Gene Shelton retires from writing after career as award-winning journalist, author of 26 books
Patti Sells | News-Telegram Feature Editor

Award-winning journalist and author Gene Shelton recently retired from writing, but he’s not to be forgotten. He was signing copies of his books Saturday at The Avid Reader, located at 226 Gilmer St. He has published 26 books, and a limited number of his works will be available at the book store.
Staff Photo By Angela Pitts

Aug. 21, 2005 -- Award-winning journalist and author Gene Shelton of Sulphur Springs recently retired from writing, but he’s hardly fallen off the page.

Shelton was signing copies of his rare, first-edition collectible books Saturday, Aug. 19, at The Avid Reader, located at 226 Gilmer St.

Shelton has been a journalist for more than 30 years, and a job at the News-Telegram is what brought him to Sulphur Springs in 1974.

Born and raised in the Texas Panhandle, Shelton tried his hand as a working cowboy, horse trainer and rodeo competitor before working his way through college at an Amarillo newspaper.

“I didn’t discover I had a talent for writing until relatively later in life. It was after I got bucked off a bull one time and landed on my head that I decided I better try something else,” Shelton said, laughing.

He said he went on to work for the Dallas Times-Herald and published his first book in 1958.

“I basically wrote my first book just to see if I could do it,” he said.

During his eight-year stint with the News-Telegram, first as the sports editor, then as the news editor, Shelton published two more books, and in the ensuing decades continued to publish works each year under his own name, as well as under a number of pseudonyms.

“Writing books is too much work to be a passion,” Shelton explained. “You sit down with a blank piece of paper and a typewriter (now a computer). I’ve never been totally satisfied with any of my books. I always wish I would have taken the manuscript back for one more reread.“

A couple of his favorites, however, are “Man Hunter,” a fictionalized biography based on the life and times of Frank Hamer, a former Texas Ranger; and a Western series called “Texas Horse Trading Company.”

“It’s a comic Western series I wrote just for grins,” he said .

Shelton has published 26 books, and a limited number of his works, both hardback and paperback, will be available for purchase at The Avid Reader at reduced cover prices.

In addition to numerous journalism awards, Shelton was also named as a finalist in the 1999 Western Writers of America Spur Awards competition in the short fiction category, and one of his historical novels is currently being considered by a major motion picture studio.

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