Kate Kaynak was born and raised in New Jersey--but managed to escape. After teaching around the world, she moved to New Hampshire with her husband and three preschoolers, where she enjoys reading, writing, and fighting crime with her amazing superpowers.
This is an excerpt from ADVERSARY, the second book in the Ganzfield series:
February fifteenth. Trevor's eighteenth birthday. At the end of the afternoon, I found Trevor and Drew on the new shooting range down near the sparks' houses. Hannah shivered unhappily behind a protective cinderblock barrier, giving me a half-wave as I came near. She wore a bulky set of bright blue ear protectors as she tried to read. My stomach fell as Drew emptied an entire clip directly at Trevor. Rapid-fire shots cracked the air, leaving my ears ringing and freezing a piece of my soul. Intellectually, I knew Trevor needed to practice stopping bullets. But I still had to suppress the sudden impulse to make him stop! Drew wasn't trying to hurt Trevor. They both wore Kevlar vests and riot helmets with clear visors that covered their faces. Hannah was there to deal with any injuries. And Trevor could handle it. The bullets hung suspended in front of him like a scene from the Matrix. I waited until Drew lowered the gun before I tried to get their attention. Then I forced a cheerful smile over my taut nerves. Hey guys. Party time!? Drew's grin turned predatory as Trevor blanched. I snorted. "So you're cool with Drew SHOOTING at you, but not with him throwing you a birthday party?" Trevor shrugged. "Some things are scarier than others." February is cold and grey in New Hampshire. People draw into themselves, becoming cold and grey as well in response to the long, dark winter. Ganzfield's sparks seemed to enjoy the season more than most other people, though. Maybe it was because it was easier for pyrokinetics to stay warm; maybe it was because the early sunsets made their games of Fireball more dramatic. In the winter, the sparks played out on the thick ice of the lake, which brightened the game further. It also added the risk of sliding into open water through the goal-holes cut in the ice. So far this winter, only Harrison and Ellen had been dunked. Each was quickly fished out and warmed by the collective flames of both teams. Some huge blocks of ice had appeared in the middle of their little community in early January. Most were several feet high. The tallest towered over the little cinderblock buildings. I never found out how they'd been acquired, but over the next weeks, a few sparks carved them with projected flames. The resulting ice sculptures, mostly smooth, clear abstracts, were eerily beautiful. Drew had decided to use Trevor's birthday as an excuse for the latest party. He didn't
need much of an excuse. Two weeks ago, Drew had organized a celebration of "Groundhog's Day Eve." Tonight, a huge bonfire lit the narrow beach where the circle of damp sand held a couple dozen people. Fireball was played like soccer, only the three-foot-wide ball remained suspended above the ground by a flame-reactive form of telekinesis. The blazing sphere lit the ice beneath it, reflecting a mirror image against the dark surface. A sizzling hiss and a plume of steam accompanied each scored goal. After the game, the sparks took turns sculpting the bonfire in a kind of performance art. It ranged from the simplicity of shadow puppets to more artistic and complex forms. The evening's activities then turned into a contest of fire-walking. The sparks stepped through the fire, using their ability to bend the flames around themselves. Other sparks called out encouragement, advice, or trash-talk. Katie Underwood made the blaze twirl around her like an elegant ball gown that nearly kissed her skin. She received exuberant applause for her efforts. A chunk of Grant McFee's jeans blackened before he could think out the flames, resulting in good-natured boos and laughter. Considering the sparks could still get burns, and an inhaled breath at the wrong time could pull superheated air right into their lungs, this was not a pastime for the meek. So, of course, it was exciting to watch. We had a great time. Finally, Drew brought out Trevor's cake, lighting the excessive display of candles with a magician's flourish.