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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Random Interview Saturday! Missy Sheldrake

DISCLAIMER
The H. L. Burke Random Interview is not like other interviews. The questions are all over the place. They have no purpose. Their purpose is their lack of purpose.
There are nine questions because cats, but these nine questions (10 this time because the owner of this blog is bad at counting) are subject to change without notice, so the questions one person answers may not be the questions answered by the next author.
An author flutters down on delicate fairy wings! It is Missy Sheldrake!!!
Missy Sheldrake
About the Author
Missy Sheldrake is an author/illustrator who has been conjuring images of fairies in one form or another since she was very young. The wind in the trees and the rich scent of forest earth are her most treasured sources of inspiration, and on most mornings you will find her wandering the wooded paths, dreaming of the next adventure she hopes to put to the page.
Missy was born in Connecticut and attended Western Connecticut State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Art with a concentration in painting and illustration. Even then, in her free time, she was writing. She moved to Northern Virginia several years ago and lives there now, on the outskirts of Washington D.C., with her true love and their son. She published her first novel, Call of Kythshire, in March of 2015 and intends to keep writing as long as the fairies allow it.


The Interview

If you had a store, what would you sell?
I have so many answers to this question!  My first thought was art. I would love to have a store filled with artwork and books by a variety of independent, unknown artists and authors. People could come browse the shelves, view the art, and sip wine or coffee.
After pondering the question for a little while, though, I realized I had forgotten about my nap store idea. I’ve always thought someone somewhere should open a nap ‘n’ watch, where mothers of babies and young children could come and get a nice private room to take a nap in for a couple of hours, and in the meantime there’s a play area hosted by certified childcare professionals who watch her babies while she sleeps. I wish there was something like this when my guy was little!

Best writing tool: pen, pencil, keyboard, or crayon?
Keyboard and pen! I have an obsession with each. I do some of my writing on my ipad, and have a small collection of bluetooth keyboards. I finally found one that works just right - the Apple magic keyboard. I also have a thing for pens. I have a million pens, but every time I go to the office supply store, I beeline to the pen section. Something about them has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. My great-grandpa used to have a drawer full of all kinds of interesting pens. Maybe that’s why.

What's your sign? Mine is that one that warns you to watch for falling cows.
My sign says, “STOP! WRITE NOW!” I need the reminder or I just end up prioritizing housework all day instead of writing. I just now came up with that on the fly, but it’s an excellent idea. After I finish this interview, I’m making that sign and pinning it up all over my house.

What weather is your writing? A dark and stormy night? A sunshiny day?
It’s definitely sunshiny. A little warm with a pleasant breeze, until the freak tornado comes out of nowhere and scatters everything you know and love for miles and miles. But then the sun comes out again, and someone comes to help you collect things, and in the end you’ve made a new friend, so it wasn’t all that bad after all.

On a scale of 1 to 10, what do you think your chances are of surviving the zombie invasion?
Unless I’m already in some kind of zombie-proof facility decked with a laptop for writing and lots of delicious food when it strikes, probably like, a 2. P.S. Zombies seriously freak me out. I really, really hate them. A lot. Ever since Michael Jackson’s Thriller, I have been terrified of them. I like Thriller now, though. From an artist’s perspective, I can really appreciate the work that went into making that video.

