FOREWORD & THANKS
I started visiting Cuba in 2009 and quickly became hooked on this imperfectly beautiful
little country. I fell in love with its incredible scenery, interesting culture, intriguing history and
imaginative, ingenious, inspirational people.
My Cuban gusto imbued nearly every aspect of my life and fired up my creative writing.
Poetry, short stories, travelogues and blog posts began to flow. I didn’t initially have any longer
works in mind but my husband dared me to take the leap. A shady novel that explored some
sexual gray areas was hot and a movie deal was pending. “You’re a good writer,” he said.
“Why don’t you write some smut and make us a million bucks?” I decided to try.
Naturally, there had to be other forms of action besides sex, so I let my protagonist meet
other people and have a few adventures. As I was writing, she began to really come alive and,
in a sense, I could hear her voice saying she needed more than mere fun in the sun. She
dreamed of doing something meaningful with respect to Cuba. Like me, she had fallen in love
with the quirky nation!
Despite that similarity between me and my protagonist, I want to unequivocally state that
this is a work of fiction. No characters or events in Cuban Kisses are real. The primary setting
for the story is loosely based on a fictionalized version of Marea del Portillo, a village and
same-name resort situated on Cuba’s most southerly coast; to me, it’s the soulful sole of the
island. The bits of information about Cuban history and culture, on the other hand, are as
accurate and factual as possible, although they’ve been run through my personal blue-eyed
While working on this book, as well as the sequels, I’ve had a lot of support from numerous
international sources. I would like to thank the Cuban people who opened their hearts and
homes to me over the years – from the sailor who brought me sandwiches while I was writing
at a casa particular to the horseman who shared a sweet, romantic story from his youth and
said, “You can use that in your book!” I am especially indebted to the cubanos who patiently
taught me about their world and explained their perspectives on life and its struggles.
I also owe a symphony of gratitude to some special Canadians, beginning with my dear
friend, Martine, who was my travel partner in 2009 and on subsequent trips to Cuba. She has
been unfailingly supportive, as has my partner in life, Gordon Baker, who set the waves in
motion regarding to this book. As well, I’m very thankful to my wonderful make-it-happen
team, Brenda Paterson of GrovePark Marketing and Emilie Stroud of Ripple Press Publishing.
I’m as happy as sunshine to have had so much invaluable, incalculable support for this novel
If or when I do make a million bucks, I have a lot of ideas for putting such funds to good
use, including rammed-earth home construction in Cuba. You can bet your last peso, I’ll be
spending more time there, sharing the wealth with my family of friends!
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