By: Julie Dill
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Publication Date: February 7th, 2017
Seventeen-year-old Chelsea Knowles is surrounded by the privileged. Michael Kors gym bags and designer shoes are part of her daily scene, but the talented cheerleader has a secret: she and her dad can barely pay the bills. Broken by his wife walking out on their family, Chelsea’s father ignores his responsibilities. Between cheer costs, grocery bills, electricity, and other regular financial burdens, it’s no surprise when a cut-off notice arrives in the mail. Chelsea knows it’ll be up to her to keep the lights on.
With the deck stacked against her, Chelsea decides to bet their future on the dubious poker knowledge she learned from her father before he gave up on parenting. Nervous but determined, Chelsea heads to a casino with very little security and wins big. Thrilled by her win, she’s quickly drawn to the casino again and again. She risks it all, especially when the attractive, young pit boss takes an interest in her.
Chelsea’s life, no longer filled with cheerleading, school, and hanging out with her friends, is now consumed by smoky casino floors and the ups and downs of a gambler’s life. True gamblers know when to fold, but Chelsea keeps betting long after her needs are met. The complicated web of lies soon begins to spin out of control, threatening to expose everything. Will someone see through her bluff?
I would say that for Bluff, the writing stemmed more from experience than research. When I turned 21, my parents took me to Vegas, and that weekend I entered my first poker room. Back then, there were two things that made me very different from all of the other players: I was young and female. I didn’t let that intimidate me. We had played for fun, at home, so I felt like I knew enough about the game to give it a whirl. I didn’t win a ton of money, but I definitely held my own. I was so intrigued with the players- all so different and from places all around the world.
While I worked on Bluff, I did go play poker to get a feel for that setting, again. We now have casinos and poker rooms in Oklahoma, and making those visits definitely helped me to create Chelsea’s world. When I drafted the casino scenes, it was very easy for me to visualize and describe.
I wouldn’t consider myself a poker expert, but I knew enough about the game, the setting, and the characters to make a story.
Julie Dill lives in Oklahoma City where the wind always comes sweeping down the plains—literally.
As a young girl she always wanted to be a teacher, so she went on to receive her Bachelor’s of Science in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and taught in elementary schools for ten years. Currently, she serves as an adjunct professor and loves helping students achieve success. One of her greatest professional accomplishments is earning her National Board Certification.
She holds a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Oklahoma City University and continues to work on various writing projects. From hiking in Colorado, to playing poker in Vegas, she’s always up for a new challenge. Julie is a busy mom of two teenage daughters, and any extra time that she may carve out is spent reading, writing, and rooting for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Her debut novel, Bluff, is scheduled to be released on February 7th, 2017.
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