Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Dear Readers,

Every now and then you find a special piece of writing--special because it is written with honest emotion and heart. Those are the reasons why this piece by 7th grader Maren Huelsman was chosen for First Place--our Grand Prize Winner. (*Entries were published without correction by me or the teachers who submitted.)

Maren won $25 cash awarded by me, an autographed copy of  SPILLING INK by the writing team, Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter, an autographed copy of  Slob by Ellen Potter, The Sundown Rule (April featured title) by Wendy Townsend, an Olivia Kidney title from Anne Mazer's series, and publication on my blog. Here now, is Maren Huelsman's winning entry:

Mission Cheetah
By: Maren Huelsman
                                                           Teacher: Emily Kling

I love cats. I’ve always dreamed about owning one; but not just any cat, the fastest and most elegant cat in the world, a cheetah. I know it’s crazy to even think a city girl like me would be able to have a cheetah. But they’re so amazing, graceful, and best of all, fast. These quiet animals stealthily stalk their prey while the only sound they make is a quaint chirp, no growl or roar.
I often daydream about ways to get a cheetah. My first idea was to break in at night and steal one from the zoo. The poor creatures couldn’t possibly be happy so I’d be saving them, right? Then I thought I’d go to Africa and rescue an orphaned cub from the wild. Unfortunately, the $200 in my bank account wouldn’t even come close to covering the expenses for that plan. I needed a realistic strategy.
One day my mom showed me an article in the paper about a nearby exotic animal rescue that had just acquired six new cheetah cubs. Could I find my cheetah here? These places had little security. It would take them a while to notice a missing cub. Armed with my best friend’s cat carrier and a strong sense of confidence that I could give one of these cubs a better home, I arrived at the facility. The place was nearly empty except for one of the animal keepers, who quickly noticed my connection with the cubs and invited me into the pen with them. He asked if I would like to volunteer at the facility. I immediately said yes, and came to conclusion that stealing a cub wasn’t the best plan, and I could live with volunteering. I wouldn’t exactly have a pet cheetah; but close enough.

Thank you, Maren Huelsman for a story that shows growth in the main character by becoming part of the solution for the baby cheetah cubs, instead of  simply grabbing what she wanted. !!!! HATS Off! BRAVO! APPLAUSE! TAKE A BOW, MAREN !!!!

Please take a moment, dear readers, to congratulate Maren on her winning entry "Mission Cheetah"! 

SPECIAL BLOG ANNOUNCEMENT: I won't be blogging again until late June or early July! June is filled up with speaking engagements, but I'll be back! I have an exciting summer/fall lineup of guest authors and book giveaways for all of you! Have a fun and fabulous JUNE!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Dear Readers,

Please give a warm welcome to our Fabulous 2nd Place WINNER, **Katharine C. Ruegger**, an astonishing young woman from the mid-west whose entry "A Plataduck is Man's Best Friend" was chosen for its originality and humor. This girl is going to go far! Katharine won $15 cash and received  autographed books from Anne Mazer, K.L.Going, and Clara Gillow Clark! Please leave a comment to congratulate this rising star! Please read the special note at the end. THANK YOU!


Katharine G. Ruegger, a seventh grader, is an ecstatic little actress who love love loves anything having to do with the arts. Pursuing her dramatic career, she has performed at various professional theatres in shows such as King & I, Seussical, Oliver!, Once Upon A Mattress and Once On This Island. Katharine also enjoys competing in tennis matches, performing in her local Civic theatre's performing troupe "Act One," volunteering at local humane shelters, cooking, and hanging around with her theatre family. Katharine's favorite book is (at the moment) Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis, though she will always have an absolute obsession with anything and everything Dr. Seuss. Kat's favorite subjects include English, Music, and Drama, which she insists is, despite the excessive arts cutting in schools, is a subject.

