A number of people have asked me if I’ll be continuing the Jao Empire series I’ve been doing with Kathy Wentworth, now that Kathy has passed away. (She died in April from complications following cancer surgery.) The first two books in that series were THE COURSE OF EMPIRE and THE CRUCIBLE OF EMPIRE. Kathy and I had started a third book in the series, with the working title of THE SPAN OF EMPIRE. She wrote the first two chapters and sent them to me last summer. I rewrote the chapters, added a third chapter, and sent them back to her along with a further development of the plot outline (which by now comes to about 6000 words and isn’t finished). I told Kathy to set aside three more chapters for me to finish the battle scene I started in Chapter 3. She then wrote two more chapters (7 and 8, leaving aside chapters 4-6 for me) and had started on Chapter 9 when she broke off due to her illness.

And that’s where things stand in terms of the manuscript. Contractually, the situation is complicated because Kathy and I didn’t yet have a contract for SPAN OF EMPIRE but we did have a very old contract for a novel called COLDFIRE. That was a story Kathy started many years ago and then got stalled on. I agreed to finish it with her and we got a contract from Baen. That story is really Kathy’s, though, not mine, and it’s not something I want to try to finish on my own. I do, however, want to finish SPAN OF EMPIRE.

So… I’ve been discussing the situation both with Kathy’s husband, who controls her estate, as well as Baen Books. I think we’ll be able to work something out to everyone’s satisfaction so that work can resume on THE SPAN OF EMPIRE. As soon as anything gels, I’ll post it here.