Friday, May 17, 2013

M. B. Tosi, The Crimson Path of Honor

BOOK TITLE: The Crimson Path of Honor, Book Three of The Indian Path Series
PUBLISHER: WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson
BUY LINK: Amazon link
I’m currently running a giveaway promotion at   If anyone buys The Crimson Path of Honor, they can download a free copy of my second book, The Secret Path of Destiny as well as download other free gifts.

Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself?

I am a bestselling author of The Indian Path Series. I’ve also been an editor of non-fiction books and a weekly newspaper. I teach piano and have a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in education. After my birth in Pierre, South Dakota, I lived in Alexandria, Virginia; Bucks County, Pennsylvania; and Toledo, Ohio. I have three children and five grandchildren and a spunky Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Ava.

What genre do you write in and why?

I write historical romance fiction about Native America in the late 1800s. From my journalism background, I love to do research, and I’ve always been interested in the Old West and Native America, perhaps from my memories of South Dakota.

Tell me about your current book which you are promoting.

My current book is The Crimson Path of Honor, which is Book Three of The Indian Path Series.
In The Crimson Path of Honor, the Civil War is over, and a violent period known as the Indian Wars is erupting. Ignoring the danger, a feisty young woman from Boston rebels against her tyrannical father’s plans to marry her off to a family friend, and she seizes an opportunity to go west to teach. On the way to the Oregon Territory, her stagecoach is attacked, and she is captured by a marauding band of Lakota (Sioux) Indians who call the Rocky Mountains home.

Accepting her perilous situation, the young woman courageously confronts the daily hardships inherent in early Native American life. At first treated like an outcast, she eventually adapts to her circumstances and comes to respect the camaraderie of the Indians, even falling in love with her captor. Over time, she begins to challenge her abductor’s traditional views on bloodletting and violence as the path of honor. Torn by her inability to justify her growing feelings for her captor in a culture of violence, she continually wonders why God has abandoned her in such a desolate place.

How long have you been writing?
I began writing in high school when I was on the newspaper staff and editor of a literary magazine. Then I wrote while in journalism school and eventually as the editor of a faculty newspaper. Although I spent most of my time raising my children, teaching piano, doing volunteer work, and being a freelance editor, I always kept a manuscript going in the hopes of one day publishing a book.
What got you interested in writing, and what inspired you to write your first book?
Everyone needs mentors, and I’ve had a few great ones. In high school, a feisty English teacher kept telling me I had talent (and then she’d freely use her red pen on my assignments). In college, a journalism professor, who was as tough as nails, took me under her wing and even found me my first job as an editor. Most recently, the Director Emeritus of University of Notre Dame Press has encouraged my writing and publishing.
Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process?

Journalists are taught to write on the fly, and I write spontaneously without outlines. It would probably surprise readers to know I begin writing at the Introduction and let the story flow where it wants to go through the Epilog.

My first step before beginning to write is prayer. Usually my mind is a blank slate without a constructive idea. After praying, though, I usually wake up with a general idea for a new book, what Indian tribe, the setting, etc. Then I do some hard work and research the tribe and setting to see if any historical event or odd fact jumps out at me. If it does, I pray about it, and usually I wake up knowing what the entire story of the new book is going to be about.

What comes first: the plot or the characters?
I begin writing a book only knowing the general historical event the book is going to be built around. My characters and plot begin to develop in front of my eyes as I start to write; in fact, I sometimes don’t even know a character’s name until he or she shows up. I’m continually surprised by where a book might lead and the villains that might show up. As you might have guessed, I only write after I’ve prayed for it’s important to me that my books are inspirational and go the direction the Lord wants them to go.
Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why?

I love all of my characters because they represent humanity with good qualities and enormous flaws. In The Crimson Path of Honor, I especially identify with Morning Star and her feisty courage, indomitable spirit, and stubborn faith. I also love Golden Eagle for his unwavering love. Then again, I would like to kick him sometimes for his pigheadedness. Through my books, I’ve truly grown to love Native Americans, and I try to present an unbiased and respectful view of their culture.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Even though I’ve been an editor my whole life, the hardest part of publishing a book is the final editing. It can be downright tedious. The easiest part for me and most joyous is writing. Unlike some authors, I don’t write “x” number of words/day. In fact, I never count words until the end. I just let the characters take me on their adventures unrestricted by word counts.
Did your book require a lot of research? How long does it take to write a book for you?

