Monday, May 21, 2018

Outlander - 'The Fans Who Make It' - Series by Roma Sars



Hello everyone! (From Roma Sars on "My Outlander Friends" on Facebook)



As a member of the Outlander fandom, I have visited many websites and blogs by fans who interview the actors, production staff and others involved with the making of the Outlander series.
I have also seen fans collect tens of thousands of dollars for the charities of their favourite actors, as well as fans making the most beautiful art and videos, all dedicated to the Outlander story.

What motivates the fans do this? Why have some of them devoted the best part of their days to the Outlander story?
So far, no-one has interviewed these fans who are behind these websites, blogs and twitter handles, some of them with thousands of followers.

So, I thought that I should be the one to do that, and I have approached some of them and found them conducive to do interviews.
In doing so, I hope to understand this obsession which has taken a hold of me ever since I discovered the Outlander story in 2015.

This will be the start of my “Outlander- the fans who make it” series of interviews.
I hope you will like what I will post, as I am sure I am going to enjoy doing it.


(This interview has been conducted by Roma Sars of, My Outlander Friends!)


My next interview in the “Outlander- the fans who make it” series is with Karen Jeanne (@purpleiris13) who, along with Summer (@SummerPic) make amazing Poptoons and Videos of the Outlander show and posts them to Twitter, for all of us to enjoy.  Karen Jeanne and Summer decided that it should be Karen Jeanne who does the interview for the both of them.

I have not had the pleasure of meeting either of the ladies, but I have enjoyed their art and humour very much in the past few years.

Please tell us about yourself.
The basic facts are pretty boring—I’m married to my college sweetheart, have two adult children, and have always either been an actress, a director, or a teacher of theatre, film, and writing at the high school and college level. I come from a family of genius mathematicians and engineers, and I’m the black sheep. About 15 years ago, along with a few other like-minded teachers and administrators, I started a charter high school for at-risk kids. High school can be a misery if you feel like you don’t fit in, and lots of teenagers feel like they don’t fit in. The problem is the school---not the kid. But I digress…


What made you and Summer start the POPtoons and videos, and can you tell us a little bit about that?
We were in the middle of the second Droughtander---the insanely long one between Season 1 and 2. We were all just trying to amuse ourselves and kill time, so I got interested in making memes and begged @Bouton_Barks, who is a master of the art, to teach us some meme-making skills. I was making some rather pathetic edits, with speech bubbles, when I noticed Summer creating these fake Funko Pop versions of the Outlander characters, using Photoshop. I thought her work was fantastic, and the little dolls with big heads and no mouths were hilarious, so I started to use her pops and add titles and speech bubbles, with the intent of making her laugh. That was always the goal for me---cracking Summer up. We became creative partners. Summer does the art, and I do the writing. At first, we were just putting Outlander character pop dolls, with titles and captions on Twitter, and tagging the actors who played the characters. The actual scenes came later. We didn’t just use the pop characters; longtime Outlander fans might remember the barnyard series, with Shaun the Sheep-style animals. Many of these included the Outlander characters, or actors in key roles, and that’s where we began to refine our style. Eventually, we were churning out recaps, previews, bloopers, highlights, spinoff series ideas, reviews--anything that struck our funny bones. Most of the time, I would get some idea for a scene and toss it around with Summer. She’d create the art, we’d make a few changes, and then I would write the titles, captions and speech bubbles. If I made her laugh, the scene was a winner, and I would tweet it. At the height of our creative powers I was probably tweeting 4-5 poptoons a week. And then Summer began making these complete music VIDEOS with pop characters that moved…!

It’s a rush when the actors or crew notice, like or retweet one of our poptoons. Diana has been wonderful; she has retweeted (and even ROFL’ed to) dozens of poptoons, and several of Summer’s videos over the last couple of years, and is probably getting sick and tired of seeing those big heads. Rik has been the most enthusiastic audience; he tweets back and has told us several times that he loves the poptoons. Sam has liked and retweeted a few poptoons and videos. But the fans have been the best audience of all.


How much time do you spend every day on Outlander?
Not as much as I used to! My family is very grateful.


What do you like most about the Outlander books and show?
I’ve read all the books, including the first Outlander Companion, the graphic novel, all the Lord John Grey novellas and books, and the other Outlander-related novellas. I’m working on the Outlander Companion Volume 2 and rereading Drums of Autumn. It sounds like that’s the only thing I read---but it’s not. I am a voracious reader; I always have at least two (and often three) books at hand. But I’m compelled to say that nothing else I’ve read has engaged my attention and my heart over time the way the Outlander books have done. I’ve reread some of them so many times, that I can quote whole sections.

I think we are very, VERY lucky to have a TV series based on the books. God bless Ron, Maril, Matt, and Toni for taking on this mammoth project and putting up with fan feedback. Unless you have adapted a popular multi-character book series, that sprawls over several countries, hundreds of locations, and two different centuries, you have no idea what these folks are accomplishing. You will never hear complaints from me about what’s been left out or altered; I can fill in with the books anytime I want the complete story and my own vision of events.



Which character in Outlander is your favourite?
Besides Jamie? William. Seriously. I love that kid. He is very much what I imagine Jamie to be like as a young boy and teenager, especially if Jamie found out that everyone had been lying to him for years about his parentage. I have always had a soft spot for the at-risk kids. I can’t wait to do poptoons for him.

Is this the first fandom you are a member of?
Yes. Well, wait, that’s not completely true. I was a huge fan of The Monkees. I spent hundreds of dollars on fan magazines like Tiger Beat and papered my walls with photos that I cut from the magazine pages. (Before Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, obviously.)


