Welcome to Tuesdays with Deb Erika!

Erika MarksAccording to the nursery rhyme “Tuesday’s child is full of grace”…Well, I should warn you all I am not particularly graceful. I have my moments, but for the most part, if there’s a curb that requires a step down, I won’t see it, or a pole that necessitates walking around, ditto.

What I am, however, is enormously excited and honored to be part of this wonderful group of writers and readers at The Debutante Ball. We’re going to have a lot of fun in the coming year so get ready.

I actually get to start the party early since my debut LITTLE GALE GUMBO is set to release first on October 4th (I’ve been freezing tubs of gumbo and pralines since April for the big event–I had to evict the ice trays shortly after Memorial Day.)

You could say this novel is my love letter to two places that will forever have my heart: New Orleans, where I met and fell in love with my husband, and Maine, where I was raised. The story follows a single mother who leaves New Orleans in 1977 to start a new life with her teenage daughters and ends up on a small island off the coast of Maine where no one knows quite what to make of a Creole woman who practices voodoo and cooks gumbo. That is, until she falls in love with a divorced islander and their passionate and unlikely love affair inspires her to open an authentic Creole café that will become an island staple. It’s a story full of food, romance, secrets and even a dash of mystery. Come on over to my website for lots more on the novel, and other delectable subjects…

Now as for any secrets I might have…well, maybe not secrets, so much as things not well-known about me:

I own my own tool belt and I can handle myself behind most any saw—table, miter, circular, jig, coping, you name it. I don’t believe there is such a thing as bad chocolate or bad wine. I love to drive, U-Hauls in particular, and wish playing poker was considered a viable form of exercise. But since it’s not, I’ll gladly go for a hike or ski, or just dance my brains out with my girls in the living room.

But enough about me…Let’s get this party started! Raise your glass—or mug or sippy cup or juice box, whatever you have nearby. Here’s to a wonderful year of debuts and a great big thank you hug to the amazing class of 2011 who made it look way too easy and way too much fun.

Now please indulge me and leave a secret, er, I mean, a lesser-known fact about yourself in the comments. And don’t worry—what happens at the Deb Ball stays at the…oh, you know.

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79 thoughts on “Welcome to Tuesdays with Deb Erika!

  1. Hmm, having written a memoir I’m not sure there are many secrets left. OK, here’s one to impress Deb Tawna. I once had, er, relations (see why I don’t write romance?) on the top of a slide in a public playground in Newton Massachusetts. Geez, I’d have felt more comfy telling you I kick puppies! (I do not.)

    Welcome, Deb Erika!

    Deb Kim

  2. I’ll raise my tea mug. (It’s a wee bit early clink martini glasses, even for me.) And I’ll happily join in a great big group hug with the class of 2011 — they rock, every last one of them. 🙂

    A lesser known fact about me? Let’s see…I’ve been known to read complex tomes on quantum physics. For fun. Cocktail in hand, smile on my face. Trust me, alcohol makes quantum weirdness much easier to understand. Nobody ever really gets it when they’re sober.

    Hope we can swing a Deb meetup one of these days, and maybe play a few hands of poker!

    • Quantum physics–Yes! A woman of many moods–and subjects! Now see, I’m already feeling as if we all know one another better.

      And oh yes, there will be poker. Somewhere down the Dance line, there will be copious amounts of poker and all the fixings, ladies.

    • It took me so long to come up with my secret that I didn’t see yours, Linda, until I was done. I’d like to change my answer to “I read weighty dissertations on all things sciency which are entirely incomprehensible to laymen, like the one Joanne pretends to be.”

      There. I’m brainy, too.

    • I was glued to NOVA last night – the topic was Fractal Math – a controversial geometry. It was fascinating. Then back to Diners Drive Ins and Dives on Food TV!

      • Not sure if there’s enough gin in the world to make fractal math comprehensible to me. But I’d probably have fun chewing on it, along with my martini olives.

        • Linda, does this mean you’re a gin martini girl and not a vodka one? I mean, we’re already Deb sisters, but this makes me adore you even more. (Of course, adoration will continue even if you tell me I’ve got it all wrong;) )

        • Oh, you ladies are breaking my heart with all this Food TV stuff…I live in a cable-free house. Actually, technically, a TV-free one. I miss the food network greatly and have resorted to youtube for key clips. Sigh…

  3. I will raise my coffee mug, because it’s still early here, but here’s to you, Erika! I’m almost all of the way through LITTLE GALE GUMBO and am so loving this warm, honest and at times, totally heartbreaking story of the Bergeron family. AND, I hate to admit it, but I’ve never had gumbo, but definitely am going to seek some out at my next opportunity (not a lot of gumbo places here in Southern Ontario).