Historical books require a great attention to detail and accuracy, but I love to do research. Books can take any amount of time to write. I started one of my books twenty years ago, but put it aside as life became challenging. Another book took three weeks, and another took two months. It varies depending the time you have to devote to writing and what else you are involved in. 

What are some of the challenges in your writing process?

I’ve worked from my home for a long time now, so I basically have developed a workable routine. It’s important to keep regular schedules for writing, marketing on social media, exercising, teaching piano, and being with friends. My children are grown and live out of town, so I can basically determine my own schedule. I usually write in the morning and then again from 10:30-midnight.

Describe your writing space.
My writing space is cozy, small, and sunny with my dog on one side and lots of files on the other side. I have a laptop computer so I move all around my house. I also have a TempurPedic bed that sits up straight, and I like to write there at night. My best writing actually occurs at night.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to see friends, go walking or swimming, go to symphonies, concerts, ballet, and plays. I love to do volunteer work, play piano, and even write music. I also love to visit my children and grandchildren. My alter ego likes to go to basketball and football games. I’m a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan as well as an Ohio State Buckeye fan.
What books or authors have influenced your writing?

I knew I wanted to write from my love of Nancy Drew books as a child. I can’t think of any specific author that influenced my writing as I tend to read non-fiction books more than fiction.

What so you see for the future of publishing and e-books?

It’s a wide open slate for Indie authors right now, and I see traditional publishing having to adapt to a changing market with independent writers having success.

What are your current books out right now, and what are the books coming up for

I have three books currently out in The Indian Path Series. Book One is The Sacred Path of Tears, and it is about a young Cheyenne woman torn between two men she loves after the Sand Creek Massacre. (  Book Two is The Secret Path of Destiny, and it is about a young German-American woman who seeks refuge from her wicked stepfather with the Comanche. ( Book Three, The Crimson Path of Honor, is about a young Boston debutante who is captured by the Lakota on her way to the Oregon Territory. ( Promo: ( Book Four, The Thundering Path of Spirit, will be out in 2014. It is about a young woman adopted by the Crow and how she tries to find her Crow brother during the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Book Five, The Solitary Path of Courage, will be out in 2015. It is about a young woman’s career as a newspaper reporter in the Idaho Territory during the Nez Perce’s last battle.

What is The Indian Path Series?

Each book in The Indian Path Series focuses on a different Native American tribe during the Indian Wars in the late 1800s, and the lives of fictional characters are woven into the true events. The theme of the series is how to find life’s purpose and a path of peace, love, courage, and faith in times of trouble. As American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”

What is your marketing plan?

WestBow Press provides many publicity options and promotional materials, such as postcards, bookmarks, etc. I’m doing my second book launch with partners online. These partners provide free gifts to buyers of my book during the promotion. I’ve had several book signings with Barnes and Noble, and I work with local book clubs and make presentations to women’s groups. I’ve also been featured in my sorority’s magazine and various websites. The most important success to any campaign is finding supportive readers who are willing to write reviews. Great reviews sell books!

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?

Writing is learning your craft through schooling and helpful mentors. It is also practicing your craft in some way every day. The more you write, the better you get.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?

Please visit my website to learn more about The Indian Path Series. You can write to me on my website I have 4,600 followers on Twitter, and you can follow me @AuthorMBTosi. I also have 550 friends on Facebook at My Indian Path Series Facebook page is!/pages/The-Indian-Path-Series/142828702473805

Here is an excerpt from the book’s Introduction:


