Outlander Casting, Audiobooks, and Candy

It’s October.

That means that eating peanut butter cups every day isn’t just fun, it’s patriotic. I consider it my solemn duty to support the United States economy by consuming as much candy as possible in and around holidays where gorging on chocolate is perfectly acceptable. Did you know that Reese’s has a peanut butter cup the size of a manhole cover? It’s true. They weigh a pound. Before anyone asks, YES I have a source and YES I will be eating them, quietly in my car why I think about my life and where it’s going but it’s so good and I think I can finish before–


So, Outlander announced a few tidbits, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. First, they’re giving us EVEN more Culodden– which really makes sense, as the event is nothing short of apocalyptic for Claire, Jamie, and the wider world they inhabit. Some of the images are nothing short of emotional terrorism. The mood, the lighting– it’s all there.

Let me tell you– there’s nothing glorious in the dead. That image captures the desolation of the Scottish way of life, and what must be an utter horror show in Claire’s heart as she walks the killing grounds. I love the books, but the visual nature of this upcoming season will, for me, clinch this series as among my all-time favorites. To sum up: expect me to unleash my Inner Basic White Girl next season. I’ll more or less react as follows:

Another thing. Am I the only one who feels a deep sense of anger at the British Empire in general after I watch this show? I think the Queen is likely a delightful lady. Kate’s lovely, the kid are predictably cute, but reading and watching about how the Scots were gutted leaves me simmering with righteous indignation. It speaks to the power of the story and show that I can feel like I need to go back in time and personally vanquish the redcoats and their empire.

Bonus for inclusion of my manatee meme.

A few more days until Heartborn comes out in audio. Julia Whelan is unreal. Here’s her official bio:

Julia Whelan has appeared in many films and television series, most notably ABC’s Once And Again. After receiving a degree in English and Creative Writing at Middlebury College and Oxford University, Julia began narrating audiobooks. She’s recorded hundreds of novels across all genres and has received multiple Earphones and Audie Awards. She is repeatedly named one of Audiofile Magazine’s Best Voices and was Audible’s Narrator of the Year.

And, meet Julia:

So, if you’d love to hear a book come to life, I can help you out. Heartborn goes live at Audible this week.

Time to write. And maybe eat candy. All at once.


Outlander Finale: Gutted.


I ran out of superlatives about thirty minutes into the episode, and didn’t really process everything until some time later. The key to Outlander is making fictional people as real as the historical figures they’re surrounded by.

Case in point: Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Survey says– throat punch. Good Lord, how did someone like that ever aspire to be anything other than a professional coward? Kudos to Andrew Gower for taking a role playing someone so reviled.

And– lest I forget to give credit where it’s due– 

I was on the fence about Sophie Skelton as Brianna. After watching her performance ( and that of Roger Mac, too) I’m all in. Additional fun fact: I was born in 1968, and up until this episode,  I sort of thought people in the 60’s were hairy, kind of stinky, and prone to odd rebellion. It’s delightful to see then characterized as civilized people who enjoy whiskey, soap, and tweed. I was even able to get over her rather normal height of 5’8″.

So, I teach history, and maybe that’s why Outlander has such an emotional punch. I mean, I’m a middle-aged male, I don’t cry during movies, unless it’s Patton or Midway or maybe Godzilla once but dammit that was sad wen I thought he was dead and–

Never mind, the point is that Outlander has an enormous emotional wallop. It seems to be populated with people that I might actually know, despite them being Scottish, and born before me, and wholly fictional. That’s the beauty of it. Outlander also reinforces some stereotypes that, while unfair, certainly do make sense when we see them on camera.

Also, it’s really difficult not to paint the entire United Kingdom as a giant bowl of dicks. They really had a way with people for the past thousand years or so, didn’t they? The windswept heartbreak of Culloden in the modern shots with Claire are haunting– I think that Cait’s acting was supreme. How could you not cry telling the life story of your one true love while on the bones of real people who died screaming in cannon fire? 

For the hundredth time: glad I’m not an actor. 

I’d have to run naked and scream for a week to get rid of the psychic stain of that performance, and in turn, would scar any number of people who saw me naked and screaming. It’s a vicious cycle, people, and I won’t let it happen.

So, now we wait, right? Sigh. Yeah, that’s what I thought. 

I’m going to go write another book or two. I’ve got three planned for this year, three for next. That means I can run and re-listen to the excellent performance of Davina Porter in the Outlander audiobooks. If you haven’t listened, you don’t know what you’re missing!