What made you decide to join this fandom, rather than any other one?
I read all the books around the time they came out. I watched the first TV episode in real time. I got sucked into the Outlander family back in 2014 because a fan named Dede used to run an addictive contest called Outlandish Trivia, and I became obsessed; I have a completely annotated and sticky-noted Outlandish Companion that I used for research. I met some awesome fans through the contest and began to spend more time on Twitter. It spiraled out of control after that.


Have you been to any Outlander fan events or Cons and met any of the actors or Diana? If so, who did you enjoy meeting the most? If not, who would you want to meet?
I first “met” Sam when I was lucky enough to win a contest to become one of the Sam’s Fan Follows. I’m sure there are many fans who don’t know what that is, but back in 2014-15, when the show was just getting started, Sam had about 50,000 followers, and he was much more available to fans. He would follow a fan for a week, and then she got to choose the next fan he would follow. Poor Sam. We broke him. Or at least I did---I was SFF #6. There were only seven of us, because it took a huge amount of time and energy to engage with one fan at a time, and keep replying to our direct messages. He was extremely gracious, funny, kind, open, and tolerant. When my husband and I travelled to Scotland later that year, we relied on Sam’s list of “Things to Do in Glasgow”, which he wrote out for me when I asked for his insider suggestions. Sam is a genuinely good guy, in case anyone wonders. He also does normal things that normal people do---he’s no diva.

I met Diana soon after that---she came to a fundraiser which the Oregon-based Outlandia fan group set up to support Clay Street Kitchen in Portland. Diana is amazing: she wandered around on her own, meeting and chatting with fans, like she wasn’t even a goddess or at the very least a VIP. She and I chatted about seeing plays at Ashland (she had just returned from seeing a few) and revealed where she bought her clothes.

Summer and I met face to face for the first time when we decided to go to the Outlander fan event in NYC in September of 2017. Neither of us has a fan-event type personality, because we are both introverts and crowds of strangers make us nervous, but that weekend was great. Even though we got to meet and get hugs from Caitriona and Sam (and we met Sam twice that weekend—at Orvis AND at Papillion) and even chat with them for a minute, the highlight of that weekend was meeting Summer and hanging out with her and the other awesome fans also attending the event. (Shoutout to the Jersey Girls!) Caitriona is a natural beauty, warm, genuinely interested in every single fan, and absolutely focused on you when you meet her. Sam is an epic hugger---just as everyone says he is.



What keeps you connected to the Outlander fandom?
I just want to have fun. This fandom has brought me fantastic new friends, fun times, and lots of entertainment. I see some fans on Twitter getting into arguments about how to be a fan, sniping at each other, attacking cast, crew, writers, producers, significant others, or fellow fans, and generally behaving in surly, middleschool-ish, unkind ways. The fandom feuds mystify me. I’m scrolling past all of that…If it’s not fun, why are we here?


What do you and Summer have coming up next?
We’re still slowly releasing a top-ten highlight reel for Season 3, one by one. Summer has done all the art for that series and I’ll add the titles, captions, and speech bubbles and tweet those between now and the Season 4 premiere. Starz has been very miserly in terms of releasing any bits of Season 4, so we’re retaliating by creating our own Season 4 preview scenes; we’re just making stuff up using the book as source material and trying to avoid blatant spoilers, which is quite a challenge.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Outlander - 'The Fans Who Make It' - Series by Roma Sars



Hello everyone! (From Roma Sars on "My Outlander Friends" on Facebook)



As a member of the Outlander fandom, I have visited many websites and blogs by fans who interview the actors, production staff and others involved with the making of the Outlander series.
I have also seen fans collect tens of thousands of dollars for the charities of their favourite actors, as well as fans making the most beautiful art and videos, all dedicated to the Outlander story.

What motivates the fans do this? Why have some of them devoted the best part of their days to the Outlander story?
So far, no-one has interviewed these fans who are behind these websites, blogs and twitter handles, some of them with thousands of followers.

So, I thought that I should be the one to do that, and I have approached some of them and found them conducive to do interviews.
In doing so, I hope to understand this obsession which has taken a hold of me ever since I discovered the Outlander story in 2015.

This will be the start of my “Outlander- the fans who make it” series of interviews.
I hope you will like what I will post, as I am sure I am going to enjoy doing it.


(This interview has been conducted by Roma Sars of, My Outlander Friends!)


My next interview in the “Outlander- the fans who make it” is with Julia LeBlanc, who makes beautiful Outlander videos for the fandom’s enjoyment.

I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting Julia, but I hope to, one day.



Please tell us about yourself.
My name is Julia LeBlanc, I’m 37 years old, and I live in Toronto, Canada, and was born and raised there. I love my city and, though the weather isn’t always great, you’re exposed to so many different people, and still are able to keep close connections with friends from your childhood. It’s the best of both worlds.

I’m a stay-at-home mom to two great and VERY energetic kids (7yrs and 5yrs), and have a wonderfully supportive husband.
My background is in education. I was an Early Childhood Educator for several years and, after that, I got my Bachelor of Education. The school boards here weren’t hiring, so my husband and I decided to start a family. I always thought I’d go to work, but I was surprised by how much I enjoy being a stay at home mom. I consider myself very lucky.

Apart from Outlander and making videos, I don’t have many hobbies, as taking care of my family takes up most of my time.
I like to travel and go to concerts, and wish I had more time to go to shows.

I enjoy reading, and I have a great group of friends and family around me, that I love spending time with.



What made you decide to start making videos about the show? Have you done this for other shows as well?
After the mid-season one break, I started to notice Outlander videos on YouTube. I looked to see if someone had made one with “Turning Page”, because I thought it would have been perfect for Jamie and Claire. I also thought that one with “Against All Odds”, for Claire and Frank, would be great. I couldn’t find them. So, I thought I might as well try making them myself. It was a long process but, once I got the hang of it, it got so much easier.

