Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace


***All photos accompanying posts are either owned by the author of said post or are in the public domain -- NOT the property of History Undressed. If you'd like to obtain permission to use a picture from a post, please contact the author of the post.***

Friday, October 27, 2017

Spotlight on Kris Kennedy's DECEPTION

So happy to be here with Eliza today, hanging with you, my fellow historical romance loving peeps!

I’ve got a new release this week, Deception!  Smugglers and sword fights and sexytimes, oh my! 

It’s a big, epic, hot-hot-hot medieval adventure, a second chance romance with an Irishman on a mission of revenge and the woman who can bring the whole thing crashing down around him.

First he loved her. Then he abandoned her.
Now he’s the only one who can save her.

The hero, Kier, is a black-hearted Irishman working a long con against some Very Bad Men who once tried to destroy him (there were smugglers’ huts and ropes and incinerating fires).   Kier rebuilt himself mind and body and now he’s back, on the hunt for retribution. Everything’s going according to plan…until Sophia shows up.

He’s shocked and stunned by the reappearance of the only woman he’s ever cared for (he can’t call it love…he doesn’t know the meaning of the word yet).  But Sophia has her own desperate plans too, and when she forces her way into his schemes, Kier is furious.

But Sophia is so very, very good at charming the people Kier needs charmed, and he’s a risk-taker to the bottom of his heart, so he’s not above using her. But he will never, ever protect her. It’s a most solemn vow.

I'm sure it’ll all work out.  After all, they're two adults, one on a mission of vengeance, the other on the run from the most dangerous men in England. They both want the same thing. Only one of them can have it.

Oh, and they want each other with a scorching hot desire that won't be denied. What could possibly go wrong??

Come find out!

I thought you might like an excerpt!


 ...Kier turned and stared through the open doorway at her.

He looked like sin. His hair was dripping dark and wet over his face. His clothes were molded to him, his tunic slack with rain, pressed to his body, his breeches tight, his black boots gleaming, as were the dark eyes he pinned on her.

“Where were you going, Sophia?”

His words were quiet and low, but they unleashed a shiver through her body, prickling her skin from chest to belly.

He advanced a step. “Where were you going with the ledger?”

“Kier,” she said in a low, warning tone.

He kicked the door shut behind him.

“Kier, stop,” she said firmly, but the resolve in her words was belied by the way she started backing up, one hand stretched out behind her, feeling for obstacles. She bumped into a bench and backed around it.

“Where were you going?” His eyes never left hers as he shoved the bench out of his way. “To Cosimo? Or had you others in mind? Perhaps you meant to sell it to the highest bidder?"

"Kier, stop."

"Surely you could have offered me rights of first refusal, could you not, now?” His Irish was getting stronger as his emotions ratcheted up. Jagged chills raked across her chest, a saw-edge of fear.

She shook her head wildly and tripped backward another step. The back of her knees hit the bed and she dropped onto it. “Kier, no, you must see—”

“See what? Perhaps you were evening the score, aye? I left you, now you leave me?”

She scooted across the bed, pushing with her elbows and heels. “No, ’tisn’t—”

He closed his fingers around her ankle.

“Oh, J├ęsu,” she whispered as he pulled her toward him, bundling the sheets beneath her, until she was laid out beneath his towering body.

His eyes were like fury, his face like stone. “You erred, lass,” he rasped.

She stifled a scream, kicked hard into him, and launched herself over the bed and took off running for the door. She made it two steps before his arm closed around her waist, stopping her like an iron bar. He yanked her back into his chest and the raw, barely-restrained power of him.

"You wanted to negotiate? Let's negotiate," he said, his breath hot in her ear.

I love big, sexy, adventure romances with reluctant heroes and smart, feisty women who push their buttons, so if you do too, you might like the stories too!
You can check out Deception right now!

Unfortunately, iBooks and GooglePlay are being difficult, so they’re not live there yet. But you can sign up for the newsletter to get informed when they are!
And stop by the website for all links and loads of excerpts from all the books (including the first 4 chapters of DECEPTION!)

How about you?? What’s your favorite kind of historical romance?

Kris Kennedy is a USA Today bestselling author writing super sexy, adventure-laden historical romances set in England and Ireland during the ages when chivalry and bad boy knights reigned supreme.  They're hot, epic romances with big bad alpha heroes and strong, fiery heroines who aren't afraid of them (well maybe just a little afraid...)

