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Friday, April 20, 2012

Guest Post and Giveaway with Ashley Mackler-Paternostro, author of The Milestone Tapes

Hi, everyone!

I am pleased to participate in Ashley Mackler-Paternostro's The Milestone Tapes Virtual Book Publicity Tour hosted by Pump Up Your Book.

About Ashley:

Ashley Mackler-Paternostro was born in Naperville, Illinois, where she still lives with her husband Mark and their three dogs. A hairstylist by trade, Ashley will often say that some of the best stories she has ever heard were told to her while working behind the chair. A life long reader with an insatiable appetite for good books, she decided to merge her love of great stories — both told and written — into her own brand of story telling.

When she’s not being held captive in her home office by words, Ashley fancies herself a flea market hunter with a weakness for Japanese glass floats and repurposing vintage goods. 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Smashwords 
Amazon ($13.95) | Amazon Kindle ($3.95) 

Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Ashley! 

Ashley has written a guest post, so I will now turn the floor over to her.

Falling In Love With A Novel
by Ashley Mackler-Paternostro

You could probably tell me, if asked, all about your favorite book.  The setting, its complex characters, the major plot points, what made you laugh and what made you cry, why worried about the fate of the protagonist and cursed the villain.  Why the ending came too soon, and how you were haunted after the last page.  You would probably tell me, in a way, that that book became the one all others were judged by.

For me, that novel is She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. 

I was seventeen the year I picked up She’s Come Undone, drawn to it by the Oprah seal of approval. I had read other picks of Oprah’s and trusted her judgement -- Backroads by Tawni O’Dell was gripping, White Oleander was fascinating, We Were The Mulvaneys riveted me.   So the moon face of a young woman hovering over the ocean had my interest percolating just enough that I would take the chance on this very thick coming of age novel. 

I was in an independent literature class in high school. The year was winding down and my interment was coming to a close, on the brink of being sprung from the prison of basic education. Only, I’d misplayed my final year ... I’d taken all the fun classes that filled and English requirements during the first semester -- film and the study of it, which was no more than watching movies, creative writing with the most eccentric teacher in our white bread school.  Now, I was stuck being lumped into a class where the syllabus mandated that we read a book and write a review ... a not just a book, many books over the course of the next few months right up until graduation. 

I was a reader by nature, but I read purely for the love of reading, the idea of having to write a review or book report had always make me feel a little more than sick. I’d never shined at that task, summing up a novel in a few spry words failed me.  So the day my teacher stood before the class and said that the coming weeks were going to be fun, I was sure she was lying to my face. 

I cheated for the first few weeks.  Rereading old favorites, the Oprah choices I mentioned before, I loved those novels and I knew them well, I could easily write about them.  I started keeping pace with about a book a week, well above the target of the class.  And then I noticed a trend in my grades ... they were actually good.  Better than good really, I was excelling at these little reports and conferences.  My teacher, as it turned out, wasn’t grading on anything more than our opinions ... right or wrong, she appreciated the individual take.  She wasn’t looking for merit or even that we enjoyed what we were reading, just that we walked away from a book with something worth talking about. 

When I realized that, I gave up cheating.  I understood then that I didn’t need to know a novel to do well in the class ... I just needed to actually read it and take my interpretation to the page with interesting view points and meaning behind my words.  That, I could do. 

I picked up She’s Come Undone on my dinner break from my after school job at my mother’s store.  I had walked over to Barnes and Noble, and at that time, the Oprah section was right beside the door.  She’s Come Undone was an old pick of Oprah’s, dating back to January of 1997.  It’s an intimidating novel at first glance, 480 pages of tiny print and a back copy promising to explore the expanse of Dolores Price’s life.  I figured I was ahead of the rest of class and could take a few weeks to read the novel.

I wouldn’t need it. 

From the first page, Wally Lamb grabbed me.  What struck me was his ability to completely shed himself of his gender and slip into female form so convincing it read as nearly effortless.  Written in the first person with a voice that is undeniably authentic, Lamb drops you head long into the childhood of a normal little girl growing up in a home that is anything but. 

