Def: o'kay ter'ri'fic: 1.common expression of muted astonishment due to being surrounded by amazing stupidity, without quite knowing what else to say. 2.expression that usually precedes the changing of a subject brought up by an individual who is perfectly clueless to anything or anyone outside their own narcissistic corner of the universe. Origin: Unknown

Location: Bergen County, New Jersey, United States

Steven Hill is the author of the independently published A VOICE ABOVE THE DIN, available at www.lulu.com/holbrookhill, or Amazon or B&N.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

On The Road

I love literature and I also love travelling. Put a map in front of me and I'm immediatley looking up places I've never been to. My wife ceaselessly makes fun of my love of maps. But it's not really maps I love, it's the places they can take you to, and the beckoning of the road, that I love.

So naturally, I'm a big fan of On The Road by Jack Kerouac. It was definitely an influential book in my life. Therefore, I was so intrigued by this blog I found through www.Litkicks.com : http://littourature.blogspot.com/ that I thought I'd share it with you.

Michael Hess has decided to sift through On The Road (and other books in the future, I suppose) and retrace most of the travels and points of interest to modern day observations or vignettes.

What an awesome idea! It's such a good idea, I wish I'd thought of it! I spent the whole morning reading his blog - not difficult because it's well written and breezy and also relatively short - for now. This is not only a good idea for On The Road, but there are plenty other novels that could be approached this way. Cathcer In The Rye, The Grapes of Wrath, Travels With Charley, to mention a few. And, if you want to go international, most of Hemingway's books would work with this template.

Not only does Mr. Hess offer his own personal thoughts on the places as well as the characters in the book, he also offers an interactive Google map of the steps he is tracing.

Littourature has fast become my favorite website. I'm eagerly waiting the next installments.

Okay Terrific,


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

NYC or Bust

On Saturday, our family took a trip into the city - which we very rarely do, considering it costs an arm and a leg - to get our yearly fix of the unique sites and smells of 'the capital of the world'. After taking the ferry over from Weehawkin and being dumped by the NY Waterway bus at Rockefeller Plaza, we split up. The girls had a brunch appointment at the American Girl store with their dolls and us guys sauntered over in the scorching heat to where else but ESPN Zone in Times Square. A couple hundred bucks later we met up and took the subway - with the kids subway surfing the whole ride - downtown to Canal Street. We ate dinner in Little Italy at a place called Novella which, in my opinion, should rewrite its menu 'cause it just was kind of bland and didn't serve enough food. (Loved the name, though!) We did take dessert down the street at Ferrara's where most of us had a scoop of their awesome gelato. After walking a zillion blocks looking in vain for the Waterway bus to take us back to the 38 Street Pier, we finally relented to the heat and tired kiddies and hopped back on the subway up to 34th Street. Needless to say it was a long, hot day and a lot of fun, but we were glad to be back home by evening.

That being said, yesterday my daughter proceeded to read me a poem she had written about the daytrip. (Even though I'm encouraging her to the end that poems don't necessarily have to rhyme, she's still stuck in that mode. Oh well, maybe someday she'll switch! Mark Kuhar over at www.deepcleveland.com teaches a grade school class about this very subject. Maybe I can get him to come to New Jersey?)

Anyway, here's the poem in question:

New York

New York, New York
I love New York because
there's great places to see
and then there's homeless people
that won't let you be

New York, New York
what a crazy place for me
there's too much walking
and too many scary people to see

New York, New York
oh how I love to be
home eating pork
when I'm home from New York!

And so it goes for my daughter's first poem published on the internet. Congratulations Acey.

Okay Terrific,


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Times 2

Well, well, well, it seems our little Harvard author is stealing headlines again. Associated Press reports that Kaavya Viswanathan is charged with plagiarizing a 2nd novel, Can You Keep a Secret?, by Sophie Kinsella.

I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. I said in my previous post that fault for this debacle should go more to the publisher than to the author - though she shouldn't be without culpability.

You just can't give a 17 year old kid $500,000 dollars and a deadline and expect to get miracles. She probably felt the pressure to produce big time. I blame the publisher more than anybody. What were they insane? Who was the bungling idiot who greenlighted that project and signed that check?

I read somewhere else that other young authors feel that this will cast them in a bad light. They complain that publishers will view them all with suspicion. That's a valid point, but how many teenage authors are out there? Really. What happened to using life's experiences as fodder for good fiction? What are all these teenage authors writing about anyway- how to suck a pacifier? Granted, occassionally you'll have a standout like Christopher Paolini, who wrote Eragon and Eldest. But you could argue that his storyline is nothing new, taken right from the same swatch as Lord of the Rings etc. But at least Paolini made his way through the trenches, self-publishing and selling thousands of copies of his book on his own before he got discovered. Whatever happened to the mantra 'Write what you know"? My suggestion to all these burgeoning teenage authors is to live a little first, then tell us your story.

In the meantime, maybe, just maybe, the publishing giants will sit up and take notice of their erroneous ways and balance their bottom-line fever with a little bit of integrity!

Okay Terrific,


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lies, Lies, All Lies

First there was Norma Khoury, though not many seem to remember her. She was the Jordanian memoirist who basically conned the entire publishing business into believing her book (and entire life) was true when it really wasn't. Then she disappeared. Whatever happened to her anyway?

Second came James Frey who became a much more notoriously popular non-fiction liar than Norma. We all know his story by now. Ugh.

Now comes the half-million dollar teenager, Kaavya Viswanathan. Seems that lieing, cheating, and basically having no moral compass has invaded the fiction realm.