Katharine G. Ruegger
Grade 7
Teacher:  Troy Cockrum
Prompt #3

  "A Plataduck is a Man's Best Friend"

    You see, I have a slight problem. My best friend… doesn't exist. He doesn't talk, either. My plataduck Alphie…he's invisible. Well, for right now he is. I intend to change this. Mom says plataducks aren't real, and so does Dad. At school, people laugh at me. The science teacher yelled at me. Once they see Alphie, this will all change.
    I've got a plan. No, I won't go to an exotic breeder, they just abuse animals. I'll do something different. I'll create my own plataduck. Now, I know it sounds outrageous, but a couple days ago at the park, this strange old man in lederhosen gave me some magic beans. No, not like Jack's beans…but wishing beans. I've always been a sucker for magic, and hey, if I get my pet, I'll be happy. It's just a matter of materials.

  I've been working with this theory for over a month now, but I just recently put it into action. Inside the beans… there's a genie. You can probably guess what this means. But it's a bean, not a lamp, so only one wish. And what would I do? My obvious level is bursting. I'll wish for my devious little Alphie. And guess what? There, in mid flying-mid swimming position will stand my wish, my absolute dream...Alfie, the plataduck.

*Special thanks go to Katharine's teacher, Mr. Troy Cockrum for all his help. Thank you, Mr. Cockrum! 

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Dear Readers,

A Short Note about this contest: All through my school years, I never remember anyone teaching us anything about writing stories. We had to write spelling words in sentences and do book reports and essays. The essays always seemed to be connected to major tests or final exams. However, I did write poetry in high school, and because of that, I think, I received the Creative Writing Award at graduation. I still have the envelope that says Clara Gillow was the recipient. Over the years when the writing days were very hard and publication seemed out of my reach, I'd take out the envelope and read those words again.

I know how hard it is to be a writer and I also know how great it feels to hold a published book in your hands that has your name on it. One of the reasons I persisted through years of rejection came from the generosity of that giver who made a Creative Writing Award possible.  My hope is that this writing contest will do the same for all  the talented young writers who shared their stories. Congratulations to all of you. Write on!

Without further ado, please welcome and applaud the TWO **3rd Place WINNERS** Luke Mayhew and Emma Borme.

Luke's Bio in his own words: "I am in 7th grade. I don't think I can choose one favorite book, but I really like "Brian's Winter" by Gary Paulsen. My favorite subject in school is Math but I also like History. I love playing board games, and designing my own board games. 'You can be anybody and do anything in a board game,' I always say. I also made my own secret language!
Thanks for everything!"  [You are very welcome, Luke!]

By: Luke Mayhew
274 Words

    Joshua walked down the street, wondering if the rumors of the rebellion against King Marthael were true.  Suddenly a man materialized next to him.
     He hastily pulled a small box from underneath his dark cloak. “Here! Take this and don’t let anything happen to it!”
     Joshua looked down at a small, crude wooden box with rough edges. He opened his mouth to ask the man what was inside, but he had vanished from sight.
     Joshua opened the box. Tucked inside a leather pouch was a golden ring imprinted with the image of a falcon. 
     “No,”Joshua whispered “Not the king’s ring! If the rebels get their hands on this they can impersonate King Marthael!”
      Joshua sprinted through the town square, thinking only that he had to reach the castle as quickly as possible.
A soldier on patrol saw the box. His eyes widened. “Stop!”
Joshua ran behind buildings and through shops until he eluded the soldier and made it to the castle. As he approached the king’s throne room, he was confronted by a guard.
“What are you doing?” The guard asked, noticing the box in Joshua’s hand. “Give me the box!” He yelled, drawing his sword. 
Suddenly from out of the shadows, the man with the dark cloak flew through the air and tackled the guard. “Go! Go!” 
Feeling his knees might buckle at any moment, Joshua ran into the throne room just as the king spoke.
“Order my people to evacuate. The rebellion has begun.”
Joshua handed the box to the king and said, “Here, you might need this.”
The king lifted the lid and his eyes widened in surprise.


Emma Borme is a 7th grader in the mid-west. I'd like to eat some of those Swiss Rolls she writes about in her story below. Enjoy!