Outlander is the only show I have made videos for. I may make them for others but, there is something so special about Outlander, that I just can’t get enough of it. I also have so many songs that I may never get to. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough hours in the day.


How many videos have you made about the Outlander show so far?
I guess around 200. I know that sounds like a lot. Actually, I think there are more than that. By the end of Season 1, I was already almost at a 100 videos.


How much time do you spend on each video?
Each video is different. Some videos I can finish in about 2 hours, some can take 6 hours. But I usually have a clear idea of what I want to do with the video before I start, and where I want certain scenes to go. Sometimes it's one line of the song that reminds me of the show and I make the video around that. For example, in Uptown Funk, the line was "stop, wait a minute", and I thought of the scene where Dougal tears off Jamie’s shirt, and Jamie puts his hand out to stop Murtagh. At other times, like in the video "I Was Here", once I start it, it takes an unexpected turn, and I change it from my original plan. It's always a fun endeavour.


How much time do you spend every day on Outlander?
It really depends on the day, and the kids. Sometimes, I spend 30 minutes on it, sometimes an hour, sometimes I don’t get to spend any time on it. I’ve been scaling back on SM recently, and focusing on videos again. It brings me a lot of joy to re-watch and edit these fantastic scenes.


What do you like most about the Outlander books and show?
I read and watch so many different genres. I love that Outlander has it all; adventure, love, heartache, struggle, strength of the human spirit…with everything that happens, this beautiful love story of Jamie and Claire is at the foundation of it all. I love that the characters aren’t perfect. Diana doesn’t make cardboard cut-outs of heroes. I love them, and sometimes I want to grab them and shake some sense into them. Her writing is so rich, that we feel like we are in the their lives with them, and feel what they feel. That’s why I think her writing brings out so much passion in fans.

I adore the show so much. Jamie and Claire are played so perfectly by Sam and Caitriona. They set every scene on fire. All the actors breathe a life into these characters Diana created, which is so unique when compared to other shows. Ron D. Moore, and the whole cast and crew, have done a fabulous job adapting Diana’s books. That is no easy task, and I’m so grateful as a fan that I have these books and show. It’s the best of both worlds.


Which character in Outlander is your favourite?
I don’t know if I could pick one. I think it would depend on where we are in the story. I adore Jamie, Claire and Young Ian . But I couldn’t pick one. Jamie, Claire, Roger, Young Ian, Brianna, Fergus, Germain…all of them hold a special place.


How has Outlander affected your life and/or lifestyle?
It’s nice to have something that is so different from the rest of your life. It’s like an escape. When you’re at home with two crying kids, that is such a blessing. It’s a totally different world and characters you can get immersed in.

I’ve been a huge Outlander fan since the first episode when my sister said I “had to” watch it. By the time the second episode ended, I started looking it up online, and found out that Jamie and Claire get married. Well, I couldn’t wait another week, and I had to get the books immediately. I bought all 8 books and read them in 10 weeks. I couldn’t put them down.

Outlander also brought me and my sister Nancy closer, which is wonderful. It was something we could share together, and the fun of fangirling together is pretty incredible. She encourages me to make videos and she has started making some for other shows too.


Is this the first fandom you are a member of? What made you decide to join this fandom, rather than any other one? What do you like and dislike about this fandom?
Before Outlander, I never really knew what a fandom was, or that “fangirling” was a thing. I was a fan of other shows (Glee was one of my favourites) and actors, but I never understood Twitter or Facebook. My sister got me into Outlander, and then told me about FB groups and that’s how I really got into the fandom, through her suggestions. So it’s all her fault, really.

I enjoy being in this fandom the vast majority of the time. There are things that irritate me, but I try to scroll past the negative stuff.

There are so many wonderful and talented Outlander fans. These fun and positive experiences are why I’m here; to share and marvel in people’s work, to hear people’s points of view and their theories on the characters, on what they think will happen; to get an insight into how Diana writes, and what she thinks of her characters and why they behave the way they do; the cast and crew, Sam, Caitriona, Richard, Maril, Matt Roberts…they are all so lovely and giving to the fans.

All of this outweighs the negatives. I’ve always said I am lucky to be an Outlander fan.


Have you met Diana or any of the actors of Outlander? If so, which actor did you enjoy meeting the most? If not, who would you like to meet the most?
I have been lucky enough to have met Sam, Caitriona and Diana. I think I may have enjoyed meeting Sam the most, but that’s just because I was able to spend more time with him. He was in Toronto, and my sister and I went to “The Morning Show”, along with other fans, to see him. He came out afterwards, and chatted with us. I told him that I made a video that he’d shared, and he got excited and told me it was amazing.



I met Diana at the Fergus Scottish Festival last summer, and she was so amazing. She stayed back, to make sure all fans got to meet her, and she signed all our books, which was so gracious of her. I was the second-last person in the queue, so I was grateful.



When I met Caitriona” in Toronto, she was in a bit of a rush, as she was leaving “The Morning Show”, and heading out somewhere else. She was also sweet, and signed autographs for fans, and took pictures with those there.



(I’m hoping to meet Graham this summer at the Fergus Scottish Festival.
I’d love to meet Richard and Sophie, John Bell and David Berry, as all are wonderful actors.)


To watch Julia’s videos, click on this link:
https://moduinne-and-redjamie.tumblr.com/post/173625039583/moduinne-and-redjamie-nancy777ca-a-tribute


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Elle Magazine covers all our Outlander love, characters, seasons, and what to expect!



Everything You Need to Know About
Outlander season 4
From Elle Magazine

https://www.elle.com/culture/movies-tv/amp14393121/outlander-season-4-news-date-cast-spoilers/?__twitter_impression=true

Warning: Contains minor spoilers for season four of Outlander.

Can we time travel to the future? Because STARZ has just announced that season 4 of Outlander will premiere in November 2018. The network also confirmed that the show has been renewed for two more seasons, which will bring the total number of seasons to six.

