Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I met Diana - and I liked it!

Yes, Outlander fans, it's true!  I finally got my wish and met Diana Gabaldon, author extraordinaire of my favorite books ever! I'm still high on the excitement of this past weekend when I flew to Phoenix from New Jersey and attended The Poisoned Pen Conference at the Arizona Biltmore Resort.  Many authors were in attendance, and I got to meet the legendary Diana Gabaldon, who is the most gracious and charming woman. She must face slews of adoring fans who can barely form a sentence in her presence (such as moi!)  What patience and she is so lovely and serene in the midst of it!  I was tongue tied and flabbergasted when I first saw her, and my oldest sister dragged me over to Diana, who was quietly seated beside her husband on the end of a row.  She had told Diana that I was hyperventilating while I was dithering about whether to go over to her or not. I really wasn't hyperventilating - but you know how older sisters can be!  I just didn't want to impose! We chit-chatted briefly, I had my picture taken with her, as did my sister who had just read Outlander for the first time and is now hooked!  I hardly knew what I was saying I was so flustered and my heart was beating like crazy and I can barely recall what we talked about, but I must have sounded like such an idiot!  One thing I do recall is after I recounted my sad story about missing out on seeing her at the The National Book Festival in Washington, DC after A Breath of Snow and Ashes came out, she told me that she will be there this year in September right at the launch of The Exile, the Outlander graphic novel that's coming out!  I told her I'm driving down this time, not counting on Amtrak (the trains weren't running that day, long story.)

Then later on that evening, Diana signed books (I got a copy of the very green Echo in the Bone with The Exile preview in the back) and then she left early since she's still recovering from her knee surgery and she was so wonderful to even come to this event! All I can say is wow - she's amazing! I met her! I shook hands with her! *giggles* I'm still giddy just thinking about it!  Plus, there were hardly any people around - it was such a tiny little conference! No waiting forever in line, I just was dragged walked up to her!

Now, you're probably wondering how can anyone stand so much excitement in one weekend, and that's not even all that happened! Earlier that weekend, I attended a Georgette Heyer themed tea which was sponsored by The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale.  The tea was led by two wonderful authors who I spent a lot of time with the whole weekend!

Lauren Willig, author of another one of my favorite series, known as The Pink Carnation Series was simply adorable and we talked and talked about her characters and future plotlines and books we've read and it was just great hob nobbing with a real live author!  She's an expert on Regency England and was the co-leader of the Heyer Discussion which was intimate and lively, only about 8 other women were guests at the tea and it was lovely.  Her co-leader was another talented author, Stephanie Barron who writes a well known Jane Austen detective series and some very interesting historical novels with a mystery side to them as well as several other crime novels under the name of Francine Matthews.   In anticipation of meeting Stephanie, I began reading her first Jane detective novel, which I'm still reading and loving it!  Stephanie wound up riding back to the hotel with us and she became a friend too, discussing Jane Austen, fanfiction, the ebook phenomenon and publishing - all in the back seat! We kept running into her all weekend!  It was so funny because she and Lauren led another lecture later on that weekend too, so we were all hanging around together! Really, we were NOT stalking them!  Of course I have pictures!

Here I am in the middle with Lauren Willig on the right and my dear friend and blogging buddy, Joanne from Slice of Life.  I can't say enough kind words about Joanne and how great it was to meet her for the first time - we are sympatico when it comes to books and it was a pleasure to meet her and her friend Cindy who came from New Orleans.  Thank God they had cameras, for all the pictures come from Cindy and Joanne! I was so giddy the whole time all I had was my crappy cell phone camera which is worthless indoors!  In any event, I am eternally grateful to both of them for having the good sense to bring a real camera!

Here is another picture of me with Stephanie Barron and my sister, Cathy on the right.  I'm looking starry eyed post Diana.  We all bought a copy of Stephanie's historical fiction novel, The White Garden which centers around the death of Virginia Woolf and what really happened to her during those three weeks before they found her body.  It's not what everyone thinks!  It sounded fascinating and clever when Stephanie was describing it, so we snatched it up and wouldn't dare let her go without signing our copies!  Another gracious and extremely intelligent woman - all the women we met were so friendly and incredibly knowlegable!  I loved every minute and all the book talking - I was in heaven! These people speak my language!

Now it's back to real life, but I have the best memories.  The Arizona Biltmore was a gorgeous resort, the landscaping and grounds were amazing!  On a funny note, the entire time we were there, there was a huge Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority Convention going on - they were everywhere!  It was almost surreal!

The major highlights of the weekend were getting to see my two sisters who live far away from me, laughing and catching up with them and letting them see first hand what my "other life" is like concerning books and romances and the wonderful world of Outlander.  Plus, it was great to meet and hang out with Joanne and talk books non-stop as well as all sorts of things! It was all incredibly special, particularly meeting Diana, Lauren and Stephanie - an unforgettable weekend! 

23 comments:

Patti said...

Sounds like you had the Best Weekend Ever!!! So excited you got to meet Diana G - your sister sounds like a wonderful woman ;)

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Patti, I DID have the best weekend ever! I don't know how it can ever be topped - it was amazing!!

