2020 Update – Promotions, Next Book, And Some Open-Source Software

Hi readers,

I just realized how long it’s been since I’ve made a blog entry. 2020 has obviously been a very crazy year and time really got away from me. I’m still quietly plugging away at things, so here’s an update on what I’ve been up to. In summary, I’m running a sale, been working on my fourth novel, wanted to share some cool new artwork from my artist, and I’ll be releasing my custom word processor as an open-source application sometime this year. Keep reading for the details!

On Sale!

I’m currently running promotions on the Kindle ebook versions of all my works. My first novel and two short stories are currently free, and the sequel novels are discounted to $0.99. If you’ve missed any of my works, now is a good time to head over to my Amazon author page and buy them! And if you have any science fiction-reading friends, please share and help me get news of this sale out there!

These items are free August 7 – 11:

And these items are discounted to $0.99 August 7 – 14:

As always, these are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, so if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber you can already read these for free.

Mercenary Ascent

I had hoped to have book 4 of my series, Mercenary Ascent, finished and released by now, however the COVID-19 shutdown has really affected my productivity in a bad way. My draft is roughly 50 – 60% complete at 78,000 words. There’s a lot going on and I’m aiming for a more epic plotline — the second half of the Thaddeus Marcell Chronicles will be quite different from the first half. My artist, the talented David Johnson, sent me its cover art several months ago. More of my main characters now have faces. Can you identify them?

Mercenary Ascent front cover

You’ve certainly heard a few mentions of the Norma Empire in the first three books, although it was not a featured setting. However, it’ll be front-and-center for the final three books. David created a new back cover for the second half of the series, and I’m really impressed with how it turned out. This is the Imperial Citadel on Norma, the Emperor’s palace and the seat of government for the Empire. Enough said for now, I don’t want to spoil anything and you’ll just have to wait and read!

TJ Mott’s Writer

In a previous blog post, I showed off my custom word processor. It worked for me, but it was rather hacked-together, inconsistent in design, and the internal code was frankly quite embarrassing. I’ve been working on a new version with new features, a more consistent UI, and less-embarrassing code, and I plan to release this version as a free and open-source application (licensed under the 3-clause BSD license).

Besides basic word processing capabilities, this version includes full-text search, file containers, Word document template management, an integrated wiki-like repository using Markdown to store notes and plans, and a basic ticket tracker to help you prioritize your writing and editing tasks. Behind the scenes, it uses SQLite to store all its data which is much faster and more efficient than the XML file used in the older one. The XML file for my works was becoming quite large and unwieldy, causing performance problems since the entire file needed to be re-written to disk any time something changed. Plus the switch to a relational database allows me to add a lot more features and data where XML just wouldn’t have been an appropriate format for storage.

This new version runs on .NET Core 3.1. In theory, .NET Core is cross-platform and will work on Linux and MacOS, however the GUI is still based on WPF which is Windows-only. I followed a few guides to get .NET Core/WPF applications running on Linux via Wine, but they have not worked for me. I’ve considered switching the GUI framework to something like Qt to get this running on Linux (I’m more of a Linux user than a Windows user), however I rely heavily on the WPF FlowDocument type and I really don’t feel like porting all my work to something else at this time. No promises on whether I’ll ever achieve cross-platform support, but migrating from the .NET Framework to .NET Core is a step in the right direction.

The source code is available here: https://github.com/TjMott/TjMott.Writer. Please note this is in a prerelease state and is not terribly useful yet! Use at your own risk.

I’ve creatively titled this application “TJ Mott’s Writer”. This is a tool I’ve developed for my own use according to my own needs, but I hope someone in the writing community finds it useful. Stay tuned for more information.

Thanks for reading,

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