Today on Petticoats & Pistols we are OUT OF CONTROL!!!

I’ve got a book releasing August 1st and I just received my authors copies so I can do some giveaways!!!


 Out of Control is set in and around a fictionalized Carlsbad Cavern. I visited Carlsbad once a long time ago and it captured my imagination. This was before I was writing, but I was thinking up plots, ‘what if’ as I walked thought that staggeringly beautiful cavern. It was all very safe, fenced off, well lit, for us. But what about the first person who went down? The stunning beauty, but you could only see as far as a lantern would allow. The floors were broken away and thin as glass, with pits, jagged rocks, below the broken spaces. How had their broken? How would a person know where to walk?

Did you know they have found THREE dead bodies in Carlsbad Cavern. No idea who they were or how they got there. One was wrapped in a sort of burial shroud. One had been covered with dripping limestone and looked like a giant as the limestone enlarged it. One was buried under bat guano so deeply that they estimate the body has been there for over 500 years.

The more I researched Carlsbad, the more desperately I wanted to try and capture what I felt for it in a novel.

The Kincaid Brides Series is my attempt to do just that. Out of Control is book one in that series.

Here’s a bit about Out of Control

Julia Gilliland has always been interested in the natural world around her. She particularly enjoys her outings to the cavern near her father’s homestead, where she explores for fossils and formations, and plans to write a book about her discoveries. The cave seems plenty safe–until the day a mysterious intruder steals the rope she uses to find her way out. Rafe Kincaid has spent years keeping his family’s cattle ranch going, all without help from his two younger brothers, who fled the ranch–and Rafe’s controlling ways–as soon as they were able. He’s haunted by one terrible day at the cave on a far-flung corner of the Kincaid property, a day that changed his life forever. Ready to put the past behind him, he plans to visit the cave one final time. He sure doesn’t expect to find a young woman trapped in one of the tunnels–or to be forced to kiss her! Rafe is more intrigued by Julia than any woman he’s ever known, but how can he overlook her fascination with the cave he despises? And when his developing relationship with Julia threatens his chance at reconciliation with his brothers, will he be forced to choose between the family bonds that could restore his trust and the love that could heal his heart?

 And this is cut from close to the beginning of Out of Control. Rafe Kincaid here’s a cry for help coming from the treacherous cavern. A cavern that is the location of his greatest failure, greatest shame. A cavern that led to the destruction of his family and in Rafe’s estimation that was all his fault.


“Are you hurt?” Rafe began talking as he tested the ladder. It felt sturdy. He swallowed hard, said a quick prayer and swung over the edge. It was like climbing down the throat of a monster.

                “I’m coming to help you.”

                He heard a stifled sob.

                “Are you where you can see me?” One step at a time he descended the clinking ladder.

                “Can you hear that noise? I’ve got a chain ladder.” His voice pushed against the dark but it was a solid thing, too deep to penetrate.

                “I mean you no harm.” A thousand questions raced through Rafe’s mind. He suspected she wouldn’t answer any of them.

                “We’ll get you out of here and I’ll help you get—get home.” Where in the world could home be? There weren’t any women around here. There hadn’t been any since the gold had run out. Well, a few Indians. But her little bit of talking told him she wasn’t one.

                As he descended, Rafe felt the darkness of the cave press on him like a slowly closing fist, crushing him by inches. He quit talking so he could breathe. After what seemed like forever, he reached the ledge. Stepping off the ladder, he turned, listening. Her breathing was audible. She was close to the left side tunnel, as if she was poised to run down it, away from him.

                “Please, don’t be afraid. I won’t harm you.”

In the silence, it occurred to Rafe that maybe he should be afraid. What if she got past him in the dark? What if she climbed this ladder and pulled it up behind her?

Chills stood the hair on the back of his neck on end, as he thought of being stuck down here, forever. That day when Seth had fallen. No one knew where they were. No one would think of coming here to search.

Just like now.

Listening with every bit of savvy he’d learned from living in this hard land, he climbed down the last twenty feet of rock.

“If someone hurt you it wasn’t me. But I can get you out. I will get you out.” Seth had begged Rafe not to leave him. And Rafe knew Seth didn’t really believe his brothers would abandon him, but it had been the fear talking. So it was most likely her fear, too, keeping her silent. “I won’t leave you.”

