Signed Book Giveaway & Interview: Jeffrey Bardwell, Author of Broken Wizards

Folks, please give a warm welcome to Jeffrey Bardwell. He kindly lets me heckle him with questions and is also offering up 5 signed advanced review copies of Broken Wizards, open internationally! Scroll to the end of the post to check out that giveaway!

1. If you could be an extra on a TV show or movie, what would it be and what would you be doing?

If I were a background character, I would be the cheeky voice of experience gleefully hanging lampshades on all the plot holes while the protagonist was walking down the street and pontificating or ordering a pizza. I would be the very astute, very snarky delivery boy who would be stiffed his tip for my troubles.

2. Would you rather have a dragon, or be a dragon?

Fiery breath? Long nails? Flaky skin? I’m half way there already every time I wake up in the morning. I would much prefer to be than to have a dragon. That way, I’d be the one making the messes instead of cleaning them up (of the destructive burning building variety). Any dragon I own will be house trained.

3. As an ecologist, what’s the most interesting gross fact you know?

There are several species of fungi that will invade insects’ bodies and nervous systems and turn them into zombie bugs. I find the concept terrifying. I once had a mentor who could eat a ham sandwich with one hand and perform a blunt dissection with the other, so gore doesn’t really gross me out these days. My nightmare fuel is more psychological and of the body snatchers variety.

4. If you had to choose someone to rescue you from the jaws of certain death would it be a superhero, supernatural creature, or a space alien?

Um . . . Batman, hands down. Save me, oh knight of darkness!

5. If you could, what book or movie or TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

The one with the most engaging plot twists of course: Game of Thrones. Mostly, I just want to wipe my mind and binge watch the whole series after it’s released while curled up on the couch with the love of my life. Now, where can I find some of that brain-warping fungus?

6. Who are your favorite hero duos from the pages?

It’s a tie between Sherlock Holmes and Watson and Batman and Robin. I guess it’s no coincidence the the latter are the superhero expies of the former.

7. What does your Writer’s Den look like? Neat and tidy or creative mess? Can you write anywhere or do you need to be holed up in your author cave?

My den is a semi organized mess. I can usually jot notes, work on revisions, write the bare bones of scenes, and plot novels anywhere. But actually sitting my butt in a chair and writing chapters at a time requires either my desk in the basement or the kitchen table, depending on the weather. I hope to get a proper office organized someday in the guest room, but as they say, hope springs eternal.

8. If you were asked to create the syllabus for a college class in SFF literature, what books would be on there as required reading? As passing discussion?

Oh, wow. You’re asking that of an ex academic [rubs hands together and grins]. Let’s teach! I would arrange my course around authors rather than books. I guess I would start with Edgar Allen Poe and the intersection of mystery, horror, and fantasy and then look at how different authors have added their own unique spin on SFF over the years. I’d throw in some lesser known authors like James H. Schmitz to show off a few outliers like well-rounded, perceptive female characters. Then, we’d examine common tropes and how they reflect how SFF changes with society and then start deconstructing them. Now that I’ve said all that, I really want to teach that class . . .

9. It’s a long sailing trip: what books make it into your trunk and why?

I admit I would cheat and bring the following: 1) a hand crank generator, 2) an AC/DC converter, 3) a few shrink wrapped ereaders with an eclectic mix of everything I can cram into them, and 4) OK, one or two hardbacks: Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein and The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I’ve read those multiple times over the years, so I wouldn’t mind being stuck with them when my generator fails or the boat sinks and it’s desert island time.

About Author Jeffrey Bardwell:

Jeffrey Bardwell is an ecologist with a Ph.D. who loves fantasy, amphibians, and reptiles. The author devours fantasy and science fiction novels, is most comfortable basking near a warm wood stove, and has eaten a bug or two. The author populates his own novels with realistic, fire breathing lizards. These dragons are affected by the self-inflicted charred remains of their environment, must contend with the paradox of allometric scaling, and can actually get eaten themselves.
The author lives on a farm, is perhaps overfond of puns and alliterations, and is a gigantic ham. When not in use, he keeps his degrees skinned and mounted on the back wall of his office. Email at:


Places to Stalk Jeffrey Bardwell

websitefacebook ~ twitter ~ goodreads

Book Blurb about Broken Wizards

Time’s up for mages!

