Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tell the Truth Tuesday

It’s that time again! Let’s cut to the chase, shall we?

1. All of the stories for my anthology are edited! Yay! I’ve compiled them all into one document, along with an introduction, and I’m working on the formatting now.

2. My goal is to make my anthology available across the board, from Kindle to Nook and everything in-between, and I have a program to help me with the conversion process, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to accomplish this right off the bat. Anyone know Calibre well enough to give me some pointers? Also, I'm likely going to make a PDF version available for those who want to make their own dead tree edition. More on this another time.

3. Nutella ice cream is epically delicious. This needs to be mass-marketed so I can have it all summer.

4. My Star Tours review is officially my most-viewed page! If you haven’t read it yet, check it out here. And if you have, check it out again because I put up a link to some video I made of my in-line experience!

5. Colorado is a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. I like my SoCal weather way too much.

6. Thor was more fun than I was expecting. There are a lot of big summer movies coming out, and this one was a strong start to the season. I can’t wait to see The Avengers movie coming out next year! (On a side note, I really need to start making some good money so I can see all these movies coming out.)

7. Game of Thrones is seriously my favorite show on TV right now. I rarely watch TV, but I make it a habit to see this one every week, even inviting friends and family over to catch the show with me. There are only 3 episodes left to the first season as of this writing, but I’m sure HBO will run a marathon of all the episodes once the season wraps, and it should be on DVD by the end of the year. If you have the means, I highly recommend catching this series from the beginning.

8. My beloved’s dad let me borrow Anathem, which I was very excited about because I love Snow Crash and I’ve been looking forward to exploring more of Neal Stephenson’s writing. I’m ashamed to say that, since borrowing it last month, I’ve read a total of 5 pages of the book. The thing is MASSIVE, and I have a hard time getting through large books like that because the size always turns me off from picking it up. I feel like it’s a massive undertaking to read it, like I’m about to face down an army of a thousand pages. I suppose I just need to bite the bullet and just knock ‘em out, one page at a time.

9. I need a new day job. Badly.

10. I need a new apartment, too. Fortunately, I have a room lined up so I can get out of my current place, but I need a new apartment, STAT. A new job would help here, too.

And that about covers it for this Tell the Truth Tuesday. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to help my gorgeous girlfriend make a half-elf ranger for tonight’s D&D game….

Thursday, May 26, 2011


This is it! Historic blog post number 100! And to mark the occasion, I made you all a little something special…

I’m in awe of the fact that I made it to entry number 100. I’ve had a historically bad record of letting blogs drop by the wayside, and the only people who followed them have been close friends. This is the first one I’ve started that I’ve actually kept with, all brief lulls aside, and gathered a following far beyond my small circle of friends. (Seriously, you should see where some of my followers are from. Hi, Russian followers! Hi, Netherlands followers! Hi, Peruvian followers!) Truly, you all keep me going.

Thank you all so much for your support. It means the world to me.

Now, let’s see how long I can keep this winning streak going!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Disneyland Star Tours Preview Day

NOTE: You can also view video highlights from that morning here!


I was only supposed to ride Star Tours once. By the time I left Disneyland, I’d been on it five times.

How is that possible? Let me start at the beginning.

I won’t bore you with how I woke up far earlier than anyone had any business being up in the morning, or where I met my guest so I could get someone else’s measure of the ride without all the judgment I was carrying with me, or how astoundingly long the line and the wait was that Friday morning. (But seriously, if your event check-in closes at 7:30 AM, and the event itself starts at 9 AM, what’s going on in that hour and a half in-between? At least we had good music.) I won’t wax poetical about what the park was like without people in it so early in the morning. I won’t even go into the awesome guy we met in line whose excitement for the ride was so infectious, we carried it with us through the whole day. No, this post is going to be long enough as it is, maybe even longer than my short stories. I’ll focus instead on the event itself and what it was like to be one of the first non-cast members (that’s what they call Disneyland employees) to experience what is both the most anticipated and most dreaded ride in all of Disneyland.

“Dreaded?” I can hear you thinking. “Why dreaded?” I’ll get to that in a little bit.

The Disneyland Star Tours Early Departure was promoted as a preview event, granted initially to a select 1,200 or so randomly selected contest winners and the one guest each that they were allowed to bring with them. Even if only half of the winners brought a guest like I did, you’re still looking at around 2,000 people who all wanted a sneak peek of the newly revamped ride.

