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video 2013-12-31 04:18

The Island of Zadu, by K. Michael Crawford

 

Hey, I found her Youtube channel. This is K.'s book trailer for The Island of Zadu. :)

 

"Send me on a great journey", K. Michael Crawford, Part 3

 

In Part Two, I talked of how K's example became my guide to becoming a creator capable of self-publishing. And of self-promotion. And working, adapting, changing, and remaining True to Me, which I was discovering more and more of what that might mean. Of course I'm still learning.

 

In trying to ramp up my own events schedule during 2013, I had a mild anxiety attack before an event. I then realised I wasn't the sort who could do 60 events in one year and happened to write K about my pulling back from the circuit (and why). And she wrote me an email titled "Finding Your Own Way", which I'll paste an excerpt, here:

 

It's so funny, but our society is set up to get everyone to follow in someone else's foot steps to success. "Buy this book to make your product successful." "Ten easy ways to do this." Here's how to make this successful."  "Ten easy steps to get your book on the best sellers list."
 
You know what I found out about all of that, is that what works for one person will not work the same for someone else. And the only people who are making tons of money is the ones who are putting out the books on how to do it. So I am finding my own way to make my books successful and glad to hear that you are doing the same. The other thing that I mention to you the last time I wrote you was that I am not going to compare my stuff to anyone else's product or such.  That also means that I don't follow in anyone else's foot steps. I hope that you don't get the feeling that you have to follow in mine.
 
With that blessing I did stop peddling my little trike furiously after the big kids and veered on to an unknown forest path of Discovery. K's work and mine were not similar; we could do very different things to get our books to readers. I kept my mind open to possibilities, and when I got obstinate or lazy and didn't feel like budging, asked myself, "Why Not?".
 
I figured that's what K would do. ;) So like it or not, I'm still noting where her footsteps might go.
 
K. wanted to share a room for Phoenix Comic-Con 2014. I was in for that. When San Diego Comic Con 2013 rolled around in July, K wanted friends like myself to come visit her at the show. Out of sheer laziness I declined, because SDCC had become so big, the logistics of getting into town, finding parking, getting into the venue and so on, was too much of a chore for my lazy self. So K decided she would drive up from SDCC to meet her LA friends. For our meeting, I picked the LA Zoo, thinking that was a perfect place to meet K.
 
Our meet-up didn't happen, because the last day of SDCC, K felt ill and decided she'd just fly home. She sounded really disappointed, but in all optimism, I told her to take care of herself and we were certain, thanks to the events circuit, to meet again soon.
 
Busy'ness; that's how our lives go. When we find like-minded people, we figure they're doing like-minded things. I had assumed K. went back immediately to making more books because she had a middle-school novel in mind for her next project. She'd asked for my editor's contact, therefore I'm certain K had a manuscript on a hard drive somewhere. And it's probably still there. When K got in touch with me again it was September 3rd. I was mending from a broken foot and probably in the middle of getting Sundark: An Elle Black Penny Dread, done.
 
She wrote to say she was sorry to have bad news; she'd been fighting bone cancer for the past five years and her medicine was no longer working. She was on a new treatment currently. She also asked for all the good thoughts she could get and I wished her such to infinity, even as my heart dropped. I ordered flowers sent the next day. Bone cancer was serious business; I tried to prepare myself and intended to send flowers to her every week and make sure she let me know all that was going on. I think the flowers really cheered her up and she promised to let me know more when she knew more.
 
"Sending you some magic for your books and art," she wrote.
 
One week passed; I waited too long in letting her tell me more, being again caught up in getting Sundark published. Ten days after that last email, she was dead, and I found out from reading her best friend's post on her Facebook page.
 
In retrospect, yes, I feel terrible and couldn't think why I didn't pester her further, maybe sent her an e-card or personal message each day, hopefully to comfort or to brighten her time. I was afraid that by pestering I might make things worse, only because I erroneously thought she might be doing chemo, which I understood was exhausting. It didn't occur to me that like our cat and dog friends, time moves far faster for the sick than it does to we who are not ill. Now I know.
 
She didn't let anyone know she had cancer, not even her best friend Pablo Ramos, and she didn't tell anyone she was actually dying except perhaps Pablo, the week she wrote me. I'm sure she didn't tell me because what could I write back? I'm bawling? At least Pablo had the skills to hurry and put a tribute video together for her to see. And in seeing the overview of her work K did have one thing to say: I wish I had more time.
 
