“Rip” tide?

Three more readings and book-signings have been scheduled for “Rip,” my spoof of  Washington Irving’s classic “Rip Van Winkle.”

As previously announced, I’ll be appearing Saturday, Oct. 20, at 3 p.m., at the Briarcliff Manor (N.Y.) Library.

Now I’ve been scheduled for a reading and book-signing on Friday, Oct. 19, at 3 p.m., at the public library in Orangeburg, N.Y. –

In the springtime, I’ve been scheduled to appear on Thursday, April 4, at 5 p.m., at the Port Jervis (N.Y.) Public Library and on Monday, April 22, at 6 p.m., at the public library in Somers, N.Y.

Briarcliff is in Westchester County, N.Y., and is also well within range of Rockland County, Putnam County and southwest Connecticut. Orangeburg is off the Palisades Parkway between the northern border of New Jersey and the western side of the Tappan Zee Bridge, in the vicinity of Nyack and Nanuet, south of the Tappan Zee and north of the GW Bridge. Port Jervis is up near the Delaware Water Gap, sort of at the confluence of New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Somers is in northern Westschester County.

At all four free events, I’ll talk a bit about my longtime affection for Washington Irving’s writing, I’ll chat a little about how I came to write my modern-day parody of “Rip Van Winkle,” I’ll read sample chapters from the book, I’ll take questions from the audience, and I’ll sign copies of the book, which will be available for purchase at each event.

More readings/signings are in the works. Details will be posted here (as well on Facebook and on my author page at amazon.com) as dates, times and locations are confirmed.


Amazing! My book’s on Amazon!

My novella “Rip,” the funniest book since Dick Cheney’s autobiography, is now available for purchase through Amazon! (It’s only available in print form at the moment; Kindle edition should be available within a few days).

It isn’t just a great work of humor/satire/parody/stock market tips/advice to the lovelorn/travel writing/political analysis/historical fiction/zombie lore/fashion forecasts.

It’s also only $12.95, about the price of a large pizza (without toppings), which means “Rip” is the perfect Christmas gift for your more bookish friends, who will (if they find my book under their tree or in their stocking which they’ve hung by their chimney with care in hopes that Nicholas DiGiovanni’s “Rip” will be there) think that you are right on the cutting edge of American, nay, world literature.

They will be wrong, of course, but let’s indulge them (and me) in this nice fantasy!

Here’s what Black Angel Press publisher Steven Hart had to say about “Rip” —


Imagine Washington Irving sitting down for a friendly drink and spinning yarns with Kurt Vonnegut and Thomas Pynchon, and you’ll get an idea of the flavor of Rip, Nicholas DiGiovanni’s satirical retelling of Irving’s venerable story about ne’er-do-well Rip van Winkle.

DiGiovanni brings Rip van Winkle into the Sixties, finds him gainful employment as a toll-taker on the Tappan Zee Bridge, and makes his long suffering wife a charter member in the feminist movement just starting to sweep the country.

There’s a lot more packed into this story, but you’ll just have to read it for yourself. Suffice to say that once you’re done, you’ll understand why novelist Christian Bauman (In Hoboken, The Ice Beneath You) calls DiGiovanni “a master storyteller.”

This handsomely produced Black Angel Press edition includes the full text of Washington Irving’s original tale, giving readers the chance to savor two great storytellers at once.

Visit http://www.blackangelpress.com and you’ll find a link to order the book through Amazon. You’ll also find links to “About the Author,” “About the Book” and “About Black Angel Press,” as well as information about other Black Angel titles.

17…16…15…the countdown begins in “Rip” campaign

The days are slipping away — just 17 of them remain for folks to make pledges toward the kickstarter.com campaign to help fund publication of my humorous novella “Rip,” a modern-day “retelling” of the classic Rip van Winkle story, which is scheduled for publication and release in early November by Steve Hart’s literary imprint , Black Angel Press, which will also be publishing my novella “The Dogs of Arroyo.”

Please go to my “Rip” page at kickstarter for information about how you can quickly and painlessly make a pledge. In return, you’ll get a reward, ranging from $15 for a copy of the book to $30 for a signed copy to as much as $250 to have a minor character in the story renamed after you!

We’re halfway there but still $600 short of the goal. So please consider joining our effort.


I confess. I’m an optimist (or overly optimistic, take your pick). So I’m already scheduling book-signings and readings for “Rip” as well as my other Black Angel Press novella, “The Dogs of Arroyo.”

And I’ve got three events scheduled already!

