My Last Love Letter to My Wife


My favorite picture of Mr. and Mrs. Ridley. In time, this is how I will think of our time together. 

Emotionally, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write. I have to acknowledge something intensely painful in order to allow myself to move forward. Tragedy has a way of paralyzing you and letting every destructive thought beat you down if you don’t face it head on. That’s what I’m doing here, and I’m doing it publicly so I’ll stop hiding.

Marianna and I have split. While I don’t want to go into details, I will just say that our twenty-year relationship didn’t end because of infidelity or abuse or because of any one life-altering act. It simply ended because we stopped communicating. As of this writing, we are both feeling a sense of betrayal, and we’re struggling to treat each other as our better selves instead of our bitter selves. I recognize she has some very real complaints about me, and I hope she recognizes I have some very real complaints, too. We haven’t yet worked through all of our misgivings and misunderstandings, but we will. It will just take some time. One of the last things we said to each other is that we both want the other to be happy. It is my greatest hope for her, and I know it’s her greatest hope for me.

For those of you who know us personally, my only request is that you not inundate us with questions. We are both dealing with raw emotions, and it’s agonizing to wade through the minutiae. We welcome your support and well wishes, but neither of us are prepared to dive into the details. Marianna has suspended all activity on Facebook, so I’m afraid reaching out to her there won’t result in a reply or acknowledgement of gratitude. It will be enough for her if you keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

Before I knew my marriage was over, my publisher asked me to provide them with a dedication for my book. I’m posting it here (awkward phrasing and all) because it is my last love letter to my best friend and wife. Even though things have changed since I wrote it, I still mean every word of it. I have gone through the seven stages of grief about 12 times a day since the separation, but I’m working with a therapist to get through it. Right now there are over 800 miles of physical road between Marianna and me, as well as an ocean of pain, but we will always be connected by the best years of our lives.

This book is dedicated to she who sacrificed so much so I could write. To she who carried more than her share of the burden so I could chase a dream, and to she who picked me up when life ran me over. I can’t begin to thank her enough, but I will do all that I can to return the favor. Thank you, Marianna.

Be happy, Marianna.

Savage Reckoning now available for Pre-Order


The New Cover is here! Let the Pre-sales commence!

Today, I’m going to make a rare “sales” pitch on the blog. The official cover for C. Hoyt Caldwell’s next book has just been revealed on Omnimystery News, and the book is now available for pre-sale on major etailer sites.

Click here – Cover Reveal! Savage Reckoning by C. Hoyt Caldwell, and you will see all… well, you’ll see the cover, and four links where you can pre-order the book.

And for those of you who don’t know, I, R.W. Ridley, am C. Hoyt Caldwell. He’s the alter ego I conjure up when I want to write backwoods mysteries full  of hickbillys, foul language, and crime.

Savage Reckoning is the first book in an upcoming series featuring Deputy Dani Savage. She’s a woman in a man’s world keeping the law in God’s country.

The more pre-sales, the happier my publisher, the bigger the possibilities as far as next level shit: print-run, film version, international rights, etc.  Buy, buy, buy. Spread the word, spread the word, spread the word.

Randy Thornhorn (1955 – 2016)


Randy Thornhorn – Storyteller

I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of author Randy Thornhorn. He was an immensely talented author of Southern fiction, and I loved his work. We never met in person, but we did have several chats via Facebook and email. We were aligned on a number of topics outside of writing, and I was looking forward to having a cup of coffee with him someday. I’m so sorry we never got that opportunity.

As a tribute to Randy, I am re-posting my review of his book Wicked Temper. I read it before I knew him, and it was a wonderful introduction into Randy’s imagination and his gloriously creepy American South.

A instant Southern classic

A instant Southern classic

In my continuing effort to shine a light on indie authors, allow me to turn your attention to one Randy Thornhorn.  I found myself waiting in a situation in which I had nothing to do but search for good books in the Kindle store for about two hours on Monday, and I found a book I had heard about earlier titled Wicked Temper written by the aforementioned Randy Thornhorn.

It’s Southern Fiction which is my not so secret literary passion.  I love the settings, the characters, the dialogue, and the dialect offered up on in a good Southern tome, and Wicked Temper is not good.  It’s great.  Great may not even be an effusive enough word.  It’s a classic in the vein of William Faulkner, Harper Lee, Cormac McCarthy, and Erskine Caldwell (my personal favorite).  Yet, it is a much darker voice all its own.  There’s an underlying deep moan of creepiness throughout this story that lets you feel the soaring trek of ruin the main characters Tizzy and Matthew are on.  They set out on a life of crime to escape their dismal childhoods only to fall into the hands of a charismatic backwoods deviant.

This book deserves to be read and shared for generations to come.  It is currently only $1.99 on Kindle.  That’s an insanely low price for a book this good.   Buy it.  Read it. Tell your friends. This is the kind of indie book that deserves the attention.  It has made me realize that my alter-ego, C. Hoyt Caldwell, has miles to go before he reaches this level of storytelling.

BTW – I heard about this book on Facebook.  A few weeks ago someone (I can’t remember who) posted a link to the book.  I read the summary and committed it to memory because I found it interesting.  I’m just sorry it took me so long to actually get back to the book and read it.

How Hillary Clinton Could Win Over The Support of this Bernie Supporter

DWhsCHaJZInfHan-800x450-noPadThere is one simple way for Hillary to win over the support of this Bernie supporter and perhaps millions of other Bernie supporters, should she win the Democratic nomination. All she needs to do is sign an agreement with Bernie that neither candidate will accept the support and votes of Superdelegates. Let the people pick the candidate, not the party. If she does that, she will have demonstrated the kind of integrity and leadership I want in my president.