You can time travel in an oddly specific way that only allows you to visit other authors. Where do you go and what do you do?
I’d love conversations with Jules Verne, Mary Shelley, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, L. Frank Baum, Jim Henson, and so many of my other favorites who’re now sitting at that great typewriter in the sky. I’d ask them how they survived without social media and Amazon and Goodreads reviews to keep them motivated. I’d ask them whether they ever cared about sales, numbers, and public opinion, or whether they just wrote for the pure joy of writing. I’d observe their writing habits. Did they write every day, or only when the mood struck them? I’d learn some real perspective from each of them, I think.
You receive a contract that allows you to have any pet you want (mythical or real) but in return you have to spend a week AS a pet to a mythical creature of your choice (dragon, giant, sphinx?). Do you take it or do you decline?
If it means no laundry for that week, then absolutely! Ha! Seriously, I’d love a...oh. Hm. I was going to say fairy, but Flitt was in my head scolding me before I could finish the thought. Fairies are people, just like humans. They could never be pets. Shame on me. How about a fairy dragon, then? A tiny, talking dragon with beautiful rainbow wings who would follow me around and do magical things. I’d hope I could be a pet to a… huh! A fairy! I don’t know if any of them would have me, though.
What is the best dream you ever had? Alternately, what is the worst nightmare you’ve ever experienced?
I have a lot of dreams in which it’s an ordinary day, but I can fly. Not for long distances, but just very long, high leaps.It’s an exhilarating feeling. Sometimes if I really get going, I can jump on the wind and go very far, almost like actual flying. Sometimes, I can hover at the treetop level. Every time I have these dreams, it’s like a new discovery to me--look what I can do! This is amazing. I love the feeling that comes with it. Those dreams are my favorite.

Alternatively, my worst dreams are of angry skies over angry oceans. I can see the storms coming in from the horizon, and usually I take shelter in some place with large windows. As the storm charges closer, the ocean surges, and inevitably there’s a tidal wave that crashes into the window, smashing it and drowning me and everyone else inside. In these dreams, I’m aware I’ve had the dreams before, and I think it’s really happening in real life this time. All those warnings, and there’s still nothing I can do to stop it.

If you were to plan a “literary crossover” where the casts/worlds of two books (or series of books) were to combine, which would you choose and how would it go down?
I’m going to take this opportunity to plug a couple of my favorite indie authors, because I’d really love to see Christina McMullen’s Ellie from “A Space Girl from Earth” bump into LX from GG Atcheson’s “The Legacy” series. Princess space robot commander and vampire aliens, please.

If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?
Question: What are your two favorite cheeses? Answer: Extra sharp cheddar, and Roquefort.


LINKS
Call of Kythshire (Book One):https://amzn.com/B00UVLQWGY
Call of Sunteri (Book Two):https://amzn.com/B0187IG3HK
Call of Brindelier (Book Three):https://amzn.com/B01FM8XR7W
Call of Hywilkin (Book Four)
https://amzn.com/B06WGNWLH9
Snowberry Blossom (Perma-free holiday short story):https://amzn.com/B0196P041O

Website:
www.missysheldrake.com
Pinterest:

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Strangest Browser Searches


I was tagged by Jenelle Schmidt to participate in this fun challenge created by Madeline @ Short and Snappy. Honestly, most of my funny searches are for personal use. Like I searched "death by cow per year" to win an argument and "Pepto-Bismal Pronunciation" to win another argument (hmm, maybe I get into too many arguments?) and "Wizard Howl MBTI" because I thought he was probably an ENFP like me. I just like to slither out of things, you know? 


The Rules:
  • Access your browser history
  • Pick at least 5 of your strangest searches you’ve had to look up as a writer
  • List them below with an explanation as to why you had to look them up
  • Tag 2-5 other bloggers
So here are mine!

How to get out of a pit.

I didn't get anything that helpful with this one, and admittedly I wasn't super optimistic, but if you put a character in a pit, you have to get them out of the pit, and ... yeah. I didn't get my answer from Google here. 

Tape Measure Invention

I write Steampunk/Gaslamp a lot (fantasy/scifi set in a vaguely Victorian setting), and while that is allowed to have some anachronistic tech, it needs to feel grounded in that historical setting, so I do a lot of searches to find out when phonographs or balloons or tape measures were invented, just to judge how well they fit.

Difference between Pistol and Revolver

Because I almost used the words interchangeably and realized that it was probably not right and wanted to double check. 

Heard Tell or Heard Tale

Sometimes it is simply faster to Google something than to look it up in a dictionary. Similarly Stalagmite because I THOUGHT I knew the difference between Stalagmite and Stalactite but easier to double check in the moment than fix it later. 

