Tag Archives: Crave Cravak

Quote Parade: Best of 2014

30 Dec

Besides dust, I enjoy collecting words of wisdom. Whenever a catchy arrangement of words motivates, stimulates, or wraps me in a giant smile I digitally engrave it. These are my favorite “other people’s words” gathered in 2014.

“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”

– Dalai Lama XIV

“Don’t take yourself out of the game, there’s already plenty of people that are willing to do that for ya.”

– ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage 

“Eventually things get tragic enough and they circle back to comedy.”

– Mandy Patinkin from “Wish I Was Here”

“I’m not gay. I’m not a cop. Just a guy who sees a guy who might need a sandwich.”

– Bill Murray from “Broken Flowers”

“Writing fiction is lying in a good way.”

– Kristi Valiant, Children’s author and illustrator

“I think that it should become some sort of rite of passage that if you sleep with someone, whoever the more experienced person is should cook an omelette for the other. Wouldn’t that make the world a better place?”

– Anthony Bourdain

“I write picture books because I have funny ideas in my head that I think would entertain children.”

– Josh Funk, Children’s author

“If you don’t know it’s impossible, it’s easier to do.”

– Neil Gaiman

Do You Crave Coasters?

1 Apr

“Life is a roller coaster. Ride it with your hands in the air.”

Got Coaster?

As a Children’s Book writer, Crave holds an honorary PHD in juvenile antics, and consequently refuses to let go of his love for the man-made thrill of amusement parks.

CraveCoasters, the newest web portal by Crave Cravak, provides the common man, woman, and goofball with a fun-filled look at the roller coaster’s international presence. Crave has ridden more than 400 towering beasts across 13 nations and has oodles of photos to share and more than one story to tell.

Fellow imaginators. Take a break from the pages of writing and “click, clack” yourself up the lift hill of a zany yet innocent site. What are you waiting for? Fasten your safety harness, prepare to scream, and enjoy your stay at www.cravecoasters.com!

The Kindergarten

29 Nov

Every imaginator has his/her professional play place. An aspiring writer’s may be a beanbag chair and a laptop while celebrities have constructed notorious landmarks. Elvis’s Graceland, George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch, and Herman Melville’s Arrowhead (yeah I looked that one up) come to mind.

Writers and artists need to create and thus its important for us to confine ourselves like zoo animals. Much like our furry relatives, the more natural and personalized our habitat, the more comfortable we’ll be.

I decided that I needed a “writing domain.” But all attempts resulted in failure.  Local coffee shops closed to early. And bratty children kept glancing at their watches as I typed atop the slide. I needed to create a space within my small Japanese style apartment.  Luckily, I have a spare bedroom. Unfortunately, central heating is non-existent in Aomori, so in winter even a polar bear would shiver in that room.

I already had a fitting desk, but the surroundings required a facelift. Much like a bachelor needs his pad, I craved something to match the children’s writer within.

With help from artist and friend Lisa Petro, we went shopping. Hoards of knick-knacks, toys, plants, books, paints, and colored index cards later, we were finished.

So proud of my “stylin’ & profilin’” digs, I unveiled my domain to a friend. “Isn’t it groovy?” I asked.

“It’s a kindergarten,” he said.

Dreams of bachelorhood vanished. But he was right, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, except for maybe with a hot tub?

The Kindergarten

The main wall boasts a menagerie of large index cards with the names of works in progress; blinking lights establish a tacky ambiance and exotic masks nod a smile of encouragement. There’s no better place to pen a picture book than “The Kindergarten.” Though when entertaining guests, I preface the evening by confirming I write for kids in order to avoid the inevitable “how old are you?” glances.

Let’s hope I avoid taking a stab at the horror genre. I don’t have enough sweaters to live in a dungeon.

IMAGICISE: Monster Lists

29 Nov

Scare yourself into writing with this newest installment of prompts. ‘Monster Lists’ asks imaginators to quickly launch a parade of words associated with all things monsters.

