Saturday, October 12, 2013

Some Sort of Ugly available on Kindle for a buck

A buck. Think about a buck. What can you buy for a buck anymore? Maybe half a glass of tap-splash at a dive bar. A pack of gum that has already been chewed. An "I Love Tom Boehner" t-shirt. My book.

Starting today, and for a limited time, you can purchase my new book Some Sort of Ugly for Kindles only at The book will be released in print and other e-book formats later this month, but then the price for the Kindle-version will increase slightly to a whopping $2.99. Then you can seriously contemplate whether or not you want a beer or the words I've slaved over.

Here is the link to purchasing it on

So, you might be wondering, what is this thing that penned about? Here are liner notes that Matt, the publisher at Marginalia Publishing, wrote to describe it:
It’s 1992. Kurt Cobain is alive, flannel is everywhere, and Hamlet Burns is starting college. Little does he know he faces four years of rowdy roommates, STDs, and ill-timed explosions of gas. Along the way, Ham drinks a few beers, breaks a few hearts, and has a near-fatal brush with Hootie and the Blowfish.
Some Sort of Ugly is the tale of Ham’s journey from boy to man, and the women that help him get there. The book is a mix of raunchy humor and nostalgic wisdom, and a true coming-of-age journey. 
Other questions you might be thinking and I might be anticipating: My grandmother loves to read, should I download it on her Kindle? It depends whether or not your grandmother can appreciate the fine art of dick-jokes. Should I download it for my kids? It depends whether or not you can afford counseling. Does anyone die? We all die eventually. Does anything blow up or burst into flames? Duh. Why are you so handsome? Thank you very much.

Also, Dan Crocker, a totally unbiased voice who happened to write a few books with me, scribbled the following blurb for Some Sort of Ugly:
 Some Sort of Ugly is both beautiful and ugly in the way life is both beautiful and ugly. It's a hell of a cast of characters here--Ham, Drain-O, Gloria, all of them. Graziano captures the time and place pitch-perfectly, and more than anything, it's funny. Not a lot of people write really good humor, but Graziano pulls it off effortlessly and manages to give us a little to think about in the process. It's a hell of a fun ride."
This, of course, will likely result in the following exchange the next time Dan and I get together.

"Natty, buy the beer."

"But I bought the last round, Cracker."

"Do you remember that blurb I wrote for you?"

I'll shake my head and reach for my wallet. "How much do the beers cost around this joint?"

"A buck, Natty. One dollar."

"What the hell can you buy for a buck anymore?"

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Some Sort of Ugly and projectial vomit

Greetings, 21st Century. My name is Nate, and I've written a bunch of books you've never heard of. And now for something completely different.

Not really.

For starters, my new book Some Sort of Ugly weighs in at around 17,500 words. In other words, I have a novella-length manuscript, and anyone who has ever had the pleasure of shopping a manuscript knows for many years this would have placed it squarely in the dead zone. Most traditional publishers approach novellas like they're poking a turd with a stick.

However, with the advent of the e-book, print-on-demand, and a little bit of luck hooking up with the new Marginalia Press, Some Sort of Ugly is going to be available to readers in October when, otherwise, it would've been filed and forgotten.

I'm excited about this book for a couple of reasons. First, it is considerably different in tone than any book I've previously published. While I've always used humor as my trump card, most of my books tend to drift toward a "some sort" of darkness. This is not the case with Some Sort of Ugly. Instead, I'm pursuing my affinity for raunchy and ribald humor---perhaps tracing my Rhode Island-roots back to a Farrelly brothers influence---and, believe it or not, there is even a love story tucked away in it.

Levity is not a bad thing.

The other reason this project has particularly interested me has to do with Marginalia Press. Headed by my friend Matt Guerruckey, the press focuses on the electronic format, something I have never worked with. Originally, Matt was only going to have it available as an e-book, but after the kick-ass cover art came back, he decided to make it available through print-on-demand as well.

Here's the thing: in many ways, this is an old school DIY project, and working with Matt through the process has been a joy. Matt also employed the help of cover artist Allan Ferguson and copy-editor Pamela Langley to really pull this thing together.

Sure, we'd all like to have our books---our babies---purchased by Random House and reviewed in The New York Times; we'd all like to have enough literary clout to tell Jonathan Franzen to shut the fuck up, but those authors are few and far between. For me, it feels good working with good people to put out a small piece of art. In essence, writers need to write with an audience in mind, and it is my opinion that if you believe in a project---regardless of its marketability in big publishing world---you should do what you can to make sure it gets into readers' hands, somehow.