Symptoms for Dehydration 

Kind of self-explanatory. 

History of Infant Feeding

I had some babies. They needed to be temporarily away from their nursing mom. Needed to figure out how they would eat. 

So mine aren't all that great, honestly. Maybe these authors will provide more interesting material.





Saturday, September 9, 2017

Random Interview Saturday! H. R. B. Collotzi

DISCLAIMER
The H. L. Burke Random Interview is not like other interviews. The questions are all over the place. They have no purpose. Their purpose is their lack of purpose.
There are nine questions because cats, but these nine questions (10 this time because the owner of this blog is bad at counting) are subject to change without notice, so the questions one person answers may not be the questions answered by the next author.

Our next author KARATE CHOPS! her way through the door. It's H. R. B. Collotzi!

H. R. B. Collotzi
Author Bio:

I was born in Berlin, Germany, but came back to the US when I was just a baby. Early in life I found a love for telling stories, but when my parents told me to stop lying I kept them inside my head. When I got older (and hopefully wiser) I decided to turn those ‘lies’ into stories again. I began a serious (if you can call fantasy ‘serious’) writing career in 2010. The Secret of Avonoa was my first published novel. Book two in the Avonoa series, The Shadow of Avonoa, is currently available and book three, The Heart of Avonoa, is set for release in August 2017! There will be two more books in the Avonoa series. I also have a couple of modern-day sci-fi novels that I plan to re-vamp into young adult novels when my dragon series is finished. I currently live in Minnesota (yes, by choice) with my husband and our three kids.


Interview Questions:

If you had a store, what would you sell?
I would definitely have a bakery, because I love donuts!

Sum up your life in five words and two punctuation marks.
Rough youth, but amazing adventures!

Pirates, Ninjas, or Vikings? Choose carefully.
Pirates don't always live by a code. Vikings aren't always intelligent. Ninjas live by an ethical code. They are well-trained so they're also smart. Plus, I have two black belts and I teach Gracie Jiu Jitsu, so I think I could take at least one of them on if I had to.

Technology or Magic?
Magic! Or as it's called in Avonoa, majik! You don't have to have any talent to use technology. You have to have at least a little musical talent to do majik in Avonoa, in order to make incantations work. Plus, you have to be smart to know the ingredients and their uses. You have to be adventurous to discover new uses of those ingredients. Not to say I don't love a good sci-fi, but dragons are the most majikal creatures!

On a scale of 1 to 10, what do you think your chances are of surviving the zombie invasion?
Martial arts, I can build a fire, and the fact that I'm a firearm enthusiast...I'd say fairly decent.

You can time travel in an oddly specific way that only allows you to visit other authors. Where do you go and what do you do?
I would probably visit Sam Clemens first and float down the Mississippi with him for giggles. Then see Tolkien, Vern and Doyle and pick their brains!

You receive a contract that allows you to have any pet you want (mythical or real) but in return you have to spend a week AS a pet to a mythical creature of your choice (dragon, giant, sphinx?). Do you take it or do you decline?
Absolutely, take it! I think I could survive a week as the pet of a unicorn. I don't think they would be very brutal. Curled up in the hay, I'll dream about flying away on the back of my dragon!

What’s the most important lesson you ever learned from a cartoon?
Calvin and Hobbes, always believe. You can shape your own reality. It doesn't matter if no one around you believes in your dreams, as long as you do!

Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?
I have always considered myself a dog person, because I love to play! I've always thought that, given the choice I would get a dog. However, my favorite animal (next to a dragon, of course) has always been a lion. I love big cats! And the older I get, the better I think a cat would fit my life. So, maybe a little bit of both!

If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?
Why dragons? What is it about dragons that I love so much?
Dragons are everything I wish to be in life. They are powerful, but gentle. They are wise, but playful. They are ruthless, but kind. And...they can fly!


