.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.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

THE TOP TEN ROMANTIC MOVIES - FROM THE HOPEFUL ROMANTIC



I was listening to Katy Perry's song Not Like the Movies, when I started thinking about romantic movies and what makes the good ones work. A movie needs a good script, likeable stars and a believable premise. I love movies about ordinary people, who I can relate to. I have to feel like I could be the star in that movie. Those of you who have read my novel Cruise Quarters know that I am the hopeful romantic. So with that in mind I have given you my top ten romantic movie choices.

I hate to know too much about a movie before I see it. I like to be surprised; I only read movie reviews after I see the movie. So I will just give you a teaser about each of my picks, just enough to pique your interest. My movies span decades and continents. I have watched a lot of bad movies so that you won't have to. My top ten list is in alphabetical order. I couldn't pick a favorite.

Happy Viewing, from the Hopeful Romantic

1. 500 Days of Summer - starring Joseph Gordon - Levitt and Zooey Daschanel I saw this movie at a screening sponsored by the Palm Springs Film Society. The writer Scott Neustadter told us that this movie was based on his life story. The movie wanders through your consciousness like time does.

2. Ae Fond Kiss - starring Attat yaqubj and Eva Birthisttle Director Ken Loach This movie has a fond place in my heart because my husband is from Glasgow and lives in a neighborhood that is a mix of native Scots and Pakistanis. If you want to take the pulse of a culture this movie gets it right.

3. The Breakup - starring Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston How many times have you gone to see a movie and wondered, really why are these people together? A manic Vaughn plays a guys guy to the hilt, a very funny script.

4. Bull Durham starring Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon This movie is about a minor league baseball team in a small Southern town. It is about a time when summer seemed to last forever.

5. Chilly Scenes of Winter starring Mary Beth Hurt and John Heard This movie is based on a novel by Anne Beattie. It is about that time after college when you are trying to find a life for yourself. Anyone who has ever sat in a cubicle for eight hours a day will certainly relate to this movie.

6. Frankie and Johnnie at the Claire de Lune starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino These superstars play two ordinary people working at a diner in New York City.

7. Modern Romance starring Albert Brooks and Kathryn Harrold Albert Brooks plays a fickle guy who just can't commit. This movie feels like a replay of my dating life before I met my husband. This movie was the first romance I had ever seen that got it right.

8. Starting Over starring Burt Reynolds, Candice Bergen and Jill Clayburgh Watch this movie and you will know why Burt Reynolds was the biggest box office star for years. I spent most of my single years in Boston where the movie is set navigating through the crazy dating scene and by that I mean most of the men I met were crazy.

9. A Town Like Alice starring Bryan Brown and Helen Morse based on a novel by Nevil Shute This might be bit of a cheat because this is an Australian mini-series. It takes the romance through many years from a Malaysian prison camp to a town in the back of beyond in Australia. This movie captures the awkwardness of reconnection and starting over in a new land.

10. The Year Of Living Dangerously starring Sigourney Weaver and Mel Gibson See this movie and for a few hours Mel Gibson once again becomes the sexiest man alive. Set amidst a revolution in Indonesia the country provides a dramatic backdrop. The movie provides an unlikely matchmaker in Linda Hunt.  

If any one in Hollywood is listening I have a great story about two ordinary people who meet in a very big world. It would fit in quite nicely at number eleven. 

Cara Bertoia is the author of Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships. This novel about her experiences working on a luxury cruise ship is the top rated casino or cruise ship novel at Amazon. 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. Kindle Fire Dept. says, "This novel is a gem that is nothing short of a vacation in a book!" It will be featured at E- Reader News Today on September 3, as bargain book of the day. You can read more of her blog at carabertoia.blogspot.com and please let share your own picks for top romantic movies.

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

Friday, August 10, 2012

CAROLINA BEACHES ARE THE BEST IN THE WORLD

I am a Carolina girl; I was born in Charleston, grew up in Charlotte and went to school at East Carolina, so I know my Carolinas. I also worked on a cruise ship for five years, and what do cruise ships do? They visit beautiful beaches. Yes, the Caribbean has aqua water, and California has dramatic cliff sides, but I can tell you after crossing the globe you can't beat the Carolinas for the ultimate beach experience.

The ultimate beach experience combines food, fun, fine sand and relaxation with beaches that go on and on and on. My earliest memories are of my father taking us kids to the beach at Sullivan's Isle, an island outside of Charleston. The beach was wide with a sandbar just perfect for a five year old to wander about watching hermit crabs burrow into their holes. Shells were scattered up and down the shore just waiting to be picked up and carried home every week filled with new treasures. The sand was fine, just perfect for building and by mixing the sand with a little bit of water you were able to drizzle the sand onto your masterpiece giving your castle a fairytale effect.

And when the day was over we would visit my aunt's house on the island and shower up.  The best treat of all after a day at the beach was when we would stop off for a seafood dinner at a restaurant on the waterfront. Forget about your diets there is nothing healthy about a meal at the beach but there is also nothing that compares to fresh shrimp fried with a thin coating of flour and egg mixed with just a dash of cornmeal or crab mixed with seasoned breadcrumbs stuffed back into their shells and fried to a golden brown. Throw in a side of crisp hushpuppies with just a hint of sweetness and I am in heaven. Everywhere I have traveled around the world I have tried to duplicate that ecstasy but I can only do it in the Carolinas.

But life is not just a day at the beach. I now I live in California, but sometimes you do get to relive those golden days of your youth. I am very lucky that my best friend has a lovely beach house at Topsail Beach an island just north of Wilmington. I am even luckier that she and her husband love to take us there with them. My friend Penny and I have been going to the beach together since high school when every holiday was a chance to escape to Ocean Drive, where we shagged to beach music under the stars at the bars on the beach.
Breezeway Restaurant - 'No Extra Charge For Sunsets'

Now we are adults who are content to walk on the shore dipping our toes in the surf to cool us down. One day as we cruised up the inland waterway on a motor boat we anchored near a small beach at the tip of the island, and we walked to a sandbar where hermit crabs were still digging their holes. It was a perfect day at the beach and how do you top that off? Well that night we ate my perfect seafood meal at the family owned Breezeway restaurant located on the inland waterway. Their motto is 'No extra charge for sunsets.'  They made the best batch of hushpuppies I have ever tasted but just to be sure I had to ask for refills and I got to wash it all down with home brewed sweet tea. 

That trip was so wonderful I want to beg everyone, before it is too late before summer is over take that trip to the beach, or the lake, leave your cell phone in the car remember what it is to be a kid. Relax, take a walk, swim in the surf, or read a book on the beach. You'll remember how easy it is be seduced by the sound of the sea. 

Cara Bertoia is the author of Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships. This novel about her experiences working on a luxury cruise ship is the top rated casino or cruise ship novel at Amazon. 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. Kindle Fire Dept. says, "This novel is a gem that is nothing short of a vacation in a book!" It will be featured at E- Reader News Today on September 3, as bargain book of the day. You can read more of her blog at carabertoia.blogspot.com

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