While we may not see them, monsters are everywhere. Especially within the minds of young readers. Stories will never tire of featuring scary, hairy, and gassy creatures. Instead of simply envisioning a ghastly beast, we need to dive deep into its personality, desires, and pet peeves. Developing a complex cast of monsters is the ticket to a publishable story children and adults alike can hide under their pillows from.

For those wishing to ‘tone’ their creative muscles, simply spend 5 minutes penning a list of words associated with each theme. Be funny, be scary, be whatever you wish. Just write!

For those ‘bulking up’, spend an additional 5 minutes devoted to the beginning of a story dealing with a monster who embodies one of the characteristics in your list. Don’t worry about spelling/grammar as this is just to get you over your fear of starting a story.

Slap on that sweatband, stretch your creative muscles and have a go at these ‘monstrous’ prompts.

* For further directions on ‘Imagicise’ click here.

Monster Lists

  • Day 1: Allergies – Even monsters can get sick. Make a list of things monsters may be allergic to.

  • Day 2: Hiding Spots – Besides under the bed and a closet, if monsters were playing ‘hide-n-go-seek’ where they wish to hide? List successful or problematic places.

  • Day 3: Pet Peeves – What really gets under the furry or scaley skin of a monster? Make a list of possible monster pet peeves.

  • Day 4: Monster TV –  What if monsters had their own cable network. Make a list of programs or specials on a channel for monster viewers.

  • Day 5: Monster Names – What if you were a scientist who discovered a new species of monster, or a young kid who befriended one? Make a list of monster species names or personal names for monstrous creatures.

CONTEST: 2011 Highlight’s – Fiction

23 Nov

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained!”


Website: http://www.highlights.com/highlights-fiction-contest

Deadline: January 31st, 2011 (postmarked after January 1st)

Fee: Free

Prize: $1,000 (3 winners) or tuition for the Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop at Chautauqua.

Type: Fiction/ Topic: embarrassing moment.

Specifics: Maximum of 750 words (450 words for beginners)

Special Notes: At least 16 years old. Entries not accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope will not be returned. All submissions must be previously unpublished. Manuscripts or envelopes should be clearly marked FICTION CONTEST. Those not marked in this way will be considered as regular submissions to Highlights. *** Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop at Chautauqua: July 16-23, 2011, $2,400 ( $1,985 1st-time attendees registering before
February 26, 2010). Includes: full week’s immersion in the world of writers and their words, all meals, conference supplies, gate pass to Chautauqua Institution.



Highlights for Children

803 Church Street

Honesdale, PA 18431

CONTEST: Delacorte Press – YA Novel

22 Nov

Opportunity is knocking. Will you open the door?


Website: http://www.randomhouse.com/kids/writingcontests/

Deadline: December 31, 2010 (postmarked after October 1, 2010)

Fee: FREE!

Prize: A book contract worth $1,500 in cash and a $7,500 advance against royalties.

Type: Young Adult Novel

Specifics: 100-224 page typewritten manuscript with a contemporary setting, suitable for readers ages 12 to 18 Include abrief plot summary and cover page. See website for more details.

Special Notes: Unpublished (YA Novels) US & Canadian writers. Manuscripts submitted to a previous Delacorte Press contest are not eligible. Exclusive submissions only (including agents). The judges reserve the right not to award a prize (as was the case recently in 2008, 2007 & 2004).


Delacorte Press Contest

Random House, Inc.

1745 Broadway, 9th Floor

New York, New York 10019

Quote Parade #1

16 Nov

Human fascination with quotes exemplifies our love of language. In fact, a quote is really just a delicious sentence. Well, I’m hungry.

In this first installment, here’s a random list of quotables from famous peeps and commoners alike dealing with writing, motivation, children, or albino zebras confused with horses. Please note, I claim no accuracy and attribute full credit to the original authors.

