For this week's giveaway, I'm offering a chance to win a personalized e-Book of Fosgate's Game, a supernatural chiller that's right out of The Twilight Zone. I'm giving away one e-Book, and I'll personalize it with a special page just for you—you can even tell me what you want it to say. As a bonus, I'm doubling up the amount this week for the gift card: the winner will receive a $10.00 Amazon gift card!
How to enter:
1. Read the excerpt from Fosgate's Game (below).
2. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with NTTabloid as the subject line.
3. In your email, answer the following question:
Fosgate owns The Eye Opener, a trashy British tabloid. What is the name of the tabloid of his closest competitor?
Entry deadline: Saturday, March 21, 2020, 11:59 pm EST
I'll announce the winner on (or around) Sunday, March 22, 2020. A big thanks goes out to all entrants, and good luck!
Stuff I need to clarify: (you know, that legal crap)
* Only one e-Book and one $10.00 Amazon gift card will be given away to one winner.
* Only correct answers are eligible to win.
* Only one entry per email address of each entrant is allowed. Duplicate email addresses will be disqualified.
* Only one winner from eligible entrants will be selected as the prize winner in a random drawing.
* Giveaway is open only to countries with valid Amazon online shopping websites.
Excerpt from Fosgate's Game:
Given the choice, he shouldn’t have played Fosgate’s Game.
Given the choice ... he should have taken death.
“The devil’s hand,” Chadwick Harlow whispered.
He stood at the tall windows overlooking the east lawn. He was anxious. His gastric ulcer had been acting up, and was certain to grow worse should things regress outdoors. Storms had a way of upsetting him, and by the grim sound of the rising thunder, he’d be racing for the lavatory by night’s end.
He checked his flap pocket and produced a small container of antacids. Upon considering one, he slipped them back and patted them reassuringly. Five left. They would have to be enough.
His eyes bolted to the southwest window. A lasting burst of lightning lit up the expansive study, illuminating an impressive library and an equally impressive array of rifles and pistols in glass cabinets. Above the weapons, mounted and morbid, lay eternal testaments to their lethal hand: heads of Canadian elk and grizzly; trophies of lion and buffalo from the Luangwa Valley in Zambia; fifty-five pound tusks from an elephant hunt in the Matesti area of Zimbabwe; a leopard from South Africa. It mattered little that he had seen them countless times. In this stark late-evening light they were even more grisly than in the comfort of the day. A peaceful sort, he had never understood how anyone, least of all educated men, could muster the will to take an animal’s life. Hunting for food he could appreciate. But for sport? It was criminal.
“Don’t lose your bottle,” Fosgate Harrod grumbled. He looked quite comfortable in his black leather chair by the glowing hearth. Sadly overweight but still fit despite his years, he could likely wrestle a tiger to the ground. Certainly he possessed the demeanor.
Fosgate’s fat fingers hugged the bowl of his long-stemmed pipe. “You’re sixty-six, old boy. You’d think by now you’d be over such boyhood nonsense.” As he drew on the curved stem, his fleshy jowls stirred. His olive right eye, a dark thing that had always frightened Chadwick even as a child, twitched behind a thin monocle. The eyepiece was more affectation than utilitarian, an admission of which Fosgate would never submit.
Chadwick shifted along the window and made an effort not to get too close. Thunder and lightning were unpredictable beasts that terrified him, so much so he would purposely switch channels during weather reports on television, or pop in a compact disc in his Mercedes’ sound system should the need arise. If there was anything more unsettling than actually being caught in a thunderstorm, it was the unnerving strain of the impending event. Another flash of lightning sent him quickly to his chair.
He turned to his host. “I don’t believe my father, God rest him, would appreciate your lack of respect for nature’s power. If he were here—”
“We’d share a fine laugh at your expense,” Fosgate snapped.
Chadwick kept silent. Rebuttal was fruitless, for it wasn’t the first time they’d sparred over his phobias. Surely it would not be the last.