In the next couple of weeks, I'll be posting all the relevant information for ordering copies, but for right now, here is the cover art. Indeed, you can tell, it is Some Sort of Ugly.

In the meantime, here is a free download of my story "Vandals" at Go Read Your Lunch. And if you haven't been following my Red Sox column at Dirty Water News, please check it out. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to the post-season.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday ephemera

Taking it all in at Fenway Park.
My wife and I landed some free Sox tickets from the owners of the neighborhood watering hole, and once in the park, my cousin hooked us up with the chance to see a few innings from the Monster Seats. Here is a picture of your intrepid Sox blogger watching Salty shit his pants with the bases loaded in the eighth of a game against Kansas City.

  • My new article titled "A Nation of Chicken Littles" is up at The Dirty Water News. If you didn't think it was possible to incorporate a quote from Sylvia Plath into an article about the Red Sox, think again.
  • Cinco de Mayo actually provides a reason to stay sober. It is Amateur Hour, along with St. Patty's Day, New Year's Eve and the night before Thanksgiving.
  • I have my first e-book coming out this summer. Some Sort of Ugly is a collection of inter-related humor pieces narrated by Hamlet Burns, a college student who has a series of bad haircuts and zany sexual mishaps. It will be published by the fledgling Marginalia Press. Look for it.
  • It seems to me if everyone in the country were willing to fight for education with the zeal, ardor and dogged determination the NRA has when trying to assure the big, bad government doesn't fuck with their guns, we'd be on a path to a solution.
  • I got my first Kindle for my birthday this year. Love it. Now I can download Some Sort of Ugly when it comes out.
  • The Red Sox, for whatever reason, can't win in Texas. Houston, we have a problem.
  • I wrote an essay for The Good Men Project about some problems my wife and I have encountered with co-sleeping. It's titled, ambiguously, "The Dude Sleeping with my Wife."
  • Bull Durham is, hands-down, the best baseball movie ever made.
  • Steve Henn wrote a thoughtful and thorough review of my chapbook Hangover Breakfasts that is worth checking out. Honestly, I didn't pay him.
  • I saw this linked on a friend's Facebook feed. This is brilliant and creepy and gut-busting funny.
  • My good friend Dan Crocker wrote an article about our friendship for wrestling website. I'm not sure if there is a homoerotic metaphor here or not.
  • Don't forget, next Sunday is Mother's Day.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Damn the damn Yankees

Here's this week's baseball piece. I think the title, "Damn the damn Yankees," sums it up.

You have to feel good about the Sox so far. They have gotten some quality starts, the bullpen looks strong, and they've found the new face of the franchise. On the whole, this seems like a team we'll be able to get behind, unlike the beer and chicken and "fuck you, I quit" characters from the past two seasons.

Of course, give it a week or a three-game losing streak. The songs change quickly on this jukebox.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

And just when you're trying to like them...

[Warning: extreme vulgarity, rooted in righteous indignation, to follow]

With Opening Day on deck, as fans try to let bygones be bygones and get behind the motley batch of mediocrity that will take the field tomorrow, this shitty diaper surfaces.

Holy fuckoly!

Not only does this hokey three-minute cliche make me embarrassed to be a Red Sox fan, it makes me embarrassed to be a human being, co-existing on a planet where something like this is created and marketed. Think about the number of people culpable in the production of this wet fart---producers, cameramen, sound engineers, the fuck-stick singing. These people should receive a prison sentence their crimes against the decency and good tastes of humanity.

I cannot envision a single person---save said fuck-stick's mother---who could possibly derive a modicum of pleasure from this. I'd venture to guess that even the Pink Hats, the ones who haven't already jumped ship on the 2013 Sox, are vicariously embarrassed by this video. Again, ownership has proven to be totally and completely tone deaf to fans.

Pathetic. Absolutely inexcusable. I think I'm going to go and repeatedly punch myself in the dick for having watched then blogged about this. For once, I'm speechless.  

