The Closeout Kings musical countdown, day 2

I reached out to the beta readers for The Closeout Kings and asked them what songs they thought represented the tone and themes of the Southern crime thriller.  Today’s selection comes from Scott Vaughn, and I have to admit that I had never heard of the group or the song until he brought both to my attention yesterday.  They’re awesome, and he’s dead on.  This song is a perfect fit for The Closeout Kings.  My thanks to Scott for introducing me to Backwoods Company by The Wild Feathers.

A reminder: The Closeout King’s official release is this Friday, October 24, but it is available for pre-order now.

The Closeout Kings countdown (the musical version)

The Closeout Kings release will be on Oct. 24, 2014.  According to my calendar that’s this Friday.  As we approach the final hour, I thought I’d share with you some music that, to me, represents the theme and tone of the book.  Today I give you Mr. Johnny Cash with his rendition of The Nine Inch Nails classic song Hurt.

BTW – The book is available for pre-order here: The Closeout Kings


Books, books and... well there are just two books available for pre-order..

Books, books and… well there are just two books available for pre-order..

The upcoming releases for two of my books are just around the corner, but you don’t have to wait to order them. You can pre-order the Kindle versions today… and tomorrow…. and so on and so forth.

The Closeout Kings by C. Hoyt Caldwell (a pen name) is available for pre-order now and will be released on Oct. 24, 2014

Hillbilly hitmen Step and Kenny don’t do God’s work. They close out deadbeat crackers without a second thought, because they aren’t paid to have second thoughts. Everything changes when a girl goes missing, and the killers suspect their employers are involved. Desperate to find answers, the closeout kings broker a deal with a deputy hellbent on tying them to a double homicide. Together they uncover a ring of horror that has plagued their mountains for years.

The Takers: The Tenth Anniversary Reimagined Edition by R.W. Ridley (technically a pen name too) is available for pre-order now and will be released on Oct. 31, 2014

This is the tenth anniversary reimagined edition of the award winning story about a teenager discovering he is responsible for the end of the world. With a new ending and 40 additional pages, this is a new twist on the classic tale.

When 16-year-old Osmond “Oz” Griffith wakes from an illness on the floor of his closet, he discovers the world overrun by man-eating monsters, the Takers, and it’s largely his fault. In an effort to make things right, he gathers a band of survivors (a baby, an aged mechanic and a talking gorilla, among others), and sets off down his version of the yellow brick road, leading to the Atlanta Zoo. Along the way, he learns that his destiny was written by Steve, a boy from his past. Afflicted with Down Syndrome, Steve created new worlds, replete with battles between good and evil, in the comic books that served as his sole refuge from the teasing of Oz and his friends. Steve’s untimely suicide leaves only the comic books as clues to vanquishing the Takers.

A Note of Caution: This version does not fit into the Oz Chronicles series. This is, if you will, an alternate universe version of The Takers.

BTW – I also just finished my stage play.  Anyone out there with advice on what to do with it now, please let me know.  I’m a theater newbie.

The reason there’s an alternate version of The Takers

Release date will be on Halloween... of course.

Release date will be on Halloween… of course.

This is the author’s note for The Takers: The Tenth Anniversary Reimagined Edition

In 2004, I wrote a book called The Takers: Book One of the Oz Chronicles. It received a much better response from reviewers and readers than I could have hoped for. It won an award or two, and it even got the attention of some filmmakers. More importantly, a few of the bigger publishing companies expressed an interest in buying the rights to the book. I proceeded to take part in some preliminary talks with a couple of the houses. One editor in particular had a great deal of interest with one small caveat. He wanted some fairly extensive rewrites. I thought his suggestions were pretty solid so over the next couple of weeks I ripped apart The Takers and rewrote it with his suggestions in mind. He never gave me any specific direction, but he gave me a fairly clear overview of what he expected.

When I finished the rewrites, I handed it off to a few people I trust to see if I had ruined this book that so many people seemed to like. I was relieved when they insisted that it was actually better than the original. They were excited by the new direction. They insisted I hadn’t ruined the original. I had improved it.

My agent sent the rewritten manuscript to the editor, and we waited confidently for the announcement that this big publishing house was going to move forward with publication. In relatively short order, we did hear back, but it was devastating news. The editor hated the changes. He thought I made Oz a horrible person. He even went so far as to insist that I had created an unrealistic view of bullies. He did not believe anyone would treat Stevie so badly simply because he was different. It was at that point that I was glad he had decided to pass on The Takers.

The book you are about to read is the manuscript this editor hated. My agent continued to shop it around for two years after that episode. Other publishing companies showed interest, but ultimately opted not to publish the book. Thanks to the age of electronic publishing I can now make it available to you, dear readers, and you can decide if it’s better than original.