Fosgate rose and drew heavily on his pipe. Chadwick studied him. The man held that spark in his eye, the one he had seen—and feared—in innumerable get-togethers: the cold stark stare of the hunter. Still, it seemed fitting, given the tack the evening had taken. The old bugger had been positively mad. He had chalked it up to the cognac, but a part of him still wondered if this bizarre chatter was serious.
Fosgate exhaled, the robust aroma of his English blend overpowering the immediate vicinity. Chadwick detested the foul smell.
“Do you disagree?” Fosgate baited, getting back to this strangest of conversations. “Come, now. Admit it. You’re positively seething beneath that dry exterior.”
Chadwick hesitated, as his constitution dictated. He checked the clock on the mantel. How he longed to leave this nonsense behind. “Do you take me the fool, Fosgate? This strains the absurd.”
“Hear me out. There are men of this Earth ... naive men ... who would have us believe we’re all playing on the same pitch. That we’re all bloody equal. Do you truly subscribe to that?”
Chadwick sipped his cognac. The conversation had taken its eventual bad turn. It was now just a matter of course that Fosgate would work himself into a mild frenzy over the Muslim and Jew.
Fosgate turned to Willoughby, his faithful manservant of thirty-four years. “Leave us.” He motioned with his pipe. “And be sure to lock the front doors on your way. Missed them last night, eh?”
The valet freshened their drinks, capped the cognac and returned it to an attractive cabinet of teak and glass. He rolled his eyes and promptly turned away.
“... Good night, Willoughby,” Chadwick said after him.
Fosgate waited for the subtle click of the study’s French doors. “Sniggering fool. Perhaps I’ll be done with him come Monday.” He met Chadwick squarely. “Why do you pander to them?”
“It’s a sickness,” Chadwick quipped. “I pray you don’t catch it.”
At this Fosgate grumbled, but like Fosgate, waved it off. “You’re beginning to sound more like Katherine every year.”
“How is she, by the way? Any news?”
“None, I’m afraid,” Fosgate said, with more than a hint of irritation. “I’m beginning to believe she prefers the company of savages. It’s one thing to finance a hospital—quite another to actually live on that dreadful continent. I’ve given up talking sense to her. The South Africans can have her, for the entire eighteen months.”
Chadwick started to reply, but Fosgate, as usual led by some internal compass, steered them back on track.
“I don’t believe in pure chance,” he said. “Events do not occur because—what do the Americans say?—oh, the eloquence! Because shit happens. While the likes of Willoughby drift along some despairing river of hope, men ... men such as you and I, Chadwick ... determine our destiny. Lesser men have fought and died for choice since the apple and the serpent. We, on the other hand, control choice.”
Chadwick nodded in compulsory deference. A fair trade for his soul, he supposed, being Executive Vice President to Fosgate Harvard Harrod the Third, President of the House of Sandringham (as Chadwick jokingly labeled it), the ninth-ranked tabloid publisher in England. The circulations of The Sun and The Daily Mail so outnumbered The Eye Opener that one could think of Fosgate’s financially troubled rag as little more than ambient noise. His closest competitor was The London Looker, a dark reflection of Fosgate’s paper. The Looker featured black, go-for-the-jugular content, tasking The Mirror to see who could dig up the shittiest dirt on the dirtiest shit. Its style held wild fancy for Fosgate; he liked its bite. But above all, he liked its numbers. Adding them to his own would spell a major coup, propelling him quite likely—and quite rightly, he would say—to perhaps the number six position. And from there, who knew what prey might fall to the hunt?
Fosgate moved to the hearth. He took up a rather threatening iron poker and stoked the shimmering coals. This set off a crackling fireworks of yellows and reds, the flames casting a macabre shadow of him across a large tapestry on the north wall.
A furious thunderclap struck, and Chadwick whipped around, startled. “Storm’s close,” he said, swallowing.
“Have a pill and be done with it,” Fosgate groaned. “Go on. We’ll finish this when you return.”
Without further discussion and much less second thought, Chadwick nodded. Trembling, he set his cognac on the coaster beside him and disappeared from the study without a word. He should have left with Willoughby.