search sponsored by

Find more about Weather in Hartsville, SC
              Click for weather forecast

weather sponsored by

SLOAN COLUMN - Local authors have works in print

on Tuesday, 08 October 2019. Posted in Columns, Opinions

SLOAN COLUMN - Local authors have works in print

Three local authors have recently had their work published.

James Austin of Lake City had his 16-page book, “Transforming Minds: Turning Setbacks Into Opportunities, Vol. 1,” published by Amazon Digital Services in May. The self-help book is available for purchase on

Austin, a member of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in Lake City, said he wrote the book to encourage others to be transformed in their minds, so that their lives can reflect their thinking. In it, Austin offers eight guiding principals to transform the reader’s thinking and life.

Austin writes from personal experience about overcoming setbacks. After graduating from Lake City High School, Austin attended Gardner-Webb University on a football scholarship. After school he got married and began working as a manufactured homes salesman.

In 1993, he was convicted of breach of contract and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. After serving eight and a half years, he was released. During is incarceration, Austin found the Lord and his life was transformed,He went back to work as a car salesman in Sumter and was inspired to write his book.

Through a contact, Austin was put in touch with the NOW Network. He now has a program on the cable television network, “Transforming Minds with Brother James Austin.” The program airs each Tuesday at 7 a.m.

In July, Covenant Book’s published David H. Brown’s “Only Death: Tragedy In Williamsburg,” a historical fiction novel based on an actual event that occurred in three South Carolina counties in the year 1870, primarily Williamsburg and involving Georgetown and Charleston counties.

The 294-page book is available for purchase on and

A retired pharmacist and longtime resident of Florence, Brown grew up in Williamsburg County. According to Brown, the book “is a story about my great-grandparents and what happened concerning them.

“In early January 1870 my great-grandfather, Sidney McGill Brown, was challenged to a duel by a young man over a dispute which originated over the competition for the hand of a lovely young lady who eventually ended up being my great grandmother.

“Williamsburg County is involved because all three persons involved were from that county. Georgetown County became involved because a challenge to a duel was issued, and the place named for where the duel was to take place was the lighthouse on North Island, sixteen miles south of the city of Georgetown. Charleston County comes into play because that is where the murder trial took place.”

Brown’s book details how the feud started, how it evolved, and how it ended in tragedy. The author also says it is interesting because it has “an important, universal, moral lesson that everyone can learn from.”

The most recent author to be published is Timothy Coker of Darlington. Coker, the pastor of Central Baptist Church for the past 24 years, had his book, “Learning to Fly,” published by Courier Publishing. The book is available for purchase on,, and other online book retailers.

In the book, Coker says there is a big difference between traveling by air and flying. A synopsis on Google Books states: “What is true in air transportation is also true in life. One enjoys the life-trip; the other stoically gets through it. One delights in the experience; the other hates it. One soars; the other merely exists. Coker's hope is that readers will start Learning to Fly!”

In “Learning to Fly,” Pastor Coker explores “the internal and external things that keep us from experiencing all God desires.”

TOURNIQUET DRIVE: On Sept. 4, The News Journal published a front page story detailing a campaign spear-headed by Toni Brandt to collect tourniquets to distribute to local law enforcement officers in honor and in memory of the officers slain during the Oct. 3, 2018 shooting in the Vintage Place neighborhood that resulted in the deaths of Florence police Sgt. Terrence Carraway and Florence County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Farrah Turner. Five other officers were also injured.

Brandt’s goal was to collect at least 300 tourniquets -one for each Florence Police officer, Florence County sheriff’s deputy and S.C. Highway Patrol officer serving Florence County - by the one-year anniversary of the deadly shooting.

On Oct. 1, she sent an email that informed us that she had reached and surpassed her goal. “Thank you again for highlighting the tourniquet drive.,” she wrote. “We have exceeded the goal of 300! We currently have 325 to distribute.”

To Brandt and all those who contributed, we say well done and we are thankful we could be a part of the effort. We can think of no better way to honor those who gave their lives while in service to their community.

BACK TO WORK: A column in our Sept. 24 edition shared the story of Frank Eason, a much-loved greeter at the Sam’s Club in Florence. Frank, who is autistic, was let go by the company earlier this after 20 years dedicated service. Word of Frank’s dismissal quickly spread and the community rallied around their friend. A Go Fund Me campaign exceeded its goal of $10,000 in less than 48 hours.

Frank’s aunt, Myra Horton, said Sam’s club offered her nephew his old job back, but he now had other job offers to consider.

We are glad to report, and we are sure most of you know already, that Frank is now greeting customers at the Harris Teeter grocery store on Palmetto Street.

We are thankful for a community that cares and we are most certain that Sam’s loss is Harris Teeter’s gain.

Contact Editor Bob Sloan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.