MACHALO: (mac-hay-lo) for the ultimate in Shade protection, take 1 hot pink bike helmet, secure blazing LED lights to surface, strap on and kick Fae ass!

Karen talks about the MacHalo:
When fictional character MacKayla Lane invented the MacHalo to defend herself from the deadly Shades—a caste of Unseelie that live in darkness and prey on humans—I never imagined the bizarre helmet she designed would explode from the pages of Faefever, and take on a life of its own.

First, you wanted to know if it was real. When you found out I’d built it before writing it into the story (I had to know if it worked!) you wanted a picture. Then you wanted a picture of me wearing it, and finally you wanted pictures of yourselves wearing it. How could I refuse?

I packed it up and sent it out to the first fans in January, 2009, and you’ve been passing it around ever since. It’s been spotted in Everett, Portland, Los Angeles, Huntington Beach, San Francisco, Salem, Seattle, Atlanta, Chattanooga, Washington DC, Mechanicsville, Las Vegas, Radcliff, New York, Leavenworth, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Scotland, and Mexico, and it’s rumored to be on the way to Dublin soon!

I can’t tell you how fabulously fun it’s been for me to see Mac’s helmet on...

Houston, TX January 2010

The MacHalo came to Houston on January 30, 2010, just in time for some very unusual weather. Houston usually does not experience winter; the coldest it gets is around fifty degrees for a few days, if we’re lucky. Jack Frost must have known what a grand event it was to have the MacHalo in Houston, and he decided to celebrate by giving us weather in the lower thirties/upper forties on the day of our outing. As a result, us Houstonians, who are used to eighty degree winters, decided it was too cold to stay and romp around the city for long. We still had a great time and got some good pictures, even though the day was cut short.

We started the day by having lunch at the Spaghetti Warehouse, a local restaurant famous for being haunted and serving awesome spaghetti. While we were there, we met another lady who was out eating with her family and recognized the MacHalo, which I thought was pretty cool. One of the men who went, Greg, was the director of public relations at Rice University, so we planned to go there and take a picture with the statue of Rice, but once we got there we realized the statue was almost twenty feet tall, and there was no way we were going to climb it! We settled for taking pictures with William Rice in the background and moved on. The next place we hit was the Sam Houston statue, the namesake for our great city. Just behind the statue was the Hotel ZaZa, which had a huge Z on it that looked almost identical to the Z that Jericho branded on Mac, so of course we all had to take pictures with the Z in the background! The Museum of Natural Science was across from the statue, so we went and took pictures there, as well as the Miller Outdoor Theatre. By this time we had been outside for two hours, I had gone through two sets of batteries in my camera, and I had lost all feeling in my fingers an hour and a half ago, so we decided to call it a day. Despite those things, I had a wonderful, exciting day with the MacHalo and a great group of women and can’t wait for the next event that brings us together.

Austin, TX January 2010

So when Leiha asked me to host the MacHalo for Austin, TX, I accepted and immediately was excited. Of course when it finally arrived I put it on right away, and that thing is heavy! Took some getting used to, but as we found it is quite efficient in the dark. My family and I marveled at it for a few days and then it was time to meet up with the Maniacs.

On January 16th my two friends Rosie and Teresa hopped in my car and we made our way to a very sunny downtown Austin. We found Tracie, and were then found by Barbie and her daughter, and Melissa and her family. We all passed the MacHalo around and took some pictures. Our first destination was the famous Tower on the University of Texas campus. Thank goodness Melissa’s husband came along, he was the perfect navigator for our little crew. We got some great pictures with the UT Tower in the background, and then decided we’d hit the Texas State Capitol. Once we got there, it was just our luck that a rally was going on. We took some more pictures, and got some contemplative looks from people at the rally. The thing is, in Austin anything goes, so people looked, then shrugged and chalked it up to the fact that we are Austinites. After that, we headed to an Irish pub called Fado’s, where we chatted and found heaven through a dessert called a “Black and Tan” (Brownie with Guiness ice cream, holy crap!) We all had such a fun time just talking about the Fever series and generally being silly! Good times…

The next day I again met up with Barbie and her family, and this time two of my fellow RBL ladies joined us. Su and Joey met up with us at Chuy’s for some delicious Tex-Mex food, and of course some fun pictures. We took pictures at the sign by the side of the road and as you can imagine, got a few honks. Lovely. After Chuy’s we decided to go to Amy’s ice cream, which is a pretty famous ice cream shop in Austin and is absolutely delicious. Anyone get the idea that Austin maniacs also happen to be foodies? Yeah, our meet-ups sort of revolved around good places to eat. But hey you can’t ask for anything more, good company, good food AND the MacHalo? Yeah, it was lots of fun.
Also, as requested by Leiha, my good friend Teresa agreed to take some pictures of me dressed up as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider with the MacHalo. We went out in my yard on yet another awesome, sunny Texas day and took the pictures. Yeah, we were pretty much ridiculous, but we had a lot of fun doing it! Lots of fun is probably the best description for the MacHalo meet-ups in Austin. I got to meet some really fun people and help share the legendary MacHalo with my fellow Maniacs:) Thanks again Karen and Leiha!


The Mann Family Christmas

Since I had the ZLo in my possession I decided to make it a part of the Mann Family Christmas. I love spending time with my family, especially since I have spent the majority of my adult life living away from them so I really cherish this time with my family.

We invited some family friends over to be a part of the festivities. I wish I would have taken more pics as the night progressed but once the food was eaten and the presents opened it was time for serious game play. My family is a competitive family but in a fun way. We played Texas Hold 'em (I lost), Rockband and board games (catchphrase and taboo) until 3am while eating leftovers and a vat of jelly bellys. Dad had taken the little ones home way before then. Once the guys passed out the gals rocked out a little more until I cried uncle. It takes a lot to pry the microphone out of my hands but exhaustion won out. If I'm going to be a rock star I'm going to have to work on my stamina, LOL.

I hope you enjoy the Mann Family Christmas.

Chicago, IL January 2010

On the morning of January 2nd, my husband, daughter and I hopped the train to take the Halo down to meet the ladies at CafĂ© Iberico in downtown Chicago. After we pulled into Oglivie Station, my family went to the Shedd Aquarium and I headed over and met right up with Eileen at the restaurant. Soon thereafter, Angel, Sara, and Kristen arrived. What a wonderful group of women! I swear, I felt like I already knew each one of them. Even though only 5 of us out of a possible 15 or so showed up, it certainly didn’t dampen our spirits (or keep us from consuming spirits. I’ve never been tipsy on sangria at noon before)! The more the drinks flowed, the more in depth the conversation became. We discussed everything from men to authors to Fevercon to body parts (you figure out which ones! I’m not telling.). Of course, we had to take some shots with the MacHalo. We felt momentarily panicked when we noticed one of the black click it lights was missing. Whew! What a relief when we found it.

After thoroughly stuffing ourselves with food and desserts, we decided to brave the 15 below zero wind chills and get some pictures around the city. I must say that Sara was the bravest of us all. She had some sexy, butt kicking hot pink heels on and she boldly went where no MacHalo wearer has gone before in freezing cold weather. I especially love the shot of her strutting her stuff across Michigan Avenue. Everyone was so willing and excited. We had a ton of fun and got a kick out of taking pictures around the city. I’m still surprised I was able to work the camera! My hands were numb after about 15 minutes:) Alas, all good things must come to an end. Well, I don’t really believe that, but I thought it was a good transitional phrase. The truth is, everyone had to go. I am so grateful to have spent the holidays with the MacHalo. I had some unforgettable adventures, many laughs and I made some great friends.

Kris aka Knordeng