Then the obvious occurred to Rafe. “How bad can I be? I gotta be better than this cavern. Do you really want me to go away ?”

“No!” Something raced at him. A black figure in a black pit. For an irrational second he thought it was something monstrous swooping toward him. A shudder shook him until the ice in his veins nearly cracked.

Then something—someone—slammed into him. He staggered back against the cavern wall. Hands clawed at him. He caught at whoever or whatever this was. Solid. Not a ghost. Human, not a monster. He tried to make sense out of what he couldn’t see.

“Help me.” Definitely a woman.

“I’ll get you out.”

“Don’t leave me, please.” Her voice broke. Her arms clamped around him as if she was hanging on to save her life.

In her mind, she probably was.

Click on this link to watch a trailer for Out of Control

 Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for a signed copy of Out of Control.

Click on this book cover to buy

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Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series

58 thoughts on “Today on Petticoats & Pistols we are OUT OF CONTROL!!!”

  1. Mary,
    OUT OF CONTROL sounds fantastic. Love the trailer. I have it on pre-order and can’t wait until August 1, when it will magically appear on my Kindle.
    On a family vacation, we visited the Wind Cave in South Dakota. It really was magical, but when the guide had all lights put out so we could experience what the cave was like in the pitch dark I knew my cave days were over. :o) We stepped out and breathed a lot easier in the sunshine. It’s hard to imagine what early adventurers experienced when they visited these natural wonders, and if their light went out there wasn’t a nice tour guide to flip it on after a few minutes.


  2. Cool trailer, Mary. I love your premise and can’t wait to read Rafe’s story. And hooray for Bethany House perks. I already have a copy of your book sitting on my desk at home so I don’t have to wait until August. Yay!!

  3. Kirsten, there’s a cave in south eastern Nebraska called Robber’s Cave and it’s a long way from me but we went there once as kids and it was soooo fun. There were narrow tunnels and bigger rooms and one of the rooms, deep inside had a PICNIC table in it. And I walked into that room and the picnic table was way too big to have gotten through those narrow tunnels and it was like MAGIC to me. I still remember staring at that table and just being so amazed and spooked.
    Years later it occurred to me that it might have been brought in in pieces an assembled in there but at the time I was in awe.
    It’s fun to be a kid and be in awe of something, isn’t it? LOL
    I’ve loved caves…and been spooked by them…ever since.

  4. Hi Mary,

    Love this post! Love your cover! This looks like a book that would really keep me turning those pages into the night. Caves have always been spooky to me, and I think a lot of it is that when I was a young kid, maybe 6 or so, we went to Carlsbad Cavern, and I can still remember my mom holding onto my hand really tightly. I wasn’t afraid, but I could feel her fear. When I was older, maybe about 17 or so, I was on a road trip with my sister and bro-in-law and their 2 kids. We stopped in Missouri at those caves…can’t remember the name of them now, but they were a Jesse James hideout, and they have tours, etc. Well, at one part of the tour, the guide would throw a torch way up into the cavern so the tourists could see how far back they went. My nephew was standing beside me–he was about 7 and my shadow. The torch was thrown, but for some reason, I knew something was going to happen–one of those weird moments in life– and it deflected off the wall and came back right toward my nephew. I had already gotten him behind me and just wrapped my arms around him, and pushed us back. The torch landed right where we had been standing. I have never gone in a cave since then. LOL

    Great post, love the premise of your book, and I think the title sounds perfect.

    Cheryl P.

  5. Cheryl how weird and cool that you felt ‘warned’ about danger. I love it. I could write a book about it. 🙂
    The thing with those bodies Tanya is, no one could figure out how they came to be there. The entrance at that time was a dead drop, no way to climb in and out without a rope, and it’s not like the bodies were right under the opening, like they fell to their deaths. No, someone took them down there, or they went down there themselves. But when and why and who? And why did obviously at least THREE people go down there, and in one case, with the body that had a burial shroudish thing, he was clearly TAKEN down there, but then why did no one go back?
    So those bodies actually lured me down the path to setting my book there more than anything…clearly the cavern had some unknown history that brushed against human beings. I kept twisting it around to make it work but in the end it was just … the best word for it is disrespectful, I guess. I hated making up this whole big past for the cavern that wasn’t true.
    So I gave up.
    I might try it again sometime.

  6. Wonderful excerpt. I visited Carlsbad Caverns 4 years ago since I live a four hours drive from there. This place was captivating and unique. What an experience. I did the walk which was awesome. Your book sounds compelling. Best wishes.

  7. What a compelling story, Mary. Love the idea of the cave. And those bodies, wow I didn’t know that. Gives me goose bumps. I’ve been in several caves, as a tourist and as an amateur spelunker in college. But never Carlsbad. It’s on my bucket list. Wouldn’t you love to see Lechuguilla, which I understand is closed to preserve it?

  8. Love your books, and this one sounds as good as the others. It’s in my amazon cart, so if I don’t win, it’ll still be mine soon!

  9. I love reading your books. We live in the Ozarks where there are lots of caves to explore. So I’m really looking forward to reading this new one.

  10. Hi Mary, great post. I love your books and this one sounds fabulous and I can’t wait to read it. I think that is wild the way they found the three bodies in the caves and they still don’t know who they were. I have never been inside a cave before. Although I have back in underground tunnels where they produce the High Bridg Spring Water and its pretty cool back there.

  11. You want to hear a compelling story?

    (gagging as I type)
    I just went to my car to get something and found a gallon jug of milk in the back seat.

    I have NO IDEA how long it’s been there. I know days and days. And I’ve been parking outside in terrible, MONSTROUS heat for days and days.

    I got the jug and it’s SOLID. I’m not kidding. And it’s leaked a little.

    My Cowboy Husband went to check the water in my car this morning and came back with the mild comment that my car smells bad.

    Hmmmmmmmmm….wonder why.

    I threw the jug away in a nearby dumpster and am currently pity-ing the garbage man or any bums who dig through trash. God protect them!!! I swear I almost vomited just CARRYING IT!!!!!!!!!

    Then I went back and the leaking was minimal but it doesn’t take much with sour milk so I threw the floor mat away. I need to air the car out but I have to keep the windows up and the doors locked during the day, based on where I park.

    I’m such a disorganized bone-head. That could be a couple of weeks old. Based on it’s solid-ness, it probably is. I know I’ve bought milk at least once this week and it wasn’t THAT jug.

    Yes, the glamorous life of a writer.

  12. I enjoy visiting caves–love the wonderful rock formations. Although, I don’t know about caves without lights and a tour guide. 🙂

    The bodies remind me of a song my Dad used to sing–Miller’s Cave. All about love and infidelity, death and never getting out of the cave. Great song.

  13. Hi Mary! Looking forward to reading this book! I know it will be a real page turner! Am reading Deep Trouble now and am loving it. You always make me laugh with the antics of your characters!

  14. Hi Mary!! I LOVE your books and this one sounds really good. The cavern idea sounds good yet creepy and I can’t wait to read about it! This is on my list to buy for August! 🙂

  15. Went caving a couple of times but decided above ground was better–even without having a guide rope disappear.

    Best wishes on success of Out of Control.

  16. Congratulations on the new release, Mary! It’s always exciting to have a book come out. I loved the except and the trailer. I’m just wondering how you got the same guy who’s on your cover to be in the video? Inquiring minds want to know. Fess up, Filly sister. Do you have him stashed at your house?

    Too funny about the full milk jug in your car. I can only imagine that smell. One suggestion….leave your car windows down at night. That’s a sure-fire way to bring rain that everyone so desperately needs. LOL

  17. Oh yuk on the bad milk – so sorry!!

    But horray on the trailer and excerpt. Sounds like a wonderful read!

  18. Hi Mary,
    I’d love the chance to win Out of Control! It sounds great! I’ve never been to Carlsbad Caverns, but I did take a trip to Colorado Springs last year and got to look up at Pike’s Peak every day. Amazing! I love the way you incorporate such interesting places in your stories (Grand Canyon, caverns, etc.). God bless!

  19. Congrats on this upcoming release!!! 😀 Thanks for sharing the trailer and excerpt with us… they were great!

  20. This book is set on the western slopes of Pike’s Peak, Stacey. Sometimes it seems like blizzards, cliffs, mountains and canyons and caverns make better ‘villains’ than people. Lots of opportunity for action if there is a cliff to plunge over. They didn’t get the term cliffhanger from nuthin’.

  21. Actually, Mary, I’m sure that this is the milk you bought this week, and the milk you took in the house is the milk you bought last week.

