Tag Archives: Confessions of the Meek and the Valiant


Manisses by Steven R. Porter

If you want to get technical, summer ends on September 21 each year. Therefore, my new summer novel Manisses is only a few weeks late…. so stop complaining.

“Manisses” is a Narragansett Indian term meaning “island of the little god” and refers to the island we all know and love now as Block Island. (For all you foreigners, Block Island lies just a few miles off the southern Rhode Island coastline.) Although the book’s setting is fictional, I draw on many of Block Island’s legends and true history to bring you the story of the allegedly clairvoyant Clement Bradford, his family, a missing child, and a strange little doll named Otto.

The inspiration for this novel came from many sources, but the setting was selected after I visited the island myself last year. Block Island might be the most historic place you have never heard of, and has played a supporting role in almost every major historic moment our country has experienced. Even most locals aren’t aware of the island’s significance. It made for an ideal setting.

This novel is my second — the first being Confessions of the Meek and the Valiant. Response to my first novel was so overwhelming I couldn’t wait to try it again. Writing fiction is a blast. The book is available in paperback now from Amazon, and in most e-book formats around the web. It will be in bookstores soon. Enjoy!

Paperback: $17.00
e-book: $4.99


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Dumps, Bumps & Mugwumps

Working two full-time jobs can take a toll on one’s free time, health, family, household chores — and more importantly — one’s blog. I can’t believe it’s been over two months since my last update, so  to clean out the filing cabinet and get myself caught up, here comes a whole flock of mini blog posts. Ignore them one at a time, or all at once, at your leisure.

Buy Local RI

Shopping Maul

Buy Local — Why do I seem to be the only one not to get the buy local campaigns? On its face, they sound like a great idea — why spend my hard-earned dollar in Providence Place or on Amazon.com  if I can support one of the bustling three or four stores occasionally open right here in Chepachet! I get that part. But doesn’t “shop local” also mean that people from Worcester or Putnam will stop coming to Chepachet, and shop in their own obsolete, dreary downtowns?  The effort all  seems circular to me and represents a collective waste of energy  better focused on improving prices and service.

Things That Go Bump in the Night — An era ended quietly this Fall when The Town removed the speed bumps from the end of Absalona Hill Road near Route 44. No longer will residents be able to sheer off their mufflers and set their minivans onto their front grills as they speed through the countryside. The nearly invisible, badly-signed bumps have been the bane of commuters since they were installed, and we will now, sadly, have only our repair bills and memories to honor them.

Steven R. Porter

"Through tattered clothes, small vices do appear."

In the News — Eagle-eyed friends, relatives, and those who still pay attention to local TV news coverage may have caught a glimpse of yours truly on a number of local stations last week including Channels 11, 12, 10, 6 as well as www.GoLocalProv.com, rallying the cause of my new employer Big Brothers Big Sisters, who were recently victimized by the theft of bins and donations meant to fund mentoring programs for kids. Can there be any act more shameless than stealing from needy children? Perhaps not. But in the spirit of this season of shamelessness,  look for me to make another surprise, self-indulgent media appearance in the feature section of next Tuesday’s Providence Journal.

Oscar the Grouch

Trash Talking

Dumps — Is an unpopular “Pay As You Throw” trash program the inevitable result of a poorly operated transfer station, an irrelevant Town Council whose messages are ignored, an apathetic populace too lazy and self-indulgent to sort out their own bottles and cans, or perhaps all three? Despite the grumbling, evidence is clear that “Pay As You Throw” programs not only work but show dramatically positive results — and if you don’t like it, you can just dump your stuff over the border into the woods in Burrillville.

Chronic Town

It's the End of the World As We Know It

REM — In September, after 31 years together, REM announced it was disbanding. The news came as a shock to many who thought the band disbanded years ago. But no matter how irrelevant and uninspired their songs had become in the modern era, their influence on rock is permanent, and deserving of Rolling Stone Magazine once calling them the greatest rock band in the world. REM invented and defined the sound of music for my generation. So beware, that ear-splitting sound you hear in the middle of the night may not be the screeching mating call of the fisher cat after all, but might just be me with my guitar in my basement belting out one last cover of, What’s the Frequency Kenneth.

Rep. Mike Chippendale

Rep Chippendale: Dancing Around the Real Issue

Connecticut Junkies — A rash of serial break-ins in the Foster area in October inspired State Representative Mike Chippendale to alert his friends and constituents, via email,to be alert and lock their doors —  a bit of absolutely wise advice, of which my family has dutifully followed. However, the eyebrow-raising part of his message surprisingly identified the bad guys, “...when we see serial break-ins, it’s usually junkies from over the CT border…” Egad! Who knew all those old people driving down 395 to Foxwoods were heroin addicts! Considering Foster has had its own share of serious crime stories this year, and the recent and troubling raid in Chepachet that netted marijuana, cocaine and two semi-automatic pistols, Rep. Chippendale’s finger pointing at “them” and not “us” not only demonizes whole communities who are more than likely innocent, but also provides a false sense of security in our own communities where the real culprits may lie.