“Fans can rest assured their beloved Claire and Jamie will be back facing new challenges, adversaries and adventures in seasons 5 and 6 as we delve into American history and continue the story of the Frasers as they settle in the New World,” said STARZ President and CEO Chris Albrecht in a release.

Seasons 5 and 6 will have 12 episodes each and will be based on The Fiery Cross and A Breath of Snow and Ashes, the fifth and sixth books in the Outlander series.

Until then, here's everything else you need to know about season 4 of the STARZ hit show.



BUY

When will it air?

This time, Droughtlander won't be as lengthy. (Thank goodness.) Season 4 will arrive in November 2018. Showrunner Ronald D. Moore told EW that to make the new season happen so soon after the last, they had to really hustle: "We were actually working on season four while we were still shooting season three this year. So it made it a much more difficult production because now, you had to shift focus for writers and department heads to start working on that season while the one we were currently on was still underway."
Which of Diana Gabaldon's Outlanderbooks should I read to prepare?

Get into Drums of Autumn. Season 4 will be based on the events of the fourth book in the popular series.
Is there a sneak peek?

STARZ released three new photos on May 9. Two show Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan): in an embrace, and riding a horse and carriage. There's also a shot of Roger (Richard Rankin) and Brianna (Sophie Skelton) sharing a tender moment.



STARZ


STARZ



What's going to happen?

Obviously, we won't totally spoil it for you (you can read the book if you haven't already). But Drums of Autumn sees Claire and Jamie land in North Carolina with Young Ian, ready to tackle the challenge of yet another new country. Though they might be far from the stones that first drew Claire back through time, in the 20th century, the Frasers' daughter Brianna uncovers a historical record that could mean danger for her parents; she heads for Craigh Na Dun herself, which will be very interesting. (We'll see Roger again, too.)

“The path that she takes to make that journey is very different than the path that Claire took,” Moore said. “They’re on very different tracks. She goes for a different purpose, and in a different way than Claire did, and once she arrives there, she has a different set of problems than what Claire dealt with.”
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

That means Jamie will be reuniting with his daughter, too. Per Variety, Sam Heughan said that will be "a huge moment and will be the catalyst to a lot of the drama that unfolds."

Also, Claire isn’t sure pioneer-era North Carolina is the safest spot for her precious daughter. “She wants her daughter to have every opportunity, and live a happy, safe life,” Caitriona Balfe said. “I don't think she believes that’s possible in the 18th century, at least in the beginning. So it's going to be bittersweet. Obviously it's going to be so sweet for her to see Brianna again, but she's going to be worried about her.”

Along with Heughan and Balfe as time-crossed couple Jamie and Claire, Lauren Lyle and César Domboy will come back as next-generation lovebirds Marsali and Fergus. Moore also flagged the possibility that Tobias Menzies might return in future seasons.“You won’t really be seeing Black Jack again this season,” Moore said at a STARZ For Your Consideration event, “but there’s a chance you might see Frank again. It’ll be interesting to see your reaction to how we play him, if we get to do it, how we play him this season, because it’s a slightly different flavor.” Seems we have some flashbacks to look forward to...



Balfe told ELLE.com that there'll be at least a brief comfortable interlude for the star-crossed Frasers. “We finally actually get to see them in some sort of state of domestic bliss,” she said. "Finally, they’re not being ripped from home or made to travel across oceans. They actually settle, and it's a different dynamic, and it's nice to explore that. Like, what is this relationship when it's normal? Because we haven't really had that.”

There'll be sexy times, right?

But of course. "It’s a very important part of their relationship,” Heughan said at the For Your Consideration event. “They’re slightly older,” he added, “so maybe it’s less energetic, who knows? But they are madly in love with each other. They’re older now, and it’s the first time we actually get to see them as this couple that actually can be together and not be in some sort of dire drama. Up until now, there’s always been something going on.”

Who are the key new characters?

Ed Speelers has been cast as Stephen Bonnet, a pirate and smuggler; Jamie helps him to escape prison, and their paths cross more than just that once. And we haven't seen the last of the Mackenzies yet, with Jamie's aunt Jocasta (played by Maria Doyle Kennedy) entering the Outlander line-up.

Importantly, these cute pups will debut as Rollo, Young Ian's canine pal:



Where will the season be filmed?

With season 3 having taken Outlander to Cape Town, what's in store for next season's travels? Moore told EW that Scottish locations would serve for some of the American locations, but also that the cast and crew would be heading to Eastern Europe to "shoot some stuff for the mountains and rivers of North Carolina.”

In March, Heughan and Balfe posed for some quick snaps with fans in Glasgow.






Where can I get my Sam Heughan fix in the meantime?

Our favorite not-really-redheaded Scot will star in 2018 film The Spy Who Dumped Me alongside Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, and Gillian Anderson. That makes two great things to look forward to.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Outlander - 'The Fans Who Make It' - Series by Roma Sars



Hello everyone! (From Roma Sars on "My Outlander Friends" on Facebook)



As a member of the Outlander fandom, I have visited many websites and blogs by fans who interview the actors, production staff and others involved with the making of the Outlander series.
I have also seen fans collect tens of thousands of dollars for the charities of their favourite actors, as well as fans making the most beautiful art and videos, all dedicated to the Outlander story.

What motivates the fans do this? Why have some of them devoted the best part of their days to the Outlander story?
So far, no-one has interviewed these fans who are behind these websites, blogs and twitter handles, some of them with thousands of followers.

So, I thought that I should be the one to do that, and I have approached some of them and found them conducive to do interviews.
In doing so, I hope to understand this obsession which has taken a hold of me ever since I discovered the Outlander story in 2015.