Saturday, March 23, 2013

New gig, new book

It looks like I was called up to play for The Dirty Water News in Boston this year. I will be writing a bi-weekly article throughout the baseball season at the DWN, a free print newspaper distributed in the Boston-area. This, of course, means I would have to drive down to Boston every two weeks to pick up a copy and stare at my byline. However, seeing I'm on the verge of having a full-blown panic attack just thinking about driving in Boston, that isn't going to happen. But my aunt, my cousin, my sister and her husband live in Boston, so I can find someone in my family who will squirrel away copies for me.

Anyway, the posts that would usually go up on this blog will be linked to the DNW website, which generates slightly more traffic than my blog---although thank you to the two people who continue to regularly check it. The decision is simply a matter of trying to get more readers for my Red Sox rants (someone is feeling alliterative this morning!).

Here is my first article titled "They owe us penance!"

I will still be using this blog, however, for random rants in between my deadlines.

Also, I will have a new book coming out in the fall (no pub-date yet). It is a collection of fiction, poetry, and a one-act play that I co-wrote with my good friend Dan Crocker titled Oprah Recommended. Some of you might remember three out-of-print chapbooks that Dan and I wrote--- Idiot Warriors, Chickenshits, and Men of Letters---that centered around two thinly-veiled fictional characters named Natty and Cracker. We revised many of those stories, added new ones and some of our better poems, while forging a semi-cohesive narrative arc. It was a ton of fun to write and work with my best friend on a project, so we're both very excited and grateful that Leah Angstman at Alternating Current agreed to publish it in paperback next fall.

More information to follow.

In the meantime, nine days from now I'll be watching the Sox open in The Bronx against the Spank-Jobs. So close. Oh, so close. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Let the B.S. begin

This is, exactly, the bullshit NESN and owners will be spewing this season.
Every year, come February and The Grapefruit League, a sort of schizophrenic fever comes over me. As soon as the pitchers and catchers report to spring training, I'm suddenly torn between approaching the season like a rational human being---someone who bases their ideas and opinions and prognostications on sound logic, statistics and experience---and my bat-shit/nut-bag thoughts as a Red Sox fan.

Admittedly, the latter are based on nothing but an implausible scenario where I imagine myself condescendingly patting an imagined Yankee fan on the back in October, as said fan collapses into a fit of fury and tears. I then lick the tears off their face and say, "They taste so sweet, so sweet."

This season is no different.

Here is what I know logically about 2013 Red Sox: If they win 80 games, we'll consider it a successful first season for John Farrell.

Let's face it, the last two years, beginning in September of 2011, have been a veritable circus sideshow. From the beer and chicken boys to Bobby V; from a bogus sell-out streak to the slow exodus of The Pink Hats, who may have finally gotten tired of singing "Sweet Caroline"; from cuffing the Dodgers with the ridiculous contracts of the aging and the arrogant and the injury-prone to the asshole who is Alfredo Aceves, following the Red Sox has been like peeking inside a tent to look at a donkey with three dicks.

This year ownership tells us they're bringing in good "clubhouse" guys like Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes, who add zero-pop to the line-up. Meanwhile, Mike Napoli and Big Papi will be flipping through their AARP pamphlets as Princess Ellsbury keeps one foot out the door. Oh, did I mention J.D. Drew's brother, Stephen, who will never shake the name "Drew's brother"? J.D. was about as much fun as an enema, so I imagine Stephen will also be doing his post-game interviews with a lampshade on his head.

In other words, the ownership---aka, The Dick, The Nerd, and The Creep---is trotting out a horse on its way to glue factory and trying to sell fans on the fact that it is a stallion. Thankfully, most of the Red Sox base isn't buying it. The Globe reported yesterday that even season-ticket holders are starting to jump ship.

Now here is where bat-shit/nut-bag thoughts start to enter my mind.

Listen, if Lester, Buchholz and Lackey (who lost 30 lbs., meaning he is now an ass-wad who weighs 30 lbs. less) can win 15 games each, pitching to their potential, maybe the offense doesn't have to be explosive.

And who knows? Maybe Xander Bogearts or Jackie Bradley Jr. will be the next Mike Trout. Maybe Middlebrooks isn't fluky or still hurt, and maybe Salty will crush 30 home runs. Maybe The Dick (Lucchino) is right, and these guys will be competitive and make a run at the pennant. Maybe Kate Upton will finally start returning my calls.

You see, these are bat-shit/nut-bag thoughts. I know this and I own them.

As my father says at the beginning of every baseball season: "Here we go again." Indeed, here we go.