All posts by anshakotyk

Color and Story Mood

One of my favorite things outside of writing, is color. The varying world of color. Of mixing and matching, of contrast and light. My hobbies involve color in big ways. I knit with yarn that’s sometimes bright and vibrant and sometimes subtle and soft in tone. I also love scrapbook papers with patterns of varying colors on them and cotton quilt fabrics that mix and match.


One of the best ways to delve into the character while writing or reading is to experience some if not all of the five senses. Taste, touch, smell, sight and sound. As a reader or writer, do you notice color when you read or write? Color can give the indication of all sorts of moods to the story.

dark house

Imagine a house, dark, brown, gray, black (color) with rough planks of wood (Touch).

Now imagine a house, light, white, pink, orange, yellow, smooth with shiny slick sides.


Two very different houses and the color effects the mood you have when reading about it.

Dark=mellow, sorrowful, maybe scary

Bright=energetic, cheerful, happy

When reading your next book take a notice at the colors used to describe everything. What do you notice? How does it affect your mood when reading the scenes?

What is your favorite use of color?



Ansha Kotyk loves the color of the cover of GANGSTERLAND, it’s a muted red with dark shadows of villains in the background, lurking.  Which leads into book #2, Apocalypse Junction, where getting sucked into a book has its drawbacks: a missing sister you need to rescue, a lost gold mine to find, AND a way out.  Available later this year. Check out for more.

Crowd Sourced Writing and Fan Fiction


I recently began frequenting a crowd-sourced writing website called And I have to say I’m having a lot of fun.  Skrawl is set up for you to start a new story or to add to someone else’s story. Stories can be original fiction, non-fiction discussions, or fan fiction.

What makes it so much fun is that Skrawl has a competitive edge to it. When you add to someone’s story everyone in the community gets a chance to vote for your “bit” against anyone else who posted a “bit” for the same storyline. Points are awarded each time you post or vote and you can earn even more points if your “bit” wins.

There’s a social aspect to it too, you can comment on the stories like you would on sites like Facebook.

It’s a great way for me to play with ideas and see where other people take them.

One of my favorite stories posted by Greg Fishbone is a story called Trek Elementary. Trek Elementary is an alternate universe where Kirk, Spock and the gang are children and have created their own group called the Enterprise gang. They sometimes have run-ins with another gang on the block who call themselves the Klingons.

The story started with the kids trying to find a way to get candy from the candy store. Simple enough, but the next writer added the Klingons, then Jimmy Kirk got into trouble, etc. etc.  As you can imagine stories can go anywhere and they often do!

If  you have moment and want to read some short stories, or better yet, if you’d like to play along, join some of us over at  I currently have a few fan-fictions running, Divergent, Maleficent and Percy Jackson. Oh, and I just started a new adventure for Big Hero 6! Search for me, Ansha Kotyk, using the magnifying glass icon, I’d love to see you, and read your stories!!

AnshaKotyk Ansha Kotyk writes adventure stories for boys and girls. Check out Gangsterland, the story of Jonathan, who falls into a magical comic book and has to draw his way out.

Dr. Who?



I remember as a child watching a lot of science fiction with my dad. I loved Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. What I didn’t love was Dr. Who.

Oh, how it scared me! But I was quite young, probably around 7 or 8 years old. But there’s a new Dr. Who currently streaming on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video and it might be what some Harry Potter fans are looking for.

Dr. Who is a wonderful mix of science fiction, time travel, horror, and campy humor. It’s not scary at all, in fact a number of my friend’s tweens are watching it with their parents and enjoying the series. The horror aspect in some episodes are: a giant bug stuck on your back that changes reality, evil metal man-shaped robots that don’t have any feelings, and blobs of fat that run off of you and look adorable as they float off to the mother-ship.

dr who1

But I figured an interview with my friend Katie who is 11 might help you decide if you want to try out Dr. Who for yourself.

When did you start watching Dr. Who?

When I was 10, my mom heard from a friend that it was a good show. So we decided to try it out and we’re hooked. We watch it on Netflix.

What would you tell someone your age who has never heard of Dr. Who?

I’d tell them that it’s Science Fiction, that it’s really funny and that there are some aliens that can be scary but not very scary.

What is your favorite thing about watching Dr. Who?

The companions and the sonic screwdriver.

sonic_screwdriver (Me butting in, Companions are the Doctor’s friends that he takes with him on his adventures, and the sonic screwdriver, well that’s his trusty fix-everything device, a must for all time travelers!)

It’s also cool that the Doctor can change, that way when one actor gets tired of doing it another one can take his place. I cried when my favorite David Tenant left the show but I really like the next Doctor, Matt Smith.

(Me again, the Doctor can regenerate when he’s injured!)

Katie has become such a fan of the show that she says she loves it just as much as Harry Potter.

There are a number of Dr. Who books published in a series beginning in 2009 by BBC Press. I’ve found them in the YA section of my local library. A great way to start a new fan on the Dr. Who universe.

The Tardis- The Doctor’s time traveling space ship

For the Harry Potter fans who may be looking for something new and different this might be the show and book series for them. Katie even has a new t-shirt, it says:

My Patronus is a Tardis!

I think I’d like to own that t-shirt too!

AnshaKotyk Ansha Kotyk writes books about adventure with just a hint of the fantastical, just like a Dr. Who episode. Her first book Gangsterland follows Jonathan who falls into his comic book about 1920’s gangsters… and the adventures he has.


Audio Books and the Importance of Listening

girl with mp4

I am a reader. But I’m an admittedly slow reader. It takes me a very long time to finish a book. But I’ll work at it slowly each night. Being frustrated that my schedule was not allowing me to read all the stories that I wanted to, I recently turned to audiobooks and I wanted to share with you little bit about my experience.

Now I’ve always known about audio books, but I simply enjoy READING so much I just didn’t want to sacrifice a book to audio. Well, I was missing out.

I recently listened to the middle grade audiobook “Bigger than a Breadbox” by Laurel Snyder. It is an awesome story about when magic can and can’t do, beautifully read by Chris Fogg. The sound of the story had it’s own personality and I loved every moment of it. The experience is completely different than reading, and not too unlike watching a movie, but your ears and brain are doing all the work instead of your eyes.

After some research on the web I found a few interesting articles about the benefits of audiobooks and reasons why it’s not only a good idea but beneficial to add them to your “reading” repertoire.

This slideshare, shows some of the benefits of audiobooks for children and teens, like increased reading proficiency, increased vocabulary and pronunciation.

This pdf is a bibliography of articles and research on the benefits of audiobooks for young readers.

Here is a teacher and librarian resource site touching on the importance of audiobooks.

Free public domain audio books:

Audiobooks as a whole can be cost prohibitive and so I recommend checking out your local libraries which use Overdrive and/or OneClickDigital for audio books that you can easily download.

So there’s no reason not to try out a great audiobook. Let us know what you’ve listened to!


AnshaKotyk Ansha Kotyk continues to read paperbacks and ebooks, but now a whole new world has opened up with the sound of audiobooks.

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The Best Gift for your teen or tween? Books, of course!

The holidays. What better gift to give than a boxed set of a favorite series!

I’m going to share some of the book series that are great to give as gifts for your teen or tween this season.

Percy Jackson

Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan
I loved this series for it’s action packed adventure. The ancient myth doesn’t hurt either.

Gregor the Overlander

Gregor the Overlander, The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins
This is a recent favorite. Gregor is reluctant but brave in this series.

Anne of Green GablesAnne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
One of my all time favorites, Anne is spunky and keeps a positive outlook on things. Except for the time she turned her hair green…

The Missing HaddixThe Missing by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Time travel adventures in history.  A step or two above Magic Tree House though. These books will keep your tween engaged.

Wizard of OzWizard of Oz by Frank Baum (thanks Mikey for the reminder!)
A classic but in the additional books you’ll learn even more fantastic aspects of Baum’s universe.

Harry PotterHarry Potter series by JK Rowling
A new-classic in every sense of the word. Dealing with friendships and making the right decisions even if they’re hard to do, Harry Potter teaches some great life lessons.

39 Clues39 Clues by various authors (including Rick Riordan, Margaret Haddix, Linda Sue Park) published by Scholastic
I really enjoyed watching Dan and Amy grow over the series as they learn more about their mysterious family.

The Kane ChroniclesThe Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan
I really enjoyed the Egyptian history and myth that goes along with these books. The brother and sister duo have great voices.

SBDaughters106x160Various princess retellings by Diane Zahler, she has four beautiful books out that are retellings of different princess fairy tales.

NarniaThe Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
Another classic. Full of adventure and lore.

TolkienThe Hobbit and the rest of the Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
Fantasy worlds at their best.

Artemis FowlArtemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
Artemis is the young anti-hero. A bad guy with a twist.
I enjoyed Colfer’s darker take on the fairy world.


Did I leave any great series off the list? Let us know!