Meet Cheryl Romo, Our Latest Eludia Award Winner

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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.

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Eludia Award Semi-Finalists Announced

Greetings to all our Hidden River Artists! We’d like to announce that, after months of manuscript reading, our semi-finalists have been chosen for this most recent round of our Eludia Award. The Eludia Award is offered to a woman writer, age 40 or older, for her first book-length work of fiction – either a novel or a collection of stories. Guidelines and further information about the Eludia Award can be found here.

We were blessed this year with truly wonderful work from women writers living and writing in the U.S., Canada, France, England, Ireland, and Australia. Our sincere thanks go to ALL writers who have shared their work with us. We honor and celebrate you all.

Our semi-finalists are posted below. Our readers will be meeting again over the course of the next two weeks, to read and review once again, in order to announce the finalists. Please stay tuned to this page for updates!

Semi-finalists

Bohrer, Susan, Thy Neighbor’s Life
Bolkvadze, Tamar, Fireweed
Cochrell, Christie, Nude Against the Light
Cullity, Jocelyn, Mutiny
Day, Diana, Metal and Bone (stories)
Demme, Nancy, Ravenmocker
Downey, MJ, The Naturalist’s Book
Ehtesham-Zadeh, Susan, American Moon
Jennings, Nicola, Everything She Ever Wanted
Lautze, Tempa, Grievous Matters
Leary, Jan English, Eunuchs
McAlinden, Orla, The Accidental Wife and Other Stories
McClure, Meg, Rue – Twelve Stories
Methvin, TJ, Entanglements, A Compilation
Normandin, Ricki, Island Rules
Nye, N., Turtleback
O’Dell, Celeste, The Bridegroom and Other Elkhorn Stories
Peck, Marcia, Water Music
Polk, Victoria, The Blue Masque
Randolph, Anne, The Sweet Not Enough
Simic-Bentley, Silvana, Stored Memories
Smedman, Lorna, Moss
Turner-Yamamoto, Judith, Garden of the Dead

Christine Whittemore wins The Eludia Award

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It is with great pleasure that we at Hidden River Arts announce Christine Whittemore’s novel, Inscription, the winner of our 2013 Eludia Award. This is the second year of the Eludia Award, and the submissions for the competition were numerous, and of very high quality. We want to congratulate not only our winner, but our finalists and semi-finalists. A sincere thank you is extended to all the wonderful women writers who shared their work with us.

A bit about our winner

Christine Whittemore was born on October 6, 1956 in England where she was brought up and educated. After college in England, she lived in Italy for five years where she taught English and did some translation. Then followed five years in New York City, twenty-two in Pennsylvania, and three in Lyon, France. Now she and her husband divide their time between Gloucestershire, England, and Pennsylvania. They have three adult children.

Christine’s poems have appeared in various American and British journals including The American Scholar, Plains Poetry Journal, Hunger Mountain, Piedmont Literary Review, The Lyric, Orbis (UK), and The Christian Century, as well as in anthologies. Her work has won several awards in the US and the UK, including a Fellowship in Literature (Poetry) in 1998 from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Her essays have appeared in several publications including Parabola, Islands, Weekly Telegraph (UK), Christian Science Monitor, and New York Newsday. Journalism has included feature articles in various publications on the arts and local history, and a monthly essay column for the regional newspaper.

As well as having written the novel, Inscription, she has co-authored a memoir about a hidden child of the Holocaust.

Christine will receive $1000 prize money and publication of Inscription on Hidden River Publishing’s Sowilo Press imprint, which is dedicated to publishing literary fiction and non-fiction by and about women.

The Eludia Award

Our current round of the Eludia competition is still open. We will be accepting manuscripts for the 3rd annual prize. The deadline for submissions is March 30, 2014. See the guidelines for all details.