Mary's musings

Mary Hoffman, author of over 90 children's books, including the Stravaganza series and Amazing Grace, has begun a web journal which will be updated roughly once a week. You can read more on

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The gazebo has landed!

It does sound so dreadfully like a kind of antelope, but at last my gazebo has arrived and been constructed from a heap of bits of wood by two men who scratched their heads a lot! I have even had a first cup of coffee in it with a writer friend staying for the weekend. And the cats are very intrigued, especially the new pale ginger cat on the block, who was chased off by Lila.

I had a very exciting trip up to Edinburgh to see the musical Only the Brave, which was playing at the fringe. My daughter is one of two Associate Producers on it. It was very strong and memorable with some excellent singers. But the friend I went with and I were both emotionally wrung out at the end and had to fortify ourselves with a very good vegetarian meal at David Bann where I was taken by my publishers a couple of years ago.

So I was also able to go to my friend's launch party two days later. She has written a book called Writing for Children which I and other members of the SAS had given suggestions for. It was a great launch (I had make a cake for the iced cover picture to sit on), followed by an Italian meal for 17, so it was a bit of a high calorie trip all round.

I had a day in a health spa, using vouchers my oldest daughter had given me for Mother's Day. It involved a full body massage, swimming, lunch and steam room and jacuzzi. And I even got some work done!

Excitingly, my husband's half-brother is over from Mexico with his partner and baby girl, who is not quite one. She is quite enchanting. Next weekend we'll have them all plus my husband's half-sister and her partner and two little boys aged one and two. We are praying for sunny weather so it can be a picnic!

I've not written much of the new adult novel since getting back from Edinburgh but have been writing proposals etc. The Centre for Cathar Studies in Carcassonne has agreed to read Troubadour! I hope they don't find any howlers. My consultant on women troubadours has been very helpful about names and Occitan spellings.

We have been watching the DVD of the BBC programmes called "Tiger - Spy in the Jungle", the ones where the cameras were carried by elephants. The two girl cats have watched it all with us, transfixed.

I read Philip Reeve's Here Lies Arthur, which has just won the Carnegie Medal and was a tad disappointed. For a version of the "real" Arthur, I much prefer Rosemary Sutcliff's Sword at Sunset.