The assembled participants were gathered outside the gates of the park and led in, single file, to fill in the queue outside of the new ride. Once the blast doors officially opened, under much media coverage, everyone in the queue would be able to ride Star Tours once and only once, trading in their ride wristbands for an exclusive button marking their participation in the event as “First in the Galaxy” to ride the new attraction. Then the ride would shut down until its official grand opening on June 3rd.

At least, that was the plan.

While full details of what happened are hard to come by, I was able to gather from certain employees around the ride that someone from ABC 7 News accidentally extended an open invitation for people to come down and participate in this private event. As Disneyland has a strict “truth in advertising” policy, they had no choice but to open up the preview for anyone who wanted to ride Star Tours in the afternoon. While this pretty much defeated the purpose of a private sneak peek event, it did give those of us who wanted to ride again (including myself) a chance to get right back in line for a second go. Or third. Or fifth!

“Yeah, that’s all very interesting, but what about the ride? Is it any good, or did Lucas screw up one more piece of our Star Wars childhood memories?” I’m so glad you asked!

ST Day

From the moment you step into the Star Tours building, you’re faced with the antics of R2-D2 and C-3PO as they banter while performing diagnostics on the spaceship that will take you to the far-flung corners of the galaxy. This part is very familiar to those who have been on the ride before, and the only real changes made here are the new lines of dialogue referencing the all-new Star Tours videos that play on the big screen and the new color scheme. As this takes place between trilogies, the Starspeeder 1000 isn’t as stark as the original ride’s 3000 counterpart and has a paint job reminiscent of the Jedi starfighters. So far, I have no complaints.

In the next room, visitors come face to metallic face with RX-24, AKA Rex, who fans of the original Star Tours will recognize as your bumbling droid pilot. Since this takes place before the original ride, Rex is still in his shipping crate and is, in fact, marked defective for return to the factory. This status is made more apparent in his stuttering attempts to activate and recite lines of dialogue from the original ride. The pang of nostalgia for the little pilot droid is soon replaced with awe directed toward the two security droid occupants in the room, one scanning luggage and the other scanning people, both utilizing all-new special effects that really impressed me. You can see some nifty 3-D effects at work even here in the scanners and control panels, but it’s mostly subtle and adds to the atmosphere of the ride. Aside from poor Rex’s condition, I have no complaints.

The boarding area that comes up next holds my only real complaint about the ride, and why I and many other Star Wars fans initially dreaded going on it. After picking up your “flight glasses” (AKA 3-D glasses) and going through the turnstile for placement at a “departure gate,” you’re treated to the usual instructional video, this time narrated by spokesdroid Aly San San, preceded by a short bit of story featuring C-3PO and pilot droid AC-38 (Ace for short) to set up the circumstances of the ride’s adventure. While both videos do include live actors in their segments, the story video in particular seems as heavily CGI-centric as the prequels are… which is to say that the whole “Golly gee, look at how awesome our CG characters are!” approach makes the featured droids look obviously fake and detracts from the realism they’re trying to build to sell the storyline of the ride. This was my greatest fear, that the fakeness of the prequels would worm their way into my beloved ride and ruin it beyond recognition. Seriously, if you can take the time to film guys in jumpsuits as they prep your Starspeeder for take-off, can’t you get someone to put on Threepio’s suit and act out his bits? You’ve already got Anthony Daniels voicing him, you may as well put him in the suit, too. Or at least work on improving the realism of your CGI effects so they’ll hold up after multiple viewings over the years. My guest complained about the videos, too, but only because a particular hand gesture of Aly San San seemed particularly bitchy. I had to agree. At least the videos are short.

After watching the CGI spectacular, the doors opened, we took our seats inside the largely unchanged but subtly upgraded passenger cabin, and were instructed to put on our flight glasses.

I want to address the matter of the 3-D glasses separately, because it’s going to be a concern for some people who can’t stand 3-D movies or the headgear that goes with them. Personally, I love watching 3-D movies. I don’t get the headaches that some people complain about when watching them, but the glasses annoy the hell out of me. I wear eyeglasses to see any detail more than 5 feet away from me, so it’s obnoxious to put those cumbersome and ill-fitting glasses over them. The glasses for this ride, however, are incredible. They fit over my prescription glasses without a fuss and didn’t slip at all. I didn’t feel like I was wearing a fire hydrant on my face. They felt light and natural, and looked awesome, too. If I didn’t think it’d raise the prices of 3-D movies higher than they already are, I’d start a petition to have them made for movie theaters everywhere.

