I wrote a novel. No, really.

One of the many things distracting me these days was a lot of QuarkXpress work for a friend’s birthday gift.

Way, way back at the turn of the century — i.e. early 2000 — I bought a computer and hadn’t completely retired the old one. My friend had none. So we decided to have a writing night, where we each hammered away at a computer, writing whatever came to mind. She finished a story, and I didn’t. I might have backed up her story on a floppy disk, but essentially, we both forgot about it.

A few weeks back, I experimented with laying out a book with scores created by a music notation software called Sibelius. I wanted to get that book printed up, so I went Lulu.com to see how hard it was. Answer: not at all. In a few days, I had my book.

Intrigued, I wanted to see what else I could get printed. My friend had a birthday coming up. (This past weekend, in fact.) I found her story on my hard drive.

So I fired up QuarkXpress again, laid out her story, loaded it up to Lulu and presto! Instant birthday gift! But a 50-page book seemed kind of paltry. I needed to augment that gift somehow.

That’s when I remembered the novel.

I wrote it after I got laid off from my job in 2001. I figured if I were ever unemployed, I’d use the free time to do something creative. Writing a novel was as good a thing as any to kill time.

Back in the ’80s, Nick Rhodes described the very basic plot for the video of "Rio" — five guys try to impress a girl named Rio. That’s it. I pretty much took that premise, cut out two guys and turned the whole story gay.

It’s not as much fun as the video for "Rio", though.

My friend with the birthday read the manuscript after I finished it, and she really liked it. I figure I may as well print her up a copy since I have no plans to get this thing into a bookstore. Most publishers would like to know there’s another novel in me aside from that one. There hasn’t been one since, so it’s safe to say I got it out of my system.

It was supposed to be something I wrote for National Novel Writing Month in 2001, but I managed to start and finish it before then. Oops.

I set the story in and around a lot of music settings — rock clubs, home studios, classical recitals, university music programs. That’s my flimsy excuse for posting about it here. The main character is a Chinese-American composition student named Gary Huang. And one of the more interesting side characters is a gay punk guitarist named Crash.

Also, there’s a lot of teh ghey secks.

If you’re interested in reading it, head over to Lulu.com. While you’re there, check out my friend’s story. It’s really good, and I took the cover photos of both books.