Cheryl Romo, our fourth Eludia Award winner, is from Roseville, California.
In her career as a professional journalist, Cheryl has received numerous awards for both her writing and investigative reporting. She is the former editor of Common Cause Magazine, Sacramento Magazine and Public Utilities Fortnightly. As a freelance writer, her award-winning stories and personal essays have appeared in publications such as American West Magazine, In These Times, Catholic Digest, The Cornish Pagan Wheel, Orange Coast Magazine, Sacramento Magazine, the San Francisco Examiner Magazine, Quill, Daily News of Los Angeles, In Los Angeles Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, and The Daily Breeze.
Prior to becoming a full-time freelance writer, Cheryl was an editor and legal affairs reporter for the Los Angeles Daily Journal where her ground-breaking reporting launched federal investigations and changed state law regarding the treatment of children living in government-controlled institutions (chiefly foster care and juvenile justice).
She tells us that when she is not writing and researching, she volunteers with victims of domestic violence and tends to her garden.
Cheryl’s novel, Ruby Hands, reflects her many years of investigative training. Her sharp observational eye, and her understanding of the complexities of character shine throughout the manuscript.
Ruby Hands tells the story of Daisy Sandoval, a young mother who teaches school on a Native American reservation in Arizona, who is found near death one morning at the bottom of a ravine. Tribal members suspect foul play, and focus their attention on Harlan Sandoval, the woman’s ex-husband. Harlan is a defrocked Pentecostal preacher who now heads a family-run criminal enterprise on the reservation.
Meanwhile, Kate Thorsen, a burned-out freelance writer for National Geographic, is in Washington, D.C., when she learns that her only niece is barely clinging to life. Kate drops everything and flies to Arizona. After Daisy dies, Kate moves to the reservation and attempts to solve the riddle of her niece’s death. Only then does she discover that Daisy’s two children are missing. In a part of the world where cultures clash and people distrust outsiders, few are willing to talk. Kate soon finds her life radically changed by Nopah, a Mohave shaman, who helps her stand up to Harlan and his gang of “ruby hands”.
We are very proud that this beautiful novel will be published on our Sowilo Press imprint, as the fourth in our Eludia series. Two of our winners have already been launched: Sleepers Awake, a collection of short stories by our first winner, poet and writer Tree Riesener, and Inscription, a beautiful novel by our second winner, Christine Whittemore, who also happens to be both a poet and a writer.
Our third Eludia Award winner, the very talented Orla McAlinden, will have her collection of short stories, The Accidental Wife and Other Stories, published by this spring.
The Eludia Award is an first-book award, for a work of fiction – either a novel or a collection of short stories – given to women writers age forty and above. The award
was established to bring attention to the many important voices of mature women writers, a demographic too often overlooked in our youth-obsessed culture. The winning manuscript receives a $1,000 prize and publication on the Sowilo Press imprint of Hidden River Publishing. The submission deadline for the fifth Eludia Award is extended to April 15, 2016. Guidelines can be found here.