A note of caution: This version does not fit into the series. It contains about 40 new pages of story, and some characters and monsters have been altered just a bit. The biggest change is the ending. This is, if you will, an alternate universe version of The Takers.

The Takers: The Secret Version

The secret is out!

The secret is out!

For those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook, I posted a video a couple of days ago with a few huge, major, earth-shattering announcements.  Yeah, they’re kind of a big deal.

1. C. Hoyt Caldwell’s latest offering is live and ready to pre-order on Amazon via the online retail giant’s Kindle Store.  Just click the title and you’ll be in pre-order bliss in the blink of an eye.  The title, of course, is The Closeout Kings.  The official release date is Oct. 24, 2014.

2. Bad Way Out, C. Hoyt Caldwell’s first book will be available for free Oct. 4-5.  Tell your friends.  Tell your followers.  Tell three random people on the street.  Tell whomever you wish, just tell someone for God’s sake.

3. In case you don’t know, I am C. Hoyt Caldwell.

4.  There will be a “new” Oz Chronicles book released within the next 6 weeks.  Yay!  It won’t be the final book in the series.  Boo!  It will be a secret version of the first book, The Takers.  It has new chapters, a different ending, and Oz is a bit older.  This is a version of the book a big time major publisher had me write and then ultimately passed on it. I’ve been waiting awhile to release this version because my agent shopped it around, but the buzz on The Takers has buzzed-out with the majors. So, I’m unleashing it for you all to read.  The few people who have read it said it is better than the original.  Let’s call this the alternate universe version.  The image with this post is one possible cover and title option.  Let me know what you think in the comments section below or on Facebook.

5. I’m working on an non-fiction book for the first time in my life.  It’s what pushed Book Seven back to next year.  Don’t hate.  This is an incredible story of a friend of mine – Lee Deckelman.  He’s currently working as a private security specialist.  Think Liam Neeson in Taken, but not quite as tall.  And yes, he does have those unique set of skills. He’s a former Army Ranger and Green Beret. From the day Lee was born he’s lived an incredible story of tragedy and triumph.  He wants to tell his story so he can raise awareness for his Echelon Grey Foundation. The untold story about these security specialists and private contractors is the high rate of traumatic injuries they have to cope with when they come home.  The corporations they work for operate to make profit, and there isn’t a lot of profit getting these men and women help when they come home.  Lee wants to change that, and I want to help him.

That’s it.  There ain’t no more… for today.  Stay tuned. I’ve got a lot of stuff going on, including an update on my first stage play.

Oops – I took another blog hiatus

Yes, I've been gone for awhile, but I had a good excuse.

Yes, I’ve been gone for awhile, but I had a good excuse.

I’m such a bad self-promoter. The fact that I write a bi-weekly blog for CreateSpace that is, in part, about self-promotion is especially unforgivable when I disappear from the blog for a couple of weeks. The good news is that it’s because I’ve been exceedingly busy. The Closeout Kings final edit is done. Release coming soon. The first draft of my stage play, Never Living, is done. I’d love to arrange either a complete or partial read just so I can see what works and what doesn’t. It all works with me acting out every part, but I’m a fantastic actor, so it’s really not a great barometer for the piece.

Another project fell into my lap shortly after my last blog entry. It’s a new adventure for me. Something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. This new adventure is a non-fiction piece. You read correctly. This guy, me, writer of monsters and hillbillies, has been given an exciting opportunity to write a biography of one of my oldest and dearest friends, Lee Deckelman. I’ll have more details later, but let’s just say Lee has lead an incredibly interesting and inspiring life that I’m privileged to get to tell. For you fans of the Oz Chronicles, you should be especially interested in Lee’s story. I modeled Oz’s resilience and toughness after Lee. The cool thing is that years ago I had the opportunity to let Lee’s kids know that in a signed copy of The Takers.

This will put Book Seven on the back burner for a little while, but to make up for the delay, I’ll have a surprise announcement in a week or so, maybe sooner. So, stay tuned.

Will I be frequenting the blog more often? I hope so. I can’t make any promises because I’ve got so much to do, but I shall do my very best.

The Closeout Kings Audiobook

I talked to Nate Daniels, the narrator for Bad Way Out, and it looks like he’ll be narrating The Closeout Kings. I couldn’t be more thrilled. Nate is an exceptional talent, and as I’ve said many times, if you’re an author looking for voice talent for an audiobook, contact Nate. You won’t find a more talented or gracious person to work with.

Here’s a sample of Dan reading Bad Way Out:


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