duck.  Claire and Frank strike a bargain (keep this bit of info handy for any potential future seasons) and off they go to Boston – after he burns her clothes.  Brilliant acting and story lines, hated the burning of the clothing. Frank the historian burns history he could have had a chance to preserve, especially articles from his beloved Jacobite era.
I realize it was to erase the past from Claire’s mind, but I see it as a missed opportunity for Frank (who has no small ego by the way) to have the clothing preserved in a museum.
One.  More.  Step.  That’s all Claire needs to touch down in America with her own two feet.  She accepts Frank’s hand, the camera moves from her face and pans down to…Jamie, holding her hand to get off the ship at La Havre, France, 1745.
I’ll just shout it here… THIS WAS BRILLIANT and had to be the best film editing of the episode. Hats off to Ron, Metin, and the entire production team for this. I’m not alone, the audience at the premiere held at the American Museum of Natural History on Monday, April 4th, thought so too.  Tears, yelling, sighs, heavy breathing, and applause. You name it, it happened in that instant.  Bravo. It happened again at the screening on the 9th.
We are reacquainted with an injured Jamie and his dour godfather, Murtagh, as they disembark the ship in France. Jamie is happy to be off as Claire is confessing that she thought she might have to throw him overboard a few times during the crossing.  Here is where I found the set up to be strange (go ahead, strangle me).  We know they filmed with a real ship in the Clyde area of Glasgow.  Now, I’m a 21st century boater and this is from my experience boating – there is VERY little chance that any captain would EVER set up a ramp off the bow of a ship.  Of any size.
The bow is the part of the ship that feels every single movement of the water.  Why they didn’t have the ramp off the port side and onto the quay, I have no idea.  Strange. Weird.  Unrealistic. The midship region has less movement and is less susceptible to rocking, safer for loading and unloading, provides a shorter span, etc.  Let’s not forget that unloading comes from the bilges and they would have to go up more steps to remove goods from the bow. Someone help me out as to a good reason this was done, other than “it’s TV.”  This is the last bit that made me realize I was watching a show and not embodied in the characters so well played by the cast.
Claire is full of suggestions on how to stop the rebellion but Jamie wants to know how to win.  Alas for the lass, she doesna ken how to win.  We see Jamie very uncomfortable, clearly still affected by his pain, both physically and mentally.  Claire tells Jamie that being in France is where they can stop the Prince and that they can ask his cousin Jared to set them up with introductions, since he is a well-connected Jacobite.  So it’s settled, meet Jared and then face the wrath of Murtagh because they refuse to tell him what they are up to…until it is the proper time.
Fast forward to a meeting with Jared, Jamie’s Fraser cousin who is steeped in politics and the wine business.  He, a skeptic Scot in a time of political deviance, doubts Jamie’s desire to meet with the Jacobites in France.  He ends up revealing the 200+ reasons, in the form of his very scarred back, why he has reason to rise up against the [English] King.  Of course he can’t tell Jared why, so this will have to suffice.  They strike a bargain, Jamie squeezes a quarter out of a nickel, leaving Jamie in charge of Jared’s wine business, earning a 35% share of profits, a place to stay, along with a loose promise of backing by the Clan Fraser. Voilà!  Problems solved.
Capture7Until Claire meddles again, that is.  While at the docks at La Havre, she witnesses what appears to be a body being unloaded (from the mid-ship, no less!) from a ship, she decides to investigate.
Capture8Now look at the above photo, it is almost a slack tide, as noted by the wet rack line on the seawall in the background to the left, and the ramp isn’t at a significant slant.  Now look at the next photo:
Capture9Same body being carried off, yet the ramp is at a greater angle.  The last two images are taken from a time when they were filming at a very low tide:
Capture10Oops. A little problem with continuity. Bulkheads and living on the water are my life, so this is very noticeable to me.   Enough of tides, let’s get back to bodies.
Puss filled blisters. Fever. Not a good thing.
Capture11Claire pushes past the seamen to examine the sailor, makes Jamie stay back because she can’t get the pox, which is what she thinks it is.
Capture12Enter le Comte St. Germain, and another body. into the storeroom.  Her proclamation of the smallpox has not gone over well, the port master tells le Comte that his ship must be destroyed, and Claire has made a new enemy.   This is yet another perfect example of Claire completely overstepping her 20th century bounds into the 18th century, not realizing how her actions endanger others, even though she thinks she is helping.  She doesn’t realize the danger she puts herself and others in; however, trouble does seem to find her, she doesn’t always find the trouble.
Le Comte insults the Frasers and he learns that they are related to Jared.  It is quite evident that the actor (Stanley Weber) is a native French speaker, even to my novice ear (I did take French many years ago), making it obvious that Claire, Jamie, and Jared are not native French speakers – it all fits well.   Le Comte swears they will both pay and we see the infamous burning of the ship described in the book come to the screen.  Jamie and Claire exit stage right with le Comte glaring at them.
And that’s a wrap.  What did you think?  Did you think it was a good opener for Starz?  Except for a few things noted, I believe it to be an excellent start to the season.  Gripping, intriguing, suspenseful; all good traits to hook new viewers.   The acting is excellent, the small touches and nuances were superbly done.  Hats off to everyone.
Comment and be entered to win a little something something!
Disclaimer: All views are my own while all images are from Starz.