The expanse of the story, as it unfolds across the page, is as promised.  You join Dolores on the journey of her life ... her mistakes, her heartbreak, her manipulations and eventual happiness become your own as you read words like “I” and “they”. 

I finished the novel, all 480 pages of tiny print, in less than a week.  Haunted by what could come next, the story tied itself to my side.

Since my first read, I’ve revisited the story of Dolores Price a few times.  It’s a comfortable book for me now, I know the characters and the setting and what’s at stake for them ... but each time I sit and invest myself in the story, I uncover something new; a moment I missed, a relationship I overlooked.  And to its merit, it’s still as powerful the fifth time as it was the first.

Lamb, you could say, was the first writer I ever fell in love with.  There have been other authors since, but his novels never fail to thrill me -- not just She’s Come Undone, but This Much I Know Is True, The Hour I First Believed and the novella (my Lamb’s standards) Wishin’ And Hopin’.  Even his series of essays from incarcerated women clutter my shelf.

Maybe it’s because of that book I picked up writing myself.  Maybe, but I can never be sure.  I’ve always said that I’m a reader first and writer second, that I could never be just one without being the other.  That in tandem, they are halves to a whole.  I pay back my favorite novels with novels of my own.

I’m going to leave you now with a question ... what novel have you fallen in love with and why?

Thanks so much for joining us today, James! 

There are two giveaways below, so be sure to read the details for both! Be sure to keep scrolling down for the Kindle (yes, I said Kindle!) giveaway! But first...

 One lucky winner will win a paperback copy of The Milestone Tapes.

Jenna Chamberland never wanted anything more than to be a wife and mother. That is, until she realized that her life was ending after a three-year battle against breast cancer. Now, all she really wants is more time.

With 4,320 hours left to live, Jenna worries for her loved ones and what she knows awaits them on the other side: Gabe will have to make the slip from husband to widower, left alone to raise their seven-year-old daughter; Mia will be forced to cope with life without her mother by her side. In a moment of reflection, Jenna decides to record a set of audiocassettes — The Milestone Tapes – leaving her voice behind as a legacy for her daughter.

Nine years later, Mia is a precocious sixteen-year-old and her life is changing all around, all she wants is her mother. Through the tapes, Jenna’s voice returns to teach Mia the magic of life, her words showing her daughter how to spread her wings and embrace the coming challenges with humor, grace and hope.

The Milestone Tapes is the journey of love between a parent and child, and of the bonds that hold them when life no longer can.

To enter the giveaway, please fill out the Rafflecopter entry form below.

This giveaway is open to Canada/US only until 12:01 AM EST on April 27, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #2:
Ashley Mackler-Paternostro will be giving away a humungous gift basket during her tour! Stop off at all her blog stops during her tour for extra entries. Giveaway begins April 2 and ends on May 25. The winner will be announced on May 26. These are the wonderful things that are included in the gift basket ($200 value!)

-1 Kindle (non-touch) wifi w/ special offers ($80.00) 

-1 signed copy of The Milestone Tapes ($14.00) 

-1 copy of Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss ($17.00) 

-1 vial of lavender seeds ($6.00) 

-1 bar of gardenia soap ($11.00) 

-1 jar of Golden Raspberry Jam ($8.00) 

-1 jar of dry ingredients & recipe of Jenna’s Blackberry Cobbler w/ recipe ($15.00) 

-1 Japanese Glass fishing float ($20.00) 

-1 set of note cards (6) with a “cassette tape” on front ($10.00) 

-1 Amazon gift card ($10.00)
Everything in the gift basket, save for the Kindle, is direct from the book.

The basket will arrive to the winner shrink wrapped with a thank you note from Ashley for participating.

