Sun 01

Book Tours and NationStates


What are the chances of you adding more cities to your book tour?


Zero, I’m sorry to say. I have to point out that I don’t get to choose my own tour. It’s organized by a publisher who has to try to extract some kind of value from my time that exceeds what I’m going to order from hotel room service. Also they have to find bookstores that want to host me on the exact date that works with my schedule. So it’s harder than it seems.

Will you be blogging the book tour, like you did a long time ago?


I think I will acknowledge that the world has moved on from blogs and use some kind of social media instead. I’ll have my daughter with me this time, so instead of cooling my heels alone during my down-time, I’ll probably be exposing her to the wonders of the United States, like how power points don’t have switches on them.

How many of your books is too many to bring to one of your readings?


I’m treating this as a serious question because I know sometimes people have strange ideas about what might be considered rude at book readings. For example, people have apologized for asking me for a photo. In reality, I love being asked for a photo. That makes me feel super famous. I mean, I’m not Chris Hemsworth here. I understand that if you ask Chris for a photo, sure, that’s probably the thirtieth time he’s been asked that day. But I only get to do this occasionally. I will stand for photos all day long.

Similarly, there is no number of books you could bring to a reading that would be too many. If you backed up a truck full of my books, I would sign them all, then spend the rest of my life telling people about the time someone backed up a truck full of books to a reading.

Why did you choose to create Nationstates?


I’ve come to realize that I didn’t choose to create NationStates. NationStates chose me as a vessel to bring itself into the world. But at the time, I just thought it would be fun, and help to promote my novels, and not consume my life. Two of those things turned out to be true.

I cannot create nation on nation states, and I’ve never played it, and no one has ever played it on my network, so I’m having a hard time understanding why it refuses to let me do anything. I’m even blocked from sending help requests since someone in my neighborhood spammed it.


Yes, this can happen: You can get IP banned from NationStates even though you are a perfectly lovely person who never hurt anyone. That’s because we’re not yet at that point in the future where everyone is required to prove their identity before being allowed online. I mean, obviously that future is coming. Google and Facebook already know who you are at all times. I signed up for Instagram a while ago, not because I planned to post anything, but just to follow my kid’s school, and even though I didn’t tell anyone and didn’t connect it to anything, within 24 hours I had friend requests from everyone I’d ever met. I think Facebook fingerprinted me and then told all my friends.

Anyway, what I’m getting at is that NationStates, which is not Facebook, can’t be sure who you are. We have to guess based on the data we have, like where you’re connecting from. So if there’s someone we want to keep off the site, because they’re a terrible person, you might get caught up just because you look similar.

Obviously this isn’t great. The general idea is to let people into the site, not keep them out. But sometimes it’s important to keep them out, because they’re terrible, and in that case, I would rather accidentally block some good people for a while.

I’m a big fan of NationStates, I’ve just been wondering… How was your day?

The 11-Pointed Leaf

It was great, thanks! I finished another book recently, so I’m feeling super productive and proud of myself. I have exercised the dog. I posted an app online to generate efficient netball rosters using a genetic algorithm. Everything is pretty swell.


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