Social Media/Sales Links:
Facebook: @hrbcollotzi
Twitter: @HRBCollotzi

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Lawless: Cover Reveal!


If you follow me on social media you know I love DRAGONS!!! And Steampunk!!! AND STEAMPUNK DRAGONZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ...

BREATHES FIRE!!!

Oh my.
Sorry.
Got a little ...
(coughs smoke)
carried away.

But anyway, when Janeen Ippolito asked if I could host a cover reveal for the Steampunk Dragons of her new book Lawless, I jumped at it.

About Lawless:

The salvation of humans and dragons lies within a convicted murderer.

Dragonshifter Kesia Ironfire has one goal—to redeem her past by serving the cruel dragon Pinnacle as a soldier in the dragon-human war.

Then a rogue mission to spy on a new airship explodes into sickening green smoke. The same mysterious green smoke that was present the night of Kesia’s crime. When her dragon overlords deny any involvement, she and her tactical partner Zephryn Nightstalker try to investigate--and are sentenced to death.

Still searching for answers, Kesia and Zephryn flee to the human military capital, where Captain Shance Windkeeper has been furloughed after the destruction of his airship. Eager to discover what--and who--blew up his vessel, he agrees to help Kesia and Zephryn infiltrate High Command. In exchange, Kesia must pretend to be his betrothed so Shance can escape an arranged marriage. If only she knew what ‘betrothed’ and ‘arranged marriage’ meant.

But human social customs are the least of her worries. Dark secrets surface as Kesia delves deeper--secrets that challenge the facts of her crime and undermine the war itself.

A steampunk fantasy adventure with a side of quirky romance and snark.



Author Bio

Janeen Ippolito is two authors for the price of one! She writes quirky nonfiction world-building and writing resources, plus she's an author of speculative fiction with monsters, misfits, and mushy stuff. She's also an experienced author coach, teacher, and the Fearless Leader (president) of Uncommon Universes Press. In her spare time, she enjoys sword-fighting, reading, food, and making brownie batter. A lifelong misfit, she believes different is beautiful and that everyone has the ability to tell their story. Two of her goals are eating fried tarantulas and traveling to Antarctica. This extroverted writer loves getting connected, so find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and at her two websites: janeenippolito.com and writeinsideout.com


And now ... THE COVER!!!





Are you excited for the dragons now?

If so you can pre-order ...

At minimum, it would be awesome if you could share the following:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lawless-Ironfire-Legacy-Book-1-ebook/dp/B075BSZ3JF/

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36188056-lawless
(so people can add it to their "want to read" list)

Autographed Paperback Preorder:
https://uncommonuniverses.com/product/lawless-autographed-paperback/
(discounted price)

Additional Preorder Links (discretion):
Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1278784157
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lawless-36
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lawless-janeen-ippolito/1127060987?ean=2940154896310


Social Media (discretion)
UUP Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/uncommonuniverses/

Janeen Ippolito Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/janeenippolitowriter/
Janeen Ippolito Website: www.janeenippolito.com
Janeen Ippolito Twitter: @TheQuietPen
Janeen Ippolito Instagram: janeen_ippolito




Saturday, September 2, 2017

Random Interview Saturday! Intisar Khanani

DISCLAIMER
The H. L. Burke Random Interview is not like other interviews. The questions are all over the place. They have no purpose. Their purpose is their lack of purpose.
There are nine questions because cats, but these nine questions (10 this time because the owner of this blog is bad at counting) are subject to change without notice, so the questions one person answers may not be the questions answered by the next author.
It's a dark and stormy night. The thunder crashes. We're blinded by lightning and in, out of the rain, rushes our next author, shouting, "Come with me if you want to live!"
It's Intisar Khanani!

Intisar Khanani
Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. She has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. Intisar's current projects include a companion trilogy to her debut novel, Thorn, featuring the heroine introduced in her free short story The Bone Knife, and The Sunbolt Chronicles.



