Today on my stop we are sharing a fun scene from POISON STUDY…

“I think these should fit better.”  She handed me some clothes, gesturing to the privacy screen at the far end of the room.

While I was changing, I heard Dilana say, “She’ll need boots.”  Feeling less foolish in my new clothes, I picked up the old uniforms and gave them to Dilana. 

“These must have belonged to Oscove, the old food taster,” Dilana said.  A sad expression gripped her face momentarily until she shook her head as if to rid herself of an unwanted thought.

All my fantasies of friendship fled me as I realized that being friends with the Commander’s food taster was a big emotional risk.  My stomach hollowed out while Dilana’s warmth leaked from me, leaving a cold bitterness behind.

A sharp stab of loneliness struck me as an unwanted image of May and Carra, who still lived at Brazell’s manor, flashed before my eyes.  My fingers twitched to fix Carra’s crooked braids and to straighten May’s skirt.

Instead of Carra’s silky ginger hair in my hands, I held a stack of clothes.  Dilana guided me to a chair.  Kneeling on the floor, she put socks on my feet and then a pair of boots.  The boots were made of soft black leather.  They came up over my ankle to mid calf, where the leather folded down.  Dilana tucked my pant legs into the boots and helped me to stand.

I hadn’t worn shoes in seasons and I expected them to chafe. But the boots cushioned my feet and fit well.  I smiled at Dilana, thoughts of May and Carra temporarily banished.  These were the finest pair of boots I’d ever worn. 

She smiled back and said, “I can always pick the right size boots without having to measure.”

Margg harrumphed.  “You didn’t get poor Rand’s boots right. He’s too smitten with you to complain.  Now he limps around the kitchen.”

“Don’t pay any attention to her,” Dilana said to me.  “Margg, don’t you have work to do?  Get going or I’ll sneak into your room and shorten all your skirts.”  Dilana shooed us good naturedly out the door.

Margg took me to the servant’s dining room and served me small portions of soup and bread.  The soup tasted divine.  After quickly devouring the food, I asked for more.

“No.  Too much will make you sick,” was all she said.  I reluctantly left my bowl on the table to follow Margg to my room.

“At sunrise be ready to work.” 

Once again I watched her retreating back.

My small room contained a narrow bed with a single stained mattress on a stark metal frame, a plain wooden desk and chair, a chamber pot, an armoire, a lantern, a tiny wood stove, and one window shuttered tight.  The gray stone walls were unadorned.  I tested the mattress; it barely yielded under my weight.  A vast improvement over my dungeon cell, yet I found myself somewhat dissatisfied.

Nothing in the room suggested softness.  With Valek’s metal face and Margg’s censure, and the harsh cut and colors of the uniforms, I longed for a pillow or blanket.  I felt like a lost child looking for something to clutch tight, something supple that wouldn’t end up hurting me.

After hanging my extra uniforms in the armoire, I crossed to the window.  There was a sill wide enough for me to sit on.  The shutters were locked, but the latches were on the inside.  Hands shaking, I unlocked and pushed the shutters wide, blinking in the sudden light.  Shielding my eyes, I squinted beneath my hand, and stared at the scene in front of my window in disbelief.  I was on the first floor of the castle!  Five feet below was the ground. 

Between my room and the stables were the Commander’s kennels and the exercise yard for the horses.  The stable boys and dog trainers wouldn’t care if I escaped.  I could drop down without any effort and be gone.  Tempting, except for the fact that I would be dead in two days.  Maybe another time, where two days of freedom might be worth the price.


POISON STUDY Read-Along Giveaway

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Published by Luna on October 1, 2005
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Also by this author: Poison Study (Study, #1), Inside Out, Touch of Power
5 Stars

Choose: A quick death . . . or slow poison.

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear. . . . 

About Maria V. Snyder

Maria V. Snyder changed from being a meteorologist to a novelist in 1995, when she began writing to keep her sanity while raising two children. Since then, she has published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers, and teaches fiction-writing classes at the local college and area libraries. The classes give her the wonderful opportunity to encourage fellow writers, and to keep improving her craft.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria always had a fascination with big storms. Dreaming of chasing tornados, Maria earned a bachelors of science degree in meteorology at Penn State University. But she discovered, much to her chagrin, that forecasting the weather wasn't one of her skills. In order to chase tornados you had to predict where they might form. Creating fantasy worlds where she has complete control of the weather was more agreeable to her.

Maria's research on food-tasting methods with an expert chocolate taster, her husband, turned out to be a delicious bonus while writing Poison Study.

Maria has a brown belt in Isshinryu Karate, and enjoys playing volleyball and the cello. Traveling in general and via cruise ship in particular are her biggest distractions from writing. Maria has traveled to Belize, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal.

Maria lives with her husband, son, daughter and yellow lab, Hazelnut, in Pennsylvania where she is at work on more LUNA novels. She is also pursuing a master's degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University.

Readers are welcome to contact Maria at the following email address:maria@mariavsnyder.com.


10 winners to match 10 years!

Grand Prize is a signed hardcover first edition of Poison Study and Magic Study (both books).

First Place a signed hardcover first edition of Poison Study

5 winners will get a signed cover flat of the original cover of Poison Study

3 winners will get a signed original bookmark for Poison Study

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Tour Schedule:

Week One:

9/28/2015-Magical Urban Fantasy Reads– Scavenger Hunt

9/29/2015- a GREAT read– Scavenger Hunt

9/30/2015- Seeing Double In Neverland– Scavenger Hunt

10/1/2015- Two Chicks on Books– Guest Post

10/2/2015- Alice Marvels– Scavenger Hunt

Week Two:

10/5/2015- Fiktshun– Scavenger Hunt

10/6/2015- Read Now Sleep Later– Scavenger Hunt

10/7/2015- Mundie Moms– Guest Post

10/8/2015- Tales of the Ravenous Reader– Scavenger Hunt

10/9/2015- Parajunkee– Scavenger Hunt