“Children aren’t dumb, they’re just shorter.”– Mo Willems

“I don’t know why grown-ups don’t believe what they did when they were kids; aren’t they supposed to be smarter.” – `Eric’ in Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium

“After I blow a hole in somebody and slip around on their guts, afterwards I always like to make balloon animals.” – ‘Cowboy Dan’ (Steven Martin) in Parenthood (1989)

“Every performer needs to know what it’s like to be booed, or worse, ignored.”  – Nick Adams from “Making Friends With Black People.”

“Fear is the hardest act to follow.” – Lifehouse – ‘In Your Skin’

“I keep on dreamin’ because I can, even though my eyes don’t close.” – Katy Rose – ‘Because I Can’

“Confidence is the most important thing you can give a child.” – Jill Biden

“Goals are for people who know what they want.” – Rebecca Behrendt

“Success is only a sentence away.” – Crave Cravak

“Wondering if wondering is my fate.” – Evan and Jaron – ‘From My Head to My Heart’

A Writer’s Drink

6 Nov


My Writer's Drink

Liquid is Mother Nature’s gift to our ever-decaying bodies. Over 70% of the planet is water, and over 55% of our bodies are composed of water. We love H20! At least, we did. Sadly, our complicated man made existence has brought forth the invention, mutation and remixing of nature’s purest beverage.

Different drinks for different peeps. A variety of sips for complex needs. Some wake up to a caffeinated cup of coffee. Others fight the urge to sleep off a term paper with a trilogy of Red Bull. While others go “bottoms up” to stir up the nerve to flirt with the girl in the ocean blue glasses. And I can’t help but giggle at the image of a herd of senior citizens drowning in prune juice. We love drinking! Each one of us has an army of liquids to help us to endure this thing called life.

But what should a writer drink? Immediately, Jack, Johnny, and Jameson come to mind. One can’t hide from the stereotype of a writer drunk with ink and alcohol. For me, a specific image flourishes. Ted Cole, played flawlessly by Jeff Bridges in 2004’s “The Door in the Floor,” stares at the surrounding nothingness of his lamp lit bedroom. His right hand jangles the ice cubes in a lake of malt. The moist glass pounds on the wooden desk and his fingers dance on the alphabet. Under the shell of night, his mind releases its creativity on the typewriter. Throughout the duration of this creative ordeal, his favorite drink is by his side.

I used to believe the notion that alcohol aided the writer. After knowing every bartender in town, and emptying my Tylenol bottle on countless mornings, I’m certainly a poster child for the stuff. But with nothing published, let alone a manuscript sent forth, the results are sobering.

Sure alcohol frees our inhibitions, and a writer needs to live fully in order to have something to write about. Though, if he/she is never calm enough to re-enter his/her shell, when will they write?

My search for the opportune writer’s drink continued. What about coffee? Well, personally as an idealistic youngster I swore to never take a sip of those caffeinated beans until the age of 35. I obey my inner child, and have yet to rock a cup. Even if I did I’m certain the results will mirror that of its younger sibling.

Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar are merely sugar filled soda on crack. This new breed of beverage is all the rage, with more brands than farm animals in picture books. The ensuing hyperactivity may keep me productive, but a writer needs to focus on writing. After a triple-sized Monster, I’m only 264 words in and then next thing I know I’m tweeting about my inexperience as a bird watcher, writing “Happy Anniversary of Your Birth” on Facebook walls, and my tongue bears the burden of removing the muddy cheese powder from my fingers. When I wake up the next morning, sure there’s no need to reach for the Tylenol but those 264 words are all alone.

Maybe I don’t need a drink? Nonsense. Everyone has a liquid sidekick, and if I’m ever going to establish myself as a writer, I need to exclusively quench my thirst.

“A cup of tea?” Too boring, and I’m scared of sprouting a gardening hat to join Gladys and Edna in their “Who has the best lawn” discussion.