    Just sayin’

  22. I’ve toured a dozen or so caves in my lifetime, including Carlsbad. But there was one we toured 6-7 years ago, (maybe in MO??) where the entrance goes right down under a small gift shop. And it’s a rickety cascading wooden staircase that is VERY scary, and it’s a good 300′-600′ descent!

    I wish I could tell you which cave it was, because if you want a more authentic experience with a bit of bite, that one is it!

  23. Interesting information about Carlsbad Caverns. I visited it in the early 60’s and was amazed by how colorful it was.
    Your book sounds really good.
    This is a hint for when you spill milk again. Dampen the spilled area and put 20 Mule Team Borax on it. Let dry then brush clean. Then place 2 drier sheets in your car for a nice smell. This works better than those little things you hang on the knobs and are so stong smelling of pine!

  24. Linda that is the same guy. My publisher, Bethany House, told me that when they were doing the cover shoot they just took a few shots with an iPhone–phones that shoot video–what a brave new world, huh? Then they used them to make the trailer later. They hadn’t even decided to do it for sure when they took the pictures.

    I love it. No, he’s not living at my place. I’ve got my own cowboy and one cowboy is plenty, trust me. 🙂

  25. Pammy, I might be able to go down 300-600 feet but I’d NEVER haul myself back up.

    So, since I DON’T want to live the rest of my life at the bottom of a cave, I think I’ll just forget it. There is actually an elevator at the bottom of Carlsbad. You walk down, then ride up.

    So civilized.

    I’m waiting for an elevator at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, before I go down there.

  26. Mary, I am headed to the western slopes of Pike’s Peak tomorrow! Well near there anyway. My daughter lives close to that area and we could see Pike’s Peak if she lived higher rather than in the valley along the river!

  27. My daughter and I love reading your books, and this one sounds like another fun and exciting adventure! I loved the excerpt! I could identify with the “I know I shouldn’t be scared, but this just doesn’t feel right…” feeling that your main character seemed to have!! We have been in the cave at Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO, and that was creepy enough for us!! Can’t wait to read the book! 🙂

  28. Out Of Control sounds wonderful!
    Have never been to Carlsbad Caverns. Have been to the Oregon Caves in SW Oregon. Awesome!

  29. Oooo I’ve been waiting for this book! I love the covers for this and for In Too Deep, the guys are just too cute.

    I live about 30 minutes from Lural Caverns in SW PA but I’ve never been there believe it or not! I hope to get to go someday but if not I’ll just read your books. 😉

    XOXO~ Renee C.

  30. Hi Mary,

    I just love this post. The cover is awesome…The book trailer is done wonderfully. I cannot wait to read this. Its on my must read list…

    Walk in harmony,

  31. Laura, there are few things I love more than when someone tells me they share the books with daughters and mothers. I just love thinking my books are for a wide range of ages.

    Try your husband/father/son/brother/whoever, too. I’ve had great reactions from men…when I can get them to READ ONE!!!

  32. If you want to learn more about the history of Carlsbad Cavern read about Jim White.
    I bought his book that tells the story in his own words. He discovered Carlsbad Cavern and spent TWENTY YEARS trying to convince people it was cool.
    He could get people to come out, one at a time and see it, but the word never spread to anyone important, the state parks people, the governor.
    Mainly because the cavern was about 30 miles out into the wilderness with no roads to it.

    Here’s stuff from Wikipedia about Jim White’s discovery

    While riding his horse through the Chihuahuan Desert looking for stray cattle with a fence mending crew for the Lucas brothers, Jim saw a plume of bats rising from the desert hills. It appeared to be a volcano, or a whirlwind but did not behave quite like either. He tied his horse to a nearby tree and worked his way through the brush to the edge of a large opening in the ground. Jim described the moment by saying, “I found myself gazing into the biggest and blackest hole I had ever seen, out of which the bats seemed literally to boil”.

    A few days later, he returned to the cave with some rope, fence wire and a hatchet. He cut wood from some nearby shrubs and assembled a makeshift ladder. He lowered the ladder into the opening and using a homemade kerosene lantern, descended approximately 50 feet to the first serviceable ledge. He climbed down an additional 20 feet to a floor.Using the “sickly glow” of his lantern, he made his way into the cave. He felt as if he “… was wandering into the very core of the Guadalupe Mountains.”