The Interview


What's in the box? What box? How should I know!? You're the one standing there with an imaginary box!
Must be take-out! That, or the shriveled remains of the evil king’s heart, as sliced out by the huntress he sent out to kill his dear, lovely stepson (the fairest in all the land). Huntresses are tricksy that way.

Best writing tool: pen, pencil, keyboard, or crayon?
Pen. Not only is it mightier than the sword, but it doesn’t require sharpening. I actually do most of my writing on the computer (cue keyboard), but I work through my general outline and most plot problems with pen and paper. Something about switching mediums to one that’s a little slower helps me work through the questions at hand.


When cats take over the world, how do you plan to win their good graces?
I have a jar of catnip in my car. Just in case. (You think I’m joking.)

If you were the captain of a space ship, what would its mission be? Exploration? Colonization? Partying?
Oh, I think we’d be the anti-colonization ship. You know, going boldly to “new” planets in advance of the colonizers and making sure native residents have the chance to demand full protection from said colonizers in advance of their arrival. Or establishing protected planet status on behalf of less-advanced life forms that really don’t need us mucking up their world and acting like manifest destiny is a thing. (It’s not.)

During an alien invasion, what would be your weapon of choice?
A love triangle. I mean, what else could confuse them enough to stop their invasion while they choose who they most ship… and if they disagree with each other, maybe they’ll just obliterate themselves and leave us all in peace. (For the record, love triangles usually drive me crazy, but not to the point of obliterating others.)

You can time travel in an oddly specific way that only allows you to visit other authors. Where do you go and what do you do?
I get really nervous speaking to authors whose work I love but whom I don’t really know personally. I mean, part of me would love to meet Jane Austen or Robin McKinley (yeah, I totally put them together in the same sentence), but then what would I do? Invite myself over for tea? And then giggle nervously and drop my biscuits? Nah. I think I’d do much better as courier between authors and their favorite authors. I mean, wouldn’t it be cool to help start a conversation between a modern-day mystery writer and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, for example? Think of the mentoring that could happen! Think of the possibilities for new, co-authored works with Shakespeare! What could possibly go wrong?

Write me some Vogon Poetry (for those not in the know, Vogon poetry is so awful youll want to rip your ears off and eat them. Its considered a method of torture in many corners of the galaxy. So give us your worst).
The trouble with Vogon Poetry is you have to be really good to be really bad. I mean, if I just wrote “Blarffie on a peanut, slimey on a grofflenut, rhyme-ie this a boffleput,” it’s bad, but it’s not reader-destroying. It’s just bad. So… after spending literally a week avoiding this question, here’s my best attempt, recognizing that I’m not a poet quite yet:

Smirkle, smirkle flight the bird
Like a burp-iferous turd
A broken window smaish the grittle
Goldilocks so bold and brittle
Crunch and munch crickly bones…
Don’t go snooping in bearly homes.

(Can you tell I’ve been doing a fairy tale unit with my daughters? Also, I’m sorry my worst isn’t worse.)

Can you simply walk into Mordor?
I hear it’s been done before…. There might have been some injuries involved, though. So no, I cannot. I may be willing to bobsled since it’s all downhill from Gondor, though.

If you had to board yourself up in a store to wait out the apocalypse, what store would you choose?
My seven year old is voting for a restaurant. Which makes me think I should be practical about this? So a lot depends on how long this apocalypse is supposed to last, and if we’re looking at surviving a meteor impact or hordes of zombies or a deadly viral outbreak. Or all three. Assuming all three, because we all know that when it rains, it pours, I think I’d be looking for a military surplus store, preferably located in an underground bunker, and containing enough dehydrated food, water purifying tablets, and toilet paper to last a few months. Since I’d have my Kindle with me, and my daughter would have her restaurant, I think we’d be all set. Military surplus stores totally carry toilet paper, don’t they?

If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?