    Now, a secret or lesser known fact about me. Hmmmm. Well, I’ve become a total romance novel junkie. In the past couple of years, I’ve devoured whole series of romances, from all of Julie Quinn’s Bridgerton books to JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood and all of Elizabeth Hoyt’s series. Although my reading for pleasure time seems to be scarce these days, when I do have the time, I reach for a romance.

    • Joanne, you are so kind to start my morning out with such words–big-time blushing over here!–thank you, dear. And now I know what we’ll be serving at the poker party–gumbo! If not then, we’ll have to figure out a way to get some to your house sooner rather than later.

      Romance novels are like chips, they really are. You can’t read just one. What I still can’t get over are the sub-genres now–makes me feel a wee bit old. I remember life pre urban-fantasy-paranormal-romance. Seems like not so long ago it was Lavylre Spencer or (forgive me) bust!

  4. I raise my morning tea to you (coffee has my afternoon slot.) I loved reading this extended description of your novel. It had my mouth watering and my heart racing.

    As for my silly little secret: I love Karaoke. Seriously. I’ll sing it anytime, anywhere. Preferably after a few beers.

    Congratulations to you! I can’t wait to read LGG.

    • You sweetheart! Erika, dear, I always guessed that we would make a dynamo Karaoke team. I myself am a total Karaoke junkie (though I’ve only done it twice) but the truth is, if there’s a cheezy song from the last five decades, I know it by heart.

      Let’s hope our paths cross sooner rather than later so we can put our talents to work!

  5. Okay, so I thought your book sounded interesting, and then you became a Deb, which basically guarantees I will read it, and now with the extended description I’m sold (and also panicking a little, that it is out so soon, time to start my annual tracking down of all the Deb books).

    Um, a secret? I don’t know if such things exist any more, between Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. I definitely don’t have any secret reading pleasures, they’re all out for the world to see. I guess that like Erika I LOVE to sing after a couple of glasses of wine, but I’ve never actually tried karaoke.

    • Jen, thank you! And rest assured, when Erika Robuck and I begin our Karaoke Tour 2012, you, my dear, will be on that bus. I think a trio is a much better sell than a duo these days. Oh, and my husband and I are wine vintners as of a month ago, so this batch should be ready in two more months, which means we’ll have plenty to keep us hydrated on the road.

  6. Hurray and welcome! I am relieved to have a Deb to call on for all my driving (hate it – boring) and carpentry (love it, but am a bad measurer) needs.

    Here’s my little known fact – the only glass I can raise to you is water, because that’s all I drink. Pretty exciting, no?

    • Water only? Well, that explains your luscious skin!

      (Now how about tips on how I can get your gorgeous hair, dear. Seriously–you know how some people still have their baby teeth? I still have my baby hair. I’m not complaining, just saying I take any and all suggestions on improvement.)

      • Oh, you’re so sweet, but whatever’s right with my skin comes from a great makeup artist and Photoshop.

        Ditto for the hair. Left to its own devices, it’s very….enthusiastic.

  7. Well, first of all, to find another poker-loving lady sets my heart a-flutter. I once played in Vegas for 17 hours straight (oops!) and there is a blackmail picture of me passed out in the aftermath to prove it. (Perhaps this will be revealed as we get to know each other better…)

    As a lucky Deb, I’ve already read Little Gale Gumbo and let me just say that, well, I adored it. Read it in two days, couldn’t put it down. Laughed, cried, all that good stuff. I’ll reveal more come Erika’s debut week, but I must admit that like Joanne I’ve never had gumbo. At least not the real stuff. Or a praline either, I don’t think. Sigh. Your book tour better take you to Chicago…

    Hmm, a secret? Well, despite how much I love writing, every time I watch So You Think You Can Dance or an award show like Sunday’s VMAs, I think I missed my calling as a (back-up) dancer. Not that I’m any good at dancing, mind you, but I just want to be able to shake my booty like that! Instead, my attempts at good booty-shaking usually just look like someone who is trying not to pee her pants…. Did I just say that?