    After reaching a chamber, he noted two tunnels leading off in opposite directions, one downward and to the right and one, more level, to the left. He decided to go left first and discovered the Bat Cave. He explored it for a while then proceeded down the other tunnel.

    Thus begins a love affair between Jim White and Carlsbad Cavern that lasted the rest of White’s life as he struggled to convince the world he’d found something spectacular….and he did it. He brought Carlsbad Cavern to the world.

  33. Mary~I’m sure you are right!! 🙂 My daughter and I usually read excerpts of books out loud to each other that we find particularly funny or inspiring, so next time we are reading one of your books, we will just have to make sure my husband and sons are in the room to spark their curiosity!! (Of course, they’ll have to wait until we are finished reading the book before we’ll let them get their hands on it, though!) 😉 Thanks for writing books that are inspiring AND fun!

  34. Wow! I could feel the terror of being lost in the
    dark in the cavern! I’ll have to be sure to read
    this book in daylight with Honey close by! BTW,
    I am not at all sure that I could go into Carlsbad
    Cavern, no matter how many people were with me or
    how much light was available!!

    Pat Cochran

  35. I hadn’t read those facts about Carlsbad Caverns…especially about the 3 bodies found there. Hmmmm Would love to read Out Of Control…we all get that way sometimes, don’t we.

  36. “Out of Control” sounds like another rollicking tale I definitely want to read. I just love your books!

  37. You know what I read just the other day? They found yet another cavern in Carlsbad that they’d never seen before. There was a blackish area above a deep pit and they raised a light on a helium balloon to see what was up there and it just went up and up. So far they haven’t figured out how to get up there to look around they have no idea how big it is because the pit below it gives there no where to climb from. But surely there could raise cameras. The plain facts are it’s so huge they just don’t have the time, money or will to explore it all, there are many areas that have been only minimally explored and most of it isn’t open to the public. I think most of the really beautiful stuff is open to the public though.

  38. Carlsbad was beautiful and it felt safe and it was fine, I think you’d like it, Pat. But I read a book about a cave explorer. Spelunker, right? who climbed into this narrow tunnel and got caught in there when the tunnel kept getting smaller and smaller. He managed to get out but to me, that is an absolute nightmare.

    I dealt a bit with tunnels that get too narrow in Out of Control and it’s sequels.
    I guess because, to me, that’s a horror. And of course I wanted to scare you all. LOL

  39. Congratulations on the new book. This will be a series I have to have. We lived in Colorado Springs for three years and loved it. We had a beautiful, unobstructed view of Pike’s Peak and the front range from our deck.

    We visited Carlsbad Caverns while out there and it is impressive. My husband and children go caving, but not me. Too claustrophobic for that. I would not have climbed down into that cave. I have visited several caves, but can’t breath when the sides start getting close. In college, my husband used to squeeze through those little tunnels. The ones he could squeeze through now would have to be a bit bigger, but he would still do it.

    Very nice video for the book. Great cover. Thanks for the excerpt.

    Just read your comment about the milk left in the car. Can’t imagine. It is such a terrible smell. Hope throwing the mat out did the trick.

  40. When I think of caves, I think of scary, dark, dingy places with bats and perhaps some human bones or two. However, the cavern in “Out of Control” it sounds romantic. I don’t think I’d mind being in a cave with Rafe around.

  41. I had to come back and watch the book trailer again It touches my heart so..Did you do the book trailer and if so what do you use

    Thanks Mary I love the book


  42. Hahaha Mary if only it were that easy. Everyone else in my family is too chicken to go and I’m not sure if I’m brave enough to go by myself.

  43. Melinda, my publisher did it for me. I’ve done book trailers for a couple of my book. I would describe the experience as eight hours of hair pulling, infuriating struggle that resulted in a product that was embarrassing and probably illegal.

    All the music rights and image rights. So, there you have my take on trailers. Having my publisher do it was PAINLESS!!! 🙂 And they came up with something wonderful.

  44. Renee, it’s probably a LAME cave. If it was good enough, that close, you’d have been lured in by now. 🙂 Tell yourself that. The Fox and the Grapes comes to life at Petticoats & Pistols.

  45. It sounds really good. Can’t wait for it to come out! Your at the top of my favorite authors and I always look forward to you having a new book to come out.

  46. I’ve only been in one cave near Tucson. I couldn’t wait to get out. Claustrophobic!
    Out of Control excerpt, sounds great!

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