This will be the start of my “Outlander- the fans who make it” series of interviews.
I hope you will like what I will post, as I am sure I am going to enjoy doing it.


(This interview has been conducted by Roma Sars of, My Outlander Friends!)



My next interview in the “Outlander- the fans who make it” series is with Lisa Rojas, who created the Outlander HQ Twitter site, with more than 21 K followers, as well as a Facebook group.
I met Lisa in Scotland in September 2016, where we both attended a ceilidh in Culross, which was organized by Mary’s Meanders Tours. We spent a fun evening chatting and dancing.



Please tell us about yourself
My name is Lisa, and I’m from the great state of Texas. I’ve lived here most of my life, but I lived in Madrid, Spain, when I was in elementary school. It was an awesome experience, as we traveled all over Spain and visited France, Italy and Switzerland, during the last summer that we were there.
I work as a paralegal, and I have a Bachelors in Sociology. 
I’ve never been married and I have no children. My father died at the age of 59 from a glioblastoma. My mother was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and I am her primary caregiver. Sometimes life really sucks, but I always try to be positive, and find reasons to smile every day. 
My hobbies include reading, baking, traveling and, occasionally, I’ll break out my clarinet and play a few tunes
I spend a lot of my time playing with my two rescue dogs. 



What made you start the Outlander HQ site and can you tell us a little bit about that?
I fell in love with the books, and started following Diana Gabaldon on Facebook. I had a Twitter account for years, but I was never interested in it, until Outlander came along. I found that Diana was much more active on Twitter, than on Facebook, so I started following her first, and then started following Sam & Caitriona.
Outlander HQ was started by me and a friend I met on Twitter, named Astrid Gonzales. We met in a group DM; Dorianne from Outlander Homepage, D. Elizabeth Aymett and Janis from Outlander Central were also in the group. These were the first fan interactions I really had. In the beginning, I’d only look at Diana’s and Sam’s tweets, and I didn’t interact with anyone.
I’ve always thought it would be fun to have a fan site, because I love meeting people and I really love talking about Outlander. It’s great to be able to share with fellow fans who, hopefully, don’t think I’m totally nuts!


How much time do you spend every day on Outlander?
I probably spend anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour a day on Social Media; it fluctuates depending on if there’s an event. I allow myself about an hour spread throughout the day, before work, lunch and in the evening. Sometimes I’ll sneak tweets or post to Facebook during work.                     
I am the one who tweets and posts to Facebook most of the time, and I’m on every day. Whitney helps out when it’s busy and, a few times a year, Carrie will tweet something. 


What do you like most about the Outlander books and show? Which character in Outlander is your favourite?
My favorite character in the Outlander books and show is Jamie Fraser. I fell in love with his character, his sense of humor, his love for Claire, his loyalty to his kin, his intelligence, his strengths and his weaknesses, everything about him. Most people who know me, know that Jamie is the center of my Outlander universe. I’m happy when Jamie is happy, because being sad for him takes up a lot of time. 
I truly like Lord John Gray, for many of the same reasons I love Jamie.  
Voyager and Drums of Autumn are my favorite books of the series, because I love reunions. So, my favorite parts of Voyager are: Jamie being a part of Willie’s life, since he didn’t get to raise Bree, and the printshop reunion with Claire, I get all choked up every time I read it. 
My favorite part in Drums of Autumn is when Jamie meets Bree. I like so much more about each book, but those are my favorite moments. 



How has Outlander affected your life and/or lifestyle?
Through Outlander, I’ve met so many wonderful people on Twitter, via DM groups and in person.
I’ve flown to England twice and visited Scotland two years in a row. I flew to New York, Arizona, Los Angeles and Seattle for Outlander events. Even though I fly solo, I always have someone to hang out with one I get to where I’m going. 
I went to see Sam Heughan as the Grand Marshall of the Tartan Parade in NYC. The lady next to me thought I deserved a Scottish flag, because I traveled so far. Now it’s my favorite souvenir, and I take it to every convention.
I had one instance on my first visit to London at Highlanders 1, where someone come up and ask if I was from Outlander HQ. I couldn’t imagine how she would know who I was. I forgot that my posts to Facebook have my picture on them! It was a little strange, but I can’t even imagine what it’s like for the Outlander cast. The best thing about Outlander is the fans. So much fun! 



Is this the first fandom you are a member of? What made you decide to join this fandom, rather than any other one?
This is the first and only fandom I have ever cared about enough to get involved. I joined because of the awesome Diana Gabaldon. I’ve stayed because of the amazing cast and crew of the show, and all the wonderful people in the fandom I’ve met in person, through DM and via email. 


Outlander is the first fandom I was excited about. I love the books and couldn’t wait to see it on TV. A co-worker introduced me to the books several years ago. She always saw me with a book on hand and would ask what I was reading. One day she asked if I had ever read Outlander, and I said, no. She said, “you HAVE to read at least the first book.”
I was totally addicted to Jamie Fraser and didn’t want to stop at one book. I’ve converted quite a few co-workers to the clan. My family? I finally got my middle sister to see episode 1. She was instantly hooked and binged all 3 seasons in a week. One sister down, another to go. 
Have you met Diana or any of the actors of Outlander? If so, which actor did you enjoy meeting the most? If not, who would you like to meet the most?
I adore Sam, Diana and all the cast I’ve met, but Caitriona has been my favorite to meet in person. She’s so beautiful and kind. She engages with fans and makes you feel really appreciated. I was so giddy with excitement over meeting her, I look like a total dork in both pictures I took with her. 



Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Outlander - 'The Fans Who Make It' - Series by Roma Sars



Hello everyone! (From Roma Sars on "My Outlander Friends" on Facebook)

As a member of the Outlander fandom, I have visited many websites and blogs by fans who interview the actors, production staff and others involved with the making of the Outlander series.