    "No, no . . .," Luci mumbled as her head swayed with the lurching motion of the stagecoach.
     Jolting her awake from a deep sleep, a strong hand frantically grabbed her arm. For a moment, the young woman was disoriented, and then she realized it was Slick, the Oklahoma cowboy. His spurs scraped the narrow planked floor.
     "Get down, ma'am. Quick! We're being attacked by Indians."
     In shock, Luci obediently scrambled onto the stagecoach floor next to Martha Thompson, who was sobbing hysterically. Protectively, Luci put her arm around the ample woman's trembling shoulders.
     "Everything will be all right," she said reassuringly, but she didn't believe a word of it. Fear raced like a runaway train through her chest.
     Captain Packard, a former Union soldier turned bounty hunter, was poised for action with his Winchester rifle protruding out the rickety window frame. There was glee on his weathered face as he relished killing the "blood thirsty varmints." The wind whipped back his silver mane of hair like the vortex of a tornado, and a demoniacal glint filled his wild eyes.
     The captain tossed a spare pistol to Jasper Thompson, who anxiously leaned out the opposite window. Never expecting an ambush on his journey to the rich farmland out west, the shy, gaunt homesteader was stunned into silence.
     Suddenly, Slick, who was propped against a rear window, twisted Luci's arm and forced her to let go of the homesteader's wife. Then he straddled her protectively under his lanky body, anchoring himself half on the tiny blond woman and half on the crackled leather bench seat. His chaps flapped noisily in the turbulent wind. With six-shooters drawn, the cowboy began to volley with the whooping raiding party.
     It was a thundering of jarring, strident sounds. Earsplitting gunshots echoed hollowly, and the tiny wooden enclosure strained and groaned as it tore faster and faster over the brutal terrain. Shrill war whoops pierced the air, and rumbling hoof beats pounded closer. Magnifying her terror, Luci's heartbeat drummed in unison.
     All at once, she heard a muted groan and then a scream. Her horrified eyes spotted the limp body of their guard, Harlan Wright, flailing through the air off the top of the stagecoach to his death on the rocky trail. He had been riddled with at least four feather-tipped arrows.
     Next, Jasper Thompson cried out in anguish. Luci's eyes flew to his slumping body, an arrow bisecting his chest. Martha, ignoring the danger, rushed to her new husband's side, and suddenly an arrow found a bull's-eye in her back. Shock, then peace, filled their stricken eyes, and they died, sinking motionlessly into each other's arms on the blood-spattered floor.
     The driver, Jeb Smith, met a grizzly death next as his cadaver dangled upside down from the roof, then dropped with a sickening thud to the hard ground. Because it was entering a treacherous curve in the trail, the rattling stagecoach careened wildly out of control without a driver.
     In numbing fear, Luci tried to pray, but the words got stuck in her paralyzed throat. She squeezed more tightly into a corner for protection, but the dead bodies of the Thompsons pinned her legs against the splintered floor. Slick's oppressive weight also made it impossible to move any further.
     As he tried to gun down a few more "savages," the captain's outrageous laugh rang out deliriously. A deadly arrow came out of nowhere to nail him between the eyes, and he toppled forcefully onto the corpses of the Thompsons. In shock that he'd survived the Civil War but not an Indian attack, his frantic eyes sought Luci and appealed for help, but it was too late. Blood covered everything, splattering Luci's plain gingham dress and the cowboy's dusty cowhide boots with a melancholic crimson ooze.
     Though nauseated at the carnage, Luci forced herself to face reality and peer around Slick's gangly form. She gasped at the ferocity on the bronzed, war painted faces of the Indians as their lathered horses pounded by the stagecoach.
     "Oh no," Luci screamed silently against the deafening wind. Slick took a well-aimed arrow in his chest and careened from the rear window. He crushed her with his weight. Wanting him to know she had appreciated his protection, she scrambled from beneath with difficulty and gently touched the cowboy's lined face. His pained eyes flung wide open.
     "Ma'am, you're such a pretty little thing. I always said so . . .," he whispered feebly. All eternity was in his voice as death claimed another victim.
     Only Luci remained. She'd never thought a slaughter like this was possible on her journey to teach in the Oregon Territory.
     Sensing victory, the Indians wildly circled the stagecoach, and one leaped to the rooftop to halt the stampeding team of horses. He landed with a frightening thud, which jolted Luci into action. Because of her small size, she was sure they hadn't spotted her.
     With a burst of energy, her survival instinct kicked in. Grabbing the captain's rifle out of his lifeless hands, she hastily crawled across the dead bodies to the rear seat, lifting the bench top to reveal a tiny storage compartment. Deftly, the young woman maneuvered into the suffocating space, and she propped open a half-inch crack for air.
     Skidding across the rocky trail, the stagecoach rumbled to a deafening stop. The ominous silence of death was broken only by the pounding of Luci's heartbeat in her throat.


Author M.B. Tosi is a bestselling author of The Indian Path Series. Each of the three books in the series focuses on a different Native American tribe during the Indian Wars in the late 1800s, and the lives of fictional characters are woven into the true events. The books can be read in any order as each book stands alone with different characters, tribes, settings, and events in the Indian Wars.

1 comment:

  1. I think everyone loved Nancy Drew!

    Exciting excerpt!