Unfair. I’d like to be the one asking the question of someone else, pretty please, who has all the answers. Because I really need to know how to write a one-draft wonder (revision is miserable! And also by far the longest part of the process!), and how to cook without actually spending any time in the kitchen (unlikely, but how awesome would that be?), and exactly how much wood a woodchuck would chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood (don’t tell me you haven’t wondered that yourself)….
Connect with the Author



Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Short Story Round Up!

I read a LOT of shorter fiction, and sometimes if I've read multiple shorter pieces I'll combine them into a single blog post rather than spread them out over individual posts. So ... here I go.


Emily Martha Sorensen

Raneh's really worried that she has magic and it's forbidden.

But she gets a slight distraction when the boy next door gives her a bouquet of weeds.


My Review:

First off this story (as of last time I checked) is free, and as I said in my heading to this post, I'm not a stranger to short stories, and I do not rate stories down simply for being short. That said, I didn't really feel this was a story. It felt like a sample chapter of a larger work, lacking a real arc, more of a set up than a self-satisfying tale. 
However, the writing is fine, the character (while she seemed a little older than the twelve years she supposedly has) was fine, the world and premise seemed intriguing. 
It would be a good thing to check out to see if the style of the author is something for you, so this isn't a "don't bother" review so much as a "sure, try it, because it is free and you can read it in under ten minutes." If you like it, you might want to move on to the full length books in the series.




Janeen Ippolito

He’s hot. He’s an alien. He didn’t tell her.
He’s in big trouble…

Anthony Salamandras is the perfect boyfriend: attractive, wealthy, caring, and fine with hanging out in the library while Kelley Vanders-Froggett studies for her senior year of college. Sure, she’s never seen his family or visited his home, but details like that can be sorted out after graduation.

Then he pops the question –and sweeps Kelley off to another planet. Now she’s dealing with alien future in-laws, creepy lizards, and a fiery transformation. Not to mention a fiancĂ© who has no clue that this is not how Earth girls celebrate engagement.

Kelley’s in over her head. But one thing’s for sure: Anthony’s gonna find out just what this daughter of a vacuum cleaner repairman is made of.

A short romantic satire with a sweet core and a fiery happily-ever-after.
 

My Review: 
My husband couldn't believe I was reading this when he saw the cover. He thought it looked exactly like it was what it is making fun of, but that's kind of the point to it. There are a lot of ridiculous paranormal romances out there that are in need of a good send up.
That said, I'm not sure I'd call this a full on satire because it is actually very good-hearted and rather than make fun of some aspects of the genre, it kind of fixes them
For instance, we all know the "hunky (fill in the blank with your paranormal being of choice. Vampire, Werebear, Alien, Cockatrice) alpha kidnaps his choice of mate and then wins her over through his fiery passion cliche that is like somewhere between idealized Stockholm Syndrome and full on Rape-Fetish? Well, Anthony isn't a boorish alpha convinced he will tame the defiant beauty he has taken against her will. 
No.
He's just really, really clueless in kind of a wide-eyed fluffy sort of way (seriously, I know he's supposed to be an alien fire-elemental with horns and scales, but I kept imagining fluffy bunny). 
And the humor is pretty great, too. A lot of fire/heat related puns, yes, but just generally it makes you smile. 
Kelley was sufficient. She didn't interest me quite as much as Anthony (mainly because she's kind of the "straight man" in the comedy sense), but I liked her pragmatic family and a lot of her lines were really great.
My only real complaint was that I wanted more of his family, the snobby fire elementals who don't think she's good enough for their son and kind of want her dead. I actually could see that going in a lot of fun directions, but we leave that section of the story behind very quickly (maybe a sequel where they end up back on his planet with that half of the family drama will be available at some point? I don't usually clamor for sequels but that one I feel we need).

According to my kindle, I read this in a little under 45 minutes. Quick read, but worth while. 


by Clara Diane Thompson 

A Magical Retelling of a Beloved Fairy Tale! 

