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.


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.