The first: On Sunday, Sept. 25, as part of an outdoor townwide arts event in Highland Park, N.J., I’ll be reading from both novellas at Steve Hart’s Nighthawk Books on Raritan Avenue. Time will be announced.

Sometime in early November, if all goes according to plan, there will be a book(s) debut and signing at Nighthawk to celebrate publication of the two books.

Then, on Nov., 19, from 2 to 4 p.m., I’ll be back in my old stomping grounds, for a reading/signing for both books at Book Garden on Bridge Street in Frenchtown.

On Dec. 3, I’ll be appearing from 5 to 7 p.m. at Half Moon Books in Kingston, N.Y., up there on the Hudson River opposite Beacon, N.Y.

Still in the works: Possible appearances at Bruised Apple Books in Peekskill, N.Y., and Golden Note Books in Woodstock, N.Y., both for “Rip,” and Raconteur Books in Metuchen, N.J., for both “Rip” and “Dogs,” and — here’s one I’m really hoping pans out — a possible “Rip” reading at the amazing Dia art museum along the Hudson in Beacon.

I’ll keep everyone posted as more appearances are scheduled.

Is it tweeting on Twitter or twitting on Tweeter?

As part of marketing plans for my novellas “Rip” (a modern-day parody of “Rip van Winkle”) and “The Dogs of Arroyo” (a spooky and surreal parable set in Puerto Rico) which both have a publication target date of November 15, I’ve started a Twitter feed.

So, if you’re a tweeter or a reader of tweets (to paraphrase either Shakespeare or Groucho, I forget which), and would be kind enough to “follow” my tweets (does that sound funny to you, too?!), you’ll find updates about the status of both projects — and other writing-related matters — at @nidigiovanni as well as at @vcca, which is the feed for Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, which has kindly offered (and has already begun) to publicize the books, which are being published by a new independent publisher, Black Angel Press.

More information is and will be available, too, via this blogsite as well as at kickstarter.com and blackangelpress.com

Off to a pretty good (kick)start

Don't let this happen to me -- awakening from a long and troubled slumber to find that not enough people pledged to help support publication of "Rip," my hilarious modern-day "retelling" of Washington Irving's classic "Rip van Winkle!"

Just four days after launching my kickerstarter.com project — seeking $1,200 in funding from backers to publish my novella “Rip,” a satirical (and incredibly funny and remarkably witty) modern-day “retelling” of Washington Irving’s classic “Rip van Winkle” — we’re already just shy of 20 percent of the goal.

Thanks! Please keep on pledging…or consider pledging if you haven’t yet…especially if you’re the trend-setting type who likes to get in on the ground floor of publication of what will someday be hailed as an literary classic so that you can brag about it about it at fancy cocktail parties or at informal neighborhood barbecues (I don’t care which platform you choose, just so you talk about the book).

You can be part of American literary history by pledging as little as $1, although I’d encourage would-be backers to pledge at least enough to earn one of the pledge “rewards” which range from a copy of the book to a signed copy of the opening pages of the manuscript to having a minor character in the book named after you (I’d recommend having your name assigned to one of the toll collectors who work with Rip on the Tappan Zee Bridge in Tarrytown — or perhaps one of the feminists who take up the cause of Rip’s wife).

Here’s a few things to keep in mind. Payment of pledges is safe and secure. When you click on the tab to make a pledge, I’m told, you’re asked to create a kickstarter “account,” which basically means entering your email address (so you can be notified when the funding goal is reached and so you can receive your pledge “reward”) and a user name. After that, the payment via credit or debit card is through an account I’ve set up with Amazon with kickstarter.

Your card is not charged or debited until the funding goal is reached – if it’s not reached, then all pledges are wiped off the slate and I will head off to the Catskill Mountains with my trusty dog and my blunderbuss, and I will drink a mysterious grog forced upon me by little Dutchmen, and I will sleep for many years and then awaken to find that my incredibly funny and remarkably witty novella “Rip” still hasn’t been published.

To read more about the project, visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/858629110/publication-of-rip-a-parody-of-the-rip-van-winkle

A sprightly tale…(or letting it “Rip”)

I’m planning to collaborate with friend Steve Hart to publish my humorous novella “Rip,” through his new New Jersey-based literary imprint, Black Angel Press.

And I’ve decided to pursue a new and innovative way to come up with funding for the project — check out http://www.kickstarter.com, which matches up donors with worthy creative projects.

It will cost an estimated $1,200 to hire a cover artist and a book designer and to pay the printer/publisher for 50 initial copies of the book, a print-on-demand ordering system through the Black Angel website (and amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com) and electronic editions of the book (including Kindle).

