As promised, we got the finished material uploaded to Lulu last night. Once again, Diane's done a smashing job on the cover.
It took a few days more than expected because after reading the formatted pages, I decided to tweak it a bit, and felt a bit more at ease doing it to Widowmaker than a book that's better known.
Mostly I tightened dialogue, because I've written quite a bit of screen stuff since this book, and even in "period-y" stuff like the Alban books, faster dialogue "sounds" better, more like people actually talking to each other than declaiming prepared speeches. After all, it's period to us, but contemporary to them! It also gives the chance, by stepping up the formality just a couple of notches, to "fall into the High Language" (as T.H. White put it) without writing so "forsoothly" that it reads like parody.
I like the end result.
The original version didn't have a dedication. This one's to David Gemmell. Too late for him to see, more's the pity.
One day I'll find out what went wrong with Widowmaker. It was outlined and accepted as a sequel to Greylady, was written, paid for, covered (a nice painting by Mick Posen) published - and then pulled in what, 13 years on, still feels like an amazingly short time. It's always struck me as odd: in the brief period it was in the shops, Legend can't have recouped any costs at all, and if they thought the book wasn't going to sell, why pay for and publish it in the first place?
Some people are still convinced this book never existed, and I can understand how they got that idea. I once asked "Why don't they advertise me in Starburst or one of the other magazines?" and got the reply, "No need, you sell just fine without publicity." Which is one of the most back-handed compliments I've ever received...