Expectations, Reality, and a Few Surprises During the Month of March at PQL

I’ve been thinking about expectations lately, and let me tell you why.

We are all pretty familiar with the expression “in like a lion, out like a lamb” to describe the weather in March. So we expect snow squalls and frigid temperatures at the beginning of the month because we know that a thaw will eventually arrive.

First some context. The other day, it was gorgeous outside. I mean, there was not even the wispiest of clouds in the sky. The sun was shining pleasantly. It was so warm I sat out on the front porch in a light sweater, sipping coffee and drinking in the rays of the sun like a thirsty fern.

The next day it snowed a solid several inches.

Surprised reader.

What. The heck. Just happened?

My expectations for the month of March and the way weather patterns are supposed to work were completely subverted. For a few minutes, I was, it must be said, unaccountably grumpy that my spring-like idyll had ended. But then I noticed the giant chunks of snowflakes drifting down peacefully. It was like a postcard of winter, and it was all the more miraculous for occurring a day after sixty degree weather. (But that’s global warming for you.)

I’ve found that sometimes this subversion of expectations happens when reading, too. You pick up a book thinking the plot will go a certain way, or a character will make a certain decision and then … it doesn’t and they don’t. When that happens to me, I find myself angry for a split second, and sometimes even tempted to give it up as a bad job and close the book. But then I realize that I’m being an arrogant chump—that my way isn’t always (or even often) the best way and that it is both difficult and immensely rewarding to put my trust in an author and to let go and experience an imaginary adventure.

Expectations are all well and good when it comes to books and reading, but surprises are so much more delicious.


What’s happening this month?


As we get closer and closer to the tentative warmth of spring, we’re also getting closer and closer to publishing the first of our Spring 2018 books! Look for the latest addition to our Essential Poets series, The Essential Dorothy Roberts, in the coming weeks.

In Tampa, FL.

Association of Writers & Writing Programs Logo

I’m stoked to be attending the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Bookfair in sunny Tampa, Florida! If you’re in the area, stop by the Tampa Convention Center to pick up some beautiful PQL books to add to your collection.

On the Air.

John Reibetanz and Jeffery Donaldson will be chatting with Christine Cowley about The Essential John Reibetanz on Hunters Bay Radio’s Storylines. Tune in online or on the airwaves on Saturday March 24 at 8:00 a.m., or Wednesday March 28 at 11:00 p.m., depending on whether you’re an early bird or a night owl.

In Toronto.

The 10th annual Battle of the Bards is going down on Wednesday, March 28 at Harbourfront Centre. The poetry competition will feature live readings by 20 poets, duking it out in verse for a coveted spot at the International Festival of Authors. The lineup will be announced soon, so check their website for details.

In the World.

March 8 is International Women’s Day—celebrate the cultural, economic and political achievements of the women in your life!

Also coming up is Everything You Do Is Right Day on March 15. But … if everything YOU do is right, and everything I do is right, but we both disagree … what happens? That’s some Inception stuff right there.

And March 26 is Make Up Your Own Holiday Day. The power is in your hands. Be creative. Be merciful. And tell us all about it.


From the porcupette’s corner.

Rising balloon

Sometimes, and not for lack of trying, my product descriptions go over like … well, a lead balloon.

They’re baaaaack. That’s right, March means TIP sheet time! Those glorious little documents detailing our Fall 2018 new releases are all typed up and just about ready to go. I am so excited! Can you believe I get paid to read manuscripts before they’re published? And that I get to think about how to communicate my enthusiasm for said books to all you fine folks. This season, my product descriptions seemed to go over fairly well, which is heartening, because sometimes they really, really don’t. It can take a lot of negotiation to arrive at the final draft. But this time around, it was refreshing to feel like I’m on the same page as our crop of authors—hopefully that bodes well for the new season!

Now, I’ll stop torturing you with vaguely complimentary accounts of so-far secret books. But not to worry—I’ll be letting you in on the secret real soon. Once I’m back from the AWP Bookfair in Tampa, I’ll be tackling the task of putting those new books on the website for your perusal.


PortraitThanks for stopping by to see what’s up with us at the Porcupine’s Quill. If you’re ever curious about what goes on behind the scenes, drop me a line. Maybe you’ll inspire next month’s newsletter!


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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.