Blog Tour: Operation Oleander (Giveaway and Guest Post!)

Today, I'm happy to welcome Valerie O. Patterson to Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf as part of her blog tour for Operation Oleander, her new Young Adult novel. So without a further ado, here's some words from Valerie...

Thank you for the chance to guest post. You’re a person after my own heart—book obsessed. I love the quote attributed to Erasmus: “When I get a little money, I buy books. Any left over, I buy food and clothes.” As a child, I saved all my allowance for the book sales at school. I’d circle books in the catalog and pencil in my order. Then I’d have to go over four or five times to whittle down my “must have” list to what I had enough money to buy. (I still have to do that!)

In addition to reading anything and anywhere, I wrote poems and stories. In school. On the bus. At home after lights out. I still carry notebooks with me at all times. And I haunt office supply stores for the “perfect” pencils and pens. I’d be embarrassed if I did an inventory of the number of pens and pencils in my supply box.

I’ve appended photos of the cover of my collection of Halloween poems I wrote in elementary school, along with one sample (see below). Groan! :) Nowadays, I take sample books I wrote to school visits in hopes of encouraging students to follow their creative passions.

In OPERATION OLEANDER Jess follows her heart to gather school supplies for an orphanage in Afghanistan. That is her creative passion. When tragedy strikes, she faces criticism at home and within her community. She must chart her own path to carry out what she believes is right—even knowing that there are no guarantees of success.

Our lives and dreams are a journey. I hope you and your readers find their creative passion along with the way, as I did with writing. Here are the top items that feed by passion—literally and figuratively!

Top 5 

My Top 5 Snacks when Writing 

Shredded wheat bits 
Carrot sticks with hummus 

My Top 5 Teas to Sip While Writing 

Star of India 
Awake and green tea together 

My Top 5 Albums for Writing Fantasy 

Watermark, Enya 
The Book of Secrets, Loreena McKennitt 
Pachelbel Canon 
Rachmaninoff Vespers 
A Winter’s Solstice, Windham Hill 

What I’m Reading This Month 

City of a Thousand Dolls, Miriam Foster 
What Came from the Stars, Gary Schmidt 
The Language of Fiction, Brian Shawyer 
Something Like Normal, Trish Doller 
The Things a Brother Knows, Dana Reinhardt 

Top 5 Children’s Writers Who Inspire Me 

Laurie Halse Anderson 
Judy Blume 
Ashley Bryan 
Katherine Paterson 
Gary Schmidt

click to see larger version 
More about the Author:
Valerie O. Patterson grew up near a military base on the Gulf Coast of Florida. She often draws inspiration for her writing from that place of her childhood. Ms. Patterson holds an MFA in Children’s Literature from Hollins University. Her first novel for teens, The Other Side of Blue, was published by Clarion/HMH in 2009. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Mystery Writers of America, the Children’s Literature Association, and the Authors Guild. An attorney by day, she lives with her husband in Leesburg, Virginia. For more information about her life and work, visit her website: http://www.valerieopatterson.com/.
More about the Book:
What do you do when something you intended for good goes terribly wrong? In the summer before ninth grade, thirteen-year-old Jess Westmark organizes her friends on Ft. Spencer Army base in Florida to collect school supplies for an orphanage in Afghanistan where their parents are serving in the US Army. The orphanage’s association with Americans, however, draws it under attack. The explosion shatters lives in Kabul—and across the world in Florida. Reeling from the impact, Jess struggles to respond. Her actions not only have implications for her own family and the strained relationship with her best friend, whose life has forever been changed by the attack, but also for her growing sense of responsibility to others—even strangers continents away.
I also have one copy of Operation Oleander to giveaway! To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

Official Giveaway Rules:

~Must be 13 years or older
~Must have a US mailing address

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I used to write a lot when I was younger! I recently found a story I wrote in third grade that I won a prize for. I got to go to a special ceremony and everything. Looking back, the story doesn't seem that great, but I guess it was lol.

  2. I just bought What Came From the Stars! I love him, so I can't wait to read it!

    As far as back at my old writing, I did find a piece I wrote in college. Somewhat cringe-worthy!

  3. I don't ever look back to my childhood writing, because I was never very good at it. I'm afraid I don't share any of the author's top five's either. But I would love to read this book. Thanks for this chance to win it.

  4. I love to eat popcorn while I'm reading. I don't write but I read other people's writing. :)


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