Come on in and indulge!  Ride the king’s highway on horseback and visit smugglers caves. Travel to medieval France & England & Ireland, and get a taste of the Holy Lands. Visit sea towns shrouded in darkness...sneak into hidden caves...sail on ships…
get snowbound in a firelit cottage with no one but a dangerous outlaw and the way he’s looking at you, firelight glinting in his eye.

You can do it all in the books!
Have fun in there!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Part Three: History of Medicinal Herbs

Hi, everyone! Madeline Martin and Eliza Knight here again with PART THREE of our 4-part series. We’re sorry you weren’t able to attend our History of Medicinal Herbs class at the Historical Romance Retreat in Spokane, WA this year. There was so much interest in this class that we decided to do a blog post here so everyone can enjoy. But there is so much to share, we’ve decided to break it down into four fun parts! Check back weekly! If you missed Part One, click to read it and to read Part Two, click here!

Please note several things: 
  1. We aren’t doctors, we aren’t even healers. Pretty much, we’re authors who make stuff up for a living and enjoy researching historical tidbits to share (especially the crazy ones). Do not try any of these herbs without consulting a doctor first.
  2. Yes, there is WAY more information about all the herbs we’re going to mention, and there are WAY more herbs than we list. However, it was an hour long class, and there really are only so many appropriate memes.
  3. We focused mainly on herbs we had on hand to do a fun show-and-tell with. Obviously being online you can’t see, touch, or smell these herbs. For that, we are humbly sorry (except we really feel we are owed a huge thanks on your part regarding the valerian root – just saying)

A brief intro about ourselves if you missed it in Part One...

This is the voice of Eliza Knight (yes, I totally just did that with my hands cupped around my mouth, because I’m a dork like that). I have always been fascinated by healing herbs and ways to heal the body naturally. It’s amazing how many things we did back in the day, that we still do now (and also a lot we figured out were a bad idea!) Because that is a part of my “real life,” I have added it to many of my books. Several of my heroines are able to use healing herbs to help people, and some use them as poisons. My favorite two herbal heroines are Shona from HIGHLANDER’S TOUCH and Julianna from THE HIGHLAND WARRIOR’S BRIDE. Shona is a healer, and is often called to the castle and village to help people, but she has also been nicknamed the Witch of the Wood, since people were so suspicious of women who could heal with herbs. Julianna, uses her herbal knowledge for good & bad. She’s a warrior, and uses poisons on her weapons.

So, for Madeline Martin (yeah, I totally just referred to myself in third person to keep this from getting confusing) – I decided I would write a female healer as they’ve always fascinated me. Celia (from Enchantment of a Highlander) was not only a healer, but a survivor of the North Berwick Witch Trials (it’s sad and fascinating and the history dork in me demands you look it up). In order to write a healer though, I wanted to have the full experience of what she might go through, so I decided to start doing all natural bath and body products. It opened the door to this incredible interest and now all you nice folks will be subjected to our findings. J

Too much of a good thing can actually kill you… And sometimes it was on purpose. Let’s talk a little bit about poisonous herbs and how they can help... or not.

*Please note: we’re pretty certain poisoning on any level is a felony so just keep it in your reading and writing!*


Want to make your characters sweat? When infused with wine, horseradish can produce sweating!

Ground up and kept in an airtight container, you can create a noxious gas. There is a component to horseradish that gives it a super hot powers when chewed called sinigrin. This compound can be calmed by using vinegar (which is how horseradish sauce and wasabi are made), but if you don’t calm it down, you can literally set your mouth on fire, burn your lungs and become nauseas. This same thing can happen if you breathe it in after it's been ground up and kept in an airtight container. Check out Justin Brower’s account!

On a good note, horseradish has some healing properties, too. In Europe, during the middle ages, horseradish was used as a cough expectorant and treatment for food poisoning, scurvy, tuberculosis, worms, and colic.


Don’t touch or you’ll be sorry! But, if you need a diuretic, look no further!

The hairs on the nettles aret like little needles that get beneath your skin to inject the plant’s formic acid, aka “poison,” which can leave a stinging/burning sensation and rash for hours.

