Literary Tater Tots and Other Happy Accidents, or, News for March at the Porcupine’s Quill

I accidentally bought cheese-flavoured tater tots last week. I won’t bore you with the details of how this accident came about, but suffice it to say that it happened and I need to talk about it.

Man holding cutlery looking forlornly at empty platter

“Who ate all my tater tots? A pox on all their houses!”

This accidental purchase is important because a) I remember cheese-flavoured tater tots from my childhood; b) I didn’t know they still made cheese-flavoured tater tots; and c) holy hell, cheese-flavoured tater tots are doggone delicious. They don’t look anything like like cheese or potatoes—they honestly don’t even remotely taste like either of those more wholesome foods—but that doesn’t negate the fact that they had me moaning in salt-laden, overly-processed, nostalgia-induced heaven.

My “come to tater tots” moment had me thinking of other happy accidents, and how reliably they can pull me out of my most curmudgeonly moods.

It will surprise none of you that many of my fondest happy accidents have been literary ones: discovering that brilliant two-dollar book in the bargain bin; plucking what will become a much-beloved novel at random off a library shelf; making a new friend whose reading tastes align with my own; indulging in a guilty-pleasure read. And let’s not forget the profound triumph of plucking out of the overwhelmingly large submissions pile a manuscript that will go on to be a good seller and a personal favourite.

I might go so far as to say that these happy accidents are what keep readers—and us publishing folk!—going during the long, dark winters and frantic busy seasons. They are what encourage us to move past a difficult and gruelling project. They recall for us the joy of literary discovery that inspired us to take up a career in book publishing in the first place. And if we’re lucky, they remind us to hope, to believe that the next happy accident—literary and otherwise—awaits us just around the corner.


What’s happening this month.


The Blue Moth of MorningYou’ll be happy to know that the long-awaited Casting into Mystery is now officially in print. We thank you all for your patience as we sorted this big and beautiful book out, and we hope that you rush over and order a copy post-haste! Keep reading to find out about the Casting into Mystery events coming up this month.

Up next and ready to head the printing press  is P.C. Vandall’s The Blue Moth of Morning. This collection of poems is funny and moving, full of sass, sizzle and snark—and, naturally, some inner tumult as well. It definitely provides some profound insight into the masks women often wear in public, even when they’re experiencing inner turmoil.

On the Air.

Casting into Mystery author Robert Reid will be interviewed by CKWR-FM’s Coral Andrews during Afternoon Drive with Coral Andrews. Be sure to tune into 98.5 FM on Wednesday, March 11 at 2:20 p.m., or listen live at

In Kitchener.


Speaking of Casting into Mystery, you’re invited to the official book launch. The event will take place on Wednesday, March 18 from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Meet the author and artist, get your books signed and enjoy the cash bar. Hope to see you there!

In the world.

March 8th marks both the beginning of Daylight Savings as well as Be Nasty Day. I find this juxtaposition delightful.

March 10 is International Find a Pay Phone Booth Day, which … good luck.

March 26 is Make Up Your Own Holiday Day, which, henceforth, shall be named Ignore All Work And Requests For Attention in Favour of Staying in and Reading a Book Day. It’s a bit of a mouthful, but I think it has a nice ring to it.


From the porcupette’s corner.

I am slowly reclaiming my desk from the piles and piles of paper that have overtaken it the last few weeks. Or, to be strictly accurate, I am reclaiming the extra folding table installed in my office for the specific purpose of dealing with the piles and piles of paper that have overtaken my office over the last few weeks. Regaining that additional eight square feet sounds positively luxurious after being confined to cramped working quarters for so long.

bookcases, chairs and tables grouped tightly together

Too much furniture in the room … makes the porcupette’s legs all bruised because she keeps walking into table legs.

Of course, my pleasure at clearing the table, so to speak, is not limited to my own selfish enjoyment. Clearing the table means that three upcoming spring titles are that much closer to becoming real, honest-to-goodness finished books. You are welcome!

On second thought, I may have spoken to soon. Once I clear the table I no longer have any excuse to avoid the next great project of the spring: filing my income tax.

Wish me luck, Quill friends.

PortraitThank you all for taking the time to click over and check out our latest news, events nonsense. We you enjoyed reading, and we also hope you come back soon!


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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.