So, another interesting dilemna pops up. Not only is truth fiction, thanks to Norma and James, but now fiction is fiction. The funny thing is, fiction is all about lieing. Fiction is a lie by definition. But that doesn't mean that it's ok to blatantly rip off another writer! If I was Megan McCafferty, I'd be both insulted and flattered. The nerve of this girl ripping off her prose almost word for word and thinking she could get away with it! But in a weird sort of way, it's kind of flattering don't you think? Maybe this will mean bigger sales for MCafferty, whom many people never heard of before last weekend. Hey, I'm not justifying plagiarism for one second, but there's got to be a silver lining to this cloud for McCafferty.

As for the publishers, shame on them for not only letting this happen, but in effect, creating the situation by giving this 17 year old college student such an overwhleming task of producing a book for such a ridiculously large amount of money. She may be smart, but evidently she ain't that smart. And neither are they. When are the publishers going to held accountable for these debacles?

Okay Terrific,


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Throwing Tomatoes

So I open up my email at work this morning and guess what's first on the list? Someone had sent and email out addressed to 'Everyone' congratulating a fellow worker of mine who was interviewed in The NY Times about his new book, The $64 Tomato! I couldn't believe it!

I didn't even know this guy had written a book, though it actually seems like it's pretty good, if you're into vegetable gardening anyway. But really now, emails addressed to 'Everyone', write-ups in the Times and Life and every gardening journal known to man? Come on! Not that I want to take any success away from him, but how come some people get all the notice and others get totally overlooked? No one sent any emails out about my book when it first came out. In fact, when I posted about my book on our intranet, nobody even took notice. You would think there would be some interest there among co-workers!

I know this sounds jealous... but it should, because it is, and I am! How does a silly gardening book, which the author admitted only working on for 5 years, get so much attention, when my serious literary fiction novel, one that I toiled on for over 10 years, gets absolutely no ink? Geez, I can't even get friends and relatives to buy the dumb thing. Is there like this Great Cosmic Cloud working against me or something?

I'm not asking for a million seller or for Tom Cruise to pick up the movie rights (though he's assured of an Oscar win if he does, in my opinion) but how about some kind of recognition somewhere? My co-worker gets the Times and I get Community Life. Do you see what I'm getting at? Something's amiss in the universe and I wish, just once, the stars and planets would align for me, figuratively speaking, even if only for a short while.

I guess that's the stigma of independent publishing. People think that if you aren't published by a mainstream house, then it's no good. Why don't they feel that way about independent films? It's the same thing when you stop and think about it.

So I've decided on principle not to pick up my co-worker's book. I don't have a green thumb. And I don't even like tomatoes, per say, except when I'm throwing them.

Okay Terrific!


Monday, April 03, 2006

Baseball, Books and 'Roids

I love April. April brings spring and spring means baseball. But all I've been hearing about as far as baseball goes is steroids, steroids, steroids.

So I got to thinking, what if my my skinny little book was on steroids? Now I work out at the gym everyday. I've seen guys on steroids so huge that I look about as muscular as Natalie Portman standing next to them. Not natural, no way. And obviously bad for you, not to mention illegal. BUT, the way I figure it, steroids for my book could ONLY be beneficial, no drawbacks or side effects whatsoever! Right?

Imagine A Voice Above The Din on some Testosterone or Dianabol or HGH! Why it would bulk up from a wimpy 287 pages to a muscular, record-breaking 700 or 750. Awesome!

Not only that, it's existing body fat of excessive verbiage would slim down from it's current 21% to a single digit 6 or 7 %. Ripped!

Instead of languishing unnoticed on a (cob)web storefront, it would bound into bookstores all over the country, knocking that Dan Brown wimp off his high horse.

Its current ranking of "0" on AMAZON would sprint to number 1, shocking all other lame duck minor league fictions into google-eyed envy wondering where the heck it came from!

And last but not least, Tom Cruise would buy its movie rights, catapulting it into the Barry-Bonds-You-Can't-Touch-Me-Because-I'm-A-Superstar Oscar hall of fame!

Then I wouldn't have to work anymore and I could sit around watching baseball all day. How cool would that be!

Oaky Terrific,


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Hemingway Audio: Pick Me! Pick Me!

USA TODAY ran a story yesterday about Simon & Schuster releasing Hemingway's books on audio. I think this is really cool and long overdue!

But what's really important here is who does the reading? S&S is mum, but I checked their website out and noticed that Tommy Lee Jones is reading Islands In The Stream, and Campbell Scott is doing For Whom The Bell Tolls. Two good picks if you ask me. I know Stacy Keach has done Hemingway's short stories in the past, as well as TV documentaries, and they absolutely would be wrong to not get him to do at least one book. You listening Simon? He has the perfect voice for it. But there are still a few openings evidently for some of the books. I have an idea of who they should choose. Someone with a voice like velvet, who has public speaking ability and experience and who is a huge Hemingway fan, but alas, rather unknown.


That's right. I'm campainging to do one. I sent an email to S&S asking them for the opportunity to 'try out' for reading a Hemingway book on audio.

If you know me, you know that I absolutely love Hemingway. He was there for me during my angst-ridden teenage years, my thoughtful maturing years, and even today, in my down-the-home-stretch years. His books never cease to amaze me. And I've read them all, many more than once.

So this is my official campaign to land a gig reading one of his audio books. Spread the word and help me out. I really want to try this and maybe you can help by sending your emails to:


Go ahead and do it. Champion up support for an unknown and let's see if we can't get the big boys at Simon & Schuster to take notice and capitulate!

Okay Terrific!


Hit Counter