As for the 3-D ride itself, I won’t spoil anything in regards to the story that plays out on your journey. I doubt I could ruin everything in the ride, anyway, even if I wanted to. With 54(!) different combinations of characters and locations to experience, you could ride Star Tours every week for a year and still not see every scenario. I went on it 5 times, and each ride was different from the last. I can say, however, that I visited four of the six destinations listed on the Star Tours page (you get to see two locations every time) and saw each of the featured characters at least once. Some characters pop up that you don’t expect to see, and one character made an appearance that I had hoped to never see again. (Meesa dun wanna give it away to yousa, but I’ll bet you can figure out who it is on your own. Thankfully, his cameo is mercifully brief and SILENT.)

All that said, I’m happy to report that Lucas and co. did not, in fact, totally ruin Star Tours. Quite the opposite, they finally made the attraction I had wished for after the umpteenth time of riding through an ice crystal asteroid to attack the Death Star. Sure, there are some parts that irk me (I’m looking at you, CGI extravaganza), but the majority of the original Star Tours experience remains the same and is made even better in all the ways that really count. Truth be told, I’d really like to renew my annual pass so I can become a regular Star Tourist.

Now, how do I get a pair of those 3-D glasses so I can take them with me to the movies?

ST Night

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


"Formal education in writing isn't necessary. Professionalism is."
Molly O'Neill, Children's & YA book editor, HarperCollins (pulled from her WriteOnCon chat)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Levelling Up My Epub Skill

While I gear up for my tour a long time ago (this Friday), in a galaxy far, far away (in Disneyland), I'm working hard to get my anthology finished and ready to go online. All but one story is edited now, with appropriate changes made, and I'll be doing the second pass on my introduction today or tomorrow. This is really happening!

Meanwhile, I'm exploring Calibre with the intention of transforming .pdf files into .epub and .mobi for my grand scheme. My guinea pig in this effort is a revised and abridged version of the World of Warcraft blood elf paladin roleplay guide I wrote a couple years back, Chivalry & the Blood Knight Order. Seeing as how it's still racking up the hits on WoWFiction.net and spreading across such WoW sites as Sentinels Wiki and various server and guild forums, fans of my work might be interested in having my piece of community roleplay writing as an ebook. I still have a lot of work to do, mostly with the preservation of formatting between file types, but I'm making progress!

I'd also like to have a cover image done for the anthology, to make it look as professional as possible, but it's not a tragedy if I can't figure that part out. The important thing is getting my writing out to you, loyal followers, and to the world at large.

That's where things stand at the moment. I'll keep you updated on my progress here, and as always, you can make your inquiries in the comments section below. Thank you all for your support and encouragement through this grand ebook adventure!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Happy Friday the 13th, You're Missing A Blog Entry!

Page not found

Sorry, the page you were looking for in the blog R. B. LeMoyne's Blog does not exist.


So that's what happened to my latest entry, The Force Is Strong With This One. Bad Blogger, no biscuit! And, of course, it was one of those few entries that I wrote directly into the text window instead of a MS Word format first, so I don't have it saved anywhere to repost it. Bad blogger, no biscuit!

Rather than try to retype the whole thing word for word, I'll give you the TL;DR version:

Yours truly won tickets to the preview event for Disneyland's new Star Tours attraction. Yay! I have concerns that George Lucas will ruin the last pure childhood memories I have of this ride, just like he did with the Special Edition trilogy and the prequels. Boo. But I'll check my judgments at the door and blog all about the "Star Tours Early Departure" event here so you'll know if you should get your hopes up for the ride or not. Yay!

The event is on May 20th, but the ride doesn't officially open until June 3rd. That gives me two weeks to prepare you for whatever is in store for you this summer at Disneyland. In the meantime, here's me glaring at the offending sign while my friend weeps for us all.


EDIT: And lo, my blog entry reappears! This entry is pretty much superfluous now, but I'll keep it up just because. Thanks, Blogger!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Force Is Strong With This One

This should come as no surprise to anyone, but I'm a big Star Wars fan. I won't say I'm the biggest, because I don't watch everything that has Star Wars stamped on it and my room is not a wall to wall shrine to the movies. I've also taken issue with the prequels and its spin-offs since my mom and I first saw The Phantom Menace in theaters, and I've refused to watch any of the animated Clone Wars stuff. I do love and quote from the original trilogy, though, and Han Solo will always be my favorite Star Wars character.

