Jennifer Oko Gloss (STP - Mira)

ISBN 13: 9780778324423

Gloss (STP - Mira)

Valutazione media 3,27
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9780778324423: Gloss (STP - Mira)

It was a harmless human interest story for breakfast television--who would've thought it would land her in jail? New York producer Annabelle Kapner's report on a beauty-industry job-creation plan for refugee women in the Middle East earned her kudos from the viewers, her bosses, even the network suits. But several threatening phone calls and tight-lipped, edgy executives suggest the cosmetics program is covering up more than just uneven skin.

All this intrigue is seriously hampering Annabelle's fledgling romance with sexy speechwriter Mark Thurber. Mark is handsome, funny and Washington's Most Eligible Bachelor (the people at "People" said so). Being with him makes her gossip-column material overnight.

Annabelle is just getting used to A-list treatment at Manhattan's hottest nightspots when a fit of journalistic idealism--and a daring Watergate-style raid--earns her a cozy spot on cell block six.

The pen may be mightier than the sword, but the celebrity prisoner trumps both. Annabelle starts a jailhouse crusade to expose the corruption she's uncovered, and the media are eating it up. The paparazzi, the pundits and every morning show in America all want a piece of her. But it'll take more than a few thousand "Free Annabelle" T-shirts to clear her name and win back her Beltway beau. Especially when she discovers just how high up the scandal reaches--and how far the players will go to keep their secret....

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About the Author:

Jennifer Oko has worked in television news for more than a decade and has produced stories for a wide variety of programs, including NBC Nightly News, A&E Investigative Reports and ABC News Good Morning America. Currently she is a producer for CBS News The Early Show.

Jennifer's writing has been published in a variety of magazines, including the New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, Maxim and Allure. Her memoir Lying Together: My Russian Affair, published under the name Jennifer Beth Cohen, was a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice.

Jennifer received a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and son.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Thirty seconds to air!" the stage manager skipped over the wires strewn about the floor and jumped behind the row of semirobotic cameras.

"Shit!" The frail makeup artist rushed forward, armed with a powder puff, and dived for Ken Klark's shiny, pert nose. The white dust settled and she was gone, out of the shot.

"Ten seconds!"

Klark stroked his chiseled chin, smoothed back what there was to smooth of his ever so trendy, close-cropped, salt-and-pepper hair, and ran his tongue over his neon-white teeth. Four thousand dollars in caps right there. He had expensed them to the network, which did not contest.

"Five seconds!"

He tugged his dark blue blazer behind him once more and sat up cocksure.

"Three! Two!" On the unspoken count of "One" the stage manager mimed a gunshot at Klark, who smiled, leaned a bit forward, waiting a beat for the zooming camera lens to settle on him. "Good morning, everyone! It's a New Day, USA!" he said.

"Today is April 4th, and this is ZBC News. I'm Ken Klark."

"And I'm Faith Heide." A small, bobbed blonde in a fitted red sweater popped up on the screen, emitting a girl-next-door smile into eight point five million homes.

And I'm fucked,I thought as I ran into the control room behind the set, twenty minutes late.You are supposed to check your graphics and chyrons before the show, not when it's already live on the air.

The eyes of the executive producer were illuminated by the wall of monitors at the front of the darkened room, making it particularly intimidating as he turned them toward me for a brief moment, adding pressure to my dangerously undercaffeinated brain.

It was never a good thing to enter the control room without having had at least a sip of morning coffee,because even with the dimmed lights and hushed tones, the place was electrically charged. Figuratively, I mean. Of course it was literally, too. I often thought they turned down the lights not because it was easier for the director to focus on the monitors,since the darkness cuts down on the glare, but because sometimes it seemed the energy emitted by live television was too powerful to face front on.Think about it.For something to have enough energy to hold the attention of someone as far away as,say,Huntsville, Alabama, imagine the energy it has when up close and personal.

I tiptoed over to the row of graphics terminals. "Maria," I whispered to the unionized (and therefore to be treated very nicely) woman whose job it was to hit the button to call up each title as the director asked for it."Can I check my chyron list at the break?"

She didn't respond, but I knew she heard me. So I hovered, counting down the seconds to the commercial interruption, at which point I knew, because we had been through this before, she would wordlessly, if slightly aggressively, punch up the titles on the computer so I could make sure that none of the characters in my piece would have a misspelled name show up underneath them on the screen. I did this because such an error is one of journalism's cardinal sins. No matter how moving, how well-crafted, well-researched, well-written, well-produced your piece, be it an article or a lower-third graphic for a segment of fluff, spelling someone's name wrong was as good for your career as if you got caught sleeping with the big boss's husband. Actually, that's a bad analogy. In network television, most of the big bosses have wives.

"It's P-u-r-n-e-l-l," I said. "Not P-e-r-n-e-l-l."

"That's what you sent us." She didn't turn to look at me when she said this.

"I know. That's why I'm here. We have to fix it." I was talking through my teeth, but trying to sound sweet and sympathetic all the same.

"Whatever," she said, typing in the correction one rigid finger at a time.

I exhaled. It was 7:12. That meant about eighteen more minutes for airing"important"stories,and twenty-three minutes until mine.

