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

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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.

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The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle

Pico contemplating attacking the camera flash.
Pico contemplating attacking the camera flash.

Why I Read It: I needed some vintage SF in my reading diet.

Where I got It: The library.

Who I Recommend This To: PG-rated adventure fans.

Narrator: Michael Prichard

Publisher: Tantor Media (2009)

Length: 8 hours 30 minutes

Series: Book 1 Professor Challenger

Author’s Page

This book was first published in 1912. Keep that in mind because some of the themes and plot devices will be dated. Professor Challenger went tromping around the Amazon jungle and discovered some truly amazing things. He returns to London to pull interest together for another expedition. However, London society makes fun of his claims. Luckily, there are a few young-blooded men with too much time on their hands and they volunteer to help the Professor out. One of these men is newspaper reporter Edward Malone. He and Lord John Roxton and Professor Summerlee join forces, and bank accounts, to go off adventuring.

I love Sherlock Holmes movies and TV shows, but I never much cared for the written stories. I know, I should be wearing some sort of reader’s cone of shame. But there it is. So a friend told me that Doyle himself didn’t particularly care for the stories, but they paid the bills. She suggested I try some of his other works. This book is a great example of how good Doyle’s work can be. I loved the adventure, the unknown, the suspense. It was well done. While there are a few bits that date it (which I’ll discuss in the next paragraph), I still quite enjoyed it. Basically, it’s a bunch of nerdy science types getting together to go off into the unknown jungle and play with specimen jars. The biologist in me quivers in anticipation just thinking about it! Who wouldn’t want to go?

OK, so the dated bits. There’s only 1 female, and she is the love interest of Malone. He wants her, she’s not interested. I found their conversation very amusing. Yes, it is dated as in she wants a man who goes out into the world and grabs a bit of fame and fortune, and then she will consider being interested in him. But I liked that she wasn’t the teary type and she also didn’t go all swoony when he said he was going off to the unknown dark depths of a jungle on another continent to face who knows what beasties. And the second dated part is how all the white male science nerds treat anyone of color. Sigh….

There’s dinosaurs. I don’t think that is a spoiler because everyone knows that white folk have been hunting for dinos in the South American jungles for at least a century. But they have to assault this high plateau to go see them and verify that Professor Challenger wasn’t just blowing smoke back in London. And there’s more than one set of natives to be investigated….and perhaps flee from. Malone and Challenger stood out the most, character-wise, to  me. Challenger had a chip on his shoulder since no one believed his claims. Malone was trying to prove something to himself, and maybe his unrequitted love. But over all, it was the adventure that I really loved. they were exploring the unknown in search of something ancient and thought long dead. And I think that is what will keep me coming back to the Professor Challenger series.

VintageScifiBadgeThe Narration: Michael Prichard did a good job with distinct male voices. His one female voice made me think of Lauren Bacall. He gave accents to Zambo and the native Indian guides.

What I Liked: Spirit of adventure; historical SF literature for its own sake; the lone female wasn’t all swoony silly; lots of science nerds playing with their specimen jars; dinosaurs!

What I Disliked: Only 1 female role; anyone of color is in a servant role or playing ‘the savage’.

This month I am participating in two SF reading events: Vintage SF Month over at The Little Red Review and The 2014 Science Fiction Experience over at Stainless Steel Droppings. Make sure to head over to these two places for more SF goodness.

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