Thursday, June 16, 2011

Showcasing: Ray and Cara Bertoia

Cara and Ray Bertoia tells us the facts from somewhere in the world.

Growing up in a straight laced Southern family, I was always fascinated with casinos. In my twenties, I became a dealer at Caesars in Lake Tahoe. My mother highly disapproved of my working in a casino, "a place so bad it has 'sin' in the middle." Eventually, I returned east, and I began working on my MFA in writing at Emerson. I wanted to write the first realistic novel about casino life from the perspective of an experienced table games dealer. I am always amazed that normal and sometimes quite intelligent players become absolutely clueless in the casino. They repeat superstitious nonsense and no amount of logic can change their position.

On a whim I submitted an article to The Boston Tab, about trying to find a rent control apartment. To my amazement they published it and I even received my first piece of fan mail. Spurred on by that success, the next week, after a few glasses of wine at lunch, I called the editor of the Brighton Allston Journal and told him I should write a humor column.

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.

I returned from ships with a very special souvenir, my husband Ray. Besides being a handsome Glaswegian, he is my co-author.

Table Games Confessions, A Discussion Forum for all Casino Games. Roulette, Blackjack, Craps. By Ray Bertoia author of 'Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos And Cruise Ships'

The Work in Progress:
This time it is a web blog page instead of a book.

Through the years we have heard so many crazy things in the casino that just weren’t true, that we wanted to do something about it. Right now my husband, Ray and I are working on our new blog. We started it to promote our novel about casinos and cruise ships and now we have decided to see how far we can take it. Our website teaches novices something about gambling and casino life. Please visit and read our first article. It is at If any of your readers have any good gambling stories or just general gambling questions please have them contact us at

THE BOOK:         
Cruise Quarters - A novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships is a fun, fast paced tale of working in the casino aboard a Regal Cruises cruise-ship.

The crew of the Regal Star resemble a mini United Nations, hiring people from all over the world. But unlike the UN, Regal Cruise's employees present a united front above decks as they attend to their passenger's every need. Below decks though, that is a different story.

Sarah Seldon is a croupier on the luxury liner. After many unhappy endings, and burnt out on shipboard romance, she is determined to forget about men and concentrate on becoming a casino manager. On land women face a dearth of GOOD men but on a ship giving up men would take willpower. The mostly male crew exists to serve her every need. Handsome Italian waiters bring her food, the Filipino steward cleans her room, English officers play poker with her and the Welsh plumber fixes her sink. She leads a cushy life, sleeping 'til noon , eating gourmet food, and the topper - she gets to wake up in beautiful new place everyday. All because she works in a casino, a place so bad it has SIN in the middle.

 Here's more good stuff from this great couple:

We also produced a movie on walking the 500-mile "Camino De Santiago," in Spain. The Desert Woman and the Desert Sun both featured stories about our walk. When we were researching the Camino we could never find a good practical guide on the terrain and the trail, the things a person would experience every day, although there was plenty on the architecture and history. So seeing a need we made a movie of our journey. It is a thrill to come home and find orders from such diverse countries as Japan and Denmark. The address for our movie is: 

And more great links:
The address for our Kindle book is:
The address for out paperback is:
The link to the novel at Barnes and Noble
The address for my blog is:

I wish thank the Bertoia's for sharing their adventures and their Work in Progress.


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