Announcing Pitch Week XX Winner: Robert Tomaino!

The novel New Madrid takes place in the early 1800s, in a United States where the Salem witch trials did not end. Jack Ellard is the de facto, reluctant Marshal for the small town of New Madrid (in present-day Missouri). After his expulsion from the army for his role in a brutal Native American massacre, Jack has carved out a solitary life. When young Abigail Duncan goes missing, Jack is forced into the town’s life and to confront his feelings for the girl’s mother, Sarah.

A mysterious preacher, named Elijah Prescott, and a city-raised Native American, named Chata, arrive to help find the girl. Jack realizes neither Prescott nor Chata is what they claim to be, and even Sarah is keeping secrets. Jack is forced to come to terms with his past in order to find Abbie and challenge Prescott’s beliefs that men cannot be trusted to make their own decisions and that women must take a secondary role in life.

Robert Tomaino is a writer, editor, and consultant. For over 20 years, he has provided editorial support, guidance, and strategic consultation to medical nonprofits and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Robert has extensive experience writing about rare disorders for both patients and physicians. His fiction writing covers a much broader range, from the fantastical to the urbane. He is a member of the Fairfield Scribes writing group in Connecticut.

“What makes this contest stand out was the support from the judges, other contestants, and staff of When Words Count Retreat. My goal was to finish a novel, and I never expected to win, especially considering how tremendous all of the writers were. It is an honor and I am greatly appreciative of the time and effort of many different people to support all of the writers throughout the entire process.” 

Meet our other Pitch Week XX finalists here.