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So I promised I wouldn’t kill the unicorn. I wanted to. I really did. I had a very fun, and relatively painless way to kill it, but then I got pleading eyes and I froze. Dang it.

Flashback for a sec. Why did I put a unicorn in a novel? My sister requested it. I had written the first few chapters of a novel for an IFWA meeting. I did it ass backward. I came up with the idea of the story before writing it. Getting it approved before it was done. But it was a good idea.

I look at the Cloud – digital cloud to be specific (hyphens are not dead here ladies and gentlemen!) as a new possible way to explore history. We always look at our history as bits and pieces and add our stories to the story. Maybe Tutankhamen was a dick. I have no idea. But based on the bits and pieces you could make Tutankhamen a monster. Then again, with the same puzzle pieces it’s possible that you could make the kid pharaoh a hero. History is fluid.

Our history is going to be a bit different. We’re recorded now day in and day out. Our history, our stories, are live and moving forward. Instead of pieces, we’ll have a whole tapestry. Our choices will be on live display for all to see and judge. What kind of people will we be remembered as? That was half of the equation of the Cloud Diver.

The other half is that I love video games. Games like Final Fantasy VII and XIII, Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past and Ocarina of TIme, and Personas 3 and 5. There are other games I reference here too, but those are the fundamental stories I loved playing through. I loved the worlds created and the experiences they left in my mind. I wondered if I could make a novel that had those elements together.

Think the Matrix meeting Indiana Jones.

I had this cowardly main character in my head and I had started a pretty funny story. And then, my sister came to me one day and asked me. “Could you put a unicorn in the novel?”

I thought about it for five seconds and grinned. Absolutely. In fact, I could add things that made the unicorn seem normal. This door opened, I nodded, already plotting the unicorn’s impending demise.

“You can’t kill it!” My sister declared, seeing through my plan.

I was aghast and tried to explain my motivations were not just for purely evil purposes, but my sister pouted and pleaded that I couldn’t. And she has that look that disarmed me. Fine, I finally conceded. I wouldn’t kill the unicorn.

I mentioned the unicorn to Virginia Stark, and she started sending me signatures with unicorns farting rainbows, and then the door fully opened. I had a unicorn that literally talked out of its ass in rainbows and wingdings.

I thought it was fun, but I had no idea how much of an impact it would have, when I saw how depressed people were of Trump’s election. Deciding to change the mood, I asked Facebook to name my unicorn that farts rainbows.

You know this is something special when the thread is dozens of comments long. When writers come to you in person with lists. There was something to this phenomenon. When the unicorn was named Roy G. Biv (Thank you Destiny Caverley and Robert J. Sawyer) I had something.

I wrote a very good novel. But with unicorns in my head it was only a matter of time before this imagination of mine spilled into reality. I had finished watching a great youtube series called Lady Bits, when Liana Kerzner played a character named Princess Sparklemuffin. The drunken stupor Princess Sparklemuffin found herself into at the end of the skit made me reconsider how I approached Christmas at the day job.

Christmas at the day job tends to be stressful. Long, hard physical hours of being in a perpetual meat grinder until the day before Christmas. You just tend to snap at points throughout the grind. So much pressure to get so much done. I realized that this place tended to operate like a drunken hot mess. I looked at the stress and said two magic words.

Sparkle, Sparkle.

It’s amazing what happens when you face an obstacle with something this defiant. It’s not in your face defiant, but it’s far more subtle. It’s the refusal to surrender my joy to my stress. I refused last christmas to be stressed out, taking impending struggles with those two words. It’s surprising how much you can shrug off with that little sparkle of joy inside you.

In light of the impending release of the Cloud Diver, I wanted to make a T-Shirt to commemorate this journey. Not killing the unicorn had opened me to a possible way of coping with my stress in a healthy way I never would have considered before. And maybe, just maybe it’ll help you.

I contacted the amazing Kayla Lynn who captured the spirit of my novel with something really fun. Kayla is a creative Graphic Designer with a gift for t-shirts. Look her up at @abtract_azure.

The shirt is available Monday. In the meantime, here’s a preview of Roy G. Biv and maybe a taste of things to come.

Stay tuned…

If you want a t-shirt of this, order it here: https://www.redbubble.com/people/jpantalleresco?asc=u