The War on Christmas

Out on a Limb — I have been baffled at the attention everyone is giving Governor Chafee’s big, dead evergreen at the Rhode Island State House. Rather than express my opinion on whether  to call it a “Holiday Tree” or a “Christmas Tree” I’ll say this. I know how hard it is to motivate people to volunteer, coach Little League, help at their schools or mentor a child in need. So when people who are enamored with their own self-righteousness are suddenly motivated to show up and rudely interrupt the Rhode Island Children’s Chorus with a protest-inspired rendition of Oh, Christmas Tree, I know, at least, what I want to call them.

The New Book — Many have asked, and yes, my new novel is underway! But it will not be a sequel to Confessions of the Meek and the Valiant. The new book is titled Manisses and if successful, I hope it will change how people view history and their role in it. But don’t worry, it won’t be some boring textbook — there will be Indians, pirates, spiritual channelers, shipwrecks, lobsters and lots of other fun stuff, too. I promise.

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Signature Moments

Association of Rhode Island Authors

Association of Rhode Island Authors

Come join me this Saturday and Sunday at the Johnston Apple Festival, along with Rhode Island authors Lynne Holden, Erin Whalen,  Jo-Anne DeGiacomo-Petrie and others, as we sign and sell copies of our new books. The special group signing is brought to you by the Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA) — a recently organized collection of local writers interested in selling and promoting their works, and who have recognized that it is time that Rhode Island authors stand up and take their place in the state’s vibrant arts community. There are over 20 published RI authors who have voiced their support to the new organization.

The formation of ARIA is partly in response to the upheaval that is underway in the publishing world. It is difficult to explain why revenue from adult fiction sales (according to the New York Times) is up 8.8% the past three years, while companies like Borders are liquidated through the bankruptcy courts. The answer has something to do with the 300 year-old business model that doesn’t include little old ladies in retirement homes huddled around  Kindles. To make a long story short, power has shifted from the Publishers and Booksellers to the Writers and Readers.

Irish Soda Bread

Gaelic Breath

The Apple Festival will be held at Johnston Memorial Park on Saturday and Sunday (9/24 & 9/25) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. If you cannot attend, come see me at the Harmony Library next Wednesday, September 28 at 6:30 p.m. where I’ll be reading from Confessions of the Meek and the Valiant as part of the Harmony Library’s “New Authors Series.”  (NEWS UPDATE: Sources have confirmed that Dawn’s delicious Irish soda bread will be making an encore appearance.)

Tuesday night, Harmony’s own Lynne Holden read at the Harmony Library from her recently published memoir, The Pastor Has Gorgeous Legs. For those of you who missed it, shame on you. It was a treat.

One of the unexpected side effects of this new power shift? Many of these emerging, new works — once ignored or suppressed by the status quo — just happen to be pretty good.

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Making an Author You Can’t Refuse

I owe a tremendous thanks to Liz and her staff at Brown and Hopkins Country Store in Chepachet for allowing me, my wife, friends, book buyers and our rum pudding to invade and occupy her shop for our “Book Release Launch Party” on August 20th.

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If you were one of those who found something better to do on an 80 degree, sunny, summer afternoon, here’s what you missed (besides the chance to buy the next Great American Novel) —  rum pudding, rhubarb crumble, Panforte,  Gamberi e Fagioli, Insalata di Olive, Crema Formaggio all’Olio, Irish soda bread and much more.  All the Irish and Italian recipes were homemade (by Dawn) and were more interesting and popular than the novel’s author.

So if you still need a copy of Confessions of the Meek and the Valiant, Brown and Hopkins has them in stock, as does Amazon in both paperback and for download to your Kindle. And if you would prefer one signed and personalized, I will be doing several bookstore and library readings over the coming weeks, including Barnes & Noble in Warwick and Tatnuck Booksellers in Westborough, Mass. (near Worcester). My next event is at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, September 13 at the Lincoln Public Library. The complete schedule is posted on my website, www.stevenporter.com.

Thank you again to everyone who came by and helped Dawn and I enjoy a great day!

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Confessions of the Meek and the Valiant – A Novel

Confessions of the Meek and the Valiant

Save on shipping when ordered in bulk!

And so be it.

Twenty-five years ago, I decided to write a novel. At the time I had no idea what I would write about but I knew I would some day get it done. Every few years or so, I would sit down and begin, etch out a few paragraphs of incoherent drivel, then launch the project into the nearest circular file. But when I sat down in the fall of 2010 something was different. The words flowed. This time when I began I couldn’t stop, and sometime around Christmas, I had a completed 125,000 word manuscript. How about that.

For all you uppish English majors out there, the novel’s theme centers around perceptions of good and evil. It’s part morality tale and part coming-of-age story as seen through a haze of loyalty and family values. For the rest of you, it’s a faced-paced story about a kid from a big South Boston Irish family who gets caught up in the chaos of the Italian underworld in New York. It includes some sex, violence, intrigue, romance and some really awesome food.

The book is available locally in paperback at Brown and Hopkins Country Store in Chepachet for $17.95. It can also be ordered from Amazon.com.  It is available to order at Barnes & Noble too, and hopefully, will be on their shelves very soon. (Feel free to harass them for me.) And if you own a Kindle, Nook, iPad, or any other form of electronic witchcraft, visit my personal website for the appropriate download link.

The book has only been out for a couple of weeks, but the response has already been tremendous. I thank you. Order early… order often. You will enjoy it.

Confessions of the Meek & the Valiant
A novel by Steven R. Porter
July 2011
$17.95 (paperback)
$4.99 (e-book)

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