I have also seen fans collect tens of thousands of dollars for the charities of their favourite actors, as well as fans making the most beautiful art and videos, all dedicated to the Outlander story.

What motivates the fans do this? Why have some of them devoted the best part of their days to the Outlander story?
So far, no-one has interviewed these fans who are behind these websites, blogs and twitter handles, some of them with thousands of followers.
So, I thought that I should be the one to do that, and I have approached some of them and found them conducive to do interviews.

In doing so, I hope to understand this obsession which has taken a hold of me ever since I discovered the Outlander story in 2015.
This will be the start of my “Outlander- the fans who make it” series of interviews.
I hope you will like what I will post, as I am sure I am going to enjoy doing it.


(This interview has been conducted by Roma Sars of, My Outlander Friends!)




My next interview in the “Outlander- the fans who make it” series is with Cyn Luckey, a woman who this fandom is very lucky to have as our resident poet.
I met Cyn on Social Media through her poems, and hope to meet her in person soon.


Here are some samples of her poetry:



There is a moment
When you know you have lost
All your moves have failed
And the board lies empty
Would it have made a difference
If you had gone another way
Taken a different tact
And waited
For one more breath
One more sigh
Before approaching the lonely heart
Of the king



I will never know your fate
I will not be there
To sit by the fire at end of day
And hear the tale of you
To rise before the waking sun
And walk beside you in your silence
But you will be with me
In my heart
In my prayers
Stalwart and invincible
My brother, my teacher
My friend



We have fallen
With the heart of lions we charged
Shoulder to shoulder
Into the blinding light
Screaming the wail of Scotland
For her blood soaked highlands
And her dying sons
Heaven open your gates
We are two thousand strong
And our final victory the angels
Who welcome us home




Please tell us about yourself?
My name is Cyn Luckey and I live in Woodstock IL.. I am 67 years old, have two beautiful daughters, who are both married, and six incredible grandchildren. I have been married to the same sweet and lovely man for 45 years. It has truly been a wonderful life.
Although I consider myself an emotional person, I’ve had very analytical jobs throughout the years (banking, proof reading copy for a newspaper), It may have inadvertently contributed to my continuous and absolute need to write.
My hobbies are reading everything I can get my hands on, listening to music and writing poetry.


Have you been a poet all your life, or is this something recent, and can you tell us a little bit about that?
I started writing poetry in grade school. I loved putting lines of images together, and I would spend hours agonizing over the perfect word. I realized even then words had incredible power - to hurt, to hinder, to help, to heal. I also realized I had a responsibility to use the right ones.  I wrote in earnest for many years, poetry mostly, and lyrics for songs I composed.  I moved to Colorado and tried my hand at folk singing. Music took over my life for a while, but it was still a matter of finding the right words and connecting with an audience.

How much time do you spend every day on Outlander?
I love the Outlander interaction on social media.  I marvel at the talent of Outlander fans - their art, their edits, their dedication - it’s such an incredible delight.  I try not to stay on social media for too long every day, but it can be addictive, no question.


What do you like most about the Outlander books and show?
Outlander is, to me, an epic poem, full of love and hate and revenge and forgiveness, not unlike the tales of Homer, the heroic saga of Beowulf, or the lessons of Metamorphosis. Diana Gabaldon has given us a unique and beautiful story.  We relate to the very human traits of these wonderful characters and, in turn, begin to understand ourselves. It is a riveting, rollicking adventure and we are along for the ride, laughing and loving and suffering and dying right along with them.  Diana employs words as an artist, painting a time and a place and a feeling that sweeps us away and allows us to experience another life, another lifetime. This is prose with words perfectly in place - to give us pause, make us reflect, move us to tears. This is poetry to me.

The show is astonishingly beautiful in every respect, from the perfectly detailed sets and magnificent costumes to the heartbreakingly moving acting. It is not simply an incredible production, it is groundbreaking television, and I have loved it from the very beginning. I look at it like a translation of the original language into another dialect, just as delightful, as tragic and as emotional, but with an accent that may often slightly change the interpretation of a scene. For instance, I loved that our dear Murtagh survived. In our heart of hearts, we were not ready to say goodbye to him. I will always believe that Ronald D. Moore and the producers did this, in part, for us, the fans. That is how much respect and love for this story is evident on both sides of the Outlander coin.

I would like to add how much I believe music plays a part in Outlander. Though it might only ‘seem' to fade into the background, music sets a tone that voices cannot, and can do it in the blink of an eye. Bear McCreary has gifted us with an amazing sense of place, of time, of history. When I am writing, I listen to all kinds of music, from soundtracks to classical to gospel to hip hop, and back again. Years later, I can often tell what type of music I was listening to by the tenor of my words. Music is a big part of my life, so naturally it is a big part of my poetry too.


What do you like most about the Outlander books and show?
The “character” of Jamie & Claire is my favorite. It’s really not cheating - picking two - for one cannot exist without the other... so I love them both. Even when attempting to go on alone, they never forget where they really belong.  This is the beauty, the tragedy and the truth of Outlander: when we finally find our home, it is forever, and no matter where we go, we are compelled to return to where our life truly began.

How has Outlander affected your life and/or lifestyle? Is this the first fandom you are a member of? What made you decide to join this fandom, rather than any other one?
Because of Outlander, I have met so many completely and utterly amazing, wonderful people. They are all compassionate, generous, eloquent and funny - qualities so prevalent in the characters of Outlander. I believe that is why this fandom has thrived for so long - it is a meeting of similar minds and hearts - loving, caring and kind, every single one.

