Fire Study Release!

My third Study book arrived in bookstores and via Amazon this week.  Many of my readers have been waiting since October 2006 for this book, and I know I’ll soon be getting emails asking when the next book is due out :)   I am quite pleased with how the story progressed in this novel, and very happy with the wonderful review from Publishers Weekly.

For this blog, I thought I would relate a little of my own sizzling adventures in the world of molten glass. In order to write the scenes with Opal, a glass artist in the book, I signed up for a class in glass blowing (gotto love this job).  Plus I’ve also included an excerpt for you – a hot peek of Fire Study.

The first day of glass class, the teacher made it look so easy to gather a slug of glass.  But when it was my turn – yikes! It was HOT!  The big cistern of molten glass is kept in a rip roaring furnace at a toasty 2100 degrees Fahrenheit. I held a metal rod, and, while squinting through an eye-melting orange light, I dipped the end into the thick goo and spun it, gathering a glob of glass onto the end. The incandescent glob glowed as if alive

Once acquired, the slug then needed to be quickly shaped. Glass cools at a rapid pace, and, even though heat waves pulsed from the slug, it didn’t stay pliable for long.  With glass you need to keep re-heating it in the glory hole – which is another furnace that’s empty and hot – but it softens the glass so you can try to get the lumps out while making a whole new set of lumps.  Did I say you have to keep turning the metal rod.  If you don’t your lump becomes lopsided and you don’t want a lopsided lump.

Eventually we made paperweights – which the insides look great because you want that first gather of glass to be lumpy but not lopsided. You get to pinch the blob with tweezers and twist it – fun stuff. You also dip it into powdered colored glass which colors the glass. Patience is required when working with glass – you get a few seconds to twist and tweeze before having to get up off the bench and reheat everything again.

My first paperweight was a misshapened blob. But after hours of practice, my ability improved, and I created a paperweight worthy to hold down my next novel’s manuscript pages. But all the time spent in class helped me in writing about Opal.  In fact, I liked Opal so much she will be the main character in the fourth “Study” book – Storm Glass.

I also learned that working with glass required deft coordination, arm strength, tons of patience, and a good partner—it’s a good thing I have a day job!

Speaking of day jobs….Here’s a peek of Fire Study:

The man stepped from the midst of the roaring bonfire. He was scorched black from head to toe, and small flames clung to him like feathers. He advanced toward me. I broke my paralysis and scrambled away from him.

“Did I surprise you, my little bat?” the man asked. “Counted nine when there really were ten. Hot little trick.”

He knew my conscience had flown with the bats. But who was he? I scanned the surrounding jungle, looking for my backup. Leif and my friends were at the edge of the clearing

“No help from them, my little bat. They will burn if they come any closer.”

I tried to project into the flaming man’s mind, but his mental defenses proved impenetrable, a Warper of incredible strength. Running out of options, I glanced behind me and caught sight of my bow. The blazing Warper pointed and a line of fire appeared between me and my weapon. The moisture evaporated from my mouth. I tasted ashes. A wall of hot air pushed against me and the Warper was before me.

“Fire is your downfall, little bat. Can not call it. Can not control it.”

My body roasted as if I had been staked to a spit over a giant campfire. Just when I thought I would faint, he extended his hands and a bubble of cool air caressed my skin. The break from the heat an intoxicating relief. I swayed.

“Take my hands. I will not burn you. Travel with me through the fire.”


“Because you belong to me.”

To read the first chapter of Fire Study go to my website at

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  1. 1. Kai Jones

    Heh. My copy arrived yesterday and I handed it over to a co-worker to read first because she was kind enough to lend me Poison Study and thereby introduce me to your work.

Author Information

Maria V. Snyder

Maria V. Snyder has been writing fiction and nonfiction since 1995. She has published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers. Her first published novel, Poison Study appeared on the shelves in 2005, and chronicles Yelena’s challenges in surviving her dangerous job as a food taster. Magic Study follows with Yelena’s efforts to learn about her magic while searching for a rogue magician turned serial killer. Fire Study chronicles Yelena's adventures with a Fire Warper and was released in March 2008. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology at Penn State University. Much to Maria’s chagrin, forecasting the weather wasn’t one of her skills. Writing, however, proved to be more enjoyable and Maria earned a Master of Arts degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. As part of her research for her Study novels, Maria signed up for a glass blowing class to learn how to shape molten glass. The first thing she learned is it is considerably harder to sculpt glass than it looks. Maria now has an extensive collection of misshapened paperweights, tumblers, and bowls. When she’s not traveling, Maria lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, daughter and yellow Lab. She is working on her next MIRA novel, Storm Glass, due out Spring 2009. Readers are welcome to contact Maria by e-mail at, or they can find more information on her Web site at Visit site.



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