It was the first time they had ever seen her cry.
Sarah, the smart intern, was just sitting quietly at her desk, wet tissue clenched in her hand, tears rolling down her cheeks. The other interns at the offices of BradParksBooks.com—Zach, the silly intern; Peter, the slothful intern; and Maggie, the clueless intern—approached cautiously, unsure what to make of it.
"What's... what's the matter?" Maggie asked.
"I was thinking about what we were going to do for the cover reveal of THE PLAYER, the next Carter Ross thriller, and then it hit me: oh my goodness, this is Brad's fifth book," Sarah said. "We've been doing this for almost five years now. Five years of me trying desperately to stop Zach from getting us all fired, of Maggie missing half of what was going on, of Peter being asleep two-thirds of the time."
"Oh, that's why I thought this was only our second year," Peter said.
Sarah ignored him. "Remember the first cover reveal we did?" she asked. "The one where we showed the overwhelming enthusiasm one of the critics had for the advanced review copy of Brad's debut?"
"Yeah, I remember that," Zach said. "Everyone thought that was a picture of Brad's baby. And we had to defend his honor by explaining that no, no, no, Brad would never pimp out his own children to sell books. He only pimps out other people's children."
"Or there was the EYES OF THE INNOCENT cover reveal," Sarah said. "The big news was that Brad had been nominated for the Shamus Award and Maggie asked why they named a writing award after the whale at Sea World."
Maggie chimed in: "Yeah, I'm still a little fuzzy on th—"
"Shhh," Zach said, patting her hand.
"Then he actually won the Shamus, and his friend Jen did that photo shoot in San Francisco," Sarah said. "I always did like that Gene Kelly picture."
"Ah, that was but a dim candle compared to the raging conflagration that was the toga party," Zach said.
"Did you just use the word 'conflagration?'" Sarah asked, stunned.
"He's been keeping up with his word-of-the-day calendar," Maggie explained.
Peter startled from slumber and almost caught up with the conversation: "Hey, I remember that toga party! Everyone thought Brad had passed out because we spiked the punch. Really, he had just gotten drunk on his good reviews."
Zach grinned. "Of course, we wrote on his face anyway."
"Personally, I liked the photo shoot we did after Brad was named one of the Sexiest Crime Fiction Authors," Maggie said.
"Whatever happened to that fake People Magazine cover?" Sarah asked. "I thought we had that framed somewhere around the office."
"Wait, that was fake?!?" Maggie said. "I thought People really—"
"Shhh," Zach said, putting his finger to her lips.
"Or there was the post-Lefty Award photo shoot," Sarah said. "The one where Brad got Lou Diamond Phillips to pretend the Lefty Award was sneaking up on him."
"I'm even getting nostalgic about all of Zach's stupid ideas," Sarah said. "Remember the Reba McEntire Smear Campaign? Or when he decided to include Brad's book in disaster kits because Library Journal called the Carter Ross series 'essential reading.' Or when he started measuring the font size of Brad's name on his covers."
"Yeah, and, for the record: 19,050 microns in this new one," Zach said. "That's a fourteen percent increase over the previous record high, established by THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. That means THE PLAYER is moving up in the world!"
Maggie was smiling. "Oh my goodness, guys. You know what this issue of the newsletter has become? It's like one of those Eighties sitcom Greatest Hits shows. You know, the ones where the characters just sit around and recall past episodes because the writers are either on strike or they're too lazy to put together a new show?"
The other three interns looked at Maggie and said: "Shhhhh!!!"
On that note, this is a fine time to reminisce on a fact that Brad's agent always likes people to remember: THE PLAYER releases on March 4 and can be preordered from this and other fine book retailers:
We'll have more news to share—and even, hopefully, some fresh material—in upcoming issues of The Scoop, the Official Newsletter of BradParksBooks.com. In the meantime, if you should happen to see Brad passed out on a floor somewhere, feel free to draw on his face.
Yours in Remembrance,
The BradParksBooks.com Interns