Thursday, October 17, 2013

Guest Post/Giveaway: Betting It All by Cate Masters

7 Interesting Things About 1906 San Francisco

Thanks so much for having me at For the Love of Bookends today. In researching early 1900s San Francisco while writing Betting It All, I found out some pretty cool stuff. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

1. San Francisco wasn’t as stuffy as the rest of Victorian era America. In fact, the city was a pretty hoppin’ place. Yes, it had some high brow areas, but a walk on the wild side was never far away. The red light district, or Barbary Coast, advertised dancing girls, prostitutes and peep shows.

2. The Chutes and Zoo. An early amusement park on the order of old time Coney Island, with riding cars that twirled you out over the water, water slides. I was only able to find one photo of it, but supposedly it was a huge attraction before the earthquake.

3. You could pick your style of ride. Automobiles were somewhat controversial in 1906, and many people disliked them. Horse-drawn wagons shared the streets with fancier buggies, trolley cars, and autos. Of course, those who didn’t like any of those modes of transportation could always walk.

4. It had some modern conveniences. Many buildings had electricity, even telephones. The telegraph was cutting-edge technology then, and kept the city in contact with the outside world during the disaster until the lines went down. Photography had advanced to crude videos, though without sound.

5. It was multi-cultured. The Grand Opera House hosted some top stars of the time, including the famous opera singer Enrico Caruso. He actually performed the night before the earthquake, and had to be rescued from the Palace Hotel.

6. The Richter Scale hadn’t been invented. Geologists had no true way to measure the 1906 earthquake, but geologists estimate the quake to be equal to 7.8, and more than 270 miles of the San Andreas Fault ruptured. More than 3000 people lost their lives, either during the quake or in the resulting fires that destroyed what the quake had left.

7. Its people. The aspect of 1906 San Francisco that most impressed me was its people. After the earthquake, their sheer tenacity in the face of disaster restored the city. Residents dug out from the rubble and started to rebuild, often within days. They may not have been the first pioneers, but the spirit lived on in them.

Betting It All
by Cate Masters

Norah Hawkins wants a new life as far from her old one as possible, but where can she ever find that chance? When a letter arrives promising her the deed to property in San Francisco, Norah packs her bags and flees the broken shards of her troubled past.

With its anything-goes atmosphere, 1906 San Francisco suits Irishman Gerard MacKenzie just fine. He loves tending bar in Norah’s saloon, and verbally sparring with the shrewd businesswoman for more privileges and work. Her beauty, wit and sass make his blood boil with need.

But disaster looms over their promising new lives when a terrible earthquake buries their dreams and threatens to shatter their future. Norah and Mac must rebuild their lives from the ruins and they’ll need each other more than ever, but can their ties to each other save them or tear them apart?

About the Author:

Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at, and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

Enjoy the following excerpt for Betting It All:

Guilt filled her as she sealed the envelope. Her first letter should have been to her mother. Estelle probably forgot I left. More likely, she bought a bottle and forgot everything, period.

Downstairs in the hotel lobby, Mac stepped around the corner into her path. “A letter to your beau?”

She bristled. “No.”

Leering, he nodded. “Ah. You left him behind.”

“Certainly not.” My, but he cleaned up nicely. The electric wall sconce gave his black hair a sheen like raven’s feathers in the sun. His smooth-shaved skin accentuated the whites of his eyes, rimmed with thick dark lashes. Curled in a teasing smile, his lips appeared soft, not weather-worn like some men.

He cocked a brow. “He’s joining you later?”

“I don’t see how it’s any of your concern.” Unless he still hoped for employment. His long, smooth fingers might be handy for more than cards. Still, if she wanted music, she could buy a player piano and not have to pay it a weekly salary. Though it wouldn’t be nearly as nice to look at as Mac.

He shrugged. “It isn’t. Unless you run into debt playing poker. I want to be assured someone will back you up.”

“You needn’t worry. I never get in over my head.” In anything.

He tipped his cap. “Smart woman.”

Not enough to fool him. Last night, Norah had imitated her drunken mother to perfection, another skill that came in handy. Believing her vulnerable, the men made themselves moreso. Not Mac. He’d grown more careful, as if he guessed at her intent.

“What are you doing here?” She wondered what sort of a racket he ran. Everyone had one. Uppity ladies in their lace-edged gowns and mansions excelled at scamming men into marriage, but only succeeded in trapping themselves in the bargain. She preferred a prison with bars.

“Renting a room,” he said, “the same as you.”

Coincidence? Or had he followed her? “I’m curious. Do you possess other skills?”

Smiling, he tugged at his jacket lapels. “I’m a man of many talents. Why do you ask?”

Lo, his ego reared again. “Have you no real trade to ply?”

“Playing the piano is a ‘real’ trade, Miss Hawkins. However, I can work at almost anything, from carpenter to barkeep.”

Like Dan. All her stinging retorts vanished. “Oh.”

He grimaced. “You disapprove?”

“Not at all. Those are honorable trades.” Why should she feel relieved?

“As honorable as your own?”

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Betting it All looks wonderful! I'm adding it to my wish list! I love reading about all time periods, Civil War era, post Civil War, Regency, Victorian, and early 1900s. I love historicals!

    1. This was a really interesting time to research, Michelle. The earthquake changed the city in so many ways. It was amazing how people just dug in and started to rebuild!

  2. Thanks again for having me at For the Love of Bookends :)