So if anyone reading this has friends named, um, Carnegie and Gates and Rockefeller and Buffett, and tell them about this great book and this innovative funding effort (it’s had lots of success, was written up recently in major media, and was used to raise funds for a book tour by another Black Angel Press author and to help finance the first CD recorded by my son’s friends’ band The Day’s Weight).

Donations, done through an Amazon account, can be as little as one dollar.

If you want to tell your billionaire friends about the book, here’s a brief description:
It’s the late 1960s and Rip is a toll collector on the Tappan Zee Bridge at Tarrytown, Washington Irving’s hometown and the locale of his other famous story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The modern-day Rip is as complacent and lazy as ever; he spends most of his free time at a bar called the Sunnyside Tavern, where he hangs with a group of ne’er do well friends who call themselves the Sleepy Hollow Boys. Rip’s wife, portrayed so unfairly in the original story as a one-dimensional shrew whose relentless nagging compels her husband to take to the hills, is treated more evenly in this latter-day retelling — as her cause is taken up by a feminist group, led by the head of the Women’s Studies Department at Vassar, Lilith B. Anthony, whose members try to infiltrate the men-only Sunnyside Tavern and do battle with the Sleepy Hollow Boys.

Andrew Burstein, author of The Original Knickerbocker: The Life of Washington Irving, offered this praise after reading the manuscript of “Rip” —

“I don’t think that Washington Irving, America’s first great satirist, would mind that someone had decided to rouse him after so many years of placid entombment and allow him to experience the faded glory of the 1960s. In his iconic farce of 1809, Knickerbocker’s History, Irving pushed the limits of absurdity. Nicholas DiGiovanni has done the same here, mocking the mock-historian. In Rip, he has Irving’s idle hero set aside his fowling piece and become a toll taker on the Tappan Zee Bridge. It is, to paraphrase Irving, a sprightly tale.”

If you want to tell your billionaire friends where they can help fund this sprightly project, direct them this to this link:

This site tells more about the project and details the funding options available through an Amazon account, ranging from $1 to $15 (the reward is a copy of the book) to $30 (the reward is a SIGNED copy of the book) right up to $250 (the reward is having a minor character in the novella NAMED AFTER THE DONOR!).

Thanks for spreading the word. The manuscript is ready to roll after I do one more careful read and editi. A book designer and cover artist has been brought into the project. Steve’s ready and waiting to add “Rip” to his roster of books (check out the website http://www.blackangelpress.com). And I’m already endeavouring to schedule book-signings and readings at bookstores and other venues up and down the Hudson River Valley. I’ll keep everyone up-to-date on the progress of the book.

Black Angel’s initial flight

That's novelist Steven Hart (rear) during an event held at his Highland Park, N.J., store, Nighthawk Books, where a book-publication party will be held Thursday, July 14, marking the release of the first three books issued by Steve's Black Angel imprint.

Find your way to Highland Park, New Jersey, on Thursday, July 14, and you’ll find me at the publication party celebrating the publication of friend and colleague Steve Hart’s first novel, “We All Fall Down.”

Steve’s new small-press imprint is based at his used-book and films emproium Nighthawk Books on Raritan Avenue in Highland Park, where the publication party will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. – with the added attraction (as if you needed more reason to attend than the opportunity to buy a signed copy of Steve’s novel) of music by the talented Matt DeBlass.

The new literary enterprise, called Black Angel Press (www.blackangelpress.com) is making its debut with three books: Steve’s novel “We All Fall Down” (which just got a thumb’s up in the book-review column of the New York Post); “Blips,” a collection of well-wrought poetry by John Marron; and “19th Nervous Breakdown: Making Human Connections in the Landscape of Commerce,” a provocative and entertaining book by Joseph Zitt, a work based on his experiences working for the Borders bookstore chain.

Take time to welcome this new literary enterprise — which, if all goes according to plan, will soon be publishing one (and maybe two )novellas by Nicholas DiGiovanni. It’s true! There’s even a very talented artist already working on ideas for the covers of planned editions of the novellas “Rip,” a modern-day tongue-in–cheek retelling of the Rip van Winkle story, and “The Dogs of Arroyo,” a spooky parable set in Puerto Rico complete with santeria gods who hold sway in the rain forest at night and are not happy that the island has become an economic colony of that big country to the north.

But that will be then and let’s get back to now: Thursday, July 14, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Nighthawk Books in Highland Park, N.J. a party celebrating the release of the first three books by Black Angel Press. I’ll be there and I hope you’ll all try to be there too.