As Pablo said to me, K probably thought that by not talking about her cancer she would beat death, even up to the very end, and perhaps she was right. She did, after all, beat it for five years by making books, reaching her audience, flying to everywhere, and making magic and having adventures. She was beating it while we talked at her table at SDCC 2009, and I had wondered why a person like her would show up in a place like that. :)
 
I am glad that we live in this technically advanced environment now, where if we have the clock ticking over our head, we can immediately get something published, get a video shot and done and uploaded, say 'howdy' to a zillion people via social media and not have to wait for the largesse of some gatekeeper blocking, hindering, or taking their time in 'helping' us express ourselves or reach people. K beat cancer by making 6 books, one dvd set, and a bazillion illustrations and paintings within a 5-6 year period. I think she told me once that she was building a musical instrument. I'm riding my trike through the forest of Discovery because that's what's important.
 
K said: "I do not want anyone to celebrate the loss of my life, but instead I want everyone to celebrate the life that I had, which means have fun, be silly and send me on a great adventure in my honor."
 
K, you got it. On every possible ship sailing into sky and wonder, in every brushstroke, butterfly wing, sunbeam, and in every footprint made in unknown lands and in every Dream, there's You. Thank you.
 
Love, ~Elizabeth 2013
 
K. Michael Crawford's books on Amazon:
Batty Malgoony's Mystic Carnivale - K. Michael Crawford Professor Horton Hogwash's Museum of Ridiculous - K. Michael Crawford The Mystery of Journeys Crowne-An Adventure Drawing Game - K. Michael Crawford The Island of Zadu - K. Michael Crawford
 
K's colouring book, One Whimsical Zoofari, was only available directly from her, as was her "How to Create Your Own Comic Book!" 6-dvd set plus workbook.
 
I just wanted to mention that K hated being called 'K----', the name she was born with. ;) She wanted me to call her Michael. But I wrote her and said "I can't call you that, it's too many letters", and thus I called her 'K'.
 
A tribute video by Pablo:
http://youtu.be/IrjyQCSYdEQ
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text 2013-12-30 22:13
K. Michael Crawford, "Have Fun, Be Silly", Part Two
Batty Malgoony's Mystic Carnivale - K. Michael Crawford Professor Horton Hogwash's Museum of Ridiculous - K. Michael Crawford The Mystery of Journeys Crowne-An Adventure Drawing Game - K. Michael Crawford The Island of Zadu - K. Michael Crawford
 
 
A continuance of my remembrance of K. Michael Crawford. Part One is Here.
 
I told you about how we first met but we only stayed 'in touch', if it could be called that, through awareness of each other on Facebook for probably the next two years. Flush with the earnings from my last movie, I set out to make a bazillion mistakes in self-publishing. I tentatively forayed into vending at shows (I made mistakes there, too). I also ran out of dough in practically no time. I had to stop work on the YA novel to freelance, and with that I made another thousand mistakes. Life doesn't give you a guidebook on how to be Your Own Person.
 
I don't think I bothered K. much during those struggling times. Via Facebook, I knew she was speeding off to whatever event and location possible, flying off to everywhere to tout her books. And when she wasn't doing that, she was making a book video, working on more books, teaching a workshop or class, making more illustrations . . . as a fellow creator, I admired her determined energy! :)
 
But when I rose from my last, personal fiasco in freelancing and tried to figure out how to keep going, I finally formed Real, pertinent questions. Therefore I emailed K. the occasional Very Important Question.
 
In retrospect, she really was a mentor, though I didn't want to demand on her time, so what I got from her was just enough. Not only was her work honestly imaginative, fun, delightful, and full of wonder, but it was useful to the reader. Her illustrations fulfilled the effect of inspiring imagination, and that was what was needed. K., with her outlook of always making Adventure and Magic was actually quite practical and called things as they were.
 
And because I was Failing constantly at freelancing, I asked: Why is this happening?
 
To which K. said: Well Elizabeth, what you're doing is probably not what you're meant to do!
 
She was right. I quit all the freelancing. And that's when I looted my retirement fund.
 
K. and others like her---self-publishing, hustling, and always on the move to get their books into people's hands---set an example for me on what Passion, Drive, and Commitment were. I had dinner at Wondercon 2012 with K. and her friends and over a dimly lit yet excellent meal in Anaheim, saw more of what my future could be. As soon as I grew bigger I was going to catch up to the big kids on their bikes and find Me.
 
I also made a decision that night that really was all K.'s doing, though I don't know if I ever told her that: To become more of the new Me, I would start wearing a hat.
 
K. had her explorer's hat at shows. It made her memorable and recognisable and she knew it. What if I wore a hat? And it really wasn't as silly a question as it should have sounded to 'grown up' me. I was a creator now, a story-maker. I will wear a hat too because I really wanted to!
 
