Showing posts from September, 2014

Frog's wine, anyone?

Bingo; Blue Ruin; Blue Tape; Daffy; Diddle; Drain; Frog’s Wine; Geneva; Heart’s Ease; Jackey; Lady Dacre’s Wine; Lightning; Max; Rag Water; Sky Blue; South Sea Mountain; Strip Me Naked; White Ribbon; White Tape; White Wool.

Whatever am I talking about?
These are all 18th-century nicknames for gin. I’ve just picked some sloes and was hunting for a recipe – and inevitably got caught up with some Georgian history. I've become a little addicted to the era while I was researching the latest book, True Haven. So, here goes ...

It is commonly thought that gin was invented around 1650 in the Netherlands by Dr Sylvuis, also known Franz de la Boé. He was Professor of Medicine at Leyden, Holland, and intended this 'medicine' as a remedy for kidney disorders. He used neutral grain spirits flavoured with the oil of juniper. He called it 'genever' after the French term genièvre meaning juniper. By 1655 it was already being produced commercially and English soldiers serving in the a…

Sloe gin – basic recipe

’Tis the time to be picking sloes.

For any hedgerow fan, there are rich pickings – certainly in Warwickshire.
Basic recipe: 450g sloes 350g caster sugar (or granulated, but it takes longer) 750ml gin (or vodka)
If you don’t have such a sweet tooth, reduce the sugar to 250g. For a richer version, use brown sugar.
For those with patience, prick the sloes with a needle. I freeze them and break them up with a weight. Put them into sterilised Kilner jars – allow the fruit to come a third of the way up. Divide the sugar among them and top up with alcohol. Don’t waste a decent brand. You won’t be able to tell the difference.
Place the sealed jars somewhere cool and dark and leave for for 8-10 weeks, turning the bottle from time to time and shaking once a week.

Sloe gin has a fascinating history - see my forthcoming article. It all started when I was researching some typical 18th-century parlance for a book I was working on. True Haven is a regency YA fantasy set in the quirky land of Sulisia ... Here…

Jane Austen was here

If you recall, I avoided Jane Austen at school. However, this is not to say I don’t love the film adaptations. Favourite of all is Lost in Austen, a quirky rethinking.

Imagine my surprise to find that Miss Austen spent a formative three weeks at Stoneleigh Abbey, just five minutes’ drive from where we live.
It is no longer an abbey, Downton fans, but a Jacobean mansion and Georgian ‘extension’ that makes St Pancras look like the corner shop. There is much that inspired the author, from the chapel, to portraits of family members and, no doubt, the fabulous grounds.
To our delight, there was ...
A west wing!an orangeriereferences to Bonnie Prince Charliefabulous furnishingsexotic chandelierspanelled gentleman’s quartersclassic chapelmanicured lawns ...
I would go on, but you should take a visit for yourself. Our guide was brilliant. By the way, there are more pictures on Pinterest.

They are happy to regale you with quirky details that should appeal. The impressive facade of the West Wing was…

Trailer time - True Haven

If you're a fan of book trailers, do pop over to the True Haven blog.

I've just completed a short video, inspired by the wonderful 18th-century frigate you see on the cover of the book.

The music is from a CC-free website called teknoaxe. It's a bit of a find, and a boon to the lowly author tasked with producing their own PR.

The rest of the images are from Wikimedia, with a little sparkly fog from

It's always a juggling act, trying to offer some insights into the story without giving too much away!

Hope you like it.

Here's the link:

By Pamela Kelt

True Haven cover reveal

I am thrilled to announce the cover of True Haven. It’s a Regency-inspired fantasy adventure set for release on Friday, 3 October.

I love the fantastical blend of a mysterious vessel, ethereal clouds and two alluring moons. (Thank you, Laurence!)
Do join the online launch, courtesy of Crooked Cat Publishing.
In True Haven, a lively young seamstress escapes from a grim workhouse in the beautiful but deadly city of True Haven. Meet Claramina Dart, a young seamstress.
Independent, smart, questioning ... she adapts quickly to circumstances and uses her wits to survive. She lives in Mudwells. Overcrowded, foul-smelling, corrupt. But it's home.
‘Mina’ has to take care of a young assistant, Barley Spindle. But then he is unfairly arrested and she steps in to save him.
They are both thrown into a workhouse far away in the city of True Haven. But Barley is ill and she realises they must both escape, for the city is not what it seems.
Elegant on the outside, True Haven is run by cruel Child…