Monday, January 21, 2019

*Book Tour & Giveaway* Ancient Enemy Series by Mark Lukens-GUEST POST

Ancient Enemy
Ancient Enemy Series Book 1
by Mark Lukens
Genre: Horror

Ancient Enemy - it wants things . . . you have to give it what it wants.

Seven hundred years ago the Anasazi people built massive cities in what is now the southwestern United States . . . and then they vanished.

Stella, an archaeologist specializing in Anasazi culture, and David, a mysterious Navajo boy, are on the run from something terrifying. As they flee up into the snowy mountains of Colorado, they are carjacked by criminals escaping a botched bank robbery. Caught in a blizzard, they must take refuge in what they believe is an abandoned cabin. It's at this cabin where they will face horrors beyond their imagination.

Ancient Enemy Series Book 2

After a rancher finds ten mutilated bodies at a dig site on the Navajo Reservation, both Captain Begay of the Navajo Tribal Police and Special Agent Palmer of the FBI become involved ... but the case leads Palmer back up to Colorado where five more mutilated bodies and Stella's vehicle have been discovered at a burning cabin.

Cole, Stella, and David escape the cabin on a snowmobile, heading south to get David back down to the Navajo lands. Now that Stella believes that David is a natural-born shaman, she knows that their only hope of David ever defeating the Ancient Enemy is to find a reclusive shaman named Joe Blackhorn who can help train David.

But with Agent Palmer and Captain Begay hot on their trail, Cole and Stella must find Joe Blackhorn and the secrets he possesses before the Ancient Enemy destroys them all.

Hope's End
Ancient Enemy Series Book 3

In 1891, in the badlands of northern Arizona, Jed Cartwright, a bounty hunter and U.S. Marshal, transports a dangerous prisoner back to the town of Smith Junction. As they travel through the woods, they are attacked by what they believe are skinwalkers.

As Jed flees the woods, he finds a house where a family has been slaughtered - the only survivor is an eight-year-old Navajo boy, a boy traumatized by the horrors he has seen.

As Jed and the Navajo boy make their way north to Smith Junction, a sudden sandstorm diverts them to the small town of Hope's End. They take refuge from the storm in the saloon with some of the townspeople. But hours later, when the storm is over, they discover what has happened to the rest of the people in Hope's End . . . and the terror is only beginning, everything leading up to a shocking twist at the end.

Evil Spirits
Ancient Enemy Series Book 4

It has been seven years since David sent the Ancient Enemy back to its world in the ghost town that was once the town of Hope's End.

Cole and Stella have lived in Costa Rica for the last seven years. They wanted to believe that it was really over . . . but there were always doubts. And when Stella sees a horrifying vision in the jungle, she's certain that the Ancient Enemy has returned.

David, living at his aunt's house in New Mexico, knows the Ancient Enemy is back; he can feel it. And now nightmares about a serial killer possessed by the Ancient Enemy plague him, a killer who will stop at nothing, a killer who is coming for David. With Joe Blackhorn dead now, the only person David can turn to is Begay, the former captain of the Navajo Tribal Police.

Former FBI agent Palmer's nightmares have returned, and when he's called in as a consultant on the recent copycat murders - re-creations of the massacre at the archaeological dig site seven years ago - he knows that the ancient evil is back.

Together, they are drawn into one last stand against the Ancient Enemy . . . but this time the battle will be fought in the Ancient Enemy's world.

Mark Lukens has been writing since the second grade when his teacher called his parents in for a conference because the ghost story he'd written had her a little concerned.

Since then he's had several stories published and four screenplays optioned by producers in Hollywood. One script is in development to be produced. He is the author of many bestselling books including: Ancient Enemy, Darkwind: Ancient Enemy 2, Descendants of Magic, The Summoning, Night Terrors, Sightings, The Exorcist's Apprentice, What Lies Below, Devil's Island, The Darwin Effect, Ghost Town: a novella, and A Dark Collection: 12 Scary Stories. He is a member of The Horror Writers Association.

He grew up in Daytona Beach, Florida. But after many travels and adventures, he settled down near Tampa, Florida with his wonderful wife and son ... and a stray cat they adopted.

