Outskirts Press works hard to help self-publishing authors make their dreams come true, and we’ve had had the good fortune to work with many talented and successful individuals over the years. For that reason, it’s important to give a nod to the authors who’ve, in turn, contributed to our success. Every now and then, we celebrate one of our successful authors in our Self-Publishing Author Spotlight.
This week Outskirts Press proudly features fiction writer Avon Aker, self-publishing author of Vigilante Caretaker, Rom and the Promised Land and COLFAX: Where Freedom Died.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Avon Acker is a lifelong resident of East Texas and a graduate of East Texas State University. Formerly a senior program manager for a major corporation, Acker has traveled all over the world but has never forgotten his roots in rural East Texas. His fictional book, Vigilante Caretaker, takes place in the area where Acker grew up and it will introduce the reader to some of the most strong-willed, compassionate and self-reliant people on earth. Acker has written about a generation of people who ask nothing more than to live their lives, help their neighbors when they need it, and in their vernacular, “Kill their own snakes” without outside interference.
In 1940, a man accused of attempted rape was allowed to walk free while his victim was virtually imprisoned in her home in terror of her attacker. A few months after the attack, the man was ambushed and murdered. The killing was never solved and soon forgotten. In 1951, an alcoholic wife abuser was murdered in his barn. Three weeks later, a well-known rancher’s wife was found murdered with her lover in the loft of a hay barn. These killings bore an eerie resemblance to the 1940 slaying. Deputy sheriff Leonard Cranford was tasked with following the few leads that existed in an attempt to bring the killer to justice. As his investigation proceeds, the evidence begins to point to beautiful Ann Parsons, a young woman Cranford loves and respects. Trapped in a loveless marriage to a greedy, money-grubbing, older man, Ann has dedicated her life to helping the many poor and unfortunate people in her community. Unknown to Ann, events are about to transpire that will change her life forever. The only question is, will they transpire in time to save Ann from herself?
At the age of five, slave Rom Decker is freed by his owner. Blessed with a good mind and remarkable physical skills, he becomes a valued employee to the white family who freed him, and who educate him. Not fully understanding the plight of black slaves, Rom cannot understand why the slaves allow themselves to be so badly treated, and he develops contempt for his people. After the Civil War, Rom is outraged by the way the freed slaves are drawn back into virtual slavery through the demeaning practice of sharecropping, which continues to give white landowners a source of cheap labor. Rom is determined to rescue as many sharecroppers as possible from the bondage of the big landowners. He knows that escaping from repression is extremely difficult, and he is ready to use his courage, intelligence, and all the resources he can muster to save his people and lead them to a new beginning in Arizona. There are many obstacles to overcome — savage Indians, racial prejudice, harsh terrain – but Rom keeps his eyes on the “promised land.” Along the way, Rom finds a new faith in his creator, allowing him to accept the personal tragedies that occur. Author Avon Acker brings the passionate commitment and breadth of vision of both a scholar and a storyteller to Rom and the Promised Land, creating historical fiction that educates and entertains. Readers will come away enlightened not only about the mismanaged Reconstruction years following the Civil War, but also about how those struggles continue to challenge Black Americans in their quest to integrate into American culture.
Responding to a poignant plea for help, Rom Decker and his wife Cassie return to Louisiana and become embroiled in a political firestorm. White landowners are attempting to prevent recently freed slaves from voting or holding elective office in order to maintain the cheap source of labor they so desperately require. In addition, unscrupulous opportunists are using the political turmoil to steal a rich plantation from the original owner who happens to be Rom’s friend. Rom and Cassie voluntarily put their lives in extreme peril by trying to prevent the Colfax massacre, one of the most disgraceful episodes in the history of our country. They will need all their skills, including Cassie’s knowledge of Voodoo arts, to survive.
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