.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, April 25, 2012

'GIRLS' NEED A BASIC STRATEGY OF LOVE


I am a people junkie, I want to know what makes them tick. Why do they do the things they do? Why do they fall in and out of love? Now we need to talk about Girls, the new HBO series. I love it but I will add a warning here it may not be to everyone's taste because it is very graphic. Just like the wonderful British series, Pulling, it is a tale about women in their twenties, trying to find their place in the real world. 

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HBO GIRLS
                                                          
I don't know how they did it but the show manages to make sex seem pretty unappealing. My husband says it's almost enough to put you off porn, because we all know that sex with the wrong person sucks, whether you are twenty or sixty. But it brought me back to that terrifying time when life is full of possibilities and fraught with loose connections. I dated guys like Adam, when I didn't know if he was my boyfriend or not but I was too afraid to ask. I also dated guys like Charlie, who I promptly dumped because they were too nice. Sometimes a bad haircut was all it would take and once a guy gut dumped for bringing me a single rose, a very nice gesture.   

In my twenties I was teaching school, high school and though I loved my students, why wouldn't I, we were about the same age!. But the thought of staying in my hometown and teaching for the next forty years filled me with torschlusskpanik, the German word for the fear of missing the boat. I left for California, got a job dealing in a casino and never looked back. My job was sorted out but I still kept dating the bad boy, the elusive, uncommitted one I was going to make fall in love with me.

It took me a long time to sort myself out get married and live happily ever after, but I finally met my Mr. Right, while working on a cruise ship. We decided to tell our story in Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships. Stand behind a blackjack table for years, deal to thousands of couples and you learn a thing or two about people. Gamblers know that to win at blackjack you have to play basic strategy. In our novel Sarah, (my alter-ego) learns from her past mistakes to write her own basic strategy of love. Maybe hers can help Girls take some shortcuts, but probably not, we all have to suffer our own heart breaks. Girls need to throw away the self-help book they are reading and write their own. Below is Sarah's,  if you come up with a new one leave a comment here or e-mail me at carabertoia@yahoo.com. 


                           Click here for CRUISE QUARTERS


 SARAH SELDON’S BASIC STRATEGY OF LOVE

1. It’s a sure bet that if someone doesn’t introduce you to his family, he thinks there is something wrong with you -- or his family.

2. It is a mistake to fall for a strong silent type; you will get tired of doing all the talking, and he will get tired of doing all the listening.

3. Don’t fall in love with someone who is a challenge; if you want a challenge, go climb Mt. Everest.

4. It is not important that you share all the same interests, only that you are both open to new and different things.

5. Some people think a relationship has to include drama; without drama it can’t be love. Drama is just drama, not love. If you want drama, go see a play.

6. The first time someone cheats is never the last time someone cheats; it is just the first time someone cheats.

7. Never get involved with someone who blames all his problems on others; you will soon be one of the others.

8. Never go to bed with someone if you aren’t sure he will be there in the morning.

9. If there is something wrong in a relationship, you know it. He stops looking you in the eye, he doesn’t call every day. People always have a tell. They always leave a clue, you just have to look for it.

10. 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 the way they are. You can change sheets, not people.

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



Friday, April 6, 2012

THE BEST PART OF CRUISING - SAILING AWAY FROM IT ALL


People always ask me why I love cruising so much. What makes it so special? They ask me this because I once worked on a cruise ship. I love cruise ships because I love the ocean. But what make a cruise ship so special? Well my favorite thing about a cruise ship is the sail away. I know that you also sail into a port but that usually happens when you are fast asleep in your cabin encased in your soft, high thread count luxury sheets. But sail away is a time when most of the passengers gather on the deck to watch the ship leave a port, drink frou-frou drinks and wave at those unfortunates on the dock that won't be sailing with us. This week I will tell you about my favorite place to sail away from.

My number one place to leave is Venice, and not because I want to get away but because I love Venice so much. In fact much of the first chapter of my novel Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships is set in Venice. One of most memorable experiences was planning a pizza party on the crew deck. Earlier in the day I had bought cheap bottles of red wine in town but I didn't have to bring the pizzas because onboard an Italian head chef made sure that the pizza was thin and crispy with just a smattering of sauce and cheese that is hard to duplicate in American but can be found in any town in Italy.

The most beautiful sail away in the world - Venice, Italy

The sail away from Venice was set in the late afternoon for the greatest dramatic appeal. The whole city takes on a golden glow. It is a balmy summer day, with the movement of the ship creating a soft breeze on deck. The ship meanders past medieval houses and cathedrals painted in muted earth tone colors. The harbor is crowded with water taxis, gondolas, and boats moving produce and goods through the canals. Commerce moving as it has for thousands of years. While the ship meanders past all of this splendor all the casino staff are lounging on the crew deck, sipping local red wine and chewing on crispy hot, fresh pizza that has just been delivered from the kitchen.

And then we sail past St. Marks Square, if there is a more beautiful place on earth show it to me. Thousands of tourists are gawking at the Doge's Palace and the Basilica waiting for the The Moor to strike his bell. The music from the violinist playing in the square is barely discernable from the ship. The day is perfect, the chance for days like that are why I lived on ships for many years.

I know that some of you have been to Venice, some left by plane where long lines and customs awaited you. Some of you went by train and what a great way to see the countryside. But just for me I will always cherish those sail aways from Venice.

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