The exceprt that they are going to publish is about four or five thousand words that occur in first third of the novel, I would say. It is a portion where Brian and Annie go out to lunch (with their children, although Brian has carefully made sure that his wife will be out of the day and of course does not tell her, he trusts the saughter to not chit chat about the "unplanned" nature of the meeting) and Annie confesses that her marriage is in trouble. Ostensibly, she has called him to discuss the financial implications of a separation and for his advice on getting a budget set up, etc . . . Brian responds nobly and in a heartfelt way. He is compassionate and he is sorry, but he is also getting to see a different side of Annie that he has ever seen at work. She starts to fill out in his mind, realisitic meat filling out the skinny bones that he has of her in his imagination. Each gets to interact with their child, or more importantly get to witnessthe other interact with their child. This is another ken insight into each other's world. Also, the kids get together grandly, despite a few years of an age difference. They refer to each other as "good friends" and hug at the end of the time, etc . . . Brian and Annie are seeing in each other something that they do not have at home. The excerpt ends with Brian and his daughter heading home, and of course Natalie spills the beans to her Mom in all innocence of course. Brian is slow and apparently hiding in his method of revealing his lunch plans and their discussion. They have a fight after she explodes, partly in jealousy. She refers to Annie as a "pretty young thing" and we get the chance to see Annie through another woman's eyes, as opposed to just through Brian's eyes. So we are seeing a different side of the characters, seeing these third and fourth characters on their own as opposed to just being referenced by the first and second character. The scene ends with the Norton's having sex, which Brian describes as "perfunctory," then adding in such a typical man's attitude, that "perfunctory sex is better than no sex at all." In this sense Brian is mobing into the role of the Everyman, where he symbolizes some aspects of manliness that are ever present, but not always described straight. Men get joked about, exagerated, but not often portrayed straight and honestly. This is what I am trying to do. I think that Brian "gets it," as say a Howard Jones or a Tonio K or a Nick Hornby "gets it." These are men who understand what it is to be a man and can express manliness in a very honest, funny, vulnerable, and revealing. I think that that is what I am trying to with Soul Mates, express real relationships from a mans' point of view. There are references to women to sex and to strippers and sports, but it is not a caricature. I want this man to be a man who struggles, who fights his nature, but who understands his nature and knows when to revel in it and when to be ashamed of it.
So Bow Wow is going to publish this little excerpt, and one of my 2003 goals is to actually finish the damn book! I am very close, maybe 80 percent. I still have two potential endings in my mind, but I am not close enough to the end to really worry about which ending I want. I would like to do a complete re-write this year (after of course it is written the first time, to completion), then send the whole thing off to publication. Clearly the people at Bow Wow think it is a pretty well written piece, and I think it is, too. This has given me enough encouragement to get on with it and finsih it and re-write it and submit it to novel publications. But it is a bit too early to get ahead of ourselves, so we need to just focus on this point on the glory of this acceptance and then worry about the editing and fret about the publication of this particular piece. I am sure i will write on this topic again, based on whenever this gets published or I hear from them again. But . . . it was good news and I wanted to pass it on.