So you'll understand why it's a Big Freaking Deal that I won the opportunity to be there for the new Disneyland Star Tours preview event.

When I found out through the Twitterverse that the Disney Parks Blog was holding a contest to treat 1,200 winners to attend the "Star Tours Early Departure" at Disneyland, I made a quick hyperspace jump straight to the contest page and signed up for my chance to win. I knew the odds of winning were slim, but Han Solo was right. Damn the odds, I was going to try anyway. And guess what? It paid off! I'm going to the preview event!

Now, I should also mention that, when I heard that Disney and Lucas were going to be updating the ride, I was pretty upset. As dated as the original was, I had a lot of fond memories of that ride, and knowing that I'd never be able to relive those memories on the Starspeeder 3000 spurred all sorts of emotions that fed the Dark Side in me.

(I'm on the right, and while you can't see it very well, I'm scowling at the sign.)

This is going to be good for us, though. Not only will I be able to experience before the general public whether or not it'll be as bad as I fear it'll be, I can blog about the whole thing. (See how I made this relevant to my writing blog?) I'll try to take as many pictures as they'll allow and ride as many times as I can so I can relay to you, loyal followers, if this is going to end up being another case of Lucas setting fire to my childhood memories, or if this will be a triumph over the Empire.

I'll find out on May 20th!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Letter to Teenage Me (1 of 4)

Dear 13-Year Old Me,

Happy birthday! You’re a teenager now, with all your teenage years ahead of you. This will be a very important time in your life, though you don’t realize it just yet. I wish I could actually hand you this letter, to help you navigate the sea of adolescence and come out the other side a man, but that power is beyond me today. It’s probably just as well. Would helping your younger self count as generosity or selfishness?

Anyway, I thought I’d give you some advice to help you in this all-important year. Granted, some of this advice is pretty obvious, but as I’ve learned over the years, I could be pretty dense in my youth. You do, however, have a great intuition about people. Never doubt your feelings about who to let in and who to keep away. Odds are good you’re right. Cherish the friends that you make, and keep in touch with them always, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Regardless of how shy you are, trust your instincts when it comes to people like Rick, Laura, Tony and Becca.

You don’t know this yet, but you’ll be moving to California before the school year ends. I know, you finally got comfortable in middle school over the past two years, you’ve made some great friends, and you might even have a crush that feels the same way about you. You’re not going to want to go, but you have to realize that your parents need to go where the work is. It sucks, but there it is. Remember when I told you to keep in touch with your friends? You’ll be glad you did. You’ll learn more about your middle school crush than you ever had in Indiana, and she’ll even get over her own shyness enough to send you a picture or two. Be genuine in your correspondence with her. Don’t try to impress her. Just be you, whoever that is right now.

Oh, and when Becca gives you that going-away gift on your last day of school before the move? For the love of all that’s good, don’t show ANYONE. Not your classmates, not your teachers, and certainly not your parents. You can show Rick, that’s fine and he’ll keep quiet about it, but no one else!

When you get to California, you’re going to be in for a shock. Two years in Indiana showed you what an ideal school system should do for your education. The time you have left in middle school will show you what a broken educational system does to its schools. On the plus side, you’ll come off like the brainiac you could never be in Indiana, you’ll finally get to show off in band class, and you’ll make some pretty nice friends. On the other hand, you’re not going to learn anything new, you won’t get to feel at home in middle school before it’s over, and you’re pretty much going to have to start all over again in high school. It’s just the way it goes, I’m afraid.

High school is where you’ll finally start to come into your own, strangely enough. It’s also going to be the first and only school you’ll attend from the first year to the last. Congratulations! You’ll make some good friends this year, mostly among the upperclassmen, oddly enough. Don’t worry, that’ll change. Most of the friends you meet this year will remain in your life long after you leave high school, for better or for worse. Just be yourself and don’t try so hard to be liked. You’ll do fine.

I should probably wrap this up, but I have one last piece of advice for you. Remember everything right now. Remember it as though the fate of the world depends on it. Remember every detail, every sight and sound, every person you meet, and experiences both good and bad. Remember how this time in your life makes you feel. You’ll be glad you did many, many years from now.


The Future You

Friday, May 6, 2011

I Surrender!

So, I'm finally on Goodreads. I know, it took me long enough, but allow me to offer an explanation as to why I was so resistant for so long.

