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Good grief, if you know me at all you know I’ve written extensively about my adopted home along the Gulf Coast. After spending my first three decades along the shores of Lake Erie, moving to the Deep South was culture shock at its finest.

WANT and NEED (and the accompanying short story AFTERTASTE) are set in Mobile, Alabama, as is my upper-YA SHRAPNEL. Only SHELF LIFE is set somewhere else.

As far as gratitude is concerned, this city (region, really) has given me so much to be thankful for. It was here that I finally put all the things swirling in my head onto paper, which eventually turned into a novel about a girl from the “right” side of the tracks. The friends and fellow writers I met through the area’s thriving arts community helped propel me to go further than I ever thought I would.

I’m also grateful for all the everyday opportunities this area provides: cultural events, sunshine in February (hey, a girl needs her Vitamin D), fried green tomatoes with crawfish sauce, moonshine, Mardi Gras, giant hair bows for little girls, and some of the most polite gentlemen I’ve ever met. I’m grateful that they taught me to raise my standards.

Tank tops in March, windows down and music up any time of the year, diversity, and hello — salt water and sand!

I may not have been born in the South, and I’ve retained a few Yankee tendencies, but dang, I’m so very grateful to Mobile and the region for giving me the life I always wanted.

What are YOU grateful for???