Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Update!

Happy Leap Day everyone! I can't believe February is already over, I feel like it just started. But with the closing of one month comes the completion of another manuscript! That's right, I'm about a week away from finishing the first draft of my new YA horror novel The Zombie Playground! I've been writing like crazy... here's some updates on my various projects...

THE VAMPIRE UNDERGROUND: The first book of my Grisly High series (the second is The Zombie Playground) is coming very soon! Next week I'm going to start on the last major revision of my book, and then, unless a miracle strikes with one of the literary agents, I'll be publishing it to the Kindle in early to mid April! The fabulous Katie Bode is currently working on an amazing cover for the book, I can't wait to share it with all of you!

THE ZOMBIE PLAYGROUND: The second book of my Grisly High series is almost done, and I'm just as excited about this one as I am with the first book! I started writing the first draft on February 1st and I'm hoping to have it completed by Friday, March 9th. I'll start the first revision on this book in April, and will hopefully have it out for the Kindle in June / July this coming summer!

TOP SECRET SHORT STORY: I'm currently in an Advanced Creative Writing class, and while I work on The Zombie Playground, I'm also typing away at a new short story, which will be about four to five thousand words. It's different than anything I've ever written before, and I'm excited to share it with you all later this year!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TRILOGY: My YA trilogy is still going strong on Amazon! The third book just got a fantastic 5-star review over at INK SCRATCHERS, and I'm looking forward to the March 9th weekend, when I'll be able to put the first installment up for FREE again! While this three-book story has a definitive end in Book 3, I still haven't decided if I'm 100% done with this world. I might return to it later this year for one more novel... stay tuned!

BRAND NEW DYSTOPIAN YA TRILOGY: I've loved writing the first two books in my Grisly High series, but before I start the third book, I definitely will want a change of pace, something in a different world I can focus on for a little bit. I've had an idea for a dystopian YA novel for a couple of years now, and I'm excited to finally tackle the first book. I've had a few ideas, but I think this is going to be my next project after I finish the final revision of The Vampire Underground!

So, as you can see, I've been very busy! Thanks so much for all your support everyone, and get ready for a 2012 filled with lots of brand new books by Mr. Brian Rowe!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My 20 Favorite Films of 2011

Did you see a lot of movies last year? What were your favorites? Here were mine.

1. Drive. The spirit of David Lynch is alive and well in Nicholas Winding Refn’s hynoptic masterpiece. Featuring a stellar lead performance by Ryan Gosling, and a juicy against-type turn from the great Albert Brooks, Drive is a passionate love story, a turbulent road movie, and a creepy horror film, all wound into one. Every scene is dazzling, every moment is memorable, the directing and cinematography and editing are all brilliant. And that gorgeous, unusual music score! Wow. There’s no way around it: Drive is the best film of 2011.

2. Shame. Michael Fassbender had an incredible year, with terrific performances in Jane Eyre, X-Men: First Class, and A Dangerous Method. But he gave his best performance, as well as the best male performance of 2011, in Shame, a riveting drama about a lonely, angry New York sex addict. Carey Mulligan, as his drug addict sister, gives a raw and devastating performance. It’s not an easy film to watch, but it’s absolutely riveting, from its emotionally charged early subway scene, to its chaotic final montage.

3. Win Win. Tom McCarthy is a national treasure, a subtle and talented writer and director who’s given us the great The Station Agent and The Visitor, and now Win Win, which tells an unusual story that’s rich with family drama, clever comedy, and honest performances. McCarthy makes timeless films, the kind that could have been made last year, or in the 1970’s, and Win Win is his best yet.

4. Take Shelter. In a year of over-looked performances, none was more so than the amazing Michael Shannon in the disturbing, unexpected Take Shelter. Jessica Chastain, who keeps getting nominated for The Help but did her most searing acting last year in this, plays his understanding but worried wife. The movie carries a near tangible sense of dread, building and building until its melancholic climax and cathartic final scene.

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. After ten years, the Harry Potter film series finally came to a close, and it did so in epic, dramatic style. All of our favorite characters take their final cinematic bows, and we couldn’t be prouder. While the final twenty minutes of Toy Story 3 provided the most tearful movie moments in 2010, the montage of Snape’s memories rung the most tears out of this author in 2011. The Harry Potter film series will forever remain an astounding achievement.

6. Hanna. This early-year release was all but ignored at Oscar time but didn’t deserve to be. Like Drive, it blends various genres, moves along at a rapid pace, and goes places we don’t expect. Director Joe Wright escapes from the melodrama of Pride and Prejudice and Atonement to give us an ultra-cool action flick, one so kinetic it has a score by the Chemical Brothers. Saoirse Ronan and Eric Bana give memorable performances, but the most delicious turn comes from Cate Blanchett, as the icy villainess.

7. Bridesmaids. It’s always refreshing when a comedy receives acting and writing nominations at the Academy Awards, but voters could have even gone one step further with Bridesmaids by giving it a Best Picture nomination. The year’s best comedy, it features not just one or two funny scenes, but several—almost the entire movie has laughs. Melissa McCarthy is amazing, the screenplay is well-constructed, but the movie works as well as it does because of Kristin Wiig’s stellar performance.

8. Super 8. The best event movie of last summer besides Harry Potter was J.J. Abrams’ enormously entertaining and nostalgic Super 8. Newcomer Joel Courtney gave the best debut performance of the year, and Elle Fanning continues to impress in one movie after another. The monster at the center of the plot is the least interesting aspect of the film; what makes Super 8 so special is its focus on all the young characters and their intense love and affection for filmmaking.

9. Insidious. Possibly the scariest PG-13 movie ever made, this magnificent horror film, from director James Wan and producer Oren Peli, starts with a creepy tracking shot that passes a smiley old lady, and never lets up for the next hour and a half. The terrific cast, comprised of Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, and Lin Shaye, add to the fun, as do the shocking surprises and eerie music score. It’s always refreshing to find a good horror film, and Insidious was the best genre movie of 2011.

10. Midnight in Paris. In a year of movies that road the wave of nostalgia, one of the best was Woody Allen’s fortieth film Midnight in Paris, a whimsical ride that takes modern day Owen Wilson into 1920’s Paris. With a winning supporting cast that includes Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, and Corey Stoll, the film is pure joy from beginning to end, and proves that Allen, now in his seventies, is still a relevant filmmaker with the ability to reinvent himself every time out.

#11-20 (in Alphabetical Order)

The Artist
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Margin Call
The Muppets
Scream 4
The Tree of Life

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Queries Queries Queries!

I worked really hard throughout 2011 self-publishing five of my books, including my Happy Birthday to Me trilogy. Then in the last two months of 2011 I wrote the first book of a new YA horror series, The Vampire Underground.

As much as I love certain perks of self-publishing, I've never wanted to turn my back on traditional publishing. If I could find a great agent and publisher, why not? So for the first time in over a year, I started sending query letters to agents for my new novel The Vampire Underground.

I've already been working for two weeks on the book's sequel The Zombie Playground, and I plan on writing at least five more books in this planned seven-book series. Somehow this series will find the light of day, whether through traditional or indie publishing.

But it sure would be awesome to find a great agent. I'd love the opportunity for my books to find the shelves in bookstores all around the world. I just finished sending the last of the query letters out this morning, so we'll see in the coming weeks what the response will be. Cross your fingers!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Groundhog's Day!

I started writing my newest novel THE ZOMBIE UNDERGROUND yesterday, yay! It's the sequel to The Vampire Underground, which is coming your way in just a few weeks!

Who doesn't love Groundhog Day? The movie, I mean, not the day itself. It's one of the funniest, sweetest comedies ever made, and it's one of those rare films you can just watch over and over and over again... it seriously never gets old. There's a reason Bill Murray is so beloved, and this might be his best performance. I encourage anyone out there who hasn't seen this film to cozy up with a loved one tonight and took a look.  It's one of my favorite movies of all time!