Have you gotten my newest in the Halfway Witchy series? Why not? How am I going to pay for my giraffe? Get it here!

Help Terry Get His Giraffe, And Stuff.

See you in a week or so with the new cover! I’ve got a new series this September, and I love the characters. The tagline: “Her guardian angel didn’t fall. He was pushed.” Interested? 


Outlander: No memes. No jokes this week.

What I learned this week:
1. Cait won the Emmy.
2. That episode makes everyone reconsider their own (often painful) history.

I wrote this in 1998 after we lost a child. Hope it holds up over time.

His physician’s coat rustles
as he leaves-
 the door glides shut, to leave my wife
and I alone with the fluorescent hum
of the lights, a cold steel table
and our sadness.
Our spirits as empty as her womb
her shuffle is tender,
towards the door
to the car
each step normal
just like my stop at the nurse.
Her smile is pasty
she hands me my son in a bag.
On the ride home, I stare at his face
hoping he fogs the plastic
but the bag is as still as the air in the car.
We walk, the yard is frosty
she watches me from the window
as I stop near the hickory
and start to dig.
The pit (grave) is tiny
and the walls collapse
on his face.
Bones pull hardest
when they are small.
The walk back to the house is long.
Summers later, we lay rigid
next to each other
the fear of each furtive union causing wonder:
Will I dig again?

Shaglander: Brazilian Edition!

Oh hey cool we get to see Jamie and Claire making mad passionate love isn’t that wonderful yeah cool I thought so too hey what could possibly go wrong I mean after all we were–

Well, then. Ewww. With all due respect to Black Jack, if you’re going to be on the bottom, make an effort not be so. . .sweaty. No one wants to hump a dirty gym sock, unless you’re a teenage boy.
Moving on.

There are some truly great moments in this episode. Claire meeting Master Raymond is certainly one of them. He’s squat, and charming, and quirky. He calls her Madonna and it’s rather charming. Oh, and– toldja– the crocodile was there in the shop. Boom.

Despite the homicidal dream state of Jamie, witchcraft, and general intrigue, this concludes the normal portion of our show. Prepare for things to get really, really French.

Louise de Rohan (she of the shorn hoohah) is an immediate dose of hilarity. From the mincing Turkish spa technician to the horror of poor Mary Hawkins, everything about the scene made me laugh. It also sets up some truly interesting cultural explorations on the part of the Frasers later on. More on that in a moment.

Let’s meet the least likable person in France, shall we?

Good Lawd. What a whining, prissy milksop. And this clown wants to lead men into battle? I wouldn’t trust him to lead a Dachshund to go poop on a lawn. Oh, and speaking of poop– never mind. We’ll get to it later. Let’s return to the side effects of Claire visiting Louise de Rohan. Yes, she is going to Versailles, and yes, that means Jamie can go. But it also has an immediate effect on, ahh, more delicate matters. It seems Claire has embraced the concept of a less furry body, and Jamie is left to rediscover her– help me out, here, did he say honeypot?

After all, when in France, right?

Okay, so we’re off to court. It’s the ROYAL COURT OF FRANCE. The king himself! Drama! Gowns! Intrigue! 

I sure hope things don’t get weird or anything.

Phew. That was close. So, eat your parritch, kids, or you might be on the throne in front of several dozen people who are supposed to kiss your ring, and won’t that be awkward.

As stunning and sumptuous as court appears (and kudos to the set design!), I’d be a damned fool if I didn’t revisit the idea that Claire’s red dress is, like Cait, a force of nature. No meme necessary, the image speaks for itself.

It’s almost like she was a model or something. So, there’s a ton of visual candy during the court scene, and it’s actually vivid enough to warrant watching more than once, if only to catch details upon details. The background is as vibrant as the characters themselves. I’d like to take this opportunity to engage in a complicated exegesis about French court life as a whole. In essence, one can deduce that–


Well then. Now that things went from “stylishly elegant” to “dungeon sodomy” with a single phrase, I guess we’ll all never sleep again. Sort of like if you lived in a clown camp.

A quick hello to all of our new friends– all 12,000 of you! It’s been quite a week; there’s news to be shared in a variety of areas. Also, share with a friend or three, won’t you?

1. We found the cover model for Heartborn, my YA Paranormal for this September, and she’s perfect. Alexandra is the perfect blend of personalities to play Livvy. I’ll introduce her next week.
2. The blurb for Halfway Hunted is online! Check it out here: Some Prey Bites Back: Halfway Hunted

3. We’re giving away 12,000 books this month!!! If you love it, won’t you leave a review? Look in your newsletter for the free book, as well as info on the next jewelry giveaway. You can sign up here if you’d like an occasional email. News. Fun. Freebies.

