Excerpt from Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships

My photo
When people sat down at Sarah Seldon’s blackjack game, they always wanted to talk about The Book. “Should I double down? Should I hit? Dealer, I know you’re a gambler; you could let me win if you wanted to. What does the book say?” She had never read this book, this mythical Bible for gamblers. The truth is there are 2256 books, each teaching its own foolproof winning system. But Sarah had been in the casino business long enough to think with a gambler’s mind. Gamblers knew they could follow all the rules of basic strategy, utilize money management and still lose if they weren’t dealt the right cards. The allure and curse of gambling was that there were no sure things. In the end it all came down to luck; gamblers prayed that Lady Luck would show up and that she would stick around for awhile.

#1 Cruise Ship Novel at Amazon

#1 Cruise Ship Novel at Amazon

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


This week I was interviewed by Matt Posner the talented author of School of The Ages.

What's your name, where are you from, where do you live?
My name is Cara Bertoia and I live in Palm Springs, Ca. It is a beautiful little town on the edge of a very big desert surrounded by chocolate colored mountains.

What do you write and why do you write it?
I write stories about my life, the lives of people around me and I try to write funny and romance is about the funniest thing I can think of.

Recommend to readers a book you have written.
Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos And Cruise Ships is the # 1 cruise ship and the #1 casino novel at the Kindle store. It was chosen as 'Read of the Week' at Tripatini.com.

The Review Girl blog raves, "Cruise Quarters is an amazing travel novel which is as much about romance as it is about travel (the novel is based on their real-life love story)."
It is a fun, fast paced tale of working in the casino aboard a Regal Cruises cruise-ship. It is based on a true story and was written by authors who have decades of experience working on luxury cruise ships and in casinos across the globe.

But a reader Janis from Oregon wrote a review that is so good that I think it is the perfect sales pitch for my book:
This review is from: Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships (Kindle Edition)
This novel is really a travelogue, a narrative, a romance, a self-help manual for gambling and cruising, and a real-life story all rolled into one funny, obsessive, and entertaining story of two people whose separate life journeys meet at a crossroads. While I've been on many cruises, I am about to embark on a 2-week cruise and this book also is kind of a primer for setting sail. It is a fun read with interesting cruising tidbits. Go for it.

Recommend to readers a book by someone else.
I would like to recommend a book that addresses the torture that is dating. I like it because it made me laugh, and I could really relate to the characters. Scratch by Danny Gillan, is a funny tale about lost love set in Glasgow, Scotland - my husbands hometown. I had been to so many of the settings in the book I felt right at home. 

Tell an interesting experience from your life as a writer.
After I graduated college I got a job teaching high school in North Carolina. On a summer break I drove across country with two friends and we all got jobs in a casino in Lake Tahoe. Tahoe was a beautiful place and casino jobs were the best ones, especially dealing. They all went home and I stayed. I worked at Caesars Palace for a few years but then I moved to the North Shore of the Lake. The place I worked at was an old school casino it had been a rat pack hangout in the old days and even now autographed photos of movie stars adorn the walls. The casino sat right on the lake and as I dealt I looked out at a beautiful view of the crystal blue lake. The border between Nevada and California ran down the middle of the casino.

The owner was a plumbing contractor from Fresno. The head of security was an ex-Mossad officer and every few weeks we would be strapped down and given lie detector tests. They let porn movies be filmed in the casino and there were rumors that he rigged the slot machines. I’m not sure if that was true but he did manage to get his casino closed down by the Nevada gaming commission, no small feat. One day a sports agent with Hollywood connections played on my game and encouraged me to write down all my great casino stories. That was the day I became a writer, well my script got as far as HBO where it was promptly rejected but that didn’t matter, I was a writer.

Tell an interesting experience from a non-writing job you've had.
A year later I went back to the real world and became a systems analyst by day, writer by night. I lived in Boston, the home of perpetual students and so I was able to take writing classes and join critique groups and get better. After a few years I began working on an MA in writing at Emerson because it had connections in Hollywood. Well, just before I was scheduled to intern in Los Angeles as a script reader I got the opportunity to join Princess Cruises as a croupier. My choice was spend my dwindling savings on an internship or get paid to see the world. I wasn’t scared of going only staying. The Germans have a word for it torschlusskpanik, the fear of missing the boat.

I stayed at sea for five years and I would like to say that I wrote everyday but I didn’t. I spent those years soaking up all the history I could. The ship was my home and the crew bar was my living room and the nights I spent there were research since I planned to tell the story of all my crewmates someday. And then on my last contract I met Ray and my novel became a love story and that surprised me more than anyone. 
My Favorite Place to Beach A Small Private Island, Palm Island

If you had a brush with death, describe it.
One night after dinner a friend and I were walking on the sidewalk in Brookline, Mass. We paused to window shop when a car slammed into a pole just in the spot we would have been if we hadn't stopped to look into that shop. That car would have flattened us, so I feel like I really just cheated death by a few seconds.

What are your views about love?
In my novel Sarah Seldon writes her Basic Strategy of Love.
I will share number 10 with you.
The golden rule of love is this: always be with someone who likes you just the way you are, quirks and all. Always love someone just that way he is. You can change sheets, not people.

Give me a link to a funny youtube video.
This is a funny video we made about Christmas in Beverly Hills a few years ago. Ray and I love to go to Beverly Hills and play tourist for the day.

Where can readers look up more about your work?
The address for our blogs are:

About the author:
Cara Bertoia is the author of Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships. Her novel is really a travelogue, a narrative, a romance, a self-help manual for gambling and cruising, and a real-life story all rolled into one funny, obsessive, and entertaining story of two people whose separate life journeys meet at a crossroads. Kindle Fire Dept. says, "This novel is a gem that is nothing short of a vacation in a book!"

Please check out her most popular posts at CaraBetoia.blogspot.com  to find more blogs about cruising, casinos and anything that catches her fancy.

Below are the links to Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships