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New Release ~ The Island Keepers by Kristopher Quentin

 Release Day for Kristopher Quentin’s

The Island Keepers.

THE ISLAND KEEPERS FRONT COVER

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They could hardly have been less alike.

David is striking, tanned, smooth, charismatic, blond with an ice melting smile, and possesses an unmistakable gift as a fiction writer, even at twenty-one. Wyatt looks as plain as paper, short by comparison, mildly hairy, white as a ghost, graceless, a celebrated oil painter. He is single and he is out. David, raised a strict evangelical fundamentalist, is embarrassed by his own virginity. Both men are sent to Puffin Island and, within days of their arrival a young woman washes ashore, frozen and unresponsive after her kayak crashes against the rocks.

David and Wyatt save her life. Days later, Wyatt is charged with rape. While the authorities investigate, the woman’s nineteen year old identical twin brothers paddle their way to Puffin to teach Wyatt a lesson. Their goal, to avenge their sister.

The bond between David and Wyatt increases during island duty, and just when things seem as good as they can get, David distances himself from Wyatt. During David’s absence, Wyatt meets a hometown computer whiz who makes it quite clear that he wants Wyatt for himself. But, David’s heart struggles with his imbedded childhood dogma and lethally homophobic parents, propelling him to establish an unthinkable bond of love with Wyatt, and, when the inthinkable happens, Wyatt is once more left alone and he moves forward because there is a lot at stake.   He turns to the most unlikeliest of characters to fill the void, a person who will teach him an important lesson; that love is all about choice and on making a decision, he must sacrifice a need that had been created by his past with David.

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excerpt

from The Island Keepers

Thayne wasn’t next to me.

Gradually, I awoke, the reality setting in that his side of the bed was empty.

I figured he’d simply crawled out to take a leak. I knew he needed to leave early, about seven my time, to be at work by eight-thirty his time. Minutes later I discovered the head vacant and that it wasn’t even four forty-five, yet. I could not find him anywhere in the apartment. I hoped to spot him on the balcony searching for dawn’s early lights, but no; still far too early even in this mid-August time frame.

My angst bubbled over when I saw his vehicle wasn’t in the car park.

“What the fuck?” I shouted.

Did he get a phone call in the night summoning him home? Upstairs I scrounged for my cell phone, searched for a hand written note, not that it would be like him to write one. But lo, tucked into the handle of the coffee pot, where I couldn’t miss it, I found one of my index cards.

My name is Thayne, not David. You ain’t near ready for me.

“What the fuck?”

I tried his cell phone, but he had turned it off, sending my pounding heart directly to his voice mailbox.

“Thayne, what happened? Call me. Please.” I prepared a pot of coffee and plopped onto the sofa. My deductive abilities prior to caffeine were near nil. Did I do something or say something during the night that offended him? I sipped on the hot black liquid as my head gradually drifted back into the game of life. I took my cell into the bathroom with the ringer volume on high, hoping he’d call while I showered. I needn’t have bothered. No call came in, so after dressing, I called him again. His phone remained off and being this hour on a Monday morning business calls were unlikely. I suspected it would remain off for hours. But why? What could I have said or done to cause such a dramatic reaction. I read his note again, and a thought came rushing over me like the cascading waters of Dickson Falls in Fundy National Park.

How do you fix something like that? Or could Thayne be spot on, that I wasn’t ready for him? I vaguely remembered kissing and cuddling him in the middle of the night.

I must have called him David, but what else did I say? What else did I do? Did I attempt sex with him thinking of him as David; telling “David” how much I loved him, and how thankful I was that he returned to me?

Oh, I could see that happening, but I had no independent recollection of such an event. I swallowed more coffee. Conversely, I also knew that in times of trouble my mind worked overtime creating a litany of worst possible scenarios like when they charged me with raping Brenda and I saw myself on a chain gang with a pick-axe.

So maybe I did none of those things, just like I never raped Brenda. Maybe I said something earlier in the day that stewed in his mind. Thayne’s inferiority complex could be an undetonated grenade in times of stress. I wondered what time he left and how far he had travelled toward home. Hopefully that’s where he was headed.

After making more coffee, I tried calling him again, this time while sitting on the pot. I might as well have been sitting on Neptune. The results were the same.

Standing on the veranda overlooking the bay I used the peaceful scenery to think. No, think is too strong a word. I stood there for an hour watching the lights, listening to the neighborhood birds protesting their predawn duties, filling the early morning airwaves with their unique and varied songs. I was in no mood for all that screeching and chirping and pecking and warbling and hooting this morning. Normally, I enjoyed the early avian sounds of nature, but I could find nothing in that cacophony to savor at this moment.

I reached for my wallet, car keys, and cell phone, pocketing them with a couple of pens, index cards and a handkerchief to help me deal with the allergies that fucked with my nose and throat this time of year, ragweed now coming into full bloom.

Seated in my parked car, I palmed my phone to try Thayne once again, spotting an inbound voice mail.

I knew who originated it without listening. I felt like a man with his hands tied behind his back, a hood over his head and a rope around his neck.

“Wyatt, do not call me no more. After your love affair with David last night I know you are too sweet on him to care about your ignorant hick even a little. I know I’s just a stand in for David. Nothing more. And it smarts so bad I can’t takes it.”

The trap door opened.

I fell into a deep and dark malaise, choking on my own conflict and phlegm.

My head crashed into the steering wheel.

I screamed.

Anyone walking past my vehicle in the darkness of that predawn hour would have thought I had escaped from the psychiatric ward.

I remembered David walking out on me once, too; that Sunday back in November, 2010, leaving me alone at the Lord Beaverbrook Hotel in Fredericton; also because of another guy.

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BUY LINKS:

Amazon.com  /Amazon UK / CoolDudes Publishing /

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Kristopher, in a nutshell, please describe what The Island Keepers is about.

Young love interspersed with tragedy on an ocean bound speck of land that exists in a political limbo.

Population two.

The five main characters are: David, a born-again Evangelical and wannabe novelist; Wyatt, an out and proud gay guy, an oil painter with some impressive regional credits; Thayne and Shayne, a set of identical uneducated twins brothers; and the island itself, where they come to know one another, sometimes under difficult circumstances brought about, in part, by their upbringings and diversified live styles.. A weather related kayak crash and a tobacco induced lung disorder create challenges, as well. The lads are all about twenty-years old, plus or minus.

Where do you write?

Wherever I am, usually my office well before sunrise. But I’ve written in motel rooms, aboard cruise ships, as a guest at friends’ homes and in my car parked along the banks of a river.

What led up to the creation of The Island?

An accident, I guess. I was looking for a new story to tell when, on the internet, I stumbled across this geopolitical anomaly not all that far from where I live. Learning that two men lived on that barren island alone for twenty-eight day stretches, triggered days of mind opening research, months of writing and editing, and fantasy galore. The fun part was creating the characters and the circumstances that are their lives.

What was the time frame for writing The Island?

The first draft was written between March 17 and June 18, 2012. It has been edited time and time again since, by me and others. The story begins in October, 2010.

How did you find your agent?

I was seeking an editor / proof reader, and this wonderful dude from RSA (Republic of South Africa) responded to my pathetic internet plea (Gay Authors.net), warning me he was a harsh, hard-nosed editor. He turned out to be a genius and a pussycat (but not without claws).

What were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?

That “content editors” can be so ignorant and biased. When an editor tells me I can only use the word “rhubarb” to reference a plant, or challenges the fact that Jamaican or Irish coffee contain alcohol, tells me the French preposition “de” is a racial slur, or eliminates two of the four principle characters, this author’s confidence level takes a hard hit. When the publisher backs-up such empty-headedness, I run out of gas.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in?

I came to know one Louis J. Harris better and better. He’s a crack editor, an excellent grammarian a wonderful cheerleader, a literary advisor, a hardworking agent, and is now my publisher. His husband, Louis C. Harris is insightful and artistically creative. Look at the cover on this book. I hope to meet these dudes in person someday.

Did you have a platform in place? On this topic, what are you doing to build a platform and gain readership?

I don’t know. This is my first rodeo and being closeted I find myself between a rock and a hard place. Certainly learning to use social media will be vital as will placing copies on consignment at bookstores. Scheduling book signing events, perhaps in conjunction with other authors if any are willing to be seen with me. These are my only thoughts at the moment.

Websites?

Facebook, Twitter, Gay Authors. I’m sure there are others.

Best piece(s) of writing advice?

Write what you know, chill on the adverbs, shun the clichés, show don’t tell, don’t screw up what person you are writing in, or get lost in your own timeline…particularly as you edit, research every detail you question. And remember active verbs beat the sperm out of passive verbs.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

My main man and I have been together for more than thirty-years, and I’m a biological father and grandfather.

What’s next?

I’ve written three other M/M novels, so I’m hoping THE ISLAND KEEPERS is successful enough that having another one or two or three published is less of an uphill exercise. And yes, I’m ninety-two pages in a fourth.

Book Interview

Considering the length of The Island Keepers, what kind of research went into it?

Lots. While I live and work within a stone’s throw of Canada, I am not a Canadian. I researched every aspect of the island in question (it does really exist, but it’s not on the map as “Puffin Island”). I studied its size, history, bird life, “guards,” sovereignty…or lack of it, its landscape, and geographical position in relation to other land masses. It also involved hours of reading about the province of New Brunswick, the city of Saint John, the town of Grand Falls, and the tiny town of Cutler in Maine. In fact I undertook special trips to the island, Saint John, NB, Cutler and Machias for background and color. I’d been to Grand Falls many times before.

Research about the Canadian Coast Guard, Saint John Regional Hospital, the New Brunswick Correctional Center, the University of New Brunswick, New Brunswick criminal law, COPD, painting with oils, and the life cycle and habits of Atlantic puffins also joyfully consumed my time. Aspects such as border crossing formalities, the Trans-Canada Highway and other geo-political references were familiar to me.

Since the characters are all imaginary there was no research per se, just note taking so I was consistent with each of their features, backgrounds, phobias, likes and dislikes, and goals in life.

The Geopolitical references to the Island are very important because the island itself is a character in the book. How have things changed there since you began writing the book.

I know of no changes on the real-life island itself. It is still claimed by both the U.S. and Canada. It continues to be staffed by two male Canadian Coast Guard employees. I read where the puffin population was down last summer. Some claim a food shortage for them due to climate change.

David, to me, is the most wonderful character I have ever read. I place him in the same bracket as Billy Sive in The Front Runner, how do you develop such amazing characters?

David was a fantasy character, the “man of my dreams.” His COPD mirrors my own life as was his desire to publish a novel.

Wyatt is just awesome, he’s a very sexual person, could his nature be drawn from real life characters whom you may have known?

Yes. More a composite of a few people I’ve met over the years, some from my college days. As sexual as you see him, he was not a slut; indeed he was a virtual virgin until finding himself on the island with David.

The relationship between Wyatt and Thayne is a slow burn, but necessary as both loved David albeit in different ways, would you say that their coming together was foreseen right from the moment Wyatt met him?

No. Wyatt was totally committed to, and enthralled by David, even though he had “bad thoughts” from time to time. Thayne had no idea he was gay until sometime after meeting Wyatt and David. He had no idea he was sexual at all except for an occasional JO. But witnessing true love made both twins realize how incomplete their lives were. Filling that void the way they did was undoubtedly genetic.

The end of the book is absolutely stunning and emotional. In fact there are several moments in the book which I classify as highly emotional. Do you write emotion from an emotional point of view? What I mean is, do you cry too when you write emotional moments?

I weep when I see animals in distress, especially the wee ones. But I can have an emotional breakdown for weeks on end if (when) I need to have one of my dogs put down. In terms of my characters, I come to cherish (most of) them, especially my protagonists / narrators and their supporters. I feel them, their joys and defeats, their heartaches, and their losses. And yes, I’m a big crybaby.

The Island is a wonderful story of love, loss and tragedy, yet it ends on a note of uplifting hope. What would you tell David if you were to meet him in real life?

“David,” I’d say. “I wish I could be just like you, minus the respiratory problems and the religious history.”

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Message from CoolDudes Publishing CEO

When I first read The Island Keepers two years ago, I fell in love with the leviathan scope of the novel. It took me to places I have never been, it enthralled me and blew me away. The book has been five years in the making and during that time it has been through several edits. Without giving too much away, you have my assurance that the characters and the island itself will leave you with a lingering sense of joy, and above all hope. There is such a thing as true love.

Debut author Kristopher Quentin lives a quiet life close to this island.

You won’t want to miss this amazing book to be published on the 1st April. Available through Amazon, and the CoolDudes Publishing website.

Louis J Harris

March 2015

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about_the_author

Kristopher Quentin has been writing for decades. He is a businessman and journalist by trade, a man up at 3:45 every weekday morning for a stint on the news desk; a little earlier on weekends to write fiction in his man cave.

An upstate New Yorker by birth, he now lives in the most rural area of far Maine, USA, on 54-acres of land: wooded, lawns, driveways, and a few buildings including his four thousand square foot home which he calls the white house; because it is.

His property is home to moose, deer, rabbits, raccoons, porcupines, fox, weasels, black bears, and one Bard owl. He loves reading gay romances among other forms of fiction; non-fiction; and memoirs most of which he considers to be fictional. Traveling, dining out, boat riding are among his passions; that and flying his own single engine airplane when he was younger.

Guest Author ~ Mia Kerick

A warm welcome to Mia Kerick whose YA novel, Inclination, is released today.

Hello, Lily and thank you for welcoming me to your blog on my Inclination blog tour. You asked me if I have a philosophy that underpins my life and I can definitely say yes. I will explain.

The philosophy that underpins my life…

When I wrote The Red Sheet I did a great deal of research about Mahatma Gandhi. His words of wisdom and his courageous life philosophy spoke to me. I often referred to his humble philosophies as I wrote that book. And in Inclination, principles similar to Gandhi’s speak to Anthony, although he hears them through the words of Jesus Christ.

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Where there is love there is life. To me, this says it all, because I interpret this statement to cover so much essential ground. Where there is love, there is peace. And a peaceful world allows for life to go on. When you love or feel loved, you feel alive—euphoric and content, which allows you to live life to its fullest. And love is what it takes to carry us through the hardest moments in our life. Love is a reason, a purpose, an endpoint, and a path to get there. In Inclination, Anthony is motivated to continue plodding through his struggles because of the love he feels in his life. His love of God, his family, and his friends provide him with the joy of life, as well as with a reason to hope when his outlook is bleak.

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Be the change you wish to see in the world. This quotation requires you to live in the way in which you envision the world to be at its best. You cannot merely think about the changes you wish to see—you need to actually BE THEM. In Inclination, this is hard for Anthony to do as he is a thinker, a writer, a listener, and a truly cerebral person. He needs to stand up and act on his beliefs in order to make positive change occur for himself, as well as for others. He needs to step out of the safety of his comfort zone and be the change. These words of Gandhi are similar to this message of Jesus Christ. So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:17) And this: My dear children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue, but in deed and in truth. (I John 3:18) Anthony knows that he must stand up and act in the interest of the good of mankind.

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The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness Is The Attribute of the Strong. Forgiveness may well be an attribute of the strong, but it is a gift, as much as for the one who offers forgiveness as for the one forgiven. It is a balm on the wound of the injury done to you. Gandhi’s attitude toward forgiveness again brings to mind the words of Jesus. Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:21-22) In Inclination, Anthony is called on to be forgiving of himself, as well as of people he has long considered to be his friends. He also has need of forgiveness, which is freely given.

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For many people, standing alone is about the most intimidating thing they can be asked to do. Gandhi knows that finding the courage to stand alone in the interest of doing the right thing is very difficult but must be done. And as far as Inclination goes, Anthony knows that Jesus had to stand by himself when he was crucified and died for the world’s sins. And Anthony must stand alone at various times throughout his struggle with accepting his sexual orientation. There are times when it is necessary to stand alone in order to start off on the right path.

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I love and believe in the above statement because it speaks to the very essence of goodness. We can look at it in terms of a country’s greatness, and we can also think of this quotation in terms of an individual’s greatness. If I am strong and powerful, I should not be judged by how I relate to those who are like me—those who can benefit me if I benefit them. I should be judged by how I treat those who can never even hope to pay me back, because that is the true spirit of selflessness and goodness. Anthony knows that Christ lived a life of selfless service, never once wondering how or if he would be rewarded. Anthony wants to live as Christ did, a life of life of service and giving. This ties into the following quotation, which is what both Christ and Gandhi believe we should all attempt to achieve.

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There are times when the research I do for a book profoundly affects me. The research into Gandhi’s philosophy for The Red Sheet, as well as my searching into the words of Jesus Christ for Inclination, both qualify. In these two humble, wise, and virtuous men, I found similar inspiration and life principles I can strive for.

MANY THANKS FOR SHARING WITH US, MIA.

~O~

RELEASED TODAY

Inclination by Mia Kerick

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Publisher: YoungDudes Publishing

Cover Artist: Louis C. Harris

Length: 70, 000 words

Genres: Young Adult, Gay, Romance, Christian, Spiritual, Contemporary

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Sixteen-year-old Anthony Duck-Young Del Vecchio is a nice Catholic boy with a very big problem. It’s not the challenge of fitting in as the lone adopted South Korean in a close-knit family of Italian-Americans. Nor is it being the one introverted son in a family jam-packed with gregarious daughters. Anthony’s problem is far more serious—he is the only gay kid in Our Way, his church’s youth group. As a high school junior, Anthony has finally come to accept his sexual orientation, but he struggles to determine if a gay man can live as a faithful Christian. And as he faces his dilemma, there are complications. After confiding his gayness to his intolerant adult youth group leader, he’s asked to find a new organization with which to worship. He’s beaten up in the church parking lot by a fanatical teen. His former best pal bullies him in the locker room. His Catholic friends even stage an intervention to lead him back to the “right path.” Meanwhile, Anthony develops romantic feelings for David Gandy, an emo, out and proud junior at his high school, who seems to have all the answers about how someone can be gay and Christian, too.