    • Oh, Rachel, more and more I’m realizing the amazing Debs of 2011 knew exactly what they were doing when they pulled us all together: Poker Night! No, just kidding, well, sort of…

      Talk about hearts-fluttering! Your secret is that you are a professional poker player, clearly! I’m SO sitting next to you at the table, by the way. Already called it!

      I miss Chicago so very much. We moved to Charlotte from Northern IN and went regularly into that fabulous city. I love, love, love Chicago. And if you’ve been gumbo-less AND praline-less all this time, well I can think of no better excuse to get back there. Intervention!

      • Two Debs in Chicago this time around, which means the poker-playing physics-reading gin-martini-drinking Deb dance party should clearly be held in the Windy City!

        • That’s right–two of us are there! Okay, it’s a deal! (Oh, the puns just keep on coming this morning…)

  8. Erika, your book sounds so good! I can’t wait to read it.

    This is a silly “secret” – my all-time favorite lunch is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and I always eat the inside of the sandwich first and save the crusts for last. Oh, and chocolate milk to drink. (I swear I’m a grown-up. Really.) 🙂

    • Oh, my gosh! I LOVE PB&J sandwiches with chocolate milk! Seriously, almost as much as martinis. (Almost.) Bonus: it’s much safer lunch fare than a martini. 😉

    • Hi Madeline! Thank you so much!

      Oh, this is a PB&J friendly house here–though I recently splurged on fluff. Bad, bad idea. Well, bad in that GOOD way.

      And your jelly of choice? Seems they taste best with grape to me.

  9. Erika, I also tore through Little Gale Gumbo in two days, which is doubly impressive as I had to read it on my GIANT UNWIELDY LAPTOP (because I am not fancy enough to have an actual e-reader!). 🙂 I can’t wait until I can get myself a real book version to keep on my shelf and re-read in my hammock!

    Lesser-known fact about me: I have a surprisingly small mouth (literally! figuratively it’s quite large) & therefore can’t eat with soup spoons. Yes, I’m the diva at the diner who asks for a teaspoon for her soup. How very When Harry Met Sally of me.

    • Molly, I think you’re on to something, dear. I loathe soup spoons and have never understood their reasoning. So it’s soup? Why the ladle for my mouth? Do they try and have me eat pasta with one of those mega serving forks? See what I mean? Where’s the logic? Who made this rule up and where can we reach them???

    • Thank you, Eileen–I’m still giddy to be here. (See spilled coffee stains on my calender as proof!)

      Oh, a honeymoon in New Orleans…I hope you find the book does justice to your memories! It is one of my most favorite places on earth. No, make that on ANY planet!

  10. Um, er, excuse me ladies. I was told there was a party going on here by my literary friend Erika Robuck. Didn’t realize by “Debut” she meant a debutante ball. Congratulations and what a great idea for a website/blog/place to have that poker party (and gumbo), Erika M. As a writer of fiction, often based on a mixing of factual memory, it’s rather hard for me to think of a secret that I either haven’t fictionalized or don’t have plans to. Certainly, Kim’s is a tough act to follow. I’ve cried at Oprah shows, and even watching “Ghost Whisperer” (please don’t let either get out, as it would severely affect my “tough macho” persona). But people who know me know most of these things, including that I was once rescued by a helicopter and I once played “got your nose” with The Dalai Lama.
    Um, I once “had relations” (love that euphamism, Kim) at the base of a water tower outdoors in November in a small rural town in Wisconsin?

    Thanks for opening the door when I knocked. I’ll now just either sit down and try to blend into the furniture, or leave…though I was a bartender, and could lend a hand witht the drinks…um, Kim?

  11. Terin, after reading your list, I’m not only going to ask you to make drinks, I’m giving you the bar! Played “got your nose” with the Dalai Lama?! I don’t think I have to check the playbook on this one to say, you win!

    Pull up a stool and get comfy. We wouldn’t let you leave now if you tried 😉

    (And believe me, crying at Oprah happens to all of us. It’s just like the last five minutes of every Little House episode. Or is that just me?)

    • Erika M: Don’t get me started on reruns of The Waltons…anyway, you probably should be forewarned it is never a good idea to “give the bar” to a former bartender. Now, where do you keep the really good stuff…

      Anyway, happy to pour, happy to hand drinks. I do not play “got your nose” with guests, however. At least, not upon stumbling in. Usually. Especially when I’m one of the guests.

