Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Facebook Trivia Game with Prizes!

Starting today, over at the Champagne Book Club on Facebook, through Sunday, we are having a contest. Each day, we will post a question on Facebook about something on the Champagne Book Group website. Participants will go to the website to find the answer and send an email to with the answer and where it was found.

Every correct answer gets an entry into the drawing to win a fabulous gift bag of all kinds of swag. Answering the bonus question gets three entries!

So hop on over to the Champagne Book Club and check out the first question. Not only does it serve as our launch of the contest, the answer is the first book we will feature during our first book club meeting the following Wednesday with a discussion on the book with the author. We will hope join us. It will be loads of fun.

Visit the Champagne Book Club on Facebook now through Sunday for a new question and chance to win a fabulous swag gift bag!

Monday, October 8, 2012

October Reader Swag-A-Bration is in full swing!

Last week, we kicked off this with a fun word search game. Seventeen of Champagne Book Group authors have signed up to play this game with readers. Each author was given a word to work into their blog posts or on their websites on a particular day.

To play, all you have to do is go here and download your cheat sheet of words to hunt (see middle of page, lower right of swag-a-gration logo). Then, scroll to the bottom of the page and see the list of participating authors. Click on their links to find the word.

The list of authors is in order of their post date and as they are posting all through the month, please keep in mind that a word you are seeking may not be up yet so stop by frequently and check out the authors’ pages. See what they have going on during this month long celebration of our readers.

Remember the grand prize? Everyone who finds all the words gets entered for a chance to win a Kobo with Champagne books! Come on; nothing to lose - something awesome to win!

Keep coming back to the blog as we’ll have more opportunities to play coming later. In fact, we’ll have another word search game but on our Facebook group (see below) starting later.

Check out our event page at:

As well as:
·       Champagne Book Club (Facebook)
·       Follow Champagne Book Group on Twitter - @champagnebooks and #swagabration
·       CBG Blog

Saturday, October 6, 2012


"Ever seen something you can't explain?

Well I think I may finally have an explanation for my mysterious event.

At the front of my house is an empty room.  It has a large window with plenty of natural light, a high ceiling and floor boards.

The house was built in 1930.  Ever since I moved in, I've felt there is something strange about that room.  At first it was left empty because the space was surplus to my requirements, and I didn't want to spend the money furnishing it.  The space was dusty and full of echoes because it was never used.  Whenever I went in there, I would feel really uncomfortable.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm a complete reductionist and don't believe in anything supernatural, but something about that room--in fact, a particular corner of that room--gave me the creeps.

After about 3 months of moving in, I decided to do something with it by making it into a formal reception room.  I filled it with furniture, bit by bit, and with each piece that went in there, the mood seemed to improve.  Now I've filled empty rooms before, so I know how filling an empty space can improve the acoustics, smell and appearance, thus having a psychological effect, but this felt different.  I can't explain it.

Over time I gradually came to peace with the room, even grew to like it.  It seemed to love being lived in.  Then about 12 months ago (for reasons I won't go into) I had to clear out the furniture and return it to its original, empty state.

Wham.  Back to square one, with the creepy feeling in the corner.

I've been living alone since then.  Like I said, I don't believe in the supernatural, and I try to be totally rational about these things, but not matter how hard I tried, this room kept giving me the creeps, mainly at night (no surprises there).  I dealt with it by keeping the door closed and generally avoiding it (I didn't need the space).  Eventually I kind of forgot that it was there because I had excluded it from my day to day life.  But every now and again something would happen that I couldn't explain.  Here's some examples of the weirdness:

-Several people have commented how the room makes them feel uncomfortable as soon as they walk into it (without any prior prompting from me).

-I've had three dogs in the room over various stages, all of whom have reacted strangely.  Back when it was filled with furniture, Rupert (my Golden Retriever) and Matilda (my Labrador ) would sometimes go into a frenzy without prior notice, sniffing around the room like they've caught the scent of something.  There was nothing there, of coruse, but that didn't stop them.

-A couple of days ago, a guest brought over his dog, Mika (another Lab).  They had to walk past the room when they were leaving.  The door was closed, but as soon as she walked past, Mika stuck her nose to the gap under the door and started sniffing like crazy.  On a hunch I opened to door to let her inside.  The room is now partially filled with a glass dining table, but it still has a lot of echoes.  Anyway, once the door was open, Mika stuck her head inside and immediately got really scared and started backing out with her tail between her legs.  We tried to entice her inside, but she would only take a couple of steps before fleeing back into the corridor.  Now, if you knew Mika, you'd know that is really strange behaviour for her.  She's normally curious to the point of risking her own health.

-About 30 minutes after Mika left, I thought I'd give it a go with Matilda, my lab.  In we went. At first she was okay, but within 10 seconds she was out the door with her tail between her legs too.  She wasn't as freaked out as Mika, but I've never seen her like that and it was kind of unsettling.

-The same dog, Mika, has stayed over a couple of times, and more than once I've heard her barking at the door to that room in the middle of the night.