So I bought my dream hat, a Christys' of London Ladies English Riding Hat (black).
 
And suddenly I was on the light spectrum path shooting me from here to the other end of the galaxy. I began finding the clothes that would be my Gothic, steampunk look to go with my Gothic, steampunk books, which was what I ended up writing, The Dark Victorian series, after putting the troublesome YA novel on a backburner. I worked on creating my Brand, on being that person who was different and unexpected on the convention floors yet still had Something people were seeking, and often didn't know they were seeking. I'm still working at it.
 
That was the only dinner, it would turn out, that I would get to enjoy with K. She was located on the East coast, I was out west, and though I always expected to see her on the con circuit again (and counted on it), she could not always come out this way. In 2012, I think she did 60 different shows and by end of the year she was flat on her face. By then she'd published four beautiful activity books, which you see pictured above and can get at Amazon, one colouring book, One Whimsical Zoofari, offered at her site (her site now long taken down, right after her death), and then she was off and running working diligently on her latest and as it would turn out, her last project, "How to Create Your Own Comic Book!", a 6-video set with workbook.
 
And she got that done, and it's Solid. The workbook is beautiful. This was how kick-ass K. was. It looked like something that may have existed, start to finish, in her head for several years, because it's too complete, too perfect as an effective lesson plan. I can't think on what time frame that took her to create the entire project, perhaps four-six months? And thus, she had something new to take to the conventions. But a six-dvd set with workbook was not something easy to plug into Amazon's system, for example. K didn't have time for that and that's why you can't get the set now, especially with her site, Happily Ever Art, down (and I believe it's down for good).
 
Her mom was super thoughtful enough to send me the workbook and dvd set (of what was left in K's stock) to me soon after K's death. And I'll talk about that next.
 
All the best,
~~eee
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text 2013-12-30 20:55
"Have Fun, Be Silly": My friend, K. Michael Crawford Part One (repost)
The Mystery of Journeys Crowne-An Adventure Drawing Game - K. Michael Crawford
Batty Malgoony's Mystic Carnivale - K. Michael Crawford
The Island of Zadu - K. Michael Crawford
Professor Horton Hogwash's Museum of Ridiculous - K. Michael Crawford
  

 

( I'd been storing and working on this BookLikes post since Sept. When I finally published it, it went into my blog as a Sept entry. >_< So here it is again. Thanks for reading. :) )

 

This is about my friend, K. Michael Crawford, who passed back in September from her 9 year fight with bone cancer. You wouldn't have known she had it, and she sure surprised us all when she finally let us know about it. I want to share how I met her, which, if I measured the movements of the Universe by my own lens, meant it was a serendipitous occasion from which I had benefited greatly, and shall always.

 

2009: I was laid off from what I believe was my final animated feature film and as a mid-aged woman full of stories, was only just then getting used to the idea that I should write books or else nothing would get done. When I was an animation artist during the golden '90's I had also written and drawn indy comic books. I knew what it was like to have to sell them at shows, to be amongst other creators and to see firsthand who rose, who faded, what luck was, and how some maintained it.

 

I went to San Diego Comic-Con that year mostly to meet the editor I'd hired to work on my YA novel at the time (still in progress), and to replug myself into that energy again, of what it was to be an independent creator. No more papa studios to take care of me, is what I mean. While walking the huge dealers floor, I saw the woman you see pictured here, at her colourful, whimsical, children's themed table, in her safari hat, and ready to pass out bookmarks.

 

I veered and walked right up to her. And guess what I said, obnoxious person that I am?

 

"What is a person like yourself doing here?" I said with surprise and wonder.

 

And I'd asked such a blatant question because SDCC is a strangely aggressive place. It may not seem so to the average attendee herded down the aisles, but I've been behind the tables and booths plenty enough. Though SDCC is less and less a comics venue, action movies, horror, monsters, serial killers, aliens, strange pop culture cute things, Ironic Statements, etc (you get the idea), are part and parcel the identity of a media convention. It would never occur to me had I been a children's author/illustrator, to bring my whimsical, delightful, and magical works there.

 

But there K. was, and like a pro, she answered my question truthfully:

 

"Well, I'm different!" she said. "I'm like no one else here. And anyone who's looking for what I have, once they see me in my explorer's hat and look at my art, they are happy to buy my books."

 

I paraphrase, but that was the absolute gist of what K said, and right then, I had a revelation.