      Sitting. Comfy. I still don’t know when Adam became blind, or when everybody had to burn down the town…

      • This is where I turn the floor over to Linda. Something tells me she keeps the good stuff at her house. Here, we’re more of the quantity over quality ilk.

        As for Adam, he did in fact regain his sight (Oh, that was a multi-hanky episode) and I blocked out the whole series finale with the town on fire. The previews alone had me shaky for weeks. I will never, never understand.

  12. Oooh, where will you be handing out the pralines, because I want to be first in line!

    Little known fact about me… I was such a horrible driver when I first learned, I crashed my first car three times in six weeks.

    Needless to say, it was no longer my car after that.

    • Hi Elise! Pralines mail well when properly packaged…worry not if you miss the line, a praline will find you (That sounds sort of ominous, doesn’t it? Though I can think of worse nightmares than being chased by a giant pecan-laden candy).

      So you love driving NOW, right? 😉

  13. Linda G: gin martini, very dirty. A woman with tastes after my own heart (on the gin martini, at least–shaken, not stirred). Now. What do you think of the current “string theory” of time? I’m getting quite interested in it myself, as it relates to something I’m considering working on…

  14. Everything you wrote after pralines was completely lost on me. Every word just looked like pralines pralines pralines pralines pralines pralines…

    One of my critique partners is from Georgia, and I have experienced the beauty of the praline firsthand. There is no comparison.

    I’m sorry, what were you saying?

    Tawna

    • You would be right…it was a source of great pride (and bloatage) when I finally figured out how to make them so that they WORKED, (in other words, hardened nicely).

      It scares me how much I love them, it really does.

  15. The most perfect reason to look forward to Tuesdays: new posts by Erika. As for Reggie, he’s looking forward to tasting some of that gumbo in your freezer.

    My calendar on October 4 is circled, highlighted, starred and underlined to pick up a copy of Little Gale Gumbo.

    • Thank you, Jackie and Reggie! It feels even more like home here now seeing your comment and knowing you’ve come over for some chitchat and gumbo. Tell Reggie that Olive will make sure to set aside several helpings of gumbo for him–and she’ll gladly pick the crab shells for him too, if he wants. She’s just that good of a friend 😉

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  17. Wow–I’m way late leaving a comment and your post just went up yesterday! Erika, I am SO excited to read your book. It sounds absolutely fabulous and magical (and it doesn’t hurt that I live in Maine!)…. I am with others: so looking forward to Tuesdays with Erika! (p.s. I’m with you: I love driving and power tools especially saws!!)

    • Julia, you’re not late at all! And I am not even remotely surprised that you, dear, are a driving fan and know your way around saws. Where we live right now (in an apartment) our woodworking is somewhat limited which breaks my husband’s heart so it’s a joy to have a reason to fire up the screwgun or the jigsaw.

  18. Love your debut deb post, Erika. And love, even more, your abilities around all things “saw.” Might need to pick your brain for some poker tips, too, as I play each month with a group of ladies ranging in age from 30s to 80s! I do it only for the socialization, as cards aren’t my bag. Folks may not know that I am a big motorcycle fan and rode of the back of either of my Dad’s Harley or my hubby’s for a good 30 years of my life. But, alas, with all that construction going on behind our current house, we sold the Harley and now stick for four-wheeled all-terrain vehicles, which are quite addictive as well.

    • Oh, Melissa, I so envy you your poker night! My husband and I are always on the lookout for people to play with and can never find anyone–we’re hardly good players, but love, like you say, the social aspect of it. Personally I think cards are a lost art that needs rediscovering!

      Motorcycle Momma! Do you miss the rides? Oh, you must. I’ve only been on a motorcycle once in my life, riding up the Pacific Coast highway, and it was quite an adventure. I can certainly see why people love it.

  19. Hi Erika! Day late and a dollar short–well, that’s my dirty secret–I’m always behind. In fact when I had young kids my license plate read: I’M SOO L8. I had people (always moms with young kids) offer me money on the spot for that license plate. Anyhow, I already know you but wanted to stop by and say yay for your upcoming debut–I can’t wait to read it, have it on pre-order on Amazon. Have a great time on this wild ride!

    • Hi Deb Jenny! (I’m fairly certain the Deb station is like the presidency–even out of office, you still carry the title–Well, that’s my story anyway and I’m stickin’ to it 😉 )

      You are a sweetheart for pre-ordering my book–thank you, truly. I hope you find it yummy and are inspired to whip up endless batches of pralines and gumbo!