“How about Prune Juice?” Not funny, my bowels are nowhere close to checking into the retirement home.

“Iced tea? Lemonade?” Intriguing, but a tad lame.

“Hot chocolate?” What if I’m writing on a beach? Plus, the warmed milk inside sends me off on a 5-hour nappy-poo.

“Apple juice? Orange juice? A juice box?” Juice is just too innocent, and acidic.

The truth is there’s simply too much going on in any said beverage to aid me as I pound away on the keyboard. I need something that will ultimately keep me writing. Distractions are the enemy. It’s like I need a chilling glass of nothingness!

“That’s it!” Mother nature was right all along. It’s water, iced water to be exact. After awakening my body with a mid-summer’s run, my mind was still jogging with ideas. Immediately I attacked the keyboard. But wait, I’m thirsty. Hmm…what do I choose? Well, I throw a party of ice cubes in a tall glass and let the faucet do the rest. I return to work. The liquid quenches the thirst, and the ice dulls my senses. Sure water may be a tad on the mundane side, but it isn’t distracting. If the liquid your drinking is more interesting than what you’re writing, one of them needs to go. So 99% of the time (when I’m a good little boy), iced water is my writing sidekick. A trusted companion aiding me down the pages of a Word document. And just like Ted Cole in “Door in the Floor,” the jittering cube filled glass lands on the desk, but most importantly my fingers continue to land on the keys.

Drinking and driving may be a big no-no, but drinking and writing is a win-win if you find your match. Happy writing/drinking everyone!

Download: PiBoIdMo Checklist

3 Nov


As a professional procrastinator, I often focus on everything but the task at hand. So, instead of jotting down ideas, I decided to spend my afternoon whipping up a little check-list to monitor my progress during PiBoIdMo. Please download the above PDF and use it at your leisure. Simply click on the link and print, or right click to download it. I recommend printing it in color, cause it just looks that much sexier, but B&W will do just fine.

Happy “idea hunting” imaginators!

Animalistic Combutation

30 Aug

If Shakespeare had asked me “What’s in a name?” I would have answered “Black and white stripes, a trunk, and a ROAR!” For within the animal kingdom creative names hibernate. It’s up to us writers to wake them.

First realize that not all names are unique. Harry Potter comes to mind, but it’s HP’s life story and struggle that paints his picture. More so in the case of the supporting cast, a creative licence can help sprinkle life over a character, or set them apart from the crowd.

Since a writer is the creator of his/her world, it’s not just characters he/she must worry about naming. Everything needs a name. Countries, mountains, things and even an electric plunger must be imagined and appropriately placed within the context of the writer’s world. This can be a taxing affair.

I’ve often hesitated leaping from the inner lightbulb to paper simply because I lacked a name for my overweight Asian-American obsessed with adorning colonial fatigues. The writing commenced only when he was nicknamed ‘Cornwallis.’

While looking to history or pop culture can generate a sparkling name or three, there are other methods. Specifically, ‘Animalistic Combutation,’ my makeshift moniker for cutting, combining and mutating animal species names.

With my legs pushed together, my back uncomfortably straight, and Gladys Dillophant snoring on my shoulder, writing saved me during my flight bound for Taiwan. The more pages I wrote, the better I felt. Though after an hour of continuous penning, I needed a filler.

Happening to think of my favorite animal, the ‘hippopotamus,’ I somehow merged it with the ending for its friend the rhinoceros and came up with “Ceros Potamus.” I thought, “What an evil sounding villian!”

I continued to disect species’ names and combined them to form a buffet of creative, yet familiar sounds. Zear, Lugaboon, and Orsetor may have died on journal page 15, but others such as Panger, Peliraffe and Armazelle are biding their time until they are called upon to brand a person, place, or thing.

Get out those wildlife books, flip on Animal Planet, or pay the zoo a visit. Interchange those animals, and wildy name your world!