The Return of Outlander – In All Its Obsessable Glory

This is it Outlander fans, the end of Droughtlander is a mere days away.   Recent photos released by Starz has gotten many to think about how the new season will start, what do you think?  The Puget Sound Sassenachs ran a poll  (join here!) a couple of weeks ago asking when they thought the story would pick up for Season 2.  The overwhelming winners were 1) On the dock where they left off from Season 1,


or 2) With Claire in the hospital bed


What do you think?  I think it is the hospital bed as the opening scene, and this is because during an interview with Diana after SDCC, she mentioned that the season would be starting differently from the book and that we would be seeing a lot more Frank.  So after seeing the trailer with Claire sitting in a hospital bed, that was the first thing that came to mind.  For the record, Diana did not divulge anything, just that that it was different.  For those attending the premiere on April 4th in NYC, you will know the answer soon!  How do you think it will start?  Comment on the blog, and you will be entered to win an Outlander poster (from Season 1).


Starz has recently rolled out a new slogan for their shows – obsessable.  Certainly Outlander in print and television media qualifies as obsessable; and didn’t the show recently win an award for being the most binge-worthy show?  That seems to be about the same as obsessable.  Kudos to Starz for giving us a name for our behavior toward Outlander.  If you’d like to read the article about Starz and the rebranding, click here.

Want more ways to win? Enter the rafflecopter contest to have more ways to win, and don’t forget to tune in on April 9th for the rollout of Outlander – Season2.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vive Les Frasers!

All images from Starz Season 2 Trailer or the Outlander Facebook page.  Edits are my own.

How was your My Peak Challenge Prep #FitnessFebruary?

The month has come and gone, many of you have been going at it in a dedicated fashion, following each video in the My Peak Challenge Prep program.  A great many of you are getting fit on your own.  How has the month treated you?  What were your goals and did you meet them for the month of February?  Are you amending your goals for March?  Post your comments here and you will be entered to win a copy of The Box Magazine with the My Peak Challenge founder, Sam Heughan, on the cover.  Contest is available to fans worldwide.

The Box MagazineEnjoy your work outs and keep tuned for more contests and the opportunity to win more stuff.

Click here to enter!

My Peak Challenge 2016

Photo of The Box Magazine from Erin Conrad, photo of Sam Heughan and the MPC Prep Program 2016 from his own twitter site.

This contest is not endorsed by The Box Magazine or Sam Heughan.  Contest runs through Thursday night, midnight Pacific Time.

Congrats to Amber on Winning the #MyPeakChallenge Prep Contest!

