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A VISIT WITH ELAINE COOPER, AUTHOR OF ROAD TO DEER RUN

Posted by on Dec 9, 2015 in Blog, Books, History, Uncategorized | 9 comments

Elaine Marie Cooper’s story ROAD TO DEER RUN takes us to Massachusetts in 1777 after the Battle of Saratoga. Wounded British lieutenant Daniel Lowe has escaped his Continental Army guards and is hiding on the Thomsen property. Midwife Thomsen’s daughter, Mary, finds him and nurses him back to health.

In reading the author’s notes, we discover that the characters in your story are based on your ancestors. Please briefly share that with us.

When I was quite young, a relative informed me that one of my ancestors was a British soldier during the American Revolution. I was quite horrified! As I grew older, however, I began to wonder about that soldier—who he was, where he came from, how did he end up staying in America. Not all of my questions were answered but I learned quite a bit about him Road to Deer Run - Coverthrough research. It was like discovering a genealogical goldmine! I was so excited to learn about my heritage and I included as many facts in my story as I could. Obviously, much of the story is fictionalized because I don’t have any family diaries, but where I could, I incorporated true facts.

How much research was involved in telling this story? Do you have a particular method of searching for the facts? Did this involve traveling, interviews, searching library, or church records?

Since Road to Deer Run was my first historical novel set in this locale and time period, research was mind-boggling! I searched the internet, Google books from the town, records from the local doctor’s office, church record, maps, and book after book about life in Colonial America. But visiting the site where my ancestors lived and worked was the most inspiring part of research. And interviewing the local historian in Williamsburg, MA was incredibly helpful. There’s nothing like having an informative local historian to bring history to life!

The situation of an American patriot nursing a British soldier, the enemy, is compelling. How much of their story did you know about and how much did you create?

Since I did not have the details about how the real Daniel and Mary met, much of it is fiction. But I surmised that it was very possible the real Daniel could have sustained injury in the Battle of Saratoga. I knew the King’s Army had been starving during that time so Daniel’s weakened condition was plausible. And there is an excerpt in A History of Williamsburg in Massachusetts that reads thus: “One British soldier, worn out and tired of fighting for what seemed a lost cause, dropped out from the irregular line of march at Springfield and returned to Williamsburg. There, on an old road leading from Williamsburg to Goshen, he built a log cabin. Later this man, Daniel Prince, married a Miss Packard of the neighborhood and reared a family.” This excerpt leaves out much detail, but my writer’s imagination took this story and ran with it!

ROAD TO DEER RUN has timeless themes of romance, grief, anger, bitterness, and forgiveness and you pace the story very well. Did you plot out your story ahead of time or did you allow it to develop as you wrote it?  

I guess you could call me a “seat of the pants writer” as I let the story develop as it went. I had spent numerous hours ahead of time forming a basic plot in my imagination. Then, when I could no longer keep it just in my head, I had to release it to the written page. It’s always interesting to me to “watch” the plot unfold and have the characters begin to speak. It’s the strangeness of being a writer. LOL

ROAD TO DEER RUN is the edited version of your earlier book THE ROAD TO DEER RUN. Why did you re-do the book? This is the first story in the DEER RUN series. Will you be editing and re-publishing the other stories in the series?

When I first wrote Road to Deer Run, I discovered the publishing industry was in a down turn. With many new writers being ignored and companies laying off editors, I decided to self publish. While self-publishing can be a good alternative for some, it was not a wise decision for my first novel. It lacked proper editing. When I pitched the series to CrossRiver Media, they immediately contracted all three books, much to my joy! They have an excellent editor (Debra Butterfield) and she has worked with me to improve the read. The book covers needed re-doing as well because they tend to make the book appear as if it is for children, although it is geared towards adults. Promise of Deer Run releases next June, 2016, and Legacy of Deer Run releases in December of 2016.

When you started writing the original story, did you know this would be a series, or was your initial intent for it to be one book?

I initially thought it would just be one book, but an editor suggested I turn it into a series. I followed his advice—and I’m glad I did.

Elaine Cooper

     Elaine Marie Cooper

What do you want your readers to take away from ROAD TO DEER RUN?

The belief that God is still there, even in the most desperate of circumstances. And that despite what others may do to hurt or offend us, God still expects us to forgive. It’s not usually easy, but it is necessary if we are to be freed of bitterness.

 

What has writing the original story or the edited one taught you?

When you write the personal thoughts of a character who is wrestling with a dilemma, you sort through the struggles in your own mind. I suppose the characters become an extension of the author and help bring clarity to our own thinking.