 

I bought one of her books, not only because I loved the innocence and joy that I could see in the work, but also to remind myself of the person I'd just met who'd just given me a nugget of Knowledge, a way to see the future that I, from the old studio system, needed to change myself in order to see. K. was self-published, and she was, like myself, a professional tired of having to work within systems. As a very successful children's illustrator, she decided to devote all her time instead to her own creations, and to get them out when she wanted and how quickly she wanted, so she could do great, big shows like SDCC. If I wanted to make selling books work, I had to think like people like K.

 

When I got home, I blogged about who I met at SDCC 2009 and promoted their works, and K. must have discovered the link back (or had a Google Alert on her name). She wrote me via my website, thanking me for the mention. I then took that opportunity to let her know how much meeting her inspired me. Note, I'd been published; I'd had my bit of acclaim (or 15 minutes of fame), for Charm School. I'd worked on 13 feature animated films. I'd become cynical. I was still a corporate baby. To cast off the 'old me' and see myself as an indy *author* standing 100% (and all by myself) behind my books, I needed to practice resurrection. Whether K. knew it or not, she was my guide as I made all the moves and mistakes to do that.

 

More later. It seems that to remember K. is to remember mostly what I was doing whilst I had the symbol of her achievement as a self-published creator orbiting my restructuring. But that was the nature of our relationship. We were (and I still am), first, committed to our work, and for each of us, we felt a clock ticking. I just didn't know at the time that hers was a very real clock that finally chimed: time's up.

 

All the best,

~eee

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text 2013-09-18 21:01
"Have Fun, Be Silly": My friend, K. Michael Crawford Part One
Batty Malgoony's Mystic Carnivale - K. Michael Crawford
Professor Horton Hogwash's Museum of Ridiculous - K. Michael Crawford
The Mystery of Journeys Crowne-An Adventure Drawing Game - K. Michael Crawford
The Island of Zadu - K. Michael Crawford

 

This is about my friend, K. Michael Crawford, who passed back in September from her 9 year fight with bone cancer. You wouldn't have known she had it, and she sure surprised us all when she finally let us know about it. I want to share how I met her, which, if I measured the movements of the Universe by my own lens, means it was a serendipitous occasion from which I had benefited greatly, and shall always.

 

2009: I was laid off from what I believe was my final animated feature film and as a mid-aged woman full of stories, was only just then getting used to the idea that I should write books or else nothing would get done. When I was an animation artist during the golden '90's I had also written and drawn indy comic books. I knew what it was like to have to sell them at shows, to be amongst other creators and to see firsthand who rose, who faded, what luck was, and how some maintained it.

 

I went to San Diego Comic-Con that year mostly to meet the editor I'd hired to work on my YA novel at the time (still in progress), and to replug myself into that energy again, of what it was to be an independent creator. No more papa studios to take care of me, is what I mean. While walking the huge dealers floor, I saw the woman you see pictured here, at her colourful, whimsical, children's themed table, in her safari hat, and ready to pass out bookmarks.

 

I veered and walked right up to her. And guess what I said, obnoxious person that I am?

 

"What is a person like yourself doing here?" I said with surprise and wonder.

 

And I'd asked such a blatant question because SDCC is a strangely aggressive place. It may not seem so to the average attendee herded down the aisles, but I've been behind the tables and booths plenty enough. Though SDCC is less and less a comics venue, action movies, horror, monsters, serial killers, aliens, strange pop culture cute things, Ironic Statements, etc (you get the idea), are part and parcel the identity of a media convention. It would never occur to me had I been a children's author/illustrator, to bring my whimsical, delightful, and magical works there.

 

But there K. was, and like a pro, she answered my question truthfully:

 

"Well, I'm different!" she said. "I'm like no one else here. And anyone who's looking for what I have, once they see me in my explorer's hat and look at my art, they are happy to buy my books."

 

I paraphrase, but that was the absolute gist of what K said, and right then, I had a revelation.

 

I bought one of her books, not only because I loved the innocence and joy that I could see in the work, but also to remind myself of the person I'd just met who'd just given me a nugget of Knowledge, a way to see the future that I, from the old studio system, needed to change myself in order to see. K. was self-published, and she was, like myself, a professional tired of having to work within systems. As a very successful children's illustrator, she decided to devote all her time instead to her own creations, and to get them out when she wanted and how quickly she wanted, so she could do great, big shows like SDCC. If I wanted to make selling books work, I had to think like people like K.

