Saturday, February 23, 2008


Hello, this is the first time I have ever posted on this blog, but I thought since I had some exciting news, to go ahead and put it up here. First of all, I had my first set of signings at some elementary schools. First, University Park Elementary in Irvine, CA thanks to Librarian Janet Wykert- thank you! Second, Lowell Elementary in Belmont Shore/Long Beach, CA- thank you Nancy Wride for all your efforts, too! My third is being coordinated my Minerva Samayoa at Bret Harte Elementary in Long Beach, CA for their Read Across America on March 3rd. Totally exciting! Last but not least, I have an invitation to visit William Howard Taft High School on April 5th for their Passport to Reading event!! This event seems to be written about on every school-related website and I understand that Barnes and Noble is the distributor for the event as well.
Most exciting is I applied a while back to be the "Featured Artist" on the Society of Children Books Writers and Illlustrators and discovered by chance, that I was! Thank you everyone!!
I realized this is mainly for "Behind the Scenes" info but I guess what is going on at this point is PR work! Its making my book really become completely more comprehensive for me and I can finally feel more legitimately graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach. (thank you all of my teachers).
I have tons of links to post here- sorry if it takes up a lot of space... some are reviews, some are links to signings, and also to the SCBWI website.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Quest for the Elfin Elixir
Book Release Party
Barnes & Noble
September 28th, 2007

Create Your Own

This is by far one of the most exciting events of my career so far. I had a blast reading my newest book in the Duncan Family Adventures. The cast from Theare on Main came in costume to mingle with the kids and autograph books with me. Grace, the children's manager treated me like a super star.

I especially loved having her take polaroid shots of me with the kids as they got books signed. It was an incredible way to kick off the fall!

Ami Blackford

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Ami Blackford

What an exciting day! From the moment I walked in the door, I was graciously welcomed by the Barnes & Noble off Dallas Highway. Beth Riggs had my signing table up by the front door (talk about a great spot!) She was a wonderful host and made certain I got a peek at the display of my book in the children's department.

Words can't accruately describe my glee as I rounded the corner and came face to face with the Dragon Stone tower set up. It is the moment every author/illustrator dreams of.

Grace, the manager of the children's department stopped by my table to let me know she read my book and loved it. She is putting it on her Recommended Reading list. Everyone at the store really enjoyed all my props and I have been booked for the release of Book 2 in October 2007. They will be keeping my book in stock and are eager for the next installment.

I've also been booked May 2nd for a Barnes & Noble Media Specialist Reception. I will be introduced to all the altanta educators and have an opportunity to market my books.

Thank you to everyone who made this event such a success. I am looking forward to many more.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Behind the Scenes of "Scared Silly":
Creating the Illustrations

Before the brush is set to paper, some preliminary sketches are completed. I consider the overall composition of the page. I also vary placement of characters until the page comes together.

Once the basic design of the page is set, I enlarge the drawing. Then I add further details to the scene. I also start to shade in the drawing.

At this point, I complete several color studies. In each one, I experiment with different uses of color. Then I feel confident to start the final painting with this sense of color in mind.

With all of this planning complete, I am ready to start the final watercolor painting. I pick up my brushes and start to paint. This is the painting featured in the book.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

| View Show | Create Your Own

Savannah Children's Book Festival
November 16 - 19th 2006
Quest for the Dragon Stone

Me and Lance hit the road early Thursday morning, and after checking into the Hilton DeSoto we headed over to DeRenne Middle for our first presentation of the weekend. The kids were great & really responded to my work.

Friday we did three Author Visits: 2 were at St.Andrews School : these kids were really interested in Book Production. I've been emailed by their teacher who said I've inspired some of them to become authors & illustrators! How cool is that. After a quick bite to eat, we headed to Blessed Sacrament. My Production Manager couldn't get the projector to run ( all my illustrations are programmed in Powerpoint for big crowds). As the Pricipal announced me, infront of 300 students, I gazed at Lance. He shrugged. No illustrations!

What is an author to do?

I remained calm and introduced myself - and by the time I was done the projector decided to play nice and the presenatation went off without a hitch. It was awesome! I loved every minute of it and so did the school. A gymnasium full of enthusiastic kids and applause can give a humble author quite an exhilirated rush.

Saturday I sold a book every three minutes. It was amazing! For all who live in this area, you must register and particiapte in the festival next year! I will go every year from now on. It was a memorable experience!

-Ami B.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy
Hi There:

i thought you might be interested in helping to spread the news of a truly unique and interesting new children's book publisher, called Red Cygnet Press. You can find out all about us by going to our web site: and you can read a little bit about us below. Thanks!
New Small Independent Children’s Publisher Offers
First “Big Breaks” to Next Generation of America’s Most Talented Author-Illustrators

“It’s kind of like American Idol for young children’s book illustrators,” explains Bruce Glassman, president and co-founder of Red Cygnet Press, a small, new, independent children’s book publishing company. Glassman says that Red Cygnet has come up with a unique concept for children’s publishing. The San Diego-based company has formed partnerships with America’s most respected art schools and fine arts departments so each school’s most talented graduate and undergraduate students can submit proposals for the opportunity to be published.

“It’s a win-win for both the students and for us,” says Joshua Gravin, the company’s vice-president and other founder. “Red Cygnet gets a highly motivated, exceptionally creative talent pool and the students get to begin their careers with a beautiful published book in their portfolios.”

In September 2006, the company published its first 8 titles, which will were created by students from prestigious schools, such as Atlanta College of Art, California Institute of the Arts, California State University, Long Beach, Corcoran College of Art & Design, Savannah College of Art & Design, School of Visual Arts, University of Georgia, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, Western Connecticut State University, and others. The books will be distributed nationally and internationally and will be available through all major wholesalers, retail channels, and at the Red Cygnet Press website (

Red Cygnet Press was the original idea of co-founder Bruce Glassman, who had previously been in children’s publishing for more than 20 years. “The idea had been brewing for quite a while,” Glassman says, “I had always wanted to create a company that could tap into something new-- underutilized resources—in this case, the talent pool of America’s best art schools.”

Glassman and Gravin got the company started by launching a highly targeted email and letter campaign to professors and administrators across the country. “We contacted more than 2,500 individuals in all 50 states,” Gravin explains, “and the response was overwhelming.” By the time their submission deadline arrived, Red Cygnet had more than 150 book proposals to review. And they only had 15 contracts to award. “The final decision-making was really tough,” Gravin says. “There were so many incredible submissions, we would have published most of them, if we could have.”

The concept of the company, and the opportunity it provides, seems to have struck a chord with art students everywhere. “The one thing you hear from almost all young illustrators is that they want to break into publishing but they have no idea how,” Glassman adds. “Through Red Cygnet Press, we’re saying to those people ‘Here it is. Here’s how.”

Professors and college/university administrators have been equally supportive of the company’s mission. The professors have welcomed an opportunity to have their students gain more recognition from the “outside world” as well as get a leg up before becoming professional artists. For the colleges and universities, the finished books provide wonderful examples of the talent and creativity that can be found in their art programs. “The books are also great P.R. tools,” Gravin says with a grin. “Every book that gets out there is basically a beautiful advertisement for a school.”

The two publishers plan to expand their program every year. Currently, 20 titles are planned for 2007 and 30 for 2008. “We’d love to do more, but we can only grow so fast,” Gravin says.

And what about the name? Glassman explains, “Well, a cygnet is a baby swan. When they’re first born, cygnets look kind of drab and unremarkable, like baby ducks. After they are nurtured, however, they grow into sleek, beautiful and graceful creatures. Our mission is to find the cygnets of today and help to turn them into the swans of tomorrow.”

For more information, go to

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Quest for the Dragon Stone - First Author Visit
Brandon Hall School, Atlanta, Georgia
October 25, 2006
Ami Blackford

Here are photos from my wonderful Author Visit at Brandon Hall. The kids and teachers were fantastic! May every visit be so extraordinary:o)

Create Your Own!