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If you love a good, clean, fast escape into fiction and love, welcome home!

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My (Not So) Secret Love Affair

I am in love. SO in love. Yes, with my husband (who is the very best man I could imagine and the prototype for pretty much every hero I’ve ever written into a book), but also with another. This other love is dangerous, and comforting, and helps me sleep better at night. I’m telling you, this newfound love has changed my life.

It’s my Kindle Paperwhite.

My husband surprised me for my birthday with the original Kindle a few years ago, and I liked it, mostly, other than I couldn’t read it at night without the light on, and my husband needed the light off to sleep, yada, yada– until I made the mistake of letting my kids borrow it, and they set it conveniently on the floor underneath one of the wheels of the rolling office chair. Crack. Gone.

This was sad. Very sad.

So my husband surprised me a few months later (also for my birthday) with a Nexus 7, which is a tablet made by Google, in case you don’t know. It had a Kindle app, which was all fine and good, but I’ll admit, I was a little like that “Oh, look! A squirrel!” stereotype, and every time I’d turn on my device to read a book, the Nexus would make a little bell go off to tell me something interesting was happening on Facebook or that someone had sent me an email or liked my tweet, and boom, I’d forget about the book I was reading. (No, I’m not proud of my attention span, in case you’re wondering.)

Eventually I just stopped trying to read on that thing since, frankly, it was guilt-inducing.

Around this time, I developed some insomnia. Anyone who has dealt with it knows what I mean. Let’s just say it’s not awesome to awaken in an already too-short night only to be bombarded with thoughts of worries and not be able to shut off the brain and to lie there obsessing hour after hour, night after night, until you think you might die of tired.

So my first love (Gary) birthday surprised me yet again–this time with the Kindle Paperwhite. VOILA! Suddenly, the world started to look rosy. For one thing, I could turn it onto airplane mode and never have the internet distracting me. (In fact, I’ve never used it for anything online other than synching new books I’ve added to it.) Guiltless! For another, it has an adjustable backlighting. I can read it in full daylight, and I can crank down the backlight and read it on a super-dim setting at bedtime so it doesn’t distract my One True Love from his sleep. And best of all, I can load it with THE MOST MIND-NUMBING BOOKS OF ALL TIME (in addition to some exciting books) to help me fall asleep again when that little nudge of wakefulness used to turn into full-blown anxiety for the remainder of the night. Now, thanks to the Kindle Paperwhite, all I have to do is slide my little love out from under my pillow, run my finger across the page to load Anthony Trollope’s “Golden Lion of Grandpere,” and boom! Six pages later, I’m snoozing again.

Magic! Magical magic. Magically magical magic that has turned me from a woman with dark circles under the bags under my eyes and a gaunt, scared animal look about me most of the time into a rested, refreshed mother with much more normal and pleasant interactions with my kids.

I’m telling you, I love this thing.

Now, for the danger. A Kindle Paperwhite combined with a Book Bub daily email can be a dangerous thing. Every day Book Bub tempts me with amazing, incredible deals on books they are *sure* I’ll like. (And they’re right, since I’m the one who signed up under the genres I’m most interested in.) Just 99-cents for a book about the life of Cary Grant? Yes, please. So many incredible, well-reviewed books for so little money! I’m in heaven, I tell you. (If you’re a reader who likes fluffy, happy romance such as Cotton Candy for the Soul and want to follow me on Book Bub, be my guest.) I’m loving it even more. It has deepened my love affair to a true commitment level. I’m at the point where I can barely relax at night if I can’t reach my hand underneath to the cool side of the pillow to find my insomnia cure there, waiting for me with its healing pages and adjustable font size.

Bless you, little Kindle Paperwhite. You’ve made my life so sweet.

And an even bigger dose of love to my sweet husband for surprising me with the perfect gift. So glad he doesn’t mind sharing his bed with this other love.

ASU Visit

Last week I had an amazing opportunity! An English Lit class taught at Arizona State University had read Big in Japan as part of their curriculum, and the professor, Lynette Austin, invited me to come and give a little writing workshop and talk to the students. HOW AMAZING! Honestly, as a writer of Cotton Candy for the Soul, I never imagined a chance like this on a university level.

First, I gave a workshop on using archetypes to help readers connect with characters. The students were quite adept at pointing out archetypes in great fiction and movies, and that was fun to hear how quickly they warmed to the topic. They were great.

Then, the professor had them give responses to BIG IN JAPAN, what they’d written in their papers after having read the book. Some wrote about the archetypes present in the story. Others wrote about the culture. One girl talked about Buck Cooper as “Other” — first as “exotic other,” and then as “demