I just returned from an 8 day journey with my two daughters as we traveled into one of the coolest parts of New York, that people in other states know little about. This was a three pronged trip that was vacation+ work + party.

My goal was to get:

1) Photos: to use in the book to use as is or to paint over and manipulate in Photoshop.  I can also use all of these photos in videos and  as inspiration for all of the additional transmedia elements that go along with the I Never Sausage A Place Property.

2) Videos: I needed to get some great authentic footage of everything from farmlands, to people.

3) Inspired: I needed to get inspired, informed and engulfed by the Mohawk Valley, the woods, the climate and the people.

I needed all three and I got them all.

I was born in a a small town called Ilion, NY, located in the town of German Flatts. I just got back from an 8 day adventure (7 days in New York + 1 day of travelling) in this area of upstate NY, as my crew and I took over 1600 photos, shot hours of video and went on endless journeys of adventure in the outdoors.

Any good writer will give you the advice to “write what you know”. Well I know this place well–Mohawk NY. I know the people, the philosophy of the old, middle aged, young and dead. I know the waterways, trash dumps, woods, forests, caves, sports fields, water towers and oh so much more. I know it’s soul and it knows mine.

Mohawk is named after a tribe fo Iroquois indians that once dominated the area. Some say the name Mohawk menas “people of the flint” others say it was “people of the crystal” and some speculate the word Mohawk is Algonquin for “eaters of flesh”, which is my personal favorite.

Welcome to the town of MAN EATERS! I have always loved these man eating spirits. As a kid, I could feel the spirits of the Indians when I would walk in the woods by myself. There was a smell of olden times in those woods that was in harmony that can only be seen or felt from a child’s eye in such pure form. My goal is to write an ass kicking science fiction book to bring that feeling to all of you in I Never Sausage A Place, the prequel to the Gates comic book.

So I went back to rekindle those senses, memories and realizations once again.

Mohawk is an old, historical area that was integral in the revolutionary war. It is the area in which the Last of The Mohicans took place, in the book by James Fenimore Cooper. The small town of Mohawk is located in the Mohawk Valley. After my recent trip I can honestly say that it is loaded with love, goodness and naivety while also full of evil, mystery, fear, hatred and negativity. And energy.

It was good to go back in the womb and see my roots for inspiration. Inspiration for the ebook I am writing, I Never Sausage A Place.

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Going back home is an emotionally draining journey that always leaves me feeling cheated that I didn’t get to see enough of this person or that person. Family can take up a lot of your time and then when you add in the friends factor that eats up a lot too…on top of this I was also trying to get a bunch of work done. For the most part, I achieved what I wanted to accomplish but there is more stuff I could not get done.  But that’s okay, I have enough to work with for sure.

It was a hell of a ride but one I will never forget and file as one of the most awesome experiences of my life. With some really great people, I experienced the greatest and most puzzling pieces of Mohawk Valley history as I could in seven days.

I felt like I died and rose from the ashes of my corpse while I was there. Just like old times.

To start with, it was hot as hell and I was on the road most of the time hunting for the bizarre, dilapidated, timeless, natural and quintessential staples of the Mohawk Valley. In some places, 1987 is the same, just a little more withered.


A big thanks goes out to all of my family, friends and acquaintences that helped me on this journey of retrieval.

Nobody helped me more than one creative dude named, SEAN BERRIE . To me he is the THE PHOTO/VIDEO WARLOCK.

This guy was a one man wrecking crew of knowledge and photo and video wizardry. He knew where to go to get what I needed and he was available at all hours of the day and night. We had one hell of a trip and I look forward to our next journey.

(no explanations–sorry you’ll have to read the book!)

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1) BE PREPARED: Do as much as you can to prepare, even if you never need it. The fact that you have it, will help you tremendously.

2) BE ORGANIC: No matter how much you prepare, schedule or hope when laying out plans for production, you always have to consider other factors that will throw a wrench into the inter workings of your design. Whether it’s the weather, or some sort of natural happening, be prepared to be organic and flexible. 

3) DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF: Things will go wrong. ALWAYS. So don’t piss and moan about it, suck it up and move on. Focus on the good and the things that went right.

4) IF YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO IT, FIND SOMEONE WHO DOES TO HELP YOU: Just common sense. Throw down your ego and ask for help. It’s okay to ask for help.

5) FRIENDS and FAMILY are invaluable. Respect and love thy friends and family. They will be there for you in your darkest nights and brightest days.




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halhefner@gmail.com and please make sure to sign up for the Gates mailing list, especially if you think chicken should have nothing to do with Chick Fil A and gay marriage!

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