Until next week, thanks for stopping by.




That is, for my money, the most story-packed hour of television I’ve ever seen. I had to watch it in two sittings. 

*side note: I started running again (it’s Springtime) so I take baths because I’m old. This is how my conversation with wife went:

Me: I’m taking a bath and watching Outlander on my Kindle.

Wife: God, you’re a woman.

Me: Are we out of eucalyptus scented Epsom salts? What are we, animals?

Wife: . . . .

Anyhoo, what a start. First, can we agree that Tobias wrapped up an Emmy with his performance? Stunning. He was a perfect blend of Frank and then the echo of Black Jack. It was unsettling to see.

And then we can move along- OH BY THE WAY—

So, bombshell bombshell bombshell— *cleverhandshotandboom* We’re in France.

Good gravy, that was a lot of stuff. But it was excellent, and the fear and washed out colors really lend a vision of what’s to come between now and A.C. (After Culloden).

So, if you didn’t care for the sneering contempt of the British, you’re going to hate the Old World charm of the French. Claire and Jamie are immediately thrust into the kind of money-grubbing political intrigue that can only come from some kind of natural disaster. In this case, it’s Claire who brings it about by her refusal to ignore the presence of smallpox in a crew that has come ashore. Naturally, she steps in to help, but it doesn’t go well.

Which brings us to the first of what I will be calling Le Grande Poofy Wigs, none other than the Comte Saint Germain. 

What a prick. But, he’s going to be an excellent villain. Isn’t that word French, anyway? Right.

And, a quick word about Cait: She’s lovely, and the character grows with each scene.

Now then, since the bulk of my readers are female, I shall address something which you might have noticed.

There are four starring roles in this episode, and they are:

1. Tobias in his fractured, hopeful glory.

2. Cait’s neck and doe-like eyes.

3. Mrs. Graham’s capped teeth.

4. And finally—

So! We’re off to see the king and all that French stuff next week. I for one can’t WAIT to meet Master Raymond (will there be an ACTUAL stuffed crocodile?). 

To new friends, if you haven’t supported my giraffe fund (it’s not rescue, I’d just sorta like to have a herd of giraffes), you can do so here:

Halfway Bitten

Until next week,


Springtime: Outlander, Tornadoes. and Tomatoes.

Happy Spring, Humans.

If you’re north of Florida, then you too are awaiting the arrival of Spring. Here in Tennessee, we kick off the season right: 

We don’t have “rain”, we have sirens. So, in the midst of a month or so in which we dive for cover now and then, I’ll be doing the same things I do every year.

1. Debate putting tomato plants out too early, in which they’re turned in green mush by a passing storm.

2. Endure angst by not putting my tomato plants out, which causes me to go extra days without home grown tomatoes. I prepare my body carefully for what I like to call Tomatogeddon. I don’t like to wait.

3.Bless the heavens for HBO and Starz. See, as a football fan, the spring is a troubling time. Do I respect gymnasts, golfers, and figure skaters? YES. They’re skilled people doing superhuman things. What they are not is my college football team, and waiting until late August to see them kick the snot out of someone isn’t acceptable. So I need something to occupy me when I’m not teaching, running, or writing.
Therefore, I need HBO (Game of Thrones) and Starz (Outlander) in order to maintain my sanity through the Spring doldrums, so to speak.

Now, about Outlander. They’re going to Paris this season, and we get to see the next chapter, featuring political intrigue on a massive scale. This is where Jamie and Claire will try to subvert the efforts of one of the most unlikable characters I’ve ever read.

Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Gawd, what a prig. He bitches about women, and hunting, and his throne, and his clothes, and money, and he does it all in a powdered wig. He’s the definition of spoiled, and his actions are going to kill a lot of innocent people. So, yeah, He’s an asshole.

However, this is also the season that brings us, for my money, the most important characters in that they’re going to create the Jamie and Claire of the future. 

But first, for the female fans of Outlander, this public service announcement:

Moving on. 

I love Master Raymond. He’s interesting, and looks sort of froglike, and where will they ever find a French actor who can–

But of course. Vive le France.

Now, I want you to envision that you’re in high school, and you’re considering going to your Prom. Imagine that Outlander Season Two is on air. Ladies, I present to you the most popular prom dress in history, if that scenario played out: 

Or third. Sam’s a good looking dude, and they are, after all, in France.

Less than a month, now. How are you all holding out?

Also, newest Halfway book will be on sale next week, or just get it now and fund my Giraffe Money Account. You know you want to.

Get it here.
Cheers for now– check back next week, new blog, new giveaway, and I’ll be signing books in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nashville next month. Hope to see you at one of the events. Find out where I’ll be here: Book Signings and Shenanigans



The Expanse, Outlander Casting News, and Christmas.

Hey Friends!

Last night was the kickoff episode of SyFy’s Big Grownup Show In Space, The Expanse. A little background: it’s a series of novels written by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (Under the pen name James S.A. Corey). It’s relatively near future space opera that highlights some immutable truths: humans will still find ways to screw each other regardless of where we’re living, be it Earth, the moons of Jupiter, or a barren space station in between. The novels are good, and were clearly workshopped with script uses in mind. Sometimes that’s a detraction from the quality of the story, but not here.

Highlights of the first episode include Thomas Jane as a space cop with a skrillex haircut (apparently, that’s still a thing) and Steven Strait as Jim Holden. A note about Steven: the guy grew up. At some point between the iffy 10000 BC and now, he became a lot more legitimate as a leading man. An other point in his favor (or perhaps the director’s) is that he speaks slowly enough to indicate the deliberate, honorable pitch of his character. Holden, who goes on to form a familial bond with three other characters (all of whom are well cast) is going to be noting less than a galactic lynchpin of honor and action. So to the producers, well done.

It should also be noted that because the authors massaged their narrative into a grittier reality of who would be in space, there don’t seem to be any throwaways among the cast. Even the drug addled Belter girl in one critical scene caries her weight easily. Belters are lanky, half-starved looking victims of low gravity life– their political actions become obvious later– who act as a sad reminder that even under the control of the UN, earth is more than willing to screw people in the name of profit. It pleased me to see that a unified, idealistic future would have the human elements of rapacity and violence. The Belters and their political wing, the OPA, are set up as an excellent foil for the story arc, as is the avaricious, dangerous leader of earth, Chrisjen Avasarala, who proves that even grandmothers can be horrible people. I think that Gia, seen below, will be a rare example of adding something to the mix with minor characters. Let’s face it, space is empty but The Expanse is crowded with an array of humans who all have their own agendas. It makes for a great possibility.

The next episode (tonight) will prove if the producers are connecting with the material. As far as casting goes, it appears to be spot on. If they can resist the need to sanitize what should be an absolute mess of a universe, then this series has a chance. If they fall prey to the need for a narrative that “fits” within some mythological parameter, then we’ll endure another Dresden Files in which something beautiful was turned into, well, the Dresden Files.

So, about Outlander. Roger Watch has ended! In case you were drugged and sleeping yesterday, meet Rik Rankin, who will be Roger MacKenzie, a.k.a. The Thrush. Kudos to the team who said, “Let’s get someone who looks like Roger, but sings as well.” The guy can sing. Here’s something I found that demonstrates to all of Outlander fandom that the right actor is in the right place. Well done!
Roger Mac Sings!

Richard looks like Roger, to me. I think it’s a home run addition to what is proving to be one of those casts that people will talk about for fifty years.

Take that, y’all. Now– and I say this as a fan– if they screw up the selection of Bree, there will be nothing short of riots in the streets. Seriously. I haven’t seen this kind of pressure on a production staff in some time. Let’s see what happens before we march, eh?

I’ll be busy with Christmas and family fun for the next ten days, I hope that your holiday is warm and bright. It’s been a wonderful year, and thanks for all of the emails, moderate threats, occasional compliments, and fun. New book will be out in late January, along with a new audiobook or two. It’s going to be a great 2016. I’ll have some signed paperbacks as New Year’s Gifts– stop by at the next post to get in on the giveaway.

Until then, cheers!


How To Ruin Outlander: A Primer

Let’s talk about the formula for genius. 

1) It isn’t a formula.

2) Diana Gabaldon’s genius rests in her dialogue.

3) Claire and Jamie’s relationship is deepened through dialogue.

Another bit of uncomfortable math:

There are thousands of good books. There are few great ones. The distinction between good and great can be a whisper. Removing the brilliance of an author to satisfy a creative arrogance is dangerously irresponsible.

