Gene wrote two historical fiction books; they are both published on Amazon and along with a fascinating story contain Gene’s exceptional artwork. Mystery in the Gallo Mountains is a laconic fictional story. It is blended with historical snippets that affect a particular American family of mixed blood who struggle to survive the trials and hardships of the early 1900s. The clan of five travel from Eastern Tennessee to Western New Mexico, striving to hold on and stay alive together as hunter-gatherers. For poor folk after the Great Depression, this is not a unique saga, as many lamented and rejoiced through similar situations but the people of this tale live through untold, strange and ultimately tragic circumstances. The narrator, Naomi, is the teen-aged daughter in the brood of nomads and tells of a rugged life out on the land. They hunt, fish, trap and gather wild foodstuffs for their sustenance. Camping under the star-studded New Mexican skies and walking miles across the enchanted terrain to the closest townships is challenging but unforgettable. They go periodically to collect mail, sell furs and pieces of cloth woven by Naomi’s Mama, and to visit relatives and friends. Through her eyes, we also enter into a personal account of what it was like to be female in this raw and wonderful world that she loves and remembers for the rest of her days.

Vandora’s Flight is a sequel to Mystery in the Gallo Mountains, which delves into the continuing escapades and hardships of the family described in the first book. Naomi speaks again for them, feeling somehow it was important to stay with their plight. She, unfortunately, was alone in her digging for the truth—no one else would pick up a nefarious shovel to help out. But an urgency welled up within her, to have hidden wounds revealed as much as she with paper and pen could express; it simply would not let her do otherwise. Naomi kept probing into her family’s hidden past even though most kin did not want to know more about or face any further shame and hurt, even if the rumors about Vandora were untrue. But it was like the whisper of a barely audible voice in Naomi’s ear, a voice that could not be silenced, coming from a grandma she never knew but somehow loved.

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