 

When I got home, I blogged about who I met at SDCC 2009 and promoted their works, and K. must have discovered the link back (or had a Google Alert on her name). She wrote me via my website, thanking me for the mention. I then took that opportunity to let her know how much meeting her inspired me. Note, I'd been published; I'd had my bit of acclaim (or 15 minutes of fame), for Charm School. I'd worked on 13 feature animated films. I'd become cynical. I was still a corporate baby. To cast off the 'old me' and see myself as an indy *author* standing 100% (and all by myself) behind my books, I needed to practice resurrection. Whether K. knew it or not, she was my guide as I made all the moves and mistakes to do that.

 

More later. It seems that to remember K. is to remember mostly what I was doing whilst I had the symbol of her achievement as a self-published creator orbiting my restructuring. But that was the nature of our relationship. We were (and I still am), first, committed to our work, and for each of us, we felt a clock ticking. I just didn't know at the time that hers was a very real clock that finally chimed: time's up.

 

All the best,

~eee

 

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review 2012-02-28 02:29
The Annotated Wizard of Oz (Centennial Edition)
The Annotated Wizard of Oz (Centennial Edition) - L. Frank Baum,Michael Patrick Hearn,W.W. Denslow *Worum geht's?* Dorothy lebt bei ihrer Tante und ihrem Onkel auf einer Farm in Kansas. Als plötzlich ein starker Wirbelsturm aufkommt, wird sie mit ihrem Hund Toto in das rätselhafte Land Oz befördert. Nur der große Zauberer Oz, der über das Land herrscht, kann ihr nun noch auf dem Weg nachhause helfen. Während Dorothys Reise in die Heimatstadt des Zauberers, der Smaragdstadt, trifft sie auf die dumme Vogelscheuche, den Blech-Holzfäller ohne Herz und den ängstlichen Löwen, die sich ihrer Suche anschließen. Nach vielen ereignisreichen Abenteuern, an denen alle gewachsen sind, begegnen sie tatsächlich dem großen Oz. Aber kann er die Wünsche der Vier wirklich erfüllen? *Kaufgrund:* Jeder kennt die Geschichte: aus Filmen, Musicals, oder bloß vom Hörensagen. Doch wie ist das Buch, auf dem all das basiert? In meiner Kindheit habe ich es leider nie gelesen, deshalb hatte ich dringenden Nachholbedarf! *Meine Meinung:* "Der Zauberer von Oz" ist ein wunderbares Buch, das zwar für Kinder verfasst, aber trotzdem jedem Erwachsenen zu empfehlen ist. Um der Zielgruppe gerecht zu werden, formuliert Baum die Reise seiner Helden sehr schlicht und einfach; dabei verleiht er der Handlung durch die märchenhafte Sprache zusätzlichen Charme. Ferner unterstützen Heike Vogels Illustrationen der 'Dressler Klassiker'-Ausgabe die geheimnisvolle Atmosphäre. Die Geschichte um Dorothy und ihre Freunde ist voller Fantasie. Sie wirkt wie ein Märchen, niemals oberflächlich, aufgedunsen oder aufgesetzt. Es erscheint wie eine Erzählung direkt aus einem Traum, so überraschend und scheinbar zusammenhangslos. In der Literatur findet sich wenig Vergleichbares. Alle Charaktere sind liebevoll gestaltet und wachsen einem sofort ans Herz. Als Leser fiebert man mit ihnen mit, hofft auf ihren Erfolg und ist sogar stolz auf ihre Entwicklungen im Verlauf des Buches. Es hat mich selbst überrascht, wie sehr ich mitgefühlt habe. Je weniger Seiten übrig blieben, desto trauriger wurde ich; trotzdem fand ich das Ende hinreißend. Für jede einzelne Figur hat sich der richtige Weg geebnet, jeder wurde glücklich, und ich habe mich mit ihnen gefreut. Nach 192 Seiten kam dann leider doch der Abschied, jedoch an der richtigen Stelle. Ich hätte sehr gerne weitergelesen, aber ich bin froh, dass Baum die Geschichte nicht ausgedehnt hat. So, wie ist, ist sie perfekt. *Cover:* Wie zuvor schon erwähnt, stammen die Illustrationen von Heike Vogel. Mehr als zauberhaft kann ich dazu nicht sagen! Ich finde kein passenderes Wort. Mir gefallen ihre Bilder jedenfalls viel besser als die der anderen Ausgaben. *Fazit:* Ein wunderschönes (Kinder)Buch mit Bedeutung. Alle Helden wachsen über sich hinaus und kommen ihren Wünschen so Stück für Stück näher. Dorothy und ihre Freunde lehren uns, niemals den Glauben an sich selbst, oder gar sein Ziel aus den Augen zu verlieren. Für mich ein perfekter Klassiker, der in jedes Bücherregal gehört. Ganz klar: 5 Sterne!
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