While I’m appreciative of Ron Moore’s commitment to Outlander, he is, in my opinion, tempting fate by inserting his own personal experiences into the narrative. In lieu of Jamie and Claire, we’re getting too much Ron and Terry. I also have the suspicion that his well deserved fascination with Tobias Menzies is going to reshape the arc of the books.

The Outlander Series can be one for the ages– If Ron lets Diana be heard in her own universe.

I Dun Been Kilted: Where Erections Go To Die

Well, that was unpleasant.

Think of a stranger approaching you  and saying, “In six days, I’m going to hit you with a metaphoric train, but the train will be naked, oiled with lavender, and buggering you. But in a lovingly gross manner.”

That’s sort of what just happened. Aside from wearing a dress one Halloween (okay, maybe three, and I’ve never felt prettier), I don’t have a great deal of experience with being a feminine object of desire. Jack Randall’s obsession with the physical nature of Jamie transcends gender, and it’s even worse than I’d imagined. He wants him as a thing, not a human, and it violates every principle we hold dear in a relationship between two people.

There are additional elements to this little horror story, one of which is the brooding stench of that rat-addled shithole the English call a prison. It’s cloistered and grotesque, and it made the entire byplay of Jamie’s torture even more believable. If you don’t hate English justice after this episode, you might be into the rough stuff. Just sayin’.

One of the reasons this episode made my skin crawl (emphasis on the one) is the nature of Jamie’s violation. Ask yourself this question: what is the most egregious thing that happened in that hour? Is the the psychological torture? The rape? The manner of the rape? What about the dereliction of duty by a supposed officer of the Crown? What about the other men in command at Wentworth?
There are many bad players here. The implied element of the rape scenes– such as Jamie’s bloody mouth– are layers of stink on a already vile process. I cannot fathom the effort necessary for Sam to allow himself to be treated in that manner. Tobias is, by all accounts, a nice guy. Imagine being asked to sodomize someone on camera, but, you know– just pretend. That’s a heluva way to make a paycheck. You’ve got to have some fairly stern metal in your spine to walk away from days of shooting such a scene and not be permanently altered.

There’s another issue about violation that might be even more squeamish. What is the most invasive manner of rape? I suspect that the answer is quite different for men and women. This episode, if you could actually watch it, makes one confront three or four types of terror; each act is a litmus test for what our own personal fears might be. Depending on your own personal demons, I suspect that once again, we all have a different opinion about what incident resonated as the worst. Ask your spouse/partner/bestie what made their stomach turn, and you get a window into their own strengths and weaknesses. That’s the mark of cinema that transcends torture porn, and becomes a commentary on the relationship between humans.

Now, on a lighter note, many Outmanders have reveled in our own eye candy– notably Cait and Laura ( with apologies to both actresses and their lovely genetic makeup)– but thanks to the blending of Claire’s face with Jack and his creepy ass long hair, I suspect that our appetites for Claire have been, ahh, limited, at least temporarily.

So, while the ladies of the fanbase can move on, it will be some time before Outmanders can, as we say, return to our previously scheduled programming.

My sincere apologies for milking that joke. I know both talented actresses would be stiff with rage at such a cheapening of their talent– and I say that with complete honesty. In no way should this complete be viewed as stroking their egos.

I have some other issues to address, but that will require another blog, so until next week, here is your assignment:

1) Avoid all dungeons.

2) Avoid all psychotic sadists with hair like a 1970s arena rocker.

3) Do not enter even glance at any lavender based products.

4) Don’t put stuff up your butt while someone tells you they only want what’s best for you and if you loved them it would be okay and why won’t you kiss me back, Jamie? Or something like that.

Cheers for now! 


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I Dun Been Kilted: A Hole In Juan

So, here we are at the cusp of the gruesome, raw, beautiful end. My wishes are quite simple, but my hopes are– well, there are reservations.

I am hoping for a Hole in Juan. The Juan of course being that thoroughgoing bastard  of a velveteen demon,  Jonathan Wolverton Randall. 

But Black Jack is a slippery wee bastard. I know that there will be need of more than one set o’ horns, so to speak.

But dammit if I haven’t read, listened to (God bless the golden pipes of Davina Porter) and re-read the books. Therefore, my actual hopes are somewhat more pedestrian:

Now then, a couple items of fun coming up.

1) Bangles. Jewelry. A giveaway of both. Freebies for my readers. Color themed to my new paranormal series “Halfway Dead”. What do you think? Here is the cover, and the bangles:

So, lots of purple and such. 

And a second set, with moons and waffles (really!) based on this second bit of art:

Stop by for a look, wont you? Books. Stories. Tales.