Introducing C. Hoyt Caldwell

bottle cover3

Sometimes the only way out is the bad way out.

A number of you have figured it out already.  I think I saw the first mention on Facebook about 10 minutes after I published the previous post.  I have a feeling this will either ruin me or be the smartest thing I’ve ever done.  What would life be without a little risk?

Here is more than you ever wanted to know about C. Hoyt Caldwell and his book Bad Way Out.

  •  Title: Bad Way Out
  • Author Bio: C. Hoyt Caldwell is a writer simultaneously proud of and puzzled by his Southern roots. He’s not smart enough to be subtle so his work tends to be tasteless and gritty. He’s not out to offend anyone, but he’s also not out to win anyone over either. His stories are full of sex, violence, heart, and attempts at humor. His book Bad Way Out was recently named the third best independent book about the south published in 2012, but if you ask him about it, he’ll probably lie and tell you it came in first. He can be reached at ch(at)
  • Genre: Southern Thriller (emphasis on Southern)
  • Pitch: Sometimes the only way out is the bad way out.
  • Amazon Description:  E.R. Percy’s whiskey making days are turned upside down by the sudden appearance of a giant naked man, an unsavory job offer from a drug dealer, and a sultry local girl hell-bent on making it as difficult as possible for him to keep his vows to his wife. He wants nothing more than to sell his illegal wares and be left alone. Unfortunately, the whiskey man is about to come to terms with the only way for that to happen: the bad way out.
  • Book Rating: R
  • Sexual Content:  Semi-graphic, although most of it is dealt with in a humorous way.  It’s nothing you haven’t heard or seen in HBO original programming.  As I understand it, it’s tame compared to Fifty Shades of Grey.  I’ve never read the book, so I can’t say for sure.
  • Violent Content: Graphic. It has the three Bs; blood, bullets, and blades.
  • Influences and Pen Name: Cormac McCarthy and Charles Portis.  McCarthy is the grittiest author on the streets today, and Portis is funny as hell.  I discovered Erskine Caldwell after writing Bad Way Out, and I was actually blown away by how similar his style in a book like God’s Little Acre is to the style I used for my book.  I’m so glad I didn’t find him until after I wrote the book because I would have heard his voice in my head every time I sat down at my computer.  He is now hands down my favorite author. When I was looking for a pen name for the book, Caldwell was the obvious choice.  I wanted something Southern for the first name.  It came down to Cash or Hoyt.  I couldn’t decide so I went with C. Hoyt Caldwell.
  • The Cover: It’s gone through three different iterations.  I originally went with a plain black background with white text.  I tried to make it look like a whiskey bottle label.  Those kinds of covers only work if you’ve got big marketing dollars, or you’re a known author with a following.  C. Hoyt Caldwell is a poor unknown.  I got rid of the black background and went with the image of a woman’s rear-end in a pair of daisy dukes holding a whiskey bottle. I did that in part because I felt really self-conscious about the sexual content, and I didn’t want people to be surprised by it.  But the cover got to be a bit of a problem because erotica readers picked up the book expecting… well, erotica.  They wanted much steamier passages than what I was offering.  Luckily, I ‘won’ the bronze in this year’s IPPY competition, and that gave me another opportunity to change the cover.  I wanted something a little classier than a girl’s rear-end, so I came up with the current design.  I’m hoping the award sticker will be enough to attract readers now.  I’m really glad I got rid of the daisy dukes image because I saw Miley Cyrus in her granny-panty shorts on Jimmy Kimmel, and I thought, “Oh, that is sad.  Now I see it.”  Someone really needs to let her know.
  • Tone: I’ve used the term ‘vulgar’ to describe this book, and people think I’m nuts.  All the word means is lacking in sophistication, and Bad Way Out is definitely not sophisticated.  Unfortunately, when you say ‘vulgar’ these days people associate it with pornography.  Bad Way Out is not porn.  If it was, you wouldn’t be reading about it on this blog. Trust me.  I used to jokingly call it hillbilly porn, but people started taking me seriously, so I stopped calling it that.  Actually, a reviewer in the UK gave it my favorite description when he (or she) called it an Appalachian crime noir.  I think that pretty much says it all.
  • The Setting: Maiden Falls is the made up Tennessee hill town where the story takes place.  I say such unkind things about the town and the people I couldn’t use the name of a real place.   Do I know people like the ones in Maiden Falls?  Yep.  Everyone who’s lived in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, West Virginia etc., knows people like the ones that live in Maiden Falls.
  • C. Hoyt Caldwells Future:  There will be more books.  I’m endlessly fascinated by the Southern culture, so I want to examine it further.  I’m sure future titles will be more controversial.  The one I’m working on now is a dark, yet humorous exposé on homosexuality in a small Tennessee town.  It may ruffle some feathers.  CHC is blunt and honest.  He’s going to tell it like he sees it.
  • The Hair: Anything is possible with Photoshop.
  • In Closing:  You won’t see C. Hoyt Caldwell on this blog again unless something incredible happens regarding one of his books.  He has his own blog and Facebook page, but be forewarned, he is vulgar. R.W. Ridley will never appear on his blog.  “Worlds colliding, Jerry!  Worlds colliding!”

BTW – I felt it necessary to explain the three different covers for the book because a Google search brings them all up in the search results.  I wasn’t dying to tell you I resorted to using an overtly sexist image on the cover at some point in the life of the book.

9 thoughts on “Introducing C. Hoyt Caldwell

  1. It’s a great book, Richard, and I wish you tons of success with it!

    • BTW – There were three or four test readers for BWO who actually knew the true identity of CHC, and Deacon was one of them. I knew he liked the backwoods genre, so I sought out his opinion. He provided me with some great input, and I’d like to publicly thank him!

  2. Awwww, shucks! ☺

  3. It’s like any other “coming out” story. Good or bad, it’s done now 🙂 As for me, I’m proud of you.

    • Exactly. It really did feel like I was living a lie. My mistake was months and months ago when I made a video asking if it was okay for a YA author to branch out and write material for adults that contains “questionable” content. People asked whatever happened to that book I talked about in that video. I put myself in a position to spin the truth (lie). It was very stressful.

      • There are WAY too many other things to be stressed out about…no need to add something like this. BTW…LOVIN’ this book!!
        I like to think you used me for the waitress 🙂 Will finish today and get a review up some time this week.

      • I learned from my mother that nothing is too small to worry about. 🙂

        Thanks for alleviating some of my stress.

  4. Pingback: I am not J.K. Rowling | R.W. Ridley

  5. Oh…guess I won’t have to get to work on Google. Lesson learned: read before you speak (type.)

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