 

Please tell us about the sequel(s) and when they might be available.

Promise of Deer Run focuses on the now grown up Sarah Thomsen and follows characters who are impacted by the war with post traumatic stress. Legacy of Deer Run follows Mary and Daniel’s oldest son and his work in Springfield as he must leave Deer Run in order to make a living. Of course romance is a central theme in both of these books, and Mary and Daniel play a prominent role in the whole saga.

 

Thank you so much, Elaine, for being my guest. I know folks will enjoy the story.

Thank you so much for having me, Janet! I am honored to have been your guest.

Where can readers find your books?

Road to Deer Run is available at the CrossRiver site http://www.crossrivermedia.com/portfolio/road-to-deer-run/gallery/fiction/ and will be available at Amazon on December 10. The kindle version can be downloaded at http://www.amazon.com/Road-Deer-Run-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B0189AH21M

Bethany’s Calendar is available at http://www.amazon.com/Bethanys-Calendar-Elaine-Marie-Cooper-ebook/dp/B00QXY38F6

Fields of the Fatherless at http://www.amazon.com/Fields-Fatherless-Historical-Fiction-Elaine-ebook/dp/B00FYV5EOM

Author Bio:

Elaine Marie Cooper is the award-winning author of Bethany’s Calendar and Fields of the Fatherless. Her re-release of the Deer Run Saga begins with Road to Deer Run this month and will be followed by Promise of Deer Run (June 2016) and Legacy of Deer Run (December 2016). Saratoga Letters will release in October 2016. Elaine’s passions are her faith, her family, and the history of the American Revolution, the era in which her historical fiction novels are set. You can read her blog on her website at: www.elainemariecooper.com

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GIVING THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES

Posted by on Nov 22, 2015 in Blog, Commentary, Devotions, Uncategorized | 4 comments

Friends and family will gather this Thursday, November 26, to celebrate Thanksgiving. Many will enjoy a lavish meal, engage in time-honored events, and possibly watch a football game.

Thanksgiving celebrations have been practiced in many nations for hundreds of years. Our celebrations are rooted in English traditions of celebrating after a harvest. But Thanksgiving Day also has religious origins.

Thanksgiving CharactersMost school aged children are taught about the 1621 celebration at Plymouth when the colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn meal and gave thanks to God for their blessings.

Virginia claims an earlier Thanksgiving celebration at what is now known as Berkeley Plantation. On December 4, 1619, where Captain John Woodlief and the company of men dropped to their knees and prayed:First Official Thanksgiving Commemoration Plaque

“We ordaine that this day of our ships arrival,

at the place assigned for plantacon (plantation)

in the land of Virginia,

shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy

as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

First Official Thanksgiving Commemoration Plaque -2For more details, see:

AMERICA’S FIRST THANKSGIVING ~ BERKELEY PLANTATION

http://janetgrunst.com/americas-first-thanksgiving-berkeley-plantation/?preview=true&preview_id=582&preview_nonce=f909ed43c3

Some of us may be experiencing a bittersweet Thanksgiving.

Are you grieving because you have lost a loved one to death or hurting from a broken relationship? Are you anxious because you or someone close to you is fighting a disease or illness? Maybe you’re heartbroken because of a child or grandchild’s trial. Perhaps there are disappointments due to a job or opportunity loss, or fears resulting from financial woes. Some of us even worry about what might happen in the future ― events which may never materialize.  

God tells us “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

Does that make sense? How do we give thanks when it feels like our world is falling apart? We are to give thanks in all circumstances, not for all circumstances. In the midst of whatever you are going through Scripture can be very encouraging.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

Praising God is a wonderful antidote to fight discouragement or depression. As you enumerate the many things you can thank God about, a subtle but miraculous event occurs.

While your circumstances may not be altered, your attitude as you take the journey will be transformed.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV

Have a blessed Thanksgiving

in the knowledge that God loves you.

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Susan Craft’s newest work ~ CASSIA

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in Blog, Books, Uncategorized | 12 comments

In the first two of Susan’s books in this series THE CHAMOMILE and LAUREL, we get to know Lilyan and Nicholas Xanthakos and follow their suspense-filled experiences.  CASSIA is the third installment of their story. Susan’s books are filled with historical detail about the 18th century, particularly South Carolina.Cover of Cassia

Share with us a little about yourself.

I’ve lived in Columbia, SC, since I was five years old. Forty-five years ago, I married my high school sweetheart, and we have two adult children, one granddaughter, and a granddog. I’m a history nerd who enjoys researching for my novels. I get so excited when I come across a tidbit of history I’ve never heard of before. I can’t wait to share it and write it into my novel. That excitement is enough to keep me going.