Have you met any of the actors? If so, which actor did you enjoy meeting the most? If not, which one are you looking forward to meet the most?
I have recently met Gary Lewis, Graham McTavish, Steven Cree, John Bell, Lauren Lyle, Cesar Domboy, Grant O’Rourke and Ed Speleers at Sasnak City Con in Kansas City, MO. They were all such a delight - funny, sweet and incredibly generous.
Though I think all the actors are absolutely wonderful, I hope to meet Duncan Lacroix one day just to tell him how much I loved his heartfelt performance; how well he tread the line between sour and sweet, gruff and tender, the killer and the kindhearted. As Murtagh, he grounded Jamie, guarded his right, and gave him the guidance and the grit to survive. He was a treasure. I’ve missed him.

Gary loves to hug!


With Cesar Dumboy

Cyn with Graham McTavish and Gary Lewis 



Thursday, April 19, 2018

Outlander - 'The Fans Who Make It' - Series by Roma Sars


Hello everyone! (From Roma Sars on "My Outlander Friends" on Facebook)

As a member of the Outlander fandom, I have visited many websites and blogs by fans who interview the actors, production staff and others involved with the making of the Outlander series.

I have also seen fans collect tens of thousands of dollars for the charities of their favourite actors, as well as fans making the most beautiful art and videos, all dedicated to the Outlander story.

What motivates the fans do this? Why have some of them devoted the best part of their days to the Outlander story?
So far, no-one has interviewed these fans who are behind these websites, blogs and twitter handles, some of them with thousands of followers.
So, I thought that I should be the one to do that, and I have approached some of them and found them conducive to do interviews.

In doing so, I hope to understand this obsession which has taken a hold of me ever since I discovered the Outlander story in 2015.
This will be the start of my “Outlander- the fans who make it” series of interviews.
I hope you will like what I will post, as I am sure I am going to enjoy doing it.

(This interview has been conducted by Roma Sars of, My Outlander Friends!)

Beth with Diana Gabaldon 

My next interview in the “Outlander – the fans who make it” series is with Beth Elahmar, who makes incredible cross-stitch portraits of the Outlander actors and raffles them for charity.

I first met Beth on Twitter, and then had the opportunity to meet her in person last year at the Highlanders Con in Blackpool and to admire her amazing work. The quality is so fine that, even when you are standing in front of it, it looks painted, rather than stitched. I was in awe of the fineness of the work and later, of her story.

I have only just learned that Beth is hard of hearing, as I never noticed it when we were chatting. It was a true pleasure to meet such a kind and warm-hearted person.

Here’s the interview:

● Please tell us about yourself.
My name is Beth Elahmar - pronounced E - lahk – mar. A lot of people want to pronounce it El - ah - mar, but no. It's got an "h" that sounds like a "k"- I live in Tucson, Arizona and I'm 51 years old. For the past 15 years, I've worked for a bankruptcy and collections law office as a project manager, in the accounting department. . I have 3 cats. I’m hard of hearing and depend a lot on lip-reading.
Working for a bankruptcy law firm can be a bit disheartening at times, because you are seeing debtors that have reached rock bottom. They've lost everything and have had no choice but to declare that they are bankrupt, and we're tasked with asking them for the money to pay their debts. 


One case has always stayed with me and has reinforced my determination to always be kind, to always lend a helping hand to those who have fallen on hard times.
There were parents that had lost their daughter, due to malpractice of the hospital she had been in. Not only did they suffer the crushing and devastating loss of a child, they lost their savings, they lost the money they'd won through a malpractice lawsuit and they were forced to sell the plots on either side of their daughter's grave, because the courts deemed them unnecessary and wanted the money to pay their debts. It was heartbreaking, and I’ve never forgotten it.

Since I work in the accounting office and not in the collections department, I’m blessed that I don't have to speak to the debtors on the phone, rather I read their court documents. It takes a certain personality to be a collector and I simply wouldn't be able to do it. I have too soft a heart to ask someone with nothing for more.

My hobby is cross-stitching, though I'm hesitant to call it a hobby. It's more of a lifesaver for me, as I suffer from anxiety & depression, and my stitching is my therapy. I don’t have any other hobbies, as cross-stitching is my main focus. When you create portraits such as mine, it forces you to concentrate and not think of anything other than making the item come to life, so to speak. It shuts out the noise of the world around you and you’re caught up in the creation of the portrait. I've always thought cross-stitching was like painting by numbers, only with a needle and thread, versus a brush & paint. 

I've been told many times that my type of cross-stitching isn't like the stitching of our grandmothers. I like to think it could be compared to writing a book, I suppose. You start with an idea, a plot so to speak, then the colors end up being your words. You spend so many hours, weeks and months creating it, that you literally become part of it. A myriad of emotions are stitched into it, so that, when it’s finally finished, you've created a story. It has a hero or heroine (the individual in the portrait) and many antagonists (the stitches you inevitably did wrong and have to rip out). You literally have blood, sweat & tears in it (needles are sharp little buggers and when you've spent months on a portrait only to realize you've stitched it with the fabric going the wrong way, trust me, the tears flow and the sweating starts, because you scramble to find an easy fix to it, without scrapping the whole project and starting over. The Laird is a perfect example of that complete screw up). 



The Laird
You look at the final piece and remember where you were, what was happening while you were creating it and then you're already thinking of the next one. The next story.


● What made you start the Cross-stitch project and can you tell us a little bit about that? Have you also done cross-stitch projects for other shows or only for Outlander?

I have been cross-stitching for 19 years. I'm self-taught. I started cross-stitching as a way to convey my sympathies for a co-worker, who had lost his son in a tragic accident. I sent his photo away to have a pattern made and, after completing the portrait, my father was convinced I could design my own patterns, so he bought me the software I needed to create and stitch my own patterns.