Will Anthony be able to balance his family, friends and new feelings for David with his changing beliefs about his faith so he can live a satisfying life and not risk his soul in the process?

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excerpt

I’ll pass on the Kool-Aid, thank you

It sounds like a joke, but it’s all true. Every student who volunteers his or her time on a weekly basis at an animal shelter, a hospital, or a home for the elderly receives a free lunch on the last Monday of the month, putting to rest the veracity (got that word on the last SAT practice test I took at my desk in my bedroom the other day) of the old idiom, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” And as I spend every Sunday afternoon patting and playing with cats at the Centerton Humane Society, I qualify. If nothing else, it gives Mom a day off from making me lunch.

“It was so disgusting.”

I drop down into my usual seat in the cafeteria beside Laz, my tray with the bowl of free macaroni and cheese, a slice of bread, and milk, sliding onto the lunch table in front of me. “The mac and cheese?” I ask. “Last time I had it the stuff wasn’t too bad.” It’s not one of Mom’s gourmet lunches, but it gets the job done.

“No, Anthony.” Emma Gillis rolls her eyes and swallows her bite of free mac and cheese she earned by reading classics to the elderly on Saturday mornings at the New Horizons Elderly Center. She gulps in a breath and informs me with her usual haughtiness, “I was telling everybody about these two old men I read to last Saturday who think they are some kind of couple. They actually kissed each other.” She fake-gags.

“I threw up a little in my mouth when I saw that!”

For my own personal reasons, I gasp, while everybody else snickers.

“Those old dudes must be losing it, as in, they could have Alzheimer’s or something, and they forgot that dudes belong with ladies, not other dudes.” I glance over at Lazarus, who abruptly stops babbling to suck down the first of three cartons of chocolate milk. “But seriously, that’s messed up.” Laz wrinkles his nose in distaste and runs his hands through his shaggy dark hair, before moving on to carton number two.

I’m basically frozen, my hand still hovering over the slice of wheat bread on the corner of my tray, my mouth hanging open. I might even be drooling.

“It’s not their fault, Emma.” Elizabeth-the-devout always takes the case of the underdog. It’s how she’s wired. “They’re just sick in their minds.” She sends Emma a you-ought-to-be-ashamed-of yourself sort of frown. “We, as Catholics, are called to compassion.”

Everyday single day at lunch since freshman year, I’ve sat with the kids from the Our Way youth group. In fact, the other kids in my grade have long referred to our lunch table as “Our Way to Survive Cafeteria Food”, which somewhere along the line got shortened to the “OWSCF Table”, which eventually morphed into “awe-scoff”. I have always felt safe and secure sitting at the awe-scoff table. These are the kids I’ve prayed with three times a week at Our Way, and the ones who I was confirmed with in ninth grade. I’ve collected toys for the poor with these kids—in fact, for three years running we’ve made sure that no child in Wedgewood missed out on having a small stack of Christmas gifts, and that brings about some major bonding. We’ve shared weekends camping in the Maine woods, singing and holding hands and sometimes crying when the Spirit moved us.

This is my safe spot at school, like my tiny room is my alone spot at home.

“If you ask me, all fags deserve to die for going against Christ and everything that’s natural. They should be forced to drink poison Kool-Aid, like those cultists had to do down in Jonestown…’member that?” Is that Rinaldo Vera who just suggested mass murder as the “final solution” to the gay problem?

Sweet, passive Rinaldo—the gentle giant. Um, not so much.

“I saw a TV movie called the Jonestown Massacre.”

“I caught that too…those people were warped.”

The conversation drifts away from the vileness of homosexuality, toward the disturbing personal stories of the few survivors of the Jim Jones Cult Kool-Aid Massacre. But I’ve heard more than enough, in terms of stuff that pertains to me.

Feeling as if I’m going to lose what little lunch I ate, I jump up off my chair and race toward the boys’ room in the hall near the cafeteria.

Maybe there really is no such thing as a free lunch.

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Buy links:

 YoungDudes Publishing | Amazon.com | Amazon UK | Omni Lit

about_the_author

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty-two years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships, and she believes that physical intimacy has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, and CreateSpace for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.

Mia is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights, especially marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

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Find Mia at:

Facebook / Twitter: @MiaKerick / Pinterest

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