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!



  1. Maren---Congratulations on winning. If this is your first prize---even if you've won several competitions---I would suggest you get an inexpesive picture frame and hang up the certificate/notification. Let it be a reminder. If you don't enter/submit, you'll never be published.

    May this be the first of many...

  2. Great job, Maren! What a good story. Showing character growth is something every writer strives to do, and you've done it!

    Enjoy your summer, Clara!

    Laurie Calkhoven

  3. I loved your story Maren. It was so exciting,and suspenseful that I wanted to go with you to the rescue facility! I was happy, too, that you found a solution that was not only good for you, it was good for the cheetah (I could tell you were worried about it living in captivity). Wonderful, wonderful story! Congratulations!

  4. Congratulations, Maren!
    What a great story. I love the ending!
    donna v.

  5. Maren--Fantastic! Keep writing. :) Love your ending.

    Clara--Have a great summer and have fun with your speaking engagements.


  6. What a fascinating topic, Maren. My writing group friend Ann Whitehead Nagda has actually volunteered at one of those cheetah rescue places in Africa, but you found a way to let your character realize her dream without having to travel so far afield. Clara, enjoy your WELL-deserved June off!!!

  7. I loved this story, Maren! Congratulations. Well-deserved!

  8. Congrats Maren. Amazing story!

  9. Maren, congratulations! How exciting to win such a great treasure! Happy summer everyone. <3

    Can Alex save Winter from the darkness that hunts her?
    YA Paranormal Romance, Darkspell coming fall of 2011!

  10. Congratulations Maren! A good solution to your wanting a cheetah.

  11. Maren, that was a wonderful story, very well written indeed. I'm very proud of you and I expect great things of you in the future. Congratulations!

  12. Loved the story and so pleased that you won! Congratulation.

  13. Congratulations on a great story, Maren. I loved it!

  14. Applause for Maren! Congratulations!

    Clara, I'll catch you later this summer. Enjoy!