.An excerpt from my novel 'Cruise Quarters'

An excerpt from my novel 'Cruise Quarters'

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.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


I was featured as Book of the Day at Kindle Fire Dept. It is such a fantastic description of my story. If you have a minute please take a look.   Click here Book of the Day at Kindle Fire Dept.
I have a few things to say about the Amazon reviewer, thank you, thank you, thank you. This week my book was featured at Kindle Nation Daily, and the first thing that a potential reader will see will be my Amazon reviewer rating, a 4.8. It is the thumbs up that the people who read my book really enjoyed it and what more could any writer want. Everyone knows that writing is a solitary past time. There are so may hurdles to being a writer that sometimes you wonder why you do it.

I remember how I got started in writing. I was dealing cards in a Lake Tahoe casino. The casino 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.

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 every day, 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 crew-mates someday. And then on my last contract I met Ray and my novel became a love story and that surprised me more than anyone else.

We settled in Palm Springs and I began writing my novel 'Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships'. There were years of writing and editing, rewriting and more re-writing but finally I decided my novel was ready to face the world. You think that when it is published the hard part is over but it is only beginning. Then your job as an author is to do everything you can to get the word out to readers and then you wait for that special reader to find you.

But then you turn on you computer one day and you look up your book on Amazon, and you find something like this.
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting Ready to Embark on My Cruise
Janis  "Janis in Oregon" (Grants Pass, OR USA) -
Amazon Verified Purchase (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.

Janis from Oregon wrote a review so good that I think it is the perfect sales pitch for my book. She got it. Janis knew exactly what I was trying to do when I wrote my book. That alone makes all the hard work worth it.

It is not easy to write an Amazon review. In fact a large majority or readers never write a review. You have to go back to Amazon after you have read the book and write your review and submit it to Amazon. I also think reviewers like all writers suffer from performance anxiety. They are putting something out there for all they world to see.

But in my mind Amazon reviewers are incredible writers. Randy Benjamin (Netguider) wrote a fantastic review of my book and brought up points in the book that I had taken for granted but that really caught his attention as a reader. He always wanted to know what it was like to work on a cruise ship and now he does.  Dafna Yee loved my three-dimensional characters. I re-wrote my dialogue a hundred times to make my conversations sound natural and nuanced. Patrice Fitzgerald a great writer and the author of the political thriller Running, took my book along with her on a cruise. R.A. Brittan said it was one of the most enjoyable books she had ever read. What author wouldn't be thrilled to read that?

I use Amazon reviews all the time as a reader. I love to know what actual readers are saying about a book because they are the ones who have purchased it. Their opinion can sway me to click that Amazon buy button. I particularly enjoy going back to the review page after reading a book, it is like having you own book club where you get to discuss the book with readers from around the country.

I know that other writers feel the same way about the Amazon reviewer. I belong to 'Writing Kindle Books' a fantastic network of writers. Writers love to post their reviews. They glory in every five star review. Because everyone knows you don't write for the money but to tell your story. And the Amazon reviewer doesn't write for money either but out of the love of books. So thank you to the Amazon reviewer, the people that make it all worthwhile, keep them coming.

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!"

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

No comments:

Post a Comment