Tag Archives: Steven R. Porter

Rhode Rules

It’s not that I haven’t been penning blog posts in recent months, it’s just that I haven’t been posting them to my own blog.

“Guest blogging” elsewhere brings with it many pluses and minuses. There’s no doubt it puts your work and voice in front of new audiences, but it also tends to leave your own blog vacant, dry and silently screaming for fresh content and visitors. Veteran bloggers tell me that the first rule of blogging is that if you have no content, then just trick someone else into writing a “guest post”  for you. And if no one is fool enough to accept your offer (as I frequently do), then simply re-post links to someone else’s work with the same enthusiasm that you might use if you had suddenly discovered Captain Kidd’s lost treasure. “Oh Wow..! Check out this unbelievable blog post on… blah… blah…. blah…”

Hmmm. But what if I could accomplish both? What if I invited myself to guest blog on my own blog, and then simply stole my own original content from somewhere else at the same time? Brilliant!

If there is no crying in baseball, and the first rule of fight club is do not talk about fight club — hey,wait. This is the Internet. There are no rules!

They're more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules...

They’re more like what you’d call guidelines than actual rules…

So without further ado, here are two of my blog posts originally published on Nebraska romance novelist Annette Snyder‘s nifty little blog, “Fifty Authors from Fifty States.” The first was published in September 2013, the other just a week ago.

“Oh Wow..! Check out these unbelievable blog posts on…”

BIG HAPPENINGS IN LITTLE RHODY (by Steven R. Porter) — September 30, 2012
I’m writing this piece near the mythical dark swamp of Chepachet, Rhode Island…”

IT’S A RHODE ISLAND THING (by Steven R. Porter) — August 25, 2013
 “Yo, nobody can’t tell me I don’t feel like no meatball grinder, me.”

But I must warn you. In a couple of weeks, this blog will be the only thing saving you all from the forthcoming zombie apocalypse. Stay tuned.


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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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Literary Illusions

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores

Slow Death of a Salesman

In April, author Jen Campbell released a book in the U.K. entitled, Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores. It is based on her firsthand experiences as a bookseller in independent bookshops in North London and Edinburgh.

Anyone familiar with my background knows that back in the eighties and nineties, I spent many a day patrolling the perilous, shark-infested aisles of bookshops around New England in a variety of roles with the defunct Lauriat’s Bookstore chain.  Through those years, I kept a notebook that chronicled many of the half-witted, stupid, inane, crazy and downright mind-boggling requests customers would fire at us each day. Those notes, sadly, were tossed into the dumpster of retail antiquity many moons ago.

It would not be fair to say that this book was my idea first. (Though, I’ll take the credit if anyone wants to give it to me.) In truth, several of my bookselling associates proposed the very same thing — and we enjoyed one-upping each other with tales of stupid, much the same way, I would imagine, a bunch of grizzled North Shore fishermen might compare their day’s biggest catch. We all had the idea and chance to write this book first and we all blew it. Shame on us.

Lauriat's Bookstores

Shopping Mauled

Two weeks ago, The Overlook Press put out a call to U.S. booksellers asking for submissions for an American edition of Weird Things… due this fall. It got me reminiscing, and I was able to recover several anecdotes from deep within the recesses of my brain — funny how it also starts coming back to y0u. (To paraphrase Woody Allen, my brain is one of my favorite organs.) Below, I have listed those I submitted to The Overlook Press for inclusion in the new edition. Maybe they will see print, maybe not. Either way, sadly, I can personally guarantee they all happened. And there were witnesses.


CUSTOMER — My daughter needs a book for school. I think it starts with the letter “S.”
ME — Hmmm. Hard to say. There are so many.
CUSTOMER — I know. I’m sorry. But the teacher said every bookstore would have it.
ME — Well, how about this one here by Edward Rutherford. It’s called Sarum and just came  out last week in paperback. It’s on the bestsellers list.
CUSTOMER — (Puzzled) No. She’s only in the 8th grade. This looks too old for her. And I think the book had something to do with dinosaurs.
ME —  Our dinosaur books are over here, but I don’t have one that starts with the letter “S.”
CUSTOMER — Oh wait… I think I wrote it down. (Rummages through handbag) Yes! Here it is! It’s  called SaurusThe- Saurus.


CUSTOMER — Do you have Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Hound?


CUSTOMER — Where are your dinosaur books?
ME — Right over here, ma’am.
CUSTOMER — These are awful. They are all full of paintings and drawings. Where are the ones with the photographs?


CUSTOMER — Can you help me? This is my son’s reading list for school. Where would I find these?
ME — There are 20 books on the list. And they are in several sections throughout the store.
CUSTOMER — Is there any way you could gather them together so I can decide which one to buy?
ME — Sure…
ME — (After spending 10 minutes running around the store.) Here are all the books from the list, ma’am.
CUSTOMER — Thank you so much. (Lines the books across the counter.) My son doesn’t like to read.  So I’ll take this one — it’s the thinnest.


CUSTOMER — Do they make Cliff’s Notes for this video?


CUSTOMER — Can you direct me to the blue books?
ME — I’m sorry, we don’t have them arranged by color. Do you know the title?
CUSTOMER —  Oh, I don’t care about the title. I just remodeled my bathroom and I need it to match.


ME — I’m sorry, we don’t have this book in stock. Can I order a copy for you?
CUSTOMER — I need it right away. Could you call the Barnes & Noble across the street for me and see if they have it?
ME — Ma’am, they are our competitor.
CUSTOMER — I understand. When you call, just don’t tell them who you are.


CUSTOMER — Thank goodness! I walked all over the mall looking for this bookstore!
ME — Well, welcome to the store! I’m glad you found us. Were you looking for a particular title today?
CUSTOMER — Oh, I don’t read. (unbuttoning her blouse.) I just need a quiet place to breastfeed my baby.


CUSTOMER — The recipe for chow mein in this book was too salty. Do you have one with less soy sauce?


CUSTOMER —  I need a very specific repair manual for Evinrude outboard motors.
ME — I’m sorry sir, but it looks like that book is out of print.
CUSTOMER — If you were a good bookstore, you’d just call the publisher and have them print one for me.


CUSTOMER — Where do you keep the true fiction?


ME — (Phone rings) Good morning, this is Lauriat’s Books.
CUSTOMER — Hello. Do you have Sidney Sheldon’s Memories of Midnight in stock?
ME — Yes ma’am, we do. I have one right here.
CUSTOMER — Oh that’s great. I misplaced my copy and it’s snowing. Could you just read the last chapter over the phone? I can’t wait to find out how it all comes out.


CUSTOMER — I simply refuse to pay for the whole cookbook if I’m only going to use one recipe.


CUSTOMER — I’d like to return this book by Stephen King. I read the whole thing and I wasn’t scared once.


CUSTOMER — Do you have 1984 by George Orwell?
ME — Yes we do. It’s right over here.
CUSTOMER — Have you read it?
ME — Yes I have. In fact, it’s one of my favorite books.
CUSTOMER — That’s great. Could you summarize it quickly for me then? My exam is in an hour.


CUSTOMER —  Excuse me, are you hiring?
ME — Yes. We are looking for a part-time bookseller.
CUSTOMER — Great! How do I apply? I need a quiet place to work where nobody bothers me and I can get my homework done.  This place looks perfect.


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The Kanc – a short story

My new short story available now!

Good news!

My new novel, Manisses, is still on schedule for a summertime release. With a little luck and if the wind remains to my back, it will be ready as promised.

But in the meantime, here is a short story I sketched out years ago. It was inspired by a trip I took along The Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire in a snowstorm, late for a meeting. I was convinced that road was out to get me.

The story is only 6,000 words long and has a significant historical element to it. It is only .99 cents in e-book form.

It is available for Nook and also available for Kindle.

Thank you and enjoy!

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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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