Monday, October 26, 2015

Pen & Ink Book Tours, Guest Post and Giveaway: Earth (Caroline Allen)

Welcome to my tour stop of Earth by Caroline Allen, a literary fiction novel.  This is book 1 of the Elemental Journey series.  The tour runs from October 26-30 and the full schedule can be seen here.

Print: $15.99
eBook: $4.99
Apple ID: 962247664
ePub ISBN: 978-1-62015-665-0
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-62015-651-3
Series Title: Elemental Journey series (Book One)

Winner of the 2015 Independent Publishers’ Gold Medal for Best Midwest Fiction. 

In rural Missouri in the 1970s, thirteen-year-old Pearl Swinton has just had her first mystical vision. There is no place for Pearl’s “gift” in the bloody reality of subsistence farming and rural poverty. As her visions unfold, she must find her way in a family and a community that react with fear and violence.
When Pearl discovers that her Aunt Nadine, the family shame, has a similar gift, she bicycles across the state to find her. That trip unexpectedly throws Pearl into a journey to save her runaway sister and sends her into a deep exploration of herself, her visions and her visceral relationship to the earth.
Told with fierce lyricism, Earth is a story about the importance of finding one’s own truth and sense of self in dire circumstances and against the odds. It is also a story about the link between understanding ourselves and our relationship with the earth.
In this first of the four-book Elemental Journey series that will follow Pearl across continents and into adulthood, Caroline Allen introduces a form of storytelling that is unflinching in its honesty, filled with compassion and underscored with originality.

That King James Bible and an almanac were the only books we ever had in the house. Once, a hardbound Reader’s Digest Father had found in the woods, some of the pages so speckled with mold you could make out only sixty percent of the words. All my life I was starving for books. Hungry for story.

 I’d already read the Old Testament. After Meghan left, I’d locked myself in the bathroom and covered the begetting and begatting, brother killing brother, being forced off the land, tossed off the earth, ripped from the magic of the soil. Lobbing a rock, flailing a bit of a plow, cracking a sibling over the head. Blood flowing and soaking. Forced to roam. Some crazy, heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching universal plan.

 In my house, nobody ever told tales. It wasn’t just my parents. My relatives were all shut up too. The silence of my kinfolk wove core-deep. So few stories, you could fit them in the palm of your hand. Poor folk didn’t talk about themselves, wary of what specters such stories might invoke. I was surrounded by clenched jaws, thinned and bitter lips. My story was a lack of story, a poverty of legend, a dearth of poetry. I wanted to tell Mother that our being poor wasn’t just about food— we were starved for legend. 

Caroline Allen worked in newsrooms across Asia and in London. She is now a novelist and visual artist who lives in rural Oregon. She is the founder of Art of Storytelling, a coaching service for writers. This is her first novel. To learn more about Caroline and the upcoming novels in the Elemental Journey series, visit:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Will You Listen to the Trees?
By Caroline Allen

We all want to do something about climate change, right? Yet, many of us feel overwhelmed and incapable of action. What could a single individual possibly do? 

When I began writing my first novel Earth, I wanted to explore fictitiously my childhood on a rural subsistence farm in the Midwest where as early as 5 I had to help with the butchering. 

Meghan put the pan of boiling water in front of me. I always had to dunk. She hated the stench of it. Father had just butchered twenty hens. After he cut their heads off, their bloody bodies flew across the field, white hot shots of crimson lightning. I had to run after them and collect them in a pile. Meghan stood back watching it all with her arms crossed and her face disgusted. I held the first body upside down by the ankles and dunked it into the boiling water. The stink of matted feathers, boiled skin, and blood steamed up into my hair. 

It seems obvious, right, that a book called Earth would heal my relationship to the earth, but still the healing that happened afterwards took me quite by surprise. I am not the only one with a confused relationship to animals and the earth,. As a book coach, I’ve come across many people who do not necessarily have a healthy relationship to nature. Either they were raised in a city apartment and had no experience of nature, or their manicured suburb had no hint of the true wildness of real nature, or their relationship with plants and animals was discouraged for more successful pursuits. 

The healing that happened in my relationship to nature was multi-dimensional and as I’ve said, unexpected. I hadn’t lived near nature my entire adult life. After college I moved away from the Midwest and became an international journalist, living and working in Tokyo, throughout Southeast Asia and in London. I then lived in Seattle and near Boston. I had absolutely no relationship to the land.

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet, 
and the winds long to play with your hair. 
- Khalil Gibran 

When I finished Earth, I found myself choosing rural Oregon as my next home. I lived near farm animals for the first time since I was a kid. It was so silent at night that I couldn’t sleep -- the quiet roared loudly in my ears. I was blown away by the magic of fog playing in moss-covered branches. My poor Facebook friends were regaled with hundreds of bucolic photos. 

It’s been three years now, and in my healing with the earth, I have come to understand that the single greatest thing a person can do to shift the global abuse of nature, whether it’s toxification of the soil, air pollution, deforestation, or animal abuse is to have a personal relationship with the soil, with trees and with animals. Then our fight for this earth transcends the intellectual and becomes personal. 

I’m also a visual artist and during this healing process, I found myself painting the portraits of goats, deer, sheep and cows. I partnered with farm animal rights movements to help raise awareness using visual art. Believe me, if you’d have told me five years ago I’d be living in rural Oregon hanging out with cows, I would have laughed at you. 

I found myself going vegan. As an adult, as my friends could tell you, I was a lover of fat greasy bacon cheese burgers, and thick bloody steaks. But something happened spiritually, and I just didn’t want to kill animals anymore. 

I now live on 88 acres. Some days I cannot believe it myself. I take hour-long walks in the woods with my dog, Atlas. Every day, I learn anew that the only real way any of us are going to heal the planet is to heal our connection to rock and river. And that begins with having some kind of connection to blackberry bushes and wild rabbits. That means going deep into the forest and listening to the trees. 

Caroline Allen is the author of the Elemental Journey Series: Earth, Air, Fire, Water. Earth was published in 2015 by Booktrope Editiosn. Air is due out this autumn . To learn more about Caroline, her novels, visual art and book coaching business, go to Artwork by Caroline Allen, Blue Goat, part of Operation 365, one painting a day for one year. 

The prize will be a 9x12 original watercolor painting that was done as part of Op365, featured on   It has a retail value of $125.

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