      I’m so excited for this year here, Jenny–and since I’m heading up the News Flash, expect to find me stalking you and the rest of the Debs for tidbits. Fair warning!

  20. if you’re talking food you’re talking my language, girl. Hey–I just sent Joanne news for this weekend to pass on to the appropriate Deb–should I re-send to you?

  21. Joanne just emailed me back–she said she’d forward. let me know if you need anything else–I included links etc to make it easier for you to post i thank you!

  22. So great to see you at the Ball, Erika! I’m so excited to read LITTLE GALE GUMBO (can’t believe it’s so soon–just around the corner in October!). New Orleans and Maine are two places I’ve always wanted to visit, but haven’t had a chance yet, so I look forward to being transported by your story 🙂

    Little known-fact about me: When I was in college I taught belly dance classes and often performed at weddings and festivals (that’s not the secret part). What most people don’t know is that I loved it so much that, for a couple months before I graduated, I was considering dancing professionally after college. One of my friends had opened a studio, she needed teachers, and we were booking performances for famous shoe designers and international festivals. It was very, very tempting…but the writing won out in the end!

    • Natalia, this secret doesn’t surprise me in the least! You are such a beauty–I can just imagine it!

      I so, SO hope you will get to Maine and New Orleans in time–you would love both places, they are so different, of course, but both amazing in their own ways.

  23. Having just returned from my camping vacay in Bar Harbor, Maine, I’m very excited to read anything set in the state. Looking forward to learning more about you, your book, and its debut.

    Let’s see….what about me….never would I tell a secret like Deb Kim (whoa! she’s brave–and funny).

    But while in Bar Harbor several years ago….I did manage to -er christen a rock at the top of the bee hive trail overlooking the bowl! 😉

    • First off, Olive happens to me one of my very favorite names (just ask my wonder pup, Olive) so already I’m thrilled to meet you, Missy Olive.

      Did you actually get a reservation at Acadia!!?? I am hugely impressed! That place is gorgeous but so hard to camp at if you don’t make a res. MONTHS and MONTHS ahead of time. Hope the weather was gorgeous for you.

      I’ll be looking forward to hearing if the book does justice to your wonderful memories of the state!

      • I love it when people say “missyolive”. Thanks! And yes, we got reservations in March. It is gorgeous! This is our second year camping there. It was a ghost town on Friday night though. Irene scared everyone and they evacuated the campground on Sunday.

        We have dear, dear friends in North Berwick so we go there often. We recently explored Kinnebunk and Kinnebunkport. Any hints where the book explores? Maine is a big state you know!

        • Oh, man–what did you guys do when they cleared everyone out?

          LITTLE GALE GUMBO’s Maine setting is an island off the coast of Portland (based loosely on Peaks Island) but if you love the Maine coast (which you obviously do!) I think you’ll find it all very familiar!

  24. You don’t want to hear about my one trip to New Orleans, but you’ll get it anyway.
    A ‘friend’ set me up with an attorney from Texas. After we corresponded for a while, I met him in New Orleans for a three-day weekend. He said he’d take care of the hotel.
    I had made it plain that I wouldn’t be rushed into anything.
    When we got to the hotel, he’d rented one room with one bed. Luckily, there was a sofa in the room also.
    We went out to dinner and he started drinking. By the time we were ready to go back to the motel, he was disgustingly drunk and obnoxious: speaking badly to waitresses, bad-mouthing people on the street.
    He went to the toilet, came out in nothing but his dingy white tee shirt and his cowboy boots, collapsed and passed out on the bed.
    The next morning he asked me why I’d slept on the sofa.
    I cancelled the rest of the weekend and headed home, so thankful I’d driven down so I had a way out.
    As much as I’ve tried to forget that night, I can’t because it was so horrible.
    But the gumbo WAS good!

  25. Hi Gayle! Thanks so much for coming by!

    Yikes, file that under the one that you couldn’t get away from fast enough! As I have often spun the tales my own nightmare dates, I’ve found they make for some pretty great stories–and believe you me, I’ve got some doozies! (As a matter of fact, this sounds eerily like a three-day weekend date I had with a guy in Tampa–scary!)

    But I love that out of all that you can still gives a thumbs up to the food. Just goes to show that no bad date can ruin the flavor of a good gumbo!

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