As surprising as it may seem for a technologically savvy guy like me, it takes me damn near forever to get with the program. I was just getting on MySpace when everyone was switching to Facebook as the social network of choice. I only got on LinkedIn and Twitter last year, and those were work-related decisions. If it seems like I'm consistently behind the curve when it comes to what all the cool kids are doing online, it's because I really am.

Goodreads was no exception. I know a few authors on there whose blogs I read and whose work I respect, and I think to myself: "Self, you can't even keep track of your blog in a timely manner, how do you think you're going to have time to give reviews of all those books you've read, too?" Then I started this crusade to self-publish a small anthology of my short stories, and took a closer look at all the avenues available to me as a means of promoting my anthology. I have my loyal followers here on my blog, and on Facebook and Twitter, but I want to reach people who might not know me or my work.

Thus, I finally started listening to the people telling me I should be on Goodreads and actually made an account for myself.

My profile is still young, but it'll grow as I get to know the site better and load up on books I've read. I also look forward to upgrading it to an author account once my anthology is up on Kindle! I just hope I can keep up with this AND all the other sites I'm juggling AND do my rewrite AND...

Oh, before I forget, here's my profile so you can hunt me down and see what I'm reading and what I've read!

R. B. LeMoyne's Favorites

Ecstasy: Understanding the Psychology of JoyIn Northern TwilightThe GuildElephant Games: And Other Playful Poems to PerformLet Me Be...the Boss: Poems for Kids to PerformThe Gooch Machine: Poems for Young People to Perform

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Hero's Journey - Return With the Elixir

I know, I’ve really been dragging my feet writing these last few Hero’s Journey entries, and this one was no exception. It’s bad for me, being a blogger and taking forever to write up some really meaty material that has meant a lot to me in the process of writing and rewriting my novel. Maybe I’ll do a follow-up post to this part of my blog where I dish on all the mushy stuff I want to say about The Hero’s Journey, or even a bit about the archetypes found in the course of the Journey, but right now it’s time to delve into this one final stage of the grand epic. That’s right, it’s time to Return With the Elixir!

The Return stage is essential to resolving a story, because everyone has to go somewhere once all is said and done, and more often than not it’s a return to the Ordinary World. Harry Potter returns to 4 Privet Drive to live with the dreadful Dursley family, and Percy Jackson returns to his loving mother and another school year. This brings the story full circle and offers an excellent opportunity to illustrate just how your Hero has changed and grown on his Journey. Showing how people react to your protagonist in this moment as a contrast to how they reacted to him at the start of the story will do more to convince your reader that there was character development than if you simply state in the narrative that he’s different. Remember, the key is to show, not to tell.

If your Hero was sent out to find something or someone, this is where he returns triumphant with that object or person of note to transform the Ordinary World into something better than it was before. However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes the Hero doesn’t return to the Ordinary World. Sometimes, for whatever reason, he stays in the Special World. (Can anyone say sequel? How about series?) In this case, the narrative, not the character, returns to the Ordinary World to illustrate how the absence of the Hero is felt by those he left behind. If there is a sequel to this story, the Special World then becomes the Ordinary World and vice versa, shifting the status quo of your narrative dramatically.

Let’s wrap up Rob’s story using this stage of the Hero’s Journey. His Return With the Elixir takes the shape of his novel, the Elixir he’s been seeking for the longest time. With that monumental accomplishment in hand, he returns to his life feeling more empowered than ever. He knows he has what it takes to write a novel-length work, and he knows he can see it through to the end. That confidence and self esteem bleeds through in his demeanor. No longer is he blindly stumbling through life dreaming about what could have been or might be. He’s been there, he’s done it, and he returns to the people who know him revitalized. He seems more energetic and vibrant, his excitement about writing infectious to those around him. He rejoins his friends at the gaming table, but his creative energy is no longer bound solely to that arena. Now his thoughts turn toward the next great adventure: Editing his first draft for publication.

And that, my loyal followers, completes our exploration of the Hero’s Journey! As a reminder, this is by no means a complete analysis of the Journey. I’ve hit the highlights here, but there are many books that delve into these sections in greater detail than I’d care to inflict upon you in the pages of my blog. If you’re inclined to learn more, however, I’d suggest reading the original material by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces or, if you’d prefer something more modern and not as dry, Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey. And, as always, if you have questions or comments about any stage of the Hero’s Journey, please leave them in the comments section below!

One more thing: Always remember that the Hero’s Journey is never really over. The ending of one story is but the beginning of the next.

Until next time, safe Journey!