Need to get your characters bowels/bladder moving? The root or leaves crushed into a tincture could be used as a diuretic.


They look so innocent… just like any other mushroom… Don’t let their soft white caps trick you! Known as the Death Cap or Destroying Angel, one half of a poisonous mushroom can take down a man.

Knowing your mushrooms is key as they are also clearly a food. So, before you go foraging in the forest, do your research!

Funny enough, the puffball mushroom looks poisonous but it isn’t. It can be eaten, and its inner tissues can be applied to wounds to stop bleeding. Burning the puffballs creates a smoke that was often used to stupefy bees in order for our ancestors to collect their honey.

What happens if you eat a poisonous mushroom? Or are injured by a weapon covered in mushroom juice? A person typically won’t experience symptoms for at least a few hours, and sometimes as much as an entire day. Eventually, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and severely dehydrating diarrhea can occur. Because of the delay, a person may be wrongly diagnosed with the flu or some other benign illness. To make matters worse, if the whoever ingested the mushroom remains somewhat hydrated, their symptoms can lessen, creating the false appearance of getting well. Meanwhile, the poison from the mushroom stealthily destroys their liver. Without proper treatment, the character can experience rapid organ failure, coma, and death.

Allegedly, Agrippina, the fourth wife of Emperor Claudius, killed her husband by feeding him poisoned mushrooms.


Extremely poisonous, hemlock was once used to execute prisoners in Greece.

There is not one part of the hemlock plant that is safe. Hemlock causes a gradual weakening of the muscles and intense pain as the muscles deteriorate and die.  Though sight might be lost, the mind remains clear until death occurs.  Symptoms begin in thirty minutes, though it takes several hours to die.

If you’re looking for a couple of ways to use hemlock poisoning in your fictional work, you could add the leaves to a salad or other fine dish. And very interestingly enough, quail can eat hemlock seeds without effect from the poison. However, the flesh of the bird then becomes poisonous. If someone were to eat the bird, it would be enough to give a person convulsions, vertigo, paralysis and even death. 

For medicinal purposes, hemlock can be used as a sedative and antispasmodic (and to induce paralysis). In mediaeval days, Hemlock mixed with betony and fennel seed was considered a cure for the bite of a rabid dog.

Because of its sedative properties, hemlock juice was prescribed as a remedy for teething in children and epilepsy.  As an inhalant, it was believed to relieve whooping-cough and other lung afflictions.

Famed botanist of the 17th century, William Coles wrote in his book, The Art of Simpling:

'If Asses chance to feed much upon Hemlock, they will fall so fast asleep that they will seeme to be dead, in so much that some thinking them to be dead indeed have flayed off their skins, yet after the Hemlock had done operating they have stirred and wakened out of their sleep, to the griefe and amazement of the owners.'

 More next week! Plus antidotes!

Subscribe to our newsletters for another awesome recipe! Mid-October, we sent out the healing balm recipe (which was also posted here), and in mid-November, we will sent out a pet paw ointment recipe for the coming winter!

Eliza Knight & Madeline Martin at the Historical Romance Retreat 


Madeline Martin is a USA TODAY Bestselling author of Scottish set historical romance novels. She lives a glitter-filled life in Jacksonville, Florida with her two daughters (known collectively as the minions) and a man so wonderful he's been dubbed Mr. Awesome. All shenanigans are detailed regularly on Twitter and on Facebook.

Madeline loves animals in sweaters, cat videos, wine and Nutella. Check out her FB page on any given Friday to see what great new book she's giving away by one of her fellow authors. 

She also loves connecting with her readers, so feel free to follow her on any one of her social media platforms, or send her a message :) 

FB page: https://www.facebook.com/MadelineMartinAuthor/
Twitter: @MadelineMMartin


Eliza Knight is an award-winning and USA Today bestselling indie author of over fifty sizzling historical romance and erotic romance. Under the name E. Knight, she pens rip-your-heart-out historical fiction. While not reading, writing or researching for her latest book, she chases after her three children. In her spare time (if there is such a thing…) she likes daydreaming, wine-tasting, traveling, hiking, staring at the stars, watching movies, shopping and visiting with family and friends. She lives atop a small mountain with her own knight in shining armor, three princesses and two very naughty puppies. 

Twitter: @ElizaKnight
Instagram: @ElizaKnightFiction