By May McGoldrick (aka Nikoo and Jim McGoldrick)
When we set out to write the Royal Highlander series (
Highland Crown, Highland Jewel, Highland Sword), our goal was to weave the lives of three extraordinary women into
the fabric of a revolutionary, but largely forgotten series of historical events called the Radical
War of 1820.
From that mindset, the characters of Isabella, a university-
trained physician; Maisie, an early activist for suffrage; and Morrigan, a militant revolutionary,
formed in our imagination. Our research directed us to real historical figures of the Georgian
and Regency Era who served as models for our heroines. Women like Dorothea Erxleben,
physician; Mary Fildes, political activist and an early suffragette; âWilliamâ Brown (birth name
unknown), an African woman serving in the Royal Navy); and MarĂa Antonia Santos Plata, a
rebel guerrilla leader in South America.
SinceÂ Highland Crown
Â deals with a neglected chapter in Scotlandâs struggle
against the English Crown, we thought weâd cast a little light on five real-life kick-ass heroines
from the past. These are rebellious and radical women who would never be talked
about, if some people had their way. Â
- Abigail Adams (1744-1818). Her husband might have been the second president of the
United States, but she was a radical and a patriot from the earliest days of the Revolutionary
War. With battles raging in the Boston area where she lived, Adams learned that the American
soldiers were running low on ammunition. Gathering together all the silver and iron in her
home, she had it melted down into bullets for the troops. She was also one of the first women
to fight for womenâs suffrage, famously telling her husband while he was off helping create the
Constitution that it was a mistake to âput such unlimited power into the hands of [men].
Remember all men would be tyrants if they could.â And she believed in acting according to
oneâs principles; she wouldnât step foot in the house of a slaveholder nor entertain one at her
- Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005). In 1968, this fierce Brooklynite was the first African-
American woman elected to Congress. Over the next fifteen years, she introduced over fifty
pieces of legislation, fighting hard for gender and racial equality and serving as a champion
throughout her life to improve conditions and opportunities for the poor. In 1972, Chisholm
sought the Democratic nomination for President. When she was prevented from taking part in
televised debates, she was not about to be bullied or ignored. She took legal action. When she
was asked how she wanted to be remembered, âFighting Shirleyâ said, âI want to be
remembered as a womanâŚwho dared to be a catalyst of change.â
- Nusaybah Bint Ka'ab (7th century) was a woman who would give any historical hero a
run for their money. Nusaybah was one of the first people to convert to Islam. Born in Medina,
she fought in seven battles against the warring neighbors, carrying a sword and bow and
sustaining a dozen wounds, including the loss of one hand. But that didnât stop her. In one
battle, she distinguished herself as a fierce and tireless fighter, defending the Prophet (pbuh)
himself against attacking warriors. She was tremendously revered by the community for her
toughness as well as her goodness.
- ZitkĂĄla-Ĺ ĂĄ (1876â1938),
which translates from Lakota into English as âRed Birdâ, was a Dakota Sioux woman who fought
her entire life against a white majority culture that was systematically trying to stamp out
Native American identities. She battled racism and corruption in government and industry
across the country, founding the National Council of American Indians to lobby for justice and
equal rights. She wrote dozens of influential essays and pamphlets to expose American
corporations that were using coercive business practices that included robbery and even
murder to defraud tribes of their rights to leasing fees for development of their oil-rich land in
Oklahoma. Her brilliance and tireless activism would lead to Congress passing the Indian
Reorganization Act in 1934. And in her ongoing campaign to enlighten Americans, she was
among the first to publish traditional Native American stories for a widespread white
readership. In those stories, she used fictionalized autobiographical material to take issue with
what she saw as the evils of assimilation aimed at erasing her history and way of life. Multi-
talented, accomplished, and tenacious, she was truly a kick-ass hero.
- Bella Abzug (1920-1998)
was an unrelenting feminist and civil rights advocate who served in the US House of
Representatives during the 1970s. Fierce and outspoken, Â this daughter of immigrants fought
anyone who believed women should remain on the political sidelines. During her years in
Congress, Abzug introduced legislation demanding the withdrawal of American forces from
Vietnam. She demanded an investigation into the competence of J. Edgar Hoover, the all-
powerful director of the FBI. She was the first to call for the impeachment of Richard Nixon.
She even fought her own partyâs complicity in the political deal-making traditionally carried on
in secret and passed legislation that has come to be known as the âsunshine lawâ, requiring
that the business of government be carried out in the open. Abzug also introduced
groundbreaking legislation aimed at increasing the rights of all citizens, including the gay and
lesbian community. Unable to fault her on ethical grounds, her critics were reduced to
attacking her strong personality. She didnât care. Her fight was for the American people. Bella
Abzug was the kick-ass predecessor of all the newly elected women tearing it up in Congress
Of course, there are thousands upon thousands more.
Maybe we should write a book about them? Or three!
Royal Highlander #1
Scottish pride, persuasion, and passionâthis is Highland romance at its breathtaking
Perched on the North Sea, this port townâby turns legendary and mythologicalâis a place
where Highland rebels and English authorities clash in a mortal struggle for survival and
dominance. Among the fray is a lovely young widow who possesses rare and special gifts.
WANTED: Isabella Drummond
A true beauty and trained physician, Isabella has inspired longing and mysteryâand furyâin a
great many men. Hunted by both the British government and Scottish rebels, she came to the
Highlands in search of survival. But a dying shipâs captain will steer her fate into even stormier
waters... and her heart into flames.
FOUND: Cinaed Mackintosh
Cast from his home as a child, Cinaed is a fierce soul whose allegiance is only to himself...until
Isabella saved his lifeâand added more risk to her own. Now, the only way Cinaed can keep
her safe to seek refuge at Dalmigavie Castle, the Mackintosh family seat. But when the
scandalous truth of his past comes out, any chance of Cinaed having a bright future with
Isabella is thrown into complete darkness. What will these two ill-fated lovers have to sacrifice
to be togetherâŚfor eternity?
Romance Historical [St. Martin's Paperbacks,
On Sale: April 30, 2019, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781250314970 / eISBN:
Scotland with this steamy romance
and exciting Highland romance that leaves your heart panting for more!
USA Today Bestselling Authors Nikoo and Jim wrote their first May McGoldrick romance using
historical figures that Jim researched while earning a PhD in sixteenth-century Scottish and
English literature. Nikoo, a mechanical engineer, is a born storyteller. She is all about
characters and feeling. Jim is about action and sense of place. Together, they have crafted
over forty fast-paced, conflict-filled historical and contemporary novels and two works of
nonfiction under the pseudonyms May McGoldrick and Jan Coffey.
Their stories have touched the hearts and minds of millions of readers all over the world. Their
work has been translated into over a dozen languages, and counting. Because of their
success, they have been frequent guests on local and national radio and television. They
travel regularly, speaking at writersâ conferences, libraries, classrooms, and book group
These popular and prolific authors write historical romance, suspense, mystery, and young
adult novels. They are four-time Rita Finalists and the winners of numerous awards for their
writing, including the Romantic Times Magazine Reviewersâ Choice Award, the Daphne
DeMaurier Award, three NJRW Golden Leaf Awards, two Holt Medallions, and the Connecticut
Press Club Award for Best Fiction. Their work is included in the Popular Culture Library
collection of the National Museum of Scotland.
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