I enjoy painting, singing, listening to music, and sitting on my porch watching the rabbits and geese eat my daylilies. I recently retired after a 45-year career as a communications director, editor, and proofreader. 

I write inspirational historical romantic suspense.  My Xanthakos Family Trilogy includes a Revolutionary War novel, The Chamomile, which won the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Okra Pick; its sequel, Laurel, which was released in January 2015; and the third in the trilogy, Cassia, which will be released in September 2015.

Susan F. Craft

Susan F. Craft

 My husband and family are very supportive of my writing efforts. It’s funny sometimes, though, when I’m writing and I’m off in another time, my husband will come into my office and whisper, “Are you writing? I don’t want to interrupt.” It’s as if whispering makes it less of an interruption. You just have to laugh. Besides, we’ve been married 45 years, and he’s my best friend.

My publisher is Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (LPC). I currently serve on the LPC Heritage Beacon Imprint publication board and work for them as a manuscript editor of historical fiction.  My literary agent is Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency.

To assist authors to “get it right about horses in their works,” I worked with the International Long Riders’ Guild Academic Foundation to compile A Writer’s Guide to Horses that can be found at www.lrgaf.org.

 

Please tell us about your new inspirational book, CASSIA (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas).

The Xanthakos family’s sea voyage from South Carolina to the North Carolina Outer Banks turns ugly after they pressure their ship’s captain to rescue a pregnant woman thrown overboard from a slave ship.

When the slave contracts smallpox, the captain maroons her, Lilyan and Nicholas and their children, Laurel, Paul, and Marion, on an island.

After Nicholas and Marion leave to seek help, Lilyan and her children and the baby, whom they have named Cassia, are captured by pirates and taken to their island hideout under the command of the vile Captain Galeo (The Shark), but Paul escapes along the way.

Galeo is attracted to Lilyan and orders her and Laurel to dine with him where reveals his plan to make Lilyan his own and auction Laurel to the highest bidder and where he forces them to witness a mock trial and a hanging.

Heartsick to see her child exposed to such evil, Lilyan rekindles her long-dormant courage and forges an escape plan.  Meanwhile, Nicholas faces his self-perceived failure to protect his family. He must abandon the life of a vintner and once again call upon the skills he honed as a captain in Francis Marion’s militia. 

Together they face the hardest challenge to a parent, watching as life tests the mettle of their highly sheltered and beloved children.  Bolstered by their faith, they realize their personal strength isn’t enough to see them through and that God is in control.

Will the Xanthakos children withstand their trials and learn to be as tough as their parents? Will the family be united and return to their peaceful Blue Ridge Mountain home?

 

You said you had a great story about how you came up with the character of Cal the mastiff who is a hero in Cassia.

Our granddog, Steeler, is a cuddly ball of fluff who brings us much joy. Last year, I was in our backyard inside a temporary fence we erected for when we babysit Steeler when two pit bulls and a boxer who were roaming the neighborhood tried to attack Steeler and me by pushing on the fence.  Now, Steeler is a doxipoo who weighs in at 14+ pounds, but he didn’t let his size stop him from placing himself between me and those dogs, who probably weighed 300 pounds or more.  With the heart of a lion, he faced them down until I could get us both Cal, he's yours nowback into the house.

I was in the middle of writing Cassia, and that incident inspired me to include a dog in the story. Like Steeler, the dog that I named Cal does some heroic deeds. Only Cal is a mastiff who weighs over 300 pounds.

When searching the Internet for pictures of a mastiff to help me with my descriptions, I came across the Cedarhollow Mastiffs site where I found a fantastic picture of a mastiff named Othello. I contacted Jamie Morris, the owner of the kennel, and asked permission to use the picture of Othello in a meme to advertise my novel. Jamie was excited and graciously said yes. Turns out she’s an avid reader who wants to read the Xanthakos Family Trilogy, and we’ve become Facebook friends.

Sometimes people will ask me who inspired a particular character or who do I envision portraying one of my characters in a movie. Steeler can puff up his chest with pride knowing that he is portrayed by Cal in his grandma’s novel.

 

Is there a message or a spiritual theme in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

I do have similar themes throughout my writing–faith under pressure and letting go of willfulness and reliance upon self-sufficiently.

I visualize my body of work as a tapestry through which I’ve spun a golden thread of faith made from finely hetcheled flax silk. Although it may disappear from sight, it’s always there, a constant foundation, binding the piece together.

