Funny thing this internet. I periodically google myself to see what comes up (really, who doesn't?), and I found this on www.romancereaderatheart.com
Wow! Oko writes a story that still leaves me shaking my head. This tale is deep, serious, and absolutely fulfilling.
Annabelle is a New York producer who does what many most of the media cannot--she produces a human interest story that attracts more attention than she bargains for. While exploring a new relationship with Mark, a hot Washington Most Wanted bachelor, Annabelle finds herself faced with jail, censorship, and questioning her own ethics.
I would not call this book a romance. I think there is a much deeper message in this novel, one questioning scandal and personal ethics. I enjoyed GLOSS, immensely. I believe Oko will find herself the center of many discussions at the ideas presented in this novel.
This one is from newandusedbooks.com
Gloss (STP - Mira)
By Jennifer Oko
New York City and Washington, D.C.
New York producer Annabelle Kapner has a very successful segment for the morning news show, a report about a cosmetics company planning jobs for refugee women in the Middle East. But as she continues her investigation into what may be of even more interest behind the scenes, the director of the company becomes elusive and she receives some threatening phone calls.
Meanwhile, she has met Mark Thurber, Washington's most eligible bachelor according to People Magazine. Mark is speechwriter for the U.S. vice president, so this association slides her right up to an A-list person as far as restaurants and tabloid press are concerned. Annabelle combines her reporting with a trip to Washington to see Mark and the cosmetic company the same day, but when she returns to the company for a clandestine peek at their records she is caught and lands in a non-exective jail cell. That doesn't keep her quiet - the journalist in her begins a segment on corruption and her crusade serves to put her once again in the spotlight.
How Annabelle gets out of jail and gets her boyfriend back is the rest of the book, and it’s a fascinating, wry send-up of the television morning news industry by a network insider. Jennifer Oko has a sharp pen and a sharp sense of humor. If you like the inside scoop mixed with scandal and lots of little secrets, GLOSS is the book for you!
Jean Hanke, Reader To Reader
GLOSS - Jennifer Oko
New York City and Prison
Annabelle Kapner produced a regular segment called American Ideal for New Day, USA, the ZBC network's morning show...until she wound up in jail for supporting terrorists. Her pieces were mainly light in tone -- no one wants anything too serious first thing in the morning. But then her boss told her to do a piece on Cosmetic Relief, an organization that, through donations from Vanity Cosmetics, helps the women in the refugee camps of the small nation of Fardistan feel better about themselves. It was a good piece, people said; then Annie went on to another. She was up to her heavily booted ankles in a snake pit -- it was rattler roundup time in Texas -- when she got the phone call that led to her looking more deeply into Cosmetic Relief and, ultimately, to jail. Now with scandal and danger erupting around her, can she dig her way out?
Just before all this started, Annabelle met and connected with Mark Thurber, a senior White House aide and vice-presidential speech writer whom People magazine called D.C.'s most eligible bachelor. The gossip columns made the most of their being seen together. But now that Annie has become a hot item in the press and on the news, where is Mark?
Amidst the intrigue that surrounds Annie, she is lucky to have one or two real friends among the hundreds who wish to exploit her; the others are caricatures of the shallow, self-serving sorts.
GLOSS opens with a prologue in which Annabelle is in jail; Part One is mainly Annie's voice relating what led up to her imprisonment; Part Two jumps to the present tense and chronicles her efforts to clear herself and find the truth behind what has become a front-page scandal. In this, she has the help of those interesting friends. While the style is unusual, both narrative and dialogue flows smoothly. The changes in tense and voice are not at all jarring.
Satire might be too strong a word for GLOSS, so let's call it a humorous send-up of the TV industry and today's pop culture where fame is an end in itself. I must confess a personal bias against books featuring reporters and show-biz personalities, not to mention politicians; yet, against expectations, I enjoyed GLOSS very much. Ms. Oko's eye is sharp and her pen as sharp, as she bares the quirks and flaws in an industry she knows from the inside. Yet she sees what it sometimes manages to be. GLOSS's heroine and hero are basically good people caught up in something for which neither is guilty, though they may have forgotten their youthful ideals for a time. In that, don't they personify us all as well as our institutions?
Don't let the unappealing cover stop you from picking up the book; you'll understand its significance once you see what Annabelle uncovers. GLOSS is an entertaining, delightfully irreverent, and enlightening work of fiction.
Romance Reviews Today
Freshfiction.com is running a contest in honor of the forthcoming publication of GLOSS (June 1).
To enter, go here: freshfiction.com
My fabulously smart friend Emily Bazelon is an editor at the fabulously smart online magazine Slate.com. Yesterday, she generously threw my name at another editor who was looking for writers to contemplate the ever present but not often thought about issue of font choice.
Yes, font choice.
It isn’t something I would have thought had much to do with GLOSS. It isn’t something I had ever given much thought to at all, defaulting as I did to Arial since it was alphabetically advantaged at the top of my word program’s drop down list. But it was definitely fun to ponder... And surprisingly interesting. I discovered, among other things, that Arial actually has, in some circles, slightly satanic implications. It made me think about GLOSS, and about how one of the main themes in the book is that most stories in the news (and in life) are glossed over, but with a little digging, we find them deeper and darker than we could ever imagine.
Just wait til you find out about the innocent looking Arial. I’ll post the link to the slate.com article once it is up.
Well, after yesterday's excited blog about my contribution to an article for Slate.com, it turns out that what I wrote for them was too similar to the article it was supposed to run with, so they killed it. I blame this on the clearly satanic font I was writing about. It is cursed. Which is a bummer. But it was fun to ponder and write about, so I am pasting it here (in the wrong fonts):
For years, I've defaulted to Arial. It was an innocent decision. The alphabetically advantaged Arial is located near the top of the drop-down bar for font selection in Microsoft Word, and seems, as much as these things can seem, to be an unpretentious, easy-to-read typeface that, while more-or-less no nonsense, has a hint of play in its scroll. When I think about it (which I admittedly haven't done very often), there is something about the roundness of the letters that reminds me of the penmanship of my best friend from sixth grade; I think there might be some chocolate milk-like elixir for me when I write with it. Writing can sometimes be a painful process, so a touch of childlike regression can never hurt, right?
Well, imagine my surprise when, having been asked to ponder my font usage, I found via a quick Google search such venom! An article posted by a graphic designer named Mark Simonson refers to my favored font as both an almost diabolical virus and a shameless masquerader--a rip-off of the esteemed Helvetica, an evil spawn of Microsoft's techno-imperialism (apparently, Microsoft owns the licensing rights to Arial). There are websites dedicated to comparing and contrasting the original to the supposed imposter, and discussion boards fighting it out.
It would take some more digging on my part to find out exactly where the truth lies--was the creation of Arial inspired by strange 80's era copyright concerns, as some say, or all about money, as others do? Or, as still others argue, is the font of blameless genesis, just an attempt to make a venerable typeface like Helvetica more readable for the computer screen? Whatever the answer, I admit that my choice was clearly naive (fitting for the childhood associations I have with it), but likewise it is so compelling. My simple, seemingly straightforward typeface has a mysterious dark side. Which is interesting. That said, I am not sure I can look write with Arial anymore without thinking about it, and the last thing a writer needs is to be distracted by her font choice. Which is why I am considering switching to something a little less controversial. Perhaps something like American Typewriter, with its old-school appeal. But then again, who knows where that came from. My sloppy, almost illegible longhand is looking pretty good to me right now.