To enter the Kindle Basket Giveaway, please complete the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Participants

Monday, April 2
Interviewed at Examiner

Tuesday, April 3
Guest Blogging & Kindle Gift Basket Giveaway at Readaholic

Wednesday, April 4
Interview & Kindle Basket Giveaway at Literarily Speaking

Thursday, April 5
Interview & Kindle Basket Giveaway at Hardcover Feedback

Friday, April 6
Book Review at The World As I See It

Tuesday, April 10
Guest Blogging & Kindle Gift Basket Giveaway at The Writer’s Life

Wednesday, April 11
Interviewed at Blogcritics

Thursday, April 12
Guest Blogging & Kindle Basket Giveaway at Coffee and a Cupboard

Friday, April 13
Book Spotlight & Kindle Basket Giveaway at I’d Rather Be Reading at the  Beach

Monday, April 16
Guest Blogging at The Book Boost

Tuesday, April 17
Interviewed LIVE on Blog Talk Radio at A Book and a Chat

Wednesday, April 18
Guest Blogging & Kindle Basket Giveaway at Jess Resides Here

Thursday, April 19
Book Review at Creating Comfort

Friday, April 20
Guest Blogging, Book Giveaway, & Kindle Gift Basket Giveaway at Darlene’s Book Nook

Tuesday, May 1
Book Review & Kindle Gift Basket Giveaway at Celtic Lady Reviews

Wednesday, May 2
Interviewed at The Character Connection

Thursday, May 3
Interview at Review From Here

Friday, May 4

Monday, May 7
Guest Blogging at Colloquium
Interviewed at Book Marketing Buzz

Tuesday, May 8
Book Review & Kindle Basket Giveaway at Colloquium

Wednesday, May 9
Book Review at Books and Beyond

Thursday, May 10
Book Review at Books to the Sky
Guest Blogging at Books and Beyond

Friday, May 11
AuthorVid at Pump Up Your Book

Monday, May 14
Book Review at A Novel Affair

Tuesday, May 15
Guest Blogging at A Novel Affair

Wednesday, May 16

Thursday, May 17
Guest Blogging & Kindle Gift Basket Giveaway at Sweet Southern Home

Friday, May 18
Book Review at Sweet Southern Home

Monday, May 21
Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book

Tuesday, May 22
Book Review at Artists and Thieves

Wednesday, May 23
Interviewed at SheWrites

Thursday, May 24
Q&A, Book Giveaway & Win $25 Amazon GC at Goodreads (link coming soon)

Friday, May 25
Book Review & Kindle Gift Basket Giveaway at Pump Up Your Book


  1. Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is my favorite novel. I love the characters and the finding of true love.

  2. I think that my favorite novel was the Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks. It was my first venture out of mid grade fantasy and into older fantasy. It was amazing. It is the best book that I have ever read.

  3. I would like to win the giveaway because I really wany to get my mom a ebook reader for mothers day. Winning this would help alot. And the other prizes are FABULOUS@

  4. It's a great selection of prizes, who wouldn't want to win, especially the kindle?


  5. Gardenia soap, blackberry jam, a kindle! I'd love to win this wonderful basket of prizes. Thanks for the chance!

  6. For the first giveaway. I fell in love with the hunger games because it was different from what I was reading currently. The characters were easy to relate to and I love a love story.

    for giveaway #2. Who wouldn't want to win some good items like a kindle and books. The book sounds amazing by the way. I would love to read it

  7. What novel have I fallen in love with and why? Wow that's really hard. I have a lot of books I love. Loved the Harry Potter Series. They were clever, fun to read, and got kids of all ages excited about reading.. a huge plus in my book. I love the Chronicles of Narnia series, and have re-read them many times since I first read them in 6th grade. I love Shakespeare. My favorites are Romeo and Juliet; Much Ado About Nothing; and A Mid-Summer's Nights Dream. My favorite line from Romeo and Juliet is "'tis not as wide as a church door, nor as deep as a well, but t'wil do 'twil serve" Also read first in 7th grade... yes I was that odd child.

  8. I fell in love with Divergent. Veronica Roth has created a great world and her main character Tris is a testament to change, adversity and enlightenment.

    I would like to win this giveaway because you have offered wonderful prizes. Also I'm not currently working and getting a kindle especially would be great since I have no ereaders.

  9. I would love to give my niece the kindle. I would kept the rest for me and my daughter. Thanks so much this is awesome.

  10. For me giveaways are awesome fun! I learn about books and authors that I may not have run across otherwise and with my budget winning a good book is the best treat ever. Thank you for this incredible giveaway opportunity.

  11. I would love to win the Kindle for my sister. She is always there when I need her and never complains when she has to drag me to my doctor's appointments and help me when I'm not doing so well. She's the best.


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