.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.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


A fellow writer Georgina Young Ellis, a great writer of time travel novels asked me if I would take part in a blog chain where writers post what they are working on now for the Next Big Thing.  Her third novel, The Time Contessa will be published in Jan.

I am working currently on a blog about everything that has to do with travel  I have been  focusing lately on travel destinations around Southern California. One posting I especially liked writing focused on my hometown and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Next week I will be posting a blog about Slab City, a very interesting community just east of the Salton Sea

Every wondered what a post apocalyptic world would look like. This place will give you a glimpse of a possible future. I have started writing a novel about a future society. 

How did you come by the idea for your blog?
I had so much fun writing about my adventures working on a cruise ship in my novel Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships and I got so much good feedback from my readers that I just wanted to share more. Also my novel will be featured as Bargain Book of the Day at E Reader News Today on Dec 2. 

What genre does your book fall under?
My book is a funny novelization of life aboard a cruise ship, with travel and romance thrown in. I find it really hard to place it under any one genre.
Who could play these people in the movie?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters if it were a movie?
Well I wouldn't go for big stars, because mine is a story about ordinary people that anyone can relate to. I would choose Judy Greer for Sarah, she currently plays Ashton Kutcher's ex-wife in Two and a Half Men. My choice for Paul is a bloke named Aaron McCusker, he has been a bar owner on the original, British Shameless for years. In my opinion the best television show in the world. He also has dreamy eyes like my husband.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
I wish I could take credit for this but a reader, Janis in Oregon wrote the perfect description on my novel, "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." 

What inspired you to write your book and how long did it take you to write it? 
I have always loved to travel. Ever since I was a little girl my favorite hobby was reading novels about far away places, on a hot summer day I would be Mary Queen of Scots locked in the chilly London Tower. When I was in college I studied in Mexico for a semester and after that there was no holding me down. There is a German word for that feeling -- torschlusskpanik the fear of missing the boat. In my case, literally.

While in Boston I was offered the opportunity to join Princess Cruises as a croupier. Jumping at the chance, I spent the next five years circling the globe. Sometimes life exceeds your dreams. I was awed by the wonders of Venice, the fjords of Norway, and the Northern Lights in Leningrad but on the downside I also watched glaciers melt at an alarming rate in Alaska, snorkeled to coral reefs killed by pollution in the Caribbean, and witnessed the devastation as the Amazon burned. It was the best education I could ever have had. Taking advantage of every opportunity to be a tour guide, I soaked in as much history as I could.

Since I had studied writing at Emerson I knew that when I went to sea I would write about my experiences. Every night spent in the crew bar I chalked up to research. I learned so much about my fellow crewmembers that I just wanted to tell our tales. The fact that my novel turned into a love story surprised me most of all.

I left ships with a handsome Scotsman who became my husband. We moved to Palm Springs and got a job in the casino industry and it is here that we wrote our novel. It is based on our true story only the names have been changed to protect us! So the very long answer is that it took years!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I don't know if I can compare my book to any other but I do think I like to play romance a bit like Nick Hornby. Men seem to be able to really relate to the characters. But I feel like our travel writing is unique to Ray and I.

To further the chain I will introduce you the Revita Horowitz the author of Daughter's of Iraq, a wonderful story about a family who immigrated to Israel from Iraq. Her new novel Hope to See You Soon, deals with the immigrant experience in the U.S. But just follow this link and she can tell you all about it.
Click here to visit Revita's blog about The Next Big Thing

And if you want to learn more about time travel -
 Here is the link to Georgina's blog Nerd- Girls Romantics and Time Travelers

 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

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