Ann's stuff

Thoughts and ideas that don't fit anywhere else

Oct 20

How twitter saved dinner: 24 ideas for #weeknightmeals

I put out a plea on twitter:

I’m in desperate need of 15 minute weeknight dinners. We’re all overscheduled, and cooking ahead hasn’t worked.

Within 20 minutes (about the time I have to make a Wednesday-night dinner), I had 20 ideas. Thank you to @Papertyger, @Littlefluffycat, @Bostonbibliophile, @BobbieC, and @TinkuGallery. I’ve added a few of my own, in the spirit of sharing, at the bottom. Enjoy!


Rotisserie chicken + frozen spinach + Alexia prepared mashed potatoes = roast chicken w/mash + veg!

Butternut squash puree + coconut milk + curry paste + thinly sliced chicken breast (or not) + pkg baby spinach = thai-ish soup.

Precooked turkey meatballs, whole wheat pasta, sauce = basic, delicious grain + veg + protein.

Frozen dumplings/gyoza, chicken broth, sliced green onion = wonton soup!

Canned black beans + little broth + chopped onion if you like + hot sauce + stick blender = black bean soup topped w/sour cream.

Pkgd Asian noodle dish + frozen shrimp/tofu/precooked chix + frozen veggie mix = actually nutritious!

tortillas spread w/refried beans, topped w/shredded cheese + pickled jalapenos, toaster oven + rolled up = makeshift burritos!

Frozen chicken/fake-chicken fingers + bbq sauce for dipping + sliced bell peppers, carrots, etc. = lazy + pleasing kid food!

Chicken apple sausage (or other yummy precooked sausage) + favorite sauce (we like raspberry chipotle) + bun + raw veg for side.

Ham steaks heated in pan, Annie’s mac & cheese, frozen broccoli or spinach = totally looks like worked-upon grownup meal!

Never forget the easy magic of grilled cheese (tomato, bacon, or jalapeno are all nice as add-ins) + tomato soup. :)
In warmer months, we often do Salad As Big As Our Head for dinner, add chicken, goat cheese, hb egg, edamame for protein.


 fun one: diced tomatoes, stirred with pesto, then stir the cold sauce over angelhair pasta that has been finished w/shrimp.

 rotisserie chicken reheated upside-down w/can chicken broth & rice, till rice is done. Carrot sticks.

frozen pot stickers, chicken tenders, sliced cabbage w/onionsground beef/artichoke hearts/tomatoes/red bell pepper/onion, fave pasta.

 Frozen fish filets, cornbread dressing, raw/frozen/quick veg.


Boboli pizza w/chili, mole sauce and cheese


Crockpot? did an awesome BBQ pulled pork this weekend, just threw it in and bingo, dinner 8 hours later.

good microwave recipe: instant brown rice, black beans, corn, salsa, onions. Microwave, serve w/cheese in bowl or tortilla.


 Pasta with pesto & arugula tossed in near end to wilt. Can also add in sauteed mushrooms, tomatoes.

And me, @AnnKingman:

Here are some of our staples — we love them, but we get tired of having them too often, which is why I made my original twitter plea:

Mix ricotta in w/jarred pasta sauce, heat, put on pasta. Ricotta makes it a bit heartier w/o needing meat

Tortillas filled w/refried beans, sauteed bell peppers & onions and cheese

 frozen tortellini cooked in chicken broth, topped w/parmesan,

 Breakfast for dinner – scrambled eggs, pancakes, French toast, whatever you have the ingredients for.


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Jun 12

Social Media and the Writer - Resources

A collection of links for participants in the Social Media and the Writer seminar at the New Hampshire Writers’ Project, June 13, 2009

Thanks for a great class! I really enjoyed talking with you about social media. Please explore the links below at your leisure — remember, you won’t break anything! Do feel free to contact me with questions, I will try to help as time allows. I will be traveling quite a bit over the next few weeks, so please be patient if I don’t get back to you right away.

What are they saying about you?

Set up a Google Alert


Subscribe to blogs using a feed reader. My favorite is Google Reader. It’s free. Use your Google account to sign up.

Blogger (free, easy to use, can use own domain name, uses your Google account)

How to create a blog with Blogger (video) (free, relatively easy to use, costs for your own domain) (free, self-hosted; you must have your own web hosting company) - this is the platform to use if you want to have a robust “brochure-type” website with a blog integrated right in, as we discussed in the workshop. You may need some help setting this up, but once it is set up, it should be very easy for you to update on your own.

Feedblitz - send your blog updates to an email list, priced by number of subscribers

Feedburner - send your blog updates to an email list, free, but customer service has not been good lately


Flickr Creative Commons search - use to find images to illustrate your blog posts.

Geotagging - view photos taken at a particular place


Set up a Facebook profile at

Set up a Facebook “fan” page - the Advance Guard


Set up your LinkedIn profile at Fill out your profile as completely as you can. Remember, this is your online resume.

Use the search to find people you want to connect with. Remember that people used LinkedIn differently — some may connect to you even if they don’t know you, others will not. Don’t take it personally.


Some basic instructions:

  • Sign up for a twitter account at
  • Fill out your profile, and upload a photo
  • Post a few messages (called tweets): remember, don’t answer the question “what are you doing,” rather, try answer the question, “what has your attention?”
  • Once you have a few messages posted, start following people. You can follow me — use the PeopleSearch at the top of the page, and search for annkingman. When you see me, click “follow.”
  • To send a message to someone directly, that others can see, use the @ sign. So to send me a message (feel free!), type

@AnnKingman - hello from the NHWP (or whatever you want to say).

  • If you want to send me a private message — that nobody else can see, use the letter “d” (for direct message). So your tweet would look like this:

d AnnKingman - I really liked your shoes today

  • To find people to follow, use the People Search, and also to see who is tweeting about topics that interest you. Once you are following 10-20 people, you may also get good results by posting a message asking for other suggestions of people to follow.

Video: how to use twitter

The Truth About Twitter (commercial video but excellent information; I showed this in the workshop)

Literary Tweets: 100+ of the Best Authors on Twitter - Cameron Chapman

Directory of Authors on Twitter

Directory of Book Trade People on Twitter

How to use Tweetdeck to manage the people you follow on Twitter

Social Bookmarking (we didn’t cover this in the workshop. Social bookmarking allows you to share your bookmarks with others, and see what sites other people have found worthy of sharing.)



Book and Writing-Related Blogs and Social Networks

All 3 of the following sites are book-specific social networks, that allow members to catalogue their books. All of the sites also allow groups (discussion boards), messaging between members, seeing who has the same books in their library, etc. They are all a bit different from each other, so check them all out to see which is the best fit for you.

Good Reads



Red Room - allows authors to set up an author page, like a blog

Duotrope Digest - subscribe through RSS to get updates of resource listings for writers

Zoetrope Virtual Studio - post your work for critique and review

Writer’s Digest

World Class Poetry Blog

The Renegade Writer blog - for freelancers

Authors who are using Social Media in interesting ways:

Scott Sigler

Sarah Burningham

Mitali’s Fire Escape

Neil Gaiman - Video Tour, Twitter feed

J.A. Konrath - blog tour

Joe Finder

Joe Hill

Luis Alberto Urrea

Literary Tweets: 100+ of the Best Authors on Twitter - Cameron Chapman

Publishing Industry Blogs of Interest:

The Swivet (blog of literary agent Colleen Lindsay)

Nathan Bransford, literary agent

Bookends, LLC, literary agency

Editorial Ass, undercover editor tells all

The Book Publicity Blog

Further reading on Social Media for Writers:

Virtual Author Branding: 5 tips - from author Mitali Perkins

How Authors Should Use Social Media - Romacing the Blog (Harlequin)

Connecting with Editors on Social Media - The Renegade Writer

A Writer’s Guide to Social Media - Cameron Chapman

Contact me:

Twitter: @AnnKingman
email: annkingman at gmail dot com

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May 21

Collaborative Book-blogger podcast at BEA

We at Books on the Nightstand would like to invite all book bloggers who are attending BEA to collaborate with us on a special podcast.

We would like to record you (audio only) giving a 2-minute (ish) book recommendation — it can be a book old or new, a favorite or a book that you are dying to read. The only request is that it remain famly friendly so that we can check the ‘clean’ box in iTunes.

After BEA, we will edit everyone’s recommendations together into a podcast. We will put the podcast into our Books on the Nightstand feed, but we will also make the file available to anyone who wishes to host it on their own book blog. (if you need instructions on how to put a podcast player on your blog, or otherwise work with the file, we can help you with that).

The goal: we’d love to introduce some of our Books on the Nightstand readers and listeners to the other great book blogs that are out there — and we’d love to meet some of your readers as well.

If you’d like to participate, here’s how:
We will be at the NetGalley/Firebrand Technologies booth on Friday from 1-2pm. Come on over and we’ll be all set up to record your spot.
If you can’t make it on Friday, we can try to connect in other ways. Email me at ann at booksonthenightstand dot com and we’ll see if we can find a time where we are both free. I will be at the show on Saturday for most of the day as well.

If you are attending BEA on Sunday, or if we don’t manage to connect, I will send out our voicemail number and you can call and leave your recommendation there. Just email me for details.

I hope we can pull this off!


ann at booksonthenightstand dot com …

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Feb 17

How should publishers and bookstores use twitter?

If you are a reader, book buyer, book blogger, or other bookish type:

What do you want from publishers on twitter, and/or bookstores on twitter?

How could bookstores best serve you?

How could publishers help you?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments. Many will be looking forward to your answers. Thanks.

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Jan 24

What I need to figure out:

We would like to have an interactive, searchable directory of book bloggers by location.

Here are the specifications I’d like to incorporate:

1. Bloggers can register themselves using a form. Fields needed would be Contact Name, Blog name, Blog URL, contact email address, City, State/Province, Country, and 3-5 checkboxes for them to select their interests.

2. I’d like to allow a few moderators to approve these entries before they go into the public database.

3. Database should be searchable/sortable by location (country, state/province, city)

4. Ideally, there would be a “contact this blogger” button that would not expose the blogger’s email address, but would instead pop up a form that could be filled out and forwarded to the individual blogger.

5. Bloggers (who have been approved) can modify, update, or delete their listings at any time.

What is the best way to do this, especially for someone who knows very very little about databases.


Please email annkingman [at] gmail [dot] com, or get me on twitter at

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