Keeping It Clean

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Posted: Friday, May 30, 2014 12:00 pm

Publisher and Western author Francis Louis Guy Smith of Belton loves Texas, Western and Native American history, God and helping others realize their literary dreams.

When he is writing one of his own novels — he has 17 Christian Westerns under his literary belt — he likes to keep it simple and clean. That means “no sex, cussing or graphic violence.”

“I want teens to be able to read something without worrying about bad language or sex,” he said.

And when he does publish another author’s work through his publishing house, Books by Guy, they must adhere to the same rules.

“I’ve read several of his books and he strictly likes to take the family approach,” said Fred Anglin, whose book “The Tender Years” was published by Smith. “No cuss words, no wild sex in the books. Even though that happened in the West, you don’t have to put it in the book to tell the story. He handles his work and the work of other authors fine, and he is easy to work with.”

“I enjoy writing and providing a source of literature that is not filled with porn or bad language,” Smith said. “I write so that young people can read, understand and enjoy a historical depiction of how it was when cowboys and Indians still roamed this great country.”

Smith begins each chapter of his novels with a Bible verse he says is his way of “planting a seed.”

“It’s my desire that some kid is going to read a Bible verse and get touched,” he said. “All you gotta do is plant a seed and God will fertilize it and the rest is up to you.”

Smith shares his life with his wife of eight years, Maria Estela, whom he met online.

“I wasn’t looking for anybody,” Smith said. “I was just going on there looking.”

“He sent me an email when he saw my picture,” said Estela, who hails from Sand Springs in West Texas. “He didn’t have a photo, but he sent me his phone number. We talked for three hours.”

Estela said she and Smith lived within a mile of each other at three different times in their lives, but never met. When they finally did meet, they discovered they had a lot in common, including cooking and their mutual love of the written word. Together they have five children, 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. When he isn’t busy writing or publishing someone else’s work, Smith can sometimes be found in the kitchen helping his wife create the decorative cakes she enjoys making for friends, family and church.

“This one is for twins graduating from A&M,” she said as she began to layer the pieces of cake, noting that the frosting would be “Aggie colors — maroon and white.”

Born in Gulfport, Miss., Smith moved to Texas in 1979 while working for the oil industry in corporate engineering.

“We put additions on new plants,” Smith said. “I worked close to 20 years in the industry and loved every minute of it.”

The Smiths lived in Rockport when quadruple bypass surgery sidelined him from his career. While convalescing, he pulled out his first book written nearly 20 years earlier, “Oath of Color,” a murder-mystery, to finish it. But he already had discovered his love for writing westerns and put the book away once more.

“I’d rather write westerns,” he said. “They are more fun.”

Eventually they sold their home and began to travel around the state setting up at book fairs. One day they rode into the Belton and Salado area, and he said, “we fell in love with it.”

Smith is passionate about everything Texas and everything cowboy and calls himself a ‘born-again Texan and born-again Christian.’

“I think they both mean the same,” he said.

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