I went to the green room to steal some coffee. Technically, that pot was for the guests. But the mud they made for the staff was just plain offensive, and I'm sorry, I worked very hard and was entitled to something that was, at the very least, drinkable.

The green room was not actually green. Green rooms hardly ever are. When I worked at Sunrise America,the walls were blue. Here, our walls were a soothing, creamy yellow. If Franklin, the middle-aged man who considered himself the patron of the room, a man steeped in petty authority and indulgently expensive colognes, wasn't around, it was one of my favorite places to watch the show. The couch and chairs were upholstered in a soft, welcoming tweed, the monitors were tuned to every network, for comparison's sake, and there was an abundant spread of fresh fruit, cheese and pastries.

That day, a B-list movie star was holding court next to the latest reality game show reject, and I knew that Franklin wouldn't dare say anything to me in front of them. And by the time the show was over, he would have forgotten my trespass.

Or he would have if it weren't for the fact that as I turned to exit, carrying my hot, filled-to-the-brim cup of much needed coffee, I walked right into— Oh!

"Oh, my God, I am so sorry," I said as I put down my foam cup and grabbed for some paper napkins.

"Don't worry. It's just my shoe."

"No, but..." I bent down to mop up the brown liquid that was pooling at the front crease of this guy's tan suede Wallabies.

"It's really okay." And then he bent down just as I was looking up and...

"Ow." Shit. My head hit his chin.

"S'okay." And his tongue was bleeding.

This was worse than misspelling a name. I had now ruined the tongue of a man who, I assumed, was supposed to be a guest on our show. A speaking guest.

Franklin was already at the guest's side, ice water in hand, ushering him to the couch, fawning over him as if he were a damaged little bird.

I pulled myself up and started to apologize again. "Wheelly," the guest said, tongue in cup, green eyes on me, "I wasn't wooking either."

Luckily, the B-list star and the reality guest had been too wrapped up in the accolades of their publicity entourages to notice what was going on. And before Franklin could chew me out, a barely postpubescent production intern appeared to say the guest named Mark was needed in makeup.

The tongueless guy stood up. "'At's me."

"Let me show you where to go," I said. "I promise it's safe now."

He laughed and followed me down the hall.

I was never a morning person. I liked to think the fact that the bulk of my career was spent in the trenches of morning television was inexplicable. I'd started out my career assuming that by this point (the moment I spilled the coffee on the show, I mean, not right now, sitting here scribbling behind bars), almost ten years into it, I would be producing world-changing investigative reports and documentary-length profiles of the interesting and important. But aside from the fact that there wasn't much of an audience for such things, it turned out that getting a staff job at one of the few programs (most of them on public television) that did that sort of work required a kind of wakeup-and-smell-the-blood ambition I just didn't have. As already alluded to, when I woke up, I couldn't really do much until I smelled the coffee. And if you didn't wake up smelling blood, the rumor was that the only other way of getting one of those jobs was by waking up and smelling some suit's morning breath, if you know what I mean. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately) that opportunity hadn't come my way. Instead, I had developed a talent for turning out perfectly toned feel-good feature stories for the top-ranked national morning show. Wake-up-and-start-your-day-inspired stories. Have-a-good-chuckle-in-the morning stories. Learn-how-to-improve-your-life-with-the-latest-soon-to-be-forgotten-exercise-trend stories. But sometimes, especially since the war, if I was lucky, I was able to sneak in an occasional learn-something-valuable-about-the-world-at-large story, and it was that sort of thing that kept me going. Like this day's story, for example.

"So, what do you do here?"

"Huh?"

"You work here, right?" said the man named Mark, tongue clearly improving, honey-brown hair being combed and teased. I was standing on the threshold of the fluorescent lit makeup room, waiting to escort him back to the green room once the face powder set, watching the artists work him up like a diva, slathering cover-up around his eyes as if looking like he was approaching his mid-thirties,which he did,was not entirely acceptable.

"Oh.Yeah." I twisted my ponytail around in my hand. My hair was long then, and I accidentally caught a strand in my mouth. I hated it when I did that.

I pulled it out, hoping he hadn't noticed. "Sorry. No coffee yet, you know? My brain isn't fully functional."

He laughed and playfully suggested I drink some off his shoe. Ha. Ha.

"I usually don't come to the studio," I said, explaining that I only did tape pieces, suggesting by my tone that I was somehow above the 6:00 a.m.call,like I was showing off. Which I suppose Iwas.

"So, why are you here today?"

"I heard one of our guests needed some coffee." He was looking at me via my reflection in the mirror, and I was deeply regretting hitting the snooze button earlier, not allowing myself enough time to put on any makeup. But, looking at my reddening cheeks, I knew I didn't need any blush.

He smiled. Cute dimples, I thought, which made me a little nervous. I glanced at my watch.

"We should get going."

The stylist sprayed Mark's (thick) hair one last time, trying unsuccessfully to tame a small cowlick on the right side of his head. He laughed (look at those dimples) and told her to leave it, that without it no one would know it was really him on TV.

I brought him to the sound check, where a lavaliere microphone was clipped to his tie, and then I left him with another nubile production assistant so I could get to the control room in time to watch my piece.

"Sorry again," I said over my shoulder.

"Don't apologize," he said. "I feel like I should buy you a coffee or something. I was the one who got in your way."

I emitted a shrill giggle (ugh!) and rushed...

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