Scorpio M. said...

I love your write-up, your joy is simply overflowing. Totally cool! :)

*Hangs head in shame*
I have a copy of Outlander but have not read it yet. I know, I know...I'm crazy & missing out.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Scorpio - you have GOT to read it!!! No shame in it, but you'll kick yourself for waiting so long when you finally do! Welcome! :)

Cannelle said...

Oh Wow! How wonderful! I am an Outlander fan and follow your blog to check out your latest recommendations. I can't imagine how exciting it was to meet the great Diana Gabaldon as well as the other authors! I am so happy for you!

Erotic Horizon said...

Julie you are such a fan girl and I am so pleased you got to meet one of your favourite authors...

You make me laugh out loud with this post...

All the best for the next journey out to meet up with her..

E.H>

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Cannelle - thank you for commenting! I'm heartened to know you follow my recommendations! I hope you've liked them! :)

EH - I AM a fangirl - and proud of it! LOL! Meeting Diana beat out meeting Colin Firth!

Daphne said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time. How cool to meet one of your favorite authors!

JennJ said...

Hi there hon Oh this is awesome!!!!!!!! I am so glad you got to meet her! She is a sweetie isn't she and so funny! I know exactly what you mean I was the same way when I met her last year it's hard to think of what to say when your meet one of your faves isn't it! Thanks for sharing your experience Julie! :)

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Daphne - totally cool! Plus, it was so much fun!

JennJ - She is very nice, and I stress gracious and patient. I was just blathering on and on about dumb things, I wish I had had some good questions prepared to ask her about the books - I was such a dummy and didn't think of a single question to ask about her actual books! I was in awe in herself's presence!

Danielle87 said...

Oh. My. Jamie!
You met Diana Gabaldon! ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
SO jealous!

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Danielle - thanks, I must admit, I'd be jealous if I read this too! LOL! No, really, I can't get over how wonderful a trip it was - exceeded all my expectations!

Blodeuedd said...

How cool :D I am glad you got to meet her

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Blodeuedd, thanks!

Erotic Horizon said...

Meeting Diana beat out meeting Colin Firth

Heresy...

I hope Mr Firth agent isn't reading this...

E.H>

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

"Heresy...

I hope Mr Firth agent isn't reading this..."

Believe me, my CF moment wasn't nearly as wonderful! Although I was terribly shy and embarrased - again! I did get to shake his hand and have my picture taken with him though - and got on TV on the Today Show!

Cathy said...

Love Lauren Willig and of course Diana Gagaldon. What a great weekend you had!

Joanne said...

Colin Firth.....you met Colin Firth????? We didn't talk about that! LOL Had an absolutely wonderful time meeting you and your adorable sister, Cathy! I'm so glad you were there to share it with me, as only you can truly understand what an extraordinary experience it was! How are we ever gonna top that?!

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Cathy - it sure was wonderful - I'll cherish the memories!

Joanne - I can't believe I never mentioned my CF moment. I had a HUGE crush on him at the height of my Mr. Darcy mania. Then when The Edge of Reason came out (awful movie - such a disappointemnt compared to the first Bridget) he came to NY and was on the Today Show. I went there to see him in the crowd and met him and it was... okay. It cured me! Katie Curic pointed us out during her interview with him because we were holding a sign that said "We love you Colin... just the way you are." and we waved to the camera, if you google Today Show Colin Firth, you'll see me on the left, I was on national TV! LOL! I was such a Darcy nut! Jamie Fraser cured me of it all and I became a Highlander nut after that.

Marie-Thérèse said...

This was such a delightful post to read! Your enthusiasm is contagious. So contagious I might even have to pick up 'Outlander' someday ;-)

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Marie-Thérèse - I can't believe you haven't read it yet! Oh, you must! It is so good, it's what got me hooked on romances eventually, while waiting for Diana's next book to come out. It takes her about 4 years to write an Outlander book - but worth waiting for! I've still yet to find a romance or any fiction that has captured my fancy as much as these books, well written, a romantic storyline, adventure, historically accurate, a fabulous hero and heroine - it's got everything!

Karen Henry said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time! I got to meet Diana in person at a signing in Columbia, MD, last September, right after ECHO came out. It was a WONDERFUL experience. Such a thrill to meet her at long last!

I would like to invite any OUTLANDER fans here to check out my blog, Outlandish Observations. I try to keep it as up to date as possible with all the OUTLANDER-related news and information.

You're also welcome to come join us on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community, which is the online community where Diana Gabaldon hangs out. (I'm Section Leader in Diana's section of the Compuserve forum.) Diana enjoys hearing from her readers and fans, so please don't hesitate to post there if you have a question or a comment about anything OUTLANDER-related.

Karen

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Karen, thanks for stopping by! I can attest that Karen's website is wonderful for the latest news on Diana and her books and any kind of fun facts and related Outlander sites, it's really a worthwhile site, you've done a great job with it, Karen, and I'm glad it's gained such a following!

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