 

Can you tell us anything about the next book in the series or a current work in process?

I’ve almost completed my research on The Great Wagon Road that stretched from Philadelphia to Savanna, GA. From 1720-1780, it served as a passage for immigrants, mostly from Ireland, to travel from the North and settle in the South. I’m thinking it will be a series of romances and adventure stories, similar to the old Wagon Train TV series I watched growing up as a child.

Thank you so much, Susan for being my guest. I know folks will enjoy your books.

Where can readers find your books?

My books are on Amazon, Barnes and Noble online and can be ordered in their stores, and the bookstore of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

What are your social media sights?

Here are some places readers can find me:

www.susanfcraft.com (my website)

http://historicalfictionalightintime.blogspot.com  (my personal blog)

http://colonialquills.blogspot.com (post the fourth Monday of each month)

http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com (post once a month)

http://www.hhhistory.com (post on the 31st of months that have a 31st)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/susan.craft.108

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/susanfc/

Twitter: @susanfcraft

Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/116297461023468677321/about

Susan Craft is a friend and fellow contributor on Colonial Quills. We are also both represented by Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency.

 

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HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY

Posted by on Mar 16, 2015 in Blog, Commentary, History, Uncategorized | Comments Off on HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day takes me back to 2013 when I finally had an opportunity to go to Ireland. I found a tour that would allow me to visit parts

stone wall hedges

stone wall hedges

Leprchaun Crossingof England, Scotland, and Wales, as well as Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. With ancestors from four of those five countries, I wanted to explore the lands of my roots. 

Ireland was as beautiful as all the pictures, travelogues, and stories promised.

Pieris Flaming Silver 'Lily-of-the-valley'

Pieris Flaming Silver ‘Lily-of-the-valley’

The people were friendly, the food delicious, and the scenery spectacular. There are many delightful places I sojourned but here I’ll share just a few.

One stop was The Giants Causeway World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. Here you can walk

Giant's Causeway

Giant’s Causeway

on over 40,000 hexagonal basaltic columns that resulted

Giant's Causeway

Giant’s Causeway

from volcanic eruptions. As one might expect, there is a legend that tells of the giant who built the causeway to walk to Scotland to fight a Scottish giant. It is no surprise that one can also find similar basalt formations across the water in Fingals Cave on the Scottish Island of Staffa.

In Dublin I visited Trinity College Library to see the famed Book of Kells.

Trinity College Library

Trinity College Library

These colorful illuminated medieval Gospels were produced in a monastery in the early 8th century on the Isle of Iona, Scotland, in honor of Saint Columba and later taken to Ireland. While there are 680 illuminated pages of the medieval Gospels, the library only displays two of the current four volumes at a time, one showing an illustration and the other displaying typical text pages. The library itself is a sight to behold with its mammoth book filled cases stretching to the ceiling. Dozens of busts of well known authors are mounted at the edge of each aisle.

Four Evangelist Symbols In the Public Domain

Four Evangelist Symbols
In the Public Domain

Book of Kells In the Public Domain

Book of Kells
In the Public Domain

 

 

         

 

 

 

Traveling around Dublin you will spot the famous colorful Dublin Doors, of eighteenth

Dublin Doors

Dublin Doors

century Georgian homes. Strict building guidelines governed the homes making them closely resemble each other, so residents began painting their front doors vibrant colors and installing ornate door-knockers to show their individuality.

Driving through Belfast, you will see many vivid murals of scenes and people painted on the sides of buildings

Murals of The Troubles

Murals of The Troubles

. These paintings remind us of the three decades in Northern Ireland called The Troubles, a period of continual strife between factions wanting

independence from, or remaining loyal to, Britain. Many efforts at finding an agreeable political solution failed until the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998. The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have enjoyed greater peace and prosperity in recent years.

Shamrock 2To learn more about ST. PATRICK ~ British Patron Saint of Ireland, visit my blogpost from last year.

http://janetgrunst.com/st-patrick-british-patron-saint-of-ireland

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Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Posted by on Mar 9, 2015 in Blog, Journal, Media Sharing, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

I’ve been nominated for the Sisterhood of World Bloggers Award! So warning: this is a somewhat whimsical post.sisterhoodoftheworldbloggersaward-graphic

This is providential because I was feeling remiss about not blogging recently, and befitting because I was nominated by Kathleen Rouser – kathleenrouser.com  who likes to write about whimsies among other things. Thanks Kathleen.

The Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
    2. Put the Award logo on your blog.
    3. Answer the ten questions sent to you.
    4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
    5. Nominate five blogs.

