by Jerry Haynes

For seventy years, the little town of Fries, Virginia had rested peacefully on the space God had scooped out of the banks of New River. Past adversities; the Great Depression of the 30’s, the devastating Flood of ‘40, the infamous Theater Murder in ‘41 had all been overcome. None though were going to compare to the disconsolation due to the events preceding the Christmas of ‘69.

First came a hotly contested mayoral election between the suit Mill superintendent and the blue collar Mill worker that finished in a tie, starting a boil that would continue to fester. Then the final blow to the town occurred when the corporate big wheels not only abruptly closed the Mill just before Christmas, but Scrooged the employees out of their annual bonus and free ham.

It took an angel named Suzie and a Santa Claus named Sam, to remind the town of the true reason for the season. Together, they brought back the Wildcat Spirit of Christmas Past, restoring optimism to a town that had sunken into despair.

For those of you who have never experienced it, learn what a country southern Christmas of the sixties was all about.

The author has lived his entire life in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. In his writings he attempts to bring to the reader the joys of rural southern living.

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Appalachian writer Jerry L. Haynes grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia. After graduating from Fries High School in 1969, he attended VA Tech where he graduated with a Civil Engineering degree in 1977, after serving four years in the US Navy.

Although Haynes always enjoyed writing, he didn’t pen his first novel until 2006 when he self-published A Cotton Mill Town Christmas. He followed with his second novel, The Cotton Mill. Both were loosely based upon his growing up in Fries. He says his first two books are 1/3 fact, 1/3 fiction, and 1/3 just plain fantasy.

Next came two historical fictions. The Saga of Caty Sage is based on the epic true story of five-year old Caty Sage who disappeared from her Elk Creek, Virginia farm in 1792, and her family’s fifty year search for her. Mountain Justice is based upon the aftermath of the Hillsville courthouse tragedy of 1912 when a Richmond journalist, after the execution of Floyd and Clyde Allen, traveled to southwest Virginia to follow Floyd’s final wish for him “to find the truth.”

Haynes has written the non-fiction works entitled The All New, & Improved, You and Climbing Mt. Happiness: The Haynes Hierarchy of Hope and Happiness. He also presents these as a motivational seminars.

The author’s passion though is the work he does through his website /blog www.BringingHopeAndHappiness.com.

The author has spoken before audiences from Roanoke (VA) to Romania. He lives with his wife Judy in Dublin, Virginia and can be reached at handh_services@hotmail.com or through his website.

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