After her terrifying experience there several years ago, the one place young housemaid Tilly longs to avoid is Bromley's Circus. But when kindly Lord Hollingberry begs her to deliver a message to the mysterious Moon Master hidden away among the circus dwellers, Tilly can't refuse . . . and finds herself ensnared in a web of enchantment cast by the loathsome Mrs. Carlisle and her beautiful goddaughter.




My Review

Starting with the positive:
Well written in that the writing didn't stand in the way of the story and I never felt it "tripped me" up. 
The world was beautiful and intriguing and left me wanting more but not confused about how anything in particular worked. Right amount of explanation, description, atmosphere, well integrated.
The story had some unexpected twists. At first some of the clues seemed to be leading to something werewolfish going on (and the title might've been nudging my brain in that direction), but without spoiling, it took a turn that was unexpected but not unsatisfying, which is hard. 

Now the rough stuff:
Tilly is not an interesting character to me.
There's a point in the story where another character tells her she is special, and my immediate response was, "But why?" I mean, sure, everyone is special, but Tilly is not particularly so, and she doesn't do anything special. In fact, until way past the half-way point she doesn't do much at all except what she's told (not in a subservient way. I mean, she's a maid, and doing what your employers say is called a "job" and there's nothing wrong with doing a job, but doing a job does not make you special ... and the job itself is not particular difficult and definitely not interesting). Her repeated refrain of "just wanting to lead a normal life" didn't resonate with me. 
She's one of those "safe" characters who is nice enough and who shows enough spirit but doesn't really stand out as someone I want to spend time with. 
Also, it was well past the half-way point that the character took any sort of action and even then, again, it was going where she was sent to do something that it didn't feel like she was particularly interested in doing. 

There are some spoilers past this point because I can't break down why she didn't work for me without getting somewhat into her choices. If that bothers you or if what I've said so far is enough that you are intrigued in spite of me not liking the character, the story is available as a part of this anthology 0f Cinderella re-tellings. You can pick it up and judge for yourself. 


There's a point where she is told that she's needed to help someone ... and her immediate response is to not want to do it.
Then chapter break, and now she wants to do it because it is the right thing to do ... but we don't see her go through this mental journey. 
The reasons she doesn't want to do this arguably "just a good human thing to do" are, again, throwing us back to that "normal life" she wants to live. 

Then the whole thing with Rodger ... why was he even in this story? At first I was wondering whether that was going to be a cool twist. If "Cinderella" would reject "Prince Charming" because she prefers her long time friend  ... no, he makes his desire apparent to her, and she turns him down, which is great, that's her right (though she had a way of doing it that was almost trying to make him feel ashamed "our friendship ended when you decided you wanted more ..." like "oh, dang, you ruined a good thing..." turn him down, girl, but come on, don't make the poor guy feel bad for falling in love with you unless he decides to be a creeper about it ... and second spoiler point with Rodger, after this point, I assumed that this was headed in a "Rodger is going to do something out of jealousy that turns him into an antagonist," because why else would you set this guy up to obviously like her then get rejected if it wasn't going to be plot important ... ? No, he's just sort of awkwardly hanging around for the rest of the book with her being "sad" about it ...
Only for her to sort of maybe be with Jasper at the end. 

Her accomplishments in the book are all fairly mundane. She delivers messages, feels sorry for the right person, delivers another message, is captured, then goes to the "ball," to "save" Jasper (it's not made clear how she's supposed to do this. Even Tilly complains about her instructions being vague) ... then her shoes glow magically allowing her to dispatch the bad guy with one kick.

I never got a real sense of her being in any danger or taking any real risks. I never got a sense she was doing something that any other human being couldn't have done under the same circumstances.

So yeah, Tilly being the lead took the whole story down several notches for me, but it was a short story and I did appreciate the writing and setting. If you are a voracious reader and you're okay with relatively "normal" rather than "interesting" characters, it could be everything you want it to be. I'm just really addicted to my characters having a little bit of "quirk" or something to keep me entertained.