The Ten Questions I was given:

1) Why do you blog?

 I enjoy writing Blogposts about other people who may not be well known. Promoting other writers is fun. I also find devotionals inspiring and encouraging so I like to share them with others. I like to feature people and organizations that inspire me. As an aspiring author, I need an online platform.

2) Which famous person from history would you interview on your blog if you could?

Jesus Christ, is probably the most obvious answer.  Other than Biblical figures: George Washington.

3) Where do you most of your blog ideas come from?

Historical events and people from various eras (particularly those who’ve served in the military).

Spiritual insights and devotionals

4) What is your favorite blog post that you’ve written?

I don’t have a favorite. But “Time Well Spent In God’s Waiting Room” is where I live.

5) What are some future topics you hope to cover on your blog?

More interviews with authors ~ Historical events or places ~ Articles that encourage others. A blogpost featuring my husband who builds beautiful guitars and banjoes.

6) What has been your favorite place to visit in the United States?

That’s tough because I’ve been to many places I’d like to re-visit. I would love to return to HawaiiShameless Promotion: Virginia has a wealth of fascinating places to visit, particularly if you’ve got any interest in history.  I live in the Historic Triangle of Virginia (Williamsburg~Jamestown~Yorktown)

7) Where and what kind of dream vacation would you like to take?

The British Isles and Ireland – I’ve been there before and would love to return.

8) What fictional character do you identify with the most, out of your best-loved books?

Jane Eyre. Jane has had to overcome significant rejection and other difficulties in her life. She’s plain, quiet, introverted, yet committed to her values and is not afraid to share her opinions. 

9) Are you a seat of the pants blogger or do you plan out your posts, with purpose, long in advance?

While I am an organized and fairly structured person, I tend to be a seat of the pants fiction or non-fiction writer.

10) Have you found that blogging has helped you grow in other areas of writing?

Absolutely. When I first began writing for publication, I wrote newspaper or magazine articles. Now, I primarily write fiction, so I find blogging makes me exercise that entirely different style of writing. 

I nominate:

Elaine Cooper                http://elainemariecooper.com

Laura Frantz                  http://laurafrantz.net/

Carrie Pagels                 http://cfpagels.blogspot.com/

Cynthia Howerter          http://cynthiahowerter.com/

Karen Wingate               http://karenwingate.com/

Joan Hochstetler            http://www.jmhochstetler.com/

Here are my 10 questions:

  1. Name three blogs of different types (i.e. devotional, individual, commentary or political) that you like to read.
  2. What are your favorite types of blogs to write?
  3. What are your hobbies other than writing and reading?
  4. If you could hang out with one fictional character for the day, who would it be?
  5. What is your favorite fiction book?
  6. Other than the Bible, whit is your favorite non-fiction book?
  7. If you could travel (at someone else’s expense), where would you go?
  8. If you could choose to live in another era and place, in what era and place would you live?
  9. What talent, other than writing, would you like to develop?
  10. What are your favorite things to blog about?

 

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IS THE WORLD STEALING YOUR PEACE?

Posted by on Jan 10, 2015 in Blog, Devotions, Uncategorized | 9 comments

When we listen to or watch the news and hear of tragic or sad events, it is easy to get discouraged. When we, or the people we love, are going through difficult times our hearts are heavy and we long to transform the circumstances. It’s easy to wonder where God is, and why He allows these things to happen.

We live in a fallen world where evil, disaster, disease, and death seem to have free reign, and those are the events that seem to get news coverage. It’s important to remember that there are also stories of courage, sacrifice, kindness, and generosity that are taking place all around us. These incidents could touch our hearts and lift our spirit just as powerfully, but they rarely command the same amount of press time. 

As Christians, we know Who is triumphant. The whole story has been written and we know the ending ― that evil, disease and death will cease and Jesus will reign over all.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

Until then, we can center our hearts and minds on the Lord. A great way to sheet of musicdo that is to list all the things for which we are thankful. Listening to hymns, praise songs, and inspirational music can also inspire and lift us. These tools don’t alter the circumstances, but it changes us, and our perspective as we go through trials.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9

The Lord has given each of us a platform, and prepared places for us to be an encouragement to others. When we choose to be the light, and do His will in the localities where He has placed us, He blesses us.

  If you need a song to encourage your heart today, listen to one of my favorites, My Jesus My Saviour by Michael W. Smith

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqSQvoinDE4&list=PLh9KTH-y7X5URgvGx6VKf2ePhrcEe-BLIRainbow

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