As my bio states: I’ve been writing since the second grade. But I may have tried to write stories even before that. But I remember the first time I knew I really wanted to be a writer. I was about ten or eleven years old, and I read a book of sci-fi stories from the bookshelf in the living room (both my mom and dad always loved reading sci-fi fiction). It was called 18 Greatest Science Fiction Stories. The stories were mostly from the 1950s and 1960s, but I discovered authors in that collection like Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke. I tried to find everything by Ray Bradbury, and soon I was writing stories that were poor imitations of Bradbury’s stories.
When I was fourteen years old, a friend told me about a book he was reading called The Stand by some guy named Stephen King. I went to the small public library across the street from our trailer park (the library has since moved and is now huge) to look for the book. I didn’t find The Stand, but I found a few other books by Stephen King. I looked over the few books they had, trying to decide which one I wanted to read. I read the description of Christine; it was about a haunted car. I loved muscle cars, so a haunted muscle car—how cool was that? I checked the book out and took it home. I was hooked. I couldn’t stop reading it. I hadn’t really read much horror up until then, but I knew at that moment that this was the kind of stories I wanted to write. I checked out every Stephen King book at that small library that they had. I read ‘Salem’s Lot next. Then The Dead Zone. Then Different Seasons. Then Pet Sematary. Eventually I bought a paperback copy of The Stand.
I left home right before I turned eighteen years old to work construction in Orlando. I mostly worked construction, and I traveled around a lot in my younger years. When I got older and my son was born, I ran my own drywall business for years. Over the next two decades I was working a lot, but I was always reading and always writing. I didn’t take my writing too seriously, sending a story out here and there, sending query letters off to publishers and agents every so often. It wasn’t until I was in my late thirties that I decided to get serious about my writing and I began studying the craft of screenwriting. I found some success right away with my screenplays; producers and managers in Hollywood (some of them not so famous then but famous now) requested to read my scripts. A few years later I had a few options and two really close calls with major studios. But the stars didn’t quite align and things fell apart. I was devastated, but then I heard about Amazon/Kindle publishing. I decided to quit my job and turn one of my scripts, Ancient Enemy, into a novel. And I’ve been writing ever since.

Research can be important, and it has been important in some of my books, more for some than others. With the internet, research is so much easier. I did a lot of research for my books Ancient Enemy, The Exorcist’s Apprentice, and Devil’s Island.
Before I begin a first draft of a book, I usually start with a six to ten page outline. If I know I’m going to need to do some research before I even begin writing, then I’ll do it. But often, as I’m writing the first draft, I’ll come across areas and details that I need to research. Sometimes I’ll do a little research then, but usually I just leave myself a note right in the first draft to research something in the subsequent drafts and edits so I don’t slow down the momentum of completing the first draft.

I think self-publishing, or indie publishing as it’s sometimes called (and Amazon/Kindle specifically), has opened a lot of doors for writers. I know some people may still look down on anything self-published, but people should remember that self-publishing is not new, and there have been many success stories from self-publishing recently (Wool, The Martian, and The Shack come to mind immediately). Just because someone wasn’t traditionally published doesn’t mean that their writing or their stories aren’t any good. Traditional publishing is a numbers game, and often luck is involved—the right publisher or agent at the right time. I’m sure publishers and agents have turned down a lot of great works because they can only publish or represent so many authors at a time. Also, I believe that publishers may be concentrating on the stable of authors they have now rather than taking on a lot of new authors.
I think traditional publishing and printed books will always be around. People have been declaring the death of the book for a long time: First, movies were going to kill the book, then TV, then DVDs, and now self-published e-books. But books and traditional publishing have survived, and I think they will continue to survive. But I think publishing has changed drastically in the last ten to fifteen years. I don’t believe a lot of readers look at who published the e-book before buying or borrowing it. Also, I think many independent authors have chosen to be self-published, and I’ve heard of many authors who used to be traditionally published who are self-published now. I know of some self-published authors who are so successful that they would most likely turn down a publishing deal unless it was a multimillion dollar deal from a large publisher.

Yes, I still love to read. I think reading, along with a consistent writing schedule, is one of the most important things a writer can do. I still have authors that I love to read, but I’ve also discovered so many new authors on Amazon/Kindle in the last five years. I still read a lot of horror and thrillers, but not as much science fiction as I used to. But what it really comes down to for me is that I love a good story.

When I’m writing the first draft, I like to have some music on. I mostly write in my office (but sometimes in the living room—I can write just about anywhere) and I’ll listen to the radio, some CDs, or my playlist on Amazon. My taste in music is as eclectic as my tastes in reading, so I listen to all kinds of music.
When I’m editing or rereading drafts, I like to have the music off.

I’m always working on several projects at the same time in various stages of development; I’ve always done that. I guess it’s good that I can multitask, but one of the downfalls is that if I get a new idea for another story or a book, I’ll abandon the one I’m working on to start the new one. Also, if I get stuck in a novel I’m working on, it’s too tempting to go work on something else.
In the last few years I’ve learned to be a little more disciplined about keeping to one project at a time and finishing that one up before moving on to something else. Of course if I get an idea for a story or book, or a breakthrough on something else, I’ll jot those notes down or even work on it for that day, but then I like to get back to the main project I’m working on at that time. These days, even if I get stuck on part of the book, or things aren’t coming out exactly like I want them to, I’ve learned to just power through those drafts.
I still find myself going back and forth between projects. It’s a hard habit to break, but I’m getting better about it. But I guess I’ll always work on several projects at a time. I have more ideas than time to write them, but I guess that’s a good thing.

This would be a typical day for me:
I write for a living now so I don’t have a set time to wake up (I had too many years of that), but I try to get up before nine o’clock. The earlier I can get started, the more I seem to get done. I can write at night (or anytime), but I really like writing first thing in the morning. I get out of bed, make some tea, and maybe have a small breakfast, then I go into my office. I do a quick check of my emails to make sure there isn’t something important that I need to respond to, and then I get started on the day’s work. I like to get in at least three to five hours of writing (or rereading, editing, or whatever stage the writing project is in). I don’t really have an actual page count or word count that I adhere to, but I know if I’ve gotten enough work done that day.
I’ll take a break in the afternoon and run any errands I need to run or do a quick workout. I’ll eat a late lunch or early dinner, then I like to go back to work for at least an hour or two in the late afternoon or the evening. If I’m not writing then, I’ll at least work on some marketing or social media stuff. Then I’ll watch some TV with my wife and read a little before going to bed.

I like Stephen King’s advice the best in his book On Writing: Read a lot and write a lot. I think those two things are the foundation for any writer. I think any writer needs to love to read before he or she can really think about writing their own stories, and if you want to write in a certain genre, then I think it’s important to know and love that genre; I think the readers can tell if you don’t. As for writing a lot, I think every writer should have some kind of consistent writing schedule. It doesn’t have to be every day, or so many hours or pages a day, but I think it’s important not to let too much time slip by without writing. I don’t always write every day; I tend to write more in spurts, but I’ve been doing this long enough to know that I’ll get back to writing if I take a day or two off. But it’s also important to remember that writing is a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly so it doesn’t become weak and waste away. A writer writes.
A few other things to keep in mind:
Don’t expect your early stuff to be great (although it may be). You need to get the early books, stories, screenplays, etc. out of you and hone your craft as you go. As you write, year after year, you will get better and better. But the important thing is to keep writing.
Don’t expect your first draft to be perfect—it rarely is. Just get that first draft down on paper so you have something to improve. I get caught in this trap even to this day; I will procrastinate or go back and begin editing the first draft I’m working on if I get stuck on something because I want the first draft to be perfect. But I have to remind myself that it’s not going to be perfect and that I can always go back and change minor things here and there in the subsequent drafts.
Whether you outline or fly by the seat-of-your-pants, you should try to power through your first draft as quickly as possible. If you’re stuck on a word or phrase, just use a placeholder there, anything to keep moving on. I’ll often write notes to myself in my first drafts such as: Look this up, or Research this, or add more detail here, or explain how she got this job, etc. As you go through the second, third, or even tenth draft, you’ll keep improving the story, tweaking it, making it better and better.

Keep learning the craft. I think it’s important for writers, new ones especially, to learn everything they can about the craft of writing. Read books on it, watch videos, read articles, listen to podcasts. And, of course, keep practicing. 
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

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