Amber @boadicea23 is the lucky winner of the contest!  Thank you to all who entered, there will be another contest soon to win a copy of The Box magazine with Sam Heughan on the cover.  _________________________________________________________________________

Do you want to win a membership in the My Peak Challenge Program 2016?  If you do, or if you are already in and wish to give it to someone else, read on…

Sam after completion of the LA Marathon, 2015. Photo from S. Heughan's twitter site.

For those who missed it last year, Sam Heughan introduced a concept called My Peak Challenge (MPC), which challenged individuals to select an activity, whatever that person wanted to to, be it losing a few pounds (in some cases, 100 or more!), running a marathon, or bagging a Munro.

Sam Heughan, sitting atop a munro. Sam works closely with John Valbonesi (personal trainer at Fight Camp in Glasgow), who is seen in the My Peak Challenge videos (sign up and you can watch those vids!). Here is a link to more information about the program and to hear Sam talk about it:

MPC 2016

Sam has worked with a team to put together a day-by-day nutrition program and a daily work out program for participants with varying degrees of physical ability.  In the program you will find different techniques for different exercises, in addition being invited into the Facebook group – which in itself provides much support for everyone.

Sam and JohnHalf the entry fee goes to support Sam’s chosen charity, Bloodwise, which provides research for blood cancer.  Click here to learn more about Sam and Amy,  a child with cancer.

How to enter: 1) follow @outmanders on twitter; 2) like and share my FB page; and 3) write a post on what YOUR #mypeakchallenge is or would be.  Click the “rafflecopter giveaway” link below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So, what is your #MyPeakChallenge?  What are you waiting for?  #FitnessFebruary is now!

Disclaimers: This contest is in no way affiliated with The Box Magazine, Sam Heughan, or the administrators of My Peak Challenge Prep Program.  This giveaway has no cash value.  The winner can be from anywhere in the world.  I am solely responsible for this contest.  The winner chosen by the rafflecopter program will be verified (i.e., blog post, following, etc).  If the winner did not complete an entry requirement, s/he will be disqualified.  If the winner is already a participant in the #MyPeakChallenge / #PeakStreak program, s/he may gift it to another person.  The qualified winner will provide me with a current email address and information and I will purchase their entry into the program.  Good luck!  Winner will be notified within 24 hours of the end of the contest.  If the winner does not respond within another 48 hours, another winner may be chosen.  The prize is only for the program and does not include the tee-shirt package offered by Bear Strength.  

Fight Camp Glasgow with John ValbonesiPhotos of Sam Heughan from his social media account or from the MPC social media account.


Celebrating the Announcement of Brianna Casting with a Giveaway!

Congrats to Sherry Riley, next contest coming soon!

It’s Briannuary! It’s a great time to celebrate the end of #BriannaWatch by having a giveaway.  Entrants can win a Daily Outlander Calendar just by 1) following me on twitter; 2) liking and sharing the Outmander Facebook page; and/or 3) leaving a comment here about your favorite Brianna scene in any of the books!

Briannuary! Image from STARZ
Briannuary! Image from STARZ

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fans worldwide can enter to win!
Fans worldwide can enter to win!

Samhain and You

Today is the big day,  some of you have already started the Samhain partying last night, and for others, the evening has already started.

Samhain (pronounced akin to “sow-an”) falls near to the halfway mark of the autumnal equinox (beginning of fall) and the start of winter.  Outlander show fans saw that Claire was flung back in time 202 years when she was too close to the stones at Samhain.  The book readers know this actually happened at Beltain, the end of April.  No matter.  The point being is that she found that she was able to cross into another time through the open portal, standing stones.  Apparently she didn’t heed Mrs. Baird’s wise words.

Sunrise Summer Solstice
Sunrise Summer Solstice

0620151532 0619151501At Clava Cairn

Traditionally, Scots would hold feasts with offerings left outside for the safety and health of livestock throughout the winter.  The feasts  were to allow the souls of the dead to attend with places set for them to have a meal.