Swiss Rolls

By: Emma Borme

            Sunny McFeld was a normal teenage girl who lived in a small town in Oklahoma. Sunny was adventurous and kind-hearted child.  She had a favorite snack… Swiss Rolls!  Every Saturday, Sunny picks up a packet of eight Swiss Rolls. 
 It was a nice sunny day.  Sunny went over to the pantry to get the package of Swiss Rolls when she suddenly realized she had forgotten to buy them at the grocery store. She quickly grabbed her keys and raced out the door.  She grabbed her Swiss Rolls, paid, and raced back home.  
Sunny was half way home when she saw a shaggy man in neon blue jogging shorts running after her.  She ran franticly to her house! Sunny was getting close when she felt a hand reach into her pocket and drop something. It was a small, light wooden box. The man said, “Don’t let anything happen to this,” as he sprinted away.
Sunny quickly got home, and ran inside her room. She shoved the package under her bed.  When she sat down on her bed, the curiosity got to her and she opened the box.  Inside the box was a golden key with a beautiful bright red ruby on the end. Sunny quickly threw the box under the bed.
Sunny looked out the window and saw the man in blue shorts go by her house again.  This made her curious.  Sunny walked outside and went up to the man and asked him, “Why did you give me this key?  He said, “ Whomever sees the masterpiece shall live forever.” Then, he vanished.  Sunny went to the store each week to purchase Swiss Roles hoping she would see the man again.  However, now at 102 years old she often wonders if she will live forever.


Please take a moment to comment on what you liked about the stories or simply to CONGRATULATE these very special young writers! I'll be back on Tuesday to share the story of the Spilling Ink 2nd place Winner. Thanks again, dear readers, for your wonderful support!

Monday, May 9, 2011

***Annoucning the WINNERS of the Spilling Ink Writing Contest***

Dear Young Authors and Readers,

Thank you for your patience while we made our lists and checked them more than twice! We've now come to a final decision.

It was wonderful to review so many wonderful entries for the contest and to see so much promise in the work of  the Young Authors who submitted. I applaud the work of each and every one of you. Thank you so much for for being a part of the SPILLING INK WRITING CONTEST!


First prize: $25 Cash prize and autographed books by Anne Mazer, Ellen Potter, and Wendy Townsend, plus publication on my blog awarded to Maren Huelsman for "Mission Cheetah". Chosen for being well-structured, engaging, and written with heart!

2nd prize: $15  Cash Prize, and autographed books by Anne Mazer, K.L.Going, and Clara Gillow Clark, plus publication on my blog awarded to Katharine G. Ruegger for "A Plataduck is a Man's Best Friend". Chosen for its originality and humor.

3rd prize (2 winners):  $10 Cash Cash Prize each, an autographed book by Clara Gillow Clark (that's me), and publication on my blog awarded to Luke Mayhew for "Rebellion". Chosen for being a tight, well-written story; and to Emma Borme for "Swiss Rolls". Chosen for her excellent storytelling skills.
And I decided to give 3, 4th place prizes: $5 dollars each, and an autographed book by Clara Gillow Clark awarded to Anna Lee Hafer, Kate Reifenberg, and Myra Miller.

Honorable mention: 
Caitlin Tiger
Delia Novak
Tanner Waltz
Mahalya Roscoe
Jack Quigley
Thank you to everyone who helped spread the word and to all the teachers, parents, librarians, and fellow authors who encouraged the young authors! Congratulations to one and all! 
Teachers, parents, students, Please e-mail me with the name and address where the prizes should be sent!   claragillowclark@gmail.com  

Please take a moment to congratulate these outstanding young authors! Their stories will be published on my blog throughout the month!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Dear Readers,

I have to delay announcing the winners of the writing contest. We had so many excellent entries that it's going to take a little longer to make the final decision. The first cut has been made, and the judges have narrowed the contenders to 13. If you're reading this, I hope you're one of the 13. 

My very best wishes go out to all of you. Please be patient. We'll get back to you asap! Thank you!