The wizard purge is in full swing. Sorcery is illegal in the modern, steam-powered Iron Empire. The Magistrate’s Black Guards hunt the uncivilized mages using mechanized armor and mysterious, clockwork weapons. The guards deliver their prisoners to the Butcher, Captain Vice. All wizards are tortured and executed as traitors to the state . . . with one exception.

That exception is Devin, an outbreak mage and ex artificer, a prince of machinery. The Magistrate exiles the youth over Vice’s protests to the wild kingdom of wizards and dragons. Devin only knows gears and springs, but his savage magic offers salvation, if he can tame it. The exile must learn to harness his dangerous, new powers before the Butcher tracks him down to finish the job.

Follow Devin’s quest in Book One of The Artifice Mage Saga. Join the fantasy steampunk brawl of metal vs. magic where sorcery is bloody, science is greasy, and nobody’s hands are clean.

Amazon ~ kobo ~ Free Sample


Jeffrey is graciously offering up 5 signed ARCs of Broken Wizards [OPEN INTERNATIONALLY]. Do the Rafflecopter thing below or answer these questions in the comments: 1) What books would you take on a long sea voyage? 2) Where do you live? Giveaway ends May 10th, 2017, midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Giveaway & Interview: Josh Matthews, Author of the Hell Gate Saga

MatthewsHellGateEveryone, please welcome Josh Matthews to the blog today! Today he chats with us about his time in the CIA, his inspirations for Hell Gate, and plenty more. If you want to find out about the GIVEAWAY, then scroll to the bottom. Now, on to the interview!

If you could be an extra on a TV show or movie, what would it be and what would you be doing?

I would want to be a walker on The Walking Dead. But I would want to be one of those prominent walkers who has an extremely bizarre and gruesome death and who has his own “name” in The Talking Dead’s In Memorium segment.

What makes you cringe?

Tidal waves, both the real ones as well as the monstrous tsunamis that appear in disaster/apocalypse movies. To me, the idea of staring up at a wall of water hundreds of feet high barreling toward you is the worst nightmare I can think of. What really left me cold and empty was watching the live video footage of the tsunamis devastating the Japanese coast following the earthquakes in 2011.

If you could, what book or movie or TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

For TV, it’s a toss-up between Start Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. The writing on those shows was brilliant and the acting was superior.

For writing, it would be Brian Lumley’s Necroscope series. That series was a fascinating blend of vampires, paranormal activities, and Cold War politics blended around a vampire mythos that is truly unique.

What has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

The worst job I had was substitute teaching. I tried it when I first retired and moved to Florida to pick up some extra money. The first assignment I accepted I was sent to the toughest high school in the city and given a class where my only instructions were “don’t let them hurt each other.” I avoided any major incidents in class, but needless to say I never accepted another assignment again.

Where is the farthest from home that you have traveled? Would you like to live there?

That’s a tough question because I’ve been all over the world. If I use as the criteria the longest amount of time it took to travel to a location, I would have to say Manchuria in northeast China. I had a good friend who worked in Shenyang and I went to visit him for two weeks. We toured a lot sites related to Pu Yi (the last Emperor of China) and his pro-Japanese World War II puppet government of Manchukuo. Some of the places we visited had not been seen by Westerners in decades. And yes, Manchuria will be a location for a future Hell Gate book.

As much as I enjoyed Manchuria, I wouldn’t want to live there (no offense intended, Shenyang). If I had to live overseas, it would either be South Korea, where I spent three years living in Seoul in the 1990s, or Germany/Austria, which I have visited frequently and fell in love with.

Who or what are your non-writer influences?

This is going to sound cliché, but the biggest influence has been my mother. When I was in school, she never tried to make me conform to fit in with the other kids. She always nurtured my creative side and encouraged me in whatever I wanted to do. A lot of my friends’ parents used to get upset if they read horror novels or magazines. Not mine. My mother did not mind that I read nothing but horror novels in middle school, as long as I was reading. Of course, I think she was silently relieved when I added history to my favorite reading list, and decided to go into government service rather than be a serial killer.