Halloween is believed to be a derivative of Samhain, celebrated in the United States and many other countries, on October 31st.  It has turned into a feasting of candy for the bairns and big parties for the older lads and lassies.

What are you doing for Halloween or Samhain?  Tweet me a photo of your costume (any theme) @outmanders for your chance to win a copy of Outlander!  Use #outlandercostume and I’ll collect photos through November 2, 2015.   Entrants will be entered into a random list generator, with the top name receiving a copy of Outlander.  Ten additional entrants will receive a pamphlet synopsis from Toni Graphia’s recent talk in Santa Barbara.

Have fun!  If you live in Washington State, Oregon, or Canada, join us for more fun on Facebook, Puget Sound Sassenachs.  There will be some fun events coming up in the new year.

Video from Episode 1 of Outlander by Starz, photos are my own.

Socialization Effect of Outlander

Have you thought about the many ways Outlander has changed your life, gotten you to join social media (Twitter, IG, Tumblr, etc), or even made you step out of your comfort zone and travel thousands of miles to meet strangers?  Yes, this is one result of Diana Gabaldon’s wildly popular series, beginning with Outlander, chronically the life of Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser.

Diana wrote the Outlander for practice, never intending for it to be seen by the millions of fans and followers it now has.  In a recent conversation (San Diego, July 2015) with Herself, I happened to mention that she has started an empire, to include birthday parties, and events, she stated, ” That is the very odd thing about Outlander, it has been that way from the beginning, it causes these little explosions of creativity and socializations of everything, everywhere.”
What types of events?  Any type of event can turn out to be an Outlander meeting of fans, with or without Diana.  Be it  monthly meetings, hosting the Gaelic Consultant in Seattle,

At Pike Place Market, Seattle, Outlander fans hang with Adhamh O Broin
At Pike Place Market, Seattle, Outlander fans hang with Adhamh O Broin

movies, larger celebrations (Outlandish Gathering in Quebec City), premieres,

Fans rose early to get a tee and roam NYC streets the morning of the mid-season premiere.
Fans rose early to get a tee and roam NYC streets the morning of the mid-season premiere.

San Diego ComicCon, and last but not least, traveling to Scotland with a group of people you’ve never met.

A tour of fans in Scotland, traveling through Glencoe
A tour of fans in Scotland, traveling through Glencoe

Graham McTavish even said, during an interview during the Montreal ComicCon, that Outlander fans “move in packs.”

The next pack gathering will occur on Sunday, August 30th, which is a benefit for Clay Street Table, a charity that one of Diana’s daughter’s supports (read more about Clay Street Table here).

Flier: An Evening with Diana GabaldonLorey Christensen, a fan in Oregon, has donated tee shirt sales monies to Clay Street Table before, but then she I started thinking “big” and thought “why not go to the person who got us started with this charity?”  Lorey says she “wrote to Diana and a few months later she responded with “I’d love to do a charity event for Clay Street Table.” This event promises to donate well over $10k to the charity!”

So she has organized the benefit (with Wendy Hackman as her wing woman) to consist of dinner, a silent auction, Highland dancers, keynote speech by Diana, and a book signing.  All net proceeds will go directly to the Clay Street Table.

Do you live anywhere near Portland?  Tickets for the talk and signing are still available here (the dinner is sold out), the price is $55 per ticket.

Can’t make it to Portland?  Consider purchasing a ticket “just because” to support the charity.   The organizers and patrons of Clay Street Table will be very pleased with any support.

There will no doubt be hundreds more gatherings, shaped by fans from all over the world.  The most important factor of each and every gathering, and I’ve been to many, is our collective love of Claire, her story, and of course, Diana herself.

Bracelets, pictures, and a Jamie & Claire mug from Castle Doune signed by Diana.
Bracelets, pictures, and a Jamie & Claire mug from Castle Doune signed by Diana.

Special thanks to Diana for her time spent with me in San Diego, which is where her quote is from.  More to follow!