Chapter 2 starts out with Yelena’s first lesson in tasting foods for evidence of poison. The tasting methods that I described in the book are all actual techniques that professional tasters use.  My husband provided the information as he worked for Mars Chocolate at the time. Part of his job entailed tasting chocolate (pretty sweet! ;) and I heard words like, “mouth-feel” and “texture” and “aromatics” for years. In fact, he’s the reason I sparked on a food taster as a character when I was reading Orson Scott Card’s book (see The “Birth” of Poison Study post on my blog for more details).  When I expressed interest in learning more about tasting, he gleefully provided me with a three foot tall stack of articles. I learned way more about the tongue that I really needed to know – yuck!

I did try to find real poisons for the story as well, but couldn’t find any that would do what I wanted them to do.  So I invented them all—one of the perks of writing fantasy! The first poison Yelena encounters is Butterfly’s Dust. The name was taken from my son’s favorite book at the time on butterflies.  While reading this book to him over a zillion times, I learned that butterflies have a fine powder or dust on their wings. I thought it was cool. And, no, I didn’t know that the poison would be a ruse/distraction – that came later.

Margg is introduced in this chapter and she’s not likable. I will admit, she is based on a person I worked with when I was an environmental meteorologist. A person I did not like at all.  See what happens when you piss me off? ;> Rand’s name comes from my brother-in-law Randy, who likes to cook and works in the food industry.

When I first envisioned this story, I thought I’d have a King, Queen, and Dukes, etc… when I switched to a military dictatorship, I decided everyone in Ixia would wear a uniform.  This made it easier for me (I didn’t have to describe their clothing all the time), easier for Yelena to know who was who, and easier for Valek to take advantage of the anonymity of wearing a uniform.  I also think attending Catholic school for 12 years and wearing a uniform also influenced this decision.  I LOVED wearing a uniform – it involved no thinking in the morning when my brain is still asleep (be glad I write at night!).

Question 2 – How many languages has Poison Study been translated into?

Don't answer this question in the comments!! This is another chance to win! There will be 31 questions for each chapter note published. Collect the answers to ALL the questions (or your best guess) and then enter to win a T-shirt at the end of the month (I'll post the Rafflecopter on the 31st). You can win this special red minion T-shirt that tells the world you are a die-hard reader. It will be open to ALL and there will be 10 T-shirt winners!!


  1. Hi! I can't seem to find the second chapter from Valek's POV. I tried to go to Alice Marvels website but it says it can't find the website. Is there a link posted somewhere to the next chapter?

    1. I only wrote one chapter from Valek's POV. Today's blog stop is part of the scavenger hunt. But the post on October 7 at Mundie Moms will have another short section from Valek's POV. I don't know what happened to Alice's website, I couldn't get the link to work either.


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