I have done cross-stitching for a few other shows, such as ‘The Vampire Diaries’, ‘The Originals’, ‘True Blood’ and ‘Scandal’, but it wasn't until I started stitching Outlander, that my charity work took off. There wasn’t a lot of interest in helping promote the raffles I had for Ian Somerhalder & ‘The Originals’, so they barely raised $1200 each. I was so disheartened and discouraged, that I swore I'd never put my work out there to be treated like that again. But, when I started The Laird, it got the attention of The Southern Sassenachs, who asked me if I'd be interested in raffling The Laird. They listened to my concerns and recommendations, regarding what I wanted to achieve with my work, and promised to give it the respect it deserved. They posted it on Twitter, and in many fan groups on Facebook, and from there it just took off. One friend brought it to the attention of Sam, and he wrote me a note expressing a desire to see the finished product, and provided me with his autograph to be included in the portrait. After that, a lot of fans from the show saw it and, the next thing we know, the raffle had raised over $10,000 for Caitriona's & Sam's respective charities, World Child Cancer & Bloodwise. Upon meeting Sam & Caitriona in San Diego, I offered to do more portraits for their charities. They were thrilled to hear that, and chose the next portraits to be completed. 



The Lairds Lady

When I was in NYC, I showed Sam a picture of The Laird’s Lady that I was tinkering with at the time, and he requested that I finish that one before completing the two he and Caitriona had chosen. The Laird's Lady has been nearly completed and will be raffled by The Southern Sassenachs at the end of July.


Cross stitch of other fandoms

● How much time do you spend every day on your cross-stitch project?

I work full time. So, when I'm not working, I’m stitching. For example, when I get off work at 3, I'll come home and I'm stitching by 4pm and will keep at it until about 10 or 11 at night. Then, on the weekends, I'm up at 5am and I'll stitch all day until about 10 or 11 as well. It's normal for me to spend about 30-40 hours a week stitching. Sometimes more, time permitting.

● What do you like most about the Outlander books and show? How much time do you spend on Outlander?



I’m one of those fans that hasn't read the Outlander books yet, though I finally took the plunge and read the Lord John Grey series. I was brought into the Outlander world by my good friend Pilar and another friend Karen R. Frantz, the artist. I fell in love with Karen's work first and she insisted I watch the show. Pilar seconded that motion and, before I knew it, I was binge-watching the first season until 2am, because I couldn't turn the bloody thing off. I was captivated. I started researching every image I could find and decided to make a portrait of Jamie as The Laird.

● Which character in Outlander is your favourite?

I'm fiercely loyal, like Murtagh, so I relate to him the most. I love how he is always solid, yet you know there is a story that lurks behind his eyes. He keeps everything close to his chest, except when he's with Jamie. He's someone you always want in your corner.



● How has Outlander affected your life and/or lifestyle?

Outlander is the focus of my creations right now. I have several projects in the works including a personal portrait for a former cast member that'll I'll be working on when I'm finished with The Laird's Lady. If all goes according to plan, I'll be delivering it to him personally when I travel to Scotland this summer.

Outlander has played a huge part in getting me to finally travel abroad. I knew that, if I wanted the cast to see my work, I was going to have to go to them. At the time, the conventions were all in Europe. So, I got my passport for the first time when I turned 50 years old and booked my first flight.

I want to experience every aspect of it, not only from the filming locations aspect, but also from the actual historical parts that Diana has woven into her beautiful story. I’m planning to stand on Culloden battlefield on my birthday in July. I want to feel it. Diana has stated in the past that there’s something about the area that you can’t help but feel. The spirits are there. I want to experience it whole heartedly.

It has also allowed me to raise funds for a very dear cause that is close to my heart. I lost my brother to suicide 34 years ago. In October 2016, I started a portrait of The Highlanders to help me through my grief of losing my father and decided, when it was done, that I wanted to raise money for people with mental issues, specifically the ones that suffer from depression like I do and like my brother did. I talked it over with Sam at the San Diego Comic Con and told him I wanted to use it for that reason. He was very supportive, as were the rest of the actors in the portrait. As of today, it has raised over $13,000 for Bring Change 2 Mind, a charity started by the actress Glenn Close to bring awareness to mental health issues and encourage people to talk about it and help prevent suicide.


The Highlanders 

● Is this the first fandom you are a member of? What made you decide to join this fandom, rather than any other one? What do you like and dislike about being part of a fandom?

I was part of The Vampire Diaries & The Originals fandom for a few years. I think that, the difference between Outlander and the rest of the fandoms I've been part of, is the age group. TVD & TO are mostly geared towards teenagers and young adults. They don't really see the actors as actors, but rather as the character they portray, which I've always felt was a disservice. Outlander fans don't do that. I've been to several Outlander gatherings and have noticed the behavior of those attending. They see the entire cast as human beings, who happen to have a really cool job. That's not to say that there aren't a few that cross the line.

One of the things I dislike, is when they attack the cast & crew, simply because a scene didn't get filmed exactly the way the author wrote it. There's nothing wrong with being disappointed or passionate about a particular scene and how you think it should be filmed, but when you start demanding a pound of flesh with your complaints, that is crossing the line. It’s very easy to sit behind a screen and be an armchair director, producer, writer, but it's not an easy job to actually perform the work. I wish those that do this would take a breather, before launching an attack that involves name-calling and just plain nastiness. There's no need for it. I fear it will cause the cast and crew to pull back from social media platforms.

We're considerably lucky, in this day and age. I remember having to send a letter to a fan club, just to get an autographed photo. They didn't have conventions and gatherings earlier, where you could actually get a hug from your favorite celebrity.

The thing that I like best about the Outlander fandom, is that there is a sense of camaraderie. A feeling of kinship. I've said that the Outlander fandom is filled with some of the most generous, kind and amazing people I've ever met. I've met a few people that I now consider very close friends, and a couple I'd consider family. There is fierce loyalty towards protecting the integrity of not only the story Diana has created, but also the performances and privacy of the cast members and crew. I love that.


Beth and her brother