-The lights in the room are prone to flichering at odd moments.

There have been some other unusual events which I can't explain, but I won't go into them because I'll sound like a crazy person.

So what's the explanation?  Well, here's my attempt at being rational.  A couple weeks ago I did find some mouse droppings in the room, so I think I might have some furry little friends living with me.  That would explain the scents the dogs are picking up.

In terms of the animals being terrified, I think that could be explained by the echoes because the space is empty and has uncovered floor boards.  Dogs don't like echoes because it messes with their hearing.  The echoes could explain my discomfort too--no one like a space with echoes, it just doesn't feel right.  The dogs could also be picking up on my unease.

As for the flickering lights?  Well, the house is old, so that's probably faulty wiring.

Well, that's my explanation anyway. And I'm sticking to it.

Time to go buy some more furniture."

Marc Davies

Monday, October 1, 2012

October is Reader Celebration Month at Champagne!

Here at Champagne Book Group, we love books and we love readers.  Without readers like you, we wouldn’t be able to continue putting out such fantastic ones so we decided to celebrate YOU!

Hence the birth of the Reader Appreciation Swag-A-Bration!!  Starting today, for the entire month of October, you can participate in contests, win prize packs and get to know our authors.  The grand prize?  One lucky reader will take home a Kobo Reader loaded with an awesome selection of Champagne Book Group ebooks.

How do you participate?
Blogs will be created by our authors that include word hunts.  A list of participating author bloggers will be posted here and you collect the words. Stop by later (or better yet, follow this blog) for more information and the launch of the game.

There will also be author chats scheduled as well as swag baskets made to go to each week’s grand prize winner culminating, at the end of the month, in one grand prize winner who takes home the Kobo.  Look for these fun events:

·       Live chats in the Champagne chat room
·       Twitter contests
·       Facebook contests
·       Giveaways of books and more!
·       Lots more!

To keep up with the event and prizes, stop by regularly (or follow this blog) and keep an eye on our blog, facebook and twitter (hashtag #swagabration).

Until then, thank you, dear readers, for your support.

The Rule of Three for Zombie Race Survival by J.A. Garland

Recently, a team of four brave souls participated in a Run For Your Lives--Zombie race, in Seattle, WA. Our mission, to traverse a challenging obstacle course through hundreds of walking and running dead while protecting three red flags hanging from a belt around our waists. The zombie's mission, to grab our flags before we crossed the finish line, thus making us one of them.
While there were many lessons learned during this event, they can be grouped into three main after action report (AAR) items.

1. Preparation

Conditioning: Make sure you are physically prepared. Our race was held on a BMX race course. Hazard flagging was strung along the outside perimeters of the trail, with zombies lurking right up to that line. Running off course in a cross country trek isn't an option, you must run the gauntlet with the rest of the stampede. For those of you who haven't seen a BMX course, picture hills so steep you have to use your hands to scramble up them. Then imagine that every five feet or so are horizontal lines of zombies waiting for you--and they aren't trying to get up the hill. Some of these zombies are runners, and some are walkers, but their common motivation is an insatiable desire for your flags. You better believe you're going to be sucking air trying to get up and around them.

Weather: Pull a NOAA weather statement for the date/time of your race. Being from out of the area, I should have done this. If I did, I would have pushed the group for an earlier start time. I didn't. I also stopped looking at the car thermometer when it hit 100 degrees. Who cares after that point? It was Africa hot, and as dreaded, I'd soon lean that I didn't pre-hydrate nearly enough.

Battle Dress: Test out your running attire before combat. My chosen ensemble was a pair of long, flared cuff running pants. Crawling on your hands and knees through 20 yard mud trenches meant I emerged with mud coated pants that were several times heavier. They also flapped around my ankles and threatened to trip me up with each evac and evasion maneuver.

(I'm in the race photo, third from the left)

2. Teamwork
I'd like to say everyone made it out alive, but in reality, our group had a 50% survival rate. Looking around, we were fortunate, other groups weren't nearly so lucky. I'd like to think that had something to do with our, 'take one for the team,' mentality. When two of us died, (yes, during mile two I succumbed to my injuries) we became the sacrificial lambs for the rest of the team. Coming up on a horde of zombies in the path, we would preplan a left or right hand run pattern with our team mates. Then we'd head in first so the zombies would give us chase, and our uninfected team mates could run an opposite pattern with less heat. It wasn't perfect, but it gave the survivors a fighting chance.

3. Go for the Gold

Aggression of action. I add this in, because thinking back, there was an individual who had strategy worth mentioning. He came at the zombies like they came at him. As if in a game of pigeon, he'd head straight for zombies, crazy in his eyes. Probably fearing an NFL type collision, the zombies would peel off at the last moment, and this guy would run through unscathed. Now, I'm not saying this tactic would work for everyone, I'm 5'4", so my psycho isn't going to be nearly as impressive as his 6', brick shit house attack.

Good luck!

J.A. Garland
"Where fantasy becomes reality."