The next influence was Darren McGavin as Karl Kolchak on the TV series The Night Stalker. I watched that show religiously as a kid. It wasn’t the monsters or the plots that thrilled me; they were cheesy as all Hell. It was a combination of Darren portraying Kolchak not as a hero but as a typical guy once again caught up in a terrifying situation, and his writing style on the show. Yeah, it was a throwback to the pulp fiction of the 40s and 50s, and was not very good, but to an impressionable twelve-year-old Kolchak was the epitome of cool. That TV show was what made me want to become a writer.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you chose to do?

I already did the job I wanted to do—I worked for the CIA for twenty-three years. That job allowed me to travel throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East and gave me the opportunity to become familiar with such issues as nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, biological warfare, and cybersecurity.

If I gave up writing and choose another career path, I would like to be involved either in industrial espionage or crash site investigations.

If you could sit down and have dinner with 4 dead authors, who would you invite to the table? What would they order?

H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe, because they are the true masters of horror and I want to see what made those minds tick. H.G. Wells, because so much of his writing is prophetic and I would love to know where he came up with his ideas. And finally, Forest J. Ackerman, the father of Famous Monsters of Filmland, the Bible for all Monster Kids growing up in the 60s and 70s.

They could order whatever they wanted to, my treat. Afterwards, I would provide whiskey and cigars so we could sit around and discuss writing for the night.

Care to share an awkward fangirl/fanboy moment, either one where someone was gushing over your work…..or one where you were gushing over another author’s work?

I really don’t want any. When I worked for the CIA, for several years I was in charge of Invisible Ink, the Agency’s writers’ group, and arranged for scores of authors, screenwriters, graphic novelists, and others to come and visit. They would talk to Invisible Ink for an hour or so, answering our questions, and then we would give them the grand tour of the compound, topped off with lunch in the Agency dining room and stop by the gift shop. Because of that, and my subsequent career as a writer, I have been fortunate to have gotten to know many celebrities on a personal level. That’s not saying I wouldn’t go all fan boy if I met the right people, like The Shatner or Milla Jovovich.

What is the first book you remember reading on your own?

That’s hard to answer. I used to watch all kinds of horror and science fiction movies back in elementary school, and would then read the original novels (I learned at a young age that “based on a story by” has a very loose interpretation). That is how I read so many of the classics as a kid—Poe, Wells, Verne, Stoker, Shelley. I remember being disappointed with many of the novels because they had very little connection with the movie.

However, the first book I remember having a major impact, and which I can still remember to this day, was Graham Masterton’s The Manitou, about an Indian medicine man who kills himself during the white man’s invasion of North America and then comes back in present day New York City to enact his revenge on the white man. A shaman fetus growing on the back of a young woman, deformed by x-rays to determine what it is. An elevator filled with butchered police. A nurse turned inside out when the portal to Hell opens. This all makes quite an impression on a twelve-year-old boy. It was also the book that got me hooked on modern horror.

About Josh Matthews

AuthorJoshMatthewsJosh Matthews is a former New Englander who now lives in north Florida with his wife, teenage daughter, and four lovable but exasperating pets. Josh used to work for the U.S. Government where he had the opportunity to travel around the world and be exposed to numerous cultures, many of which will appear in the Hell Gate saga. He has always been a fan of horror novels and monster movies, and sees the Hell Gate saga as his way to share that love with a new generation of fans.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~Facebook ~ GoodReads ~ Amazon

MatthewsHellGateSynopsis of Hell gate, Book 1 of the Hell Gate saga:

Sixteen-year-old Jason is living a nightmare within a nightmare. He is trying to survive a post-apocalyptic world that has been overrun by demons from another realm, but it was his mother who opened the door in her experiment gone wrong. In a last ditch effort to redeem his family name and unload his guilt, he joins a squad whose mission is to destroy the Hell spawn around Mont St. Michel. When his team arrives in Paris to close the Hell Gate they discover an environment more frightening than anything they could imagine and demons more terrifying than they had ever encountered before. Time is now racing against them. Can he gain his redemption along with the respect of his peers or will a new web of lies threaten to rip apart his world and jeopardize his team’s only chance for success?

Buy the Book:  Amazon


Josh is giving away one print book (U.S. only) and two Kindle versions (international) of Hell Gate. There will be 3 winners total. Do the Rafflecopter thing below or answer these questions in the comments below: 1) What country do you live in? 2) If you could have dinner with a dead author, who would you dine with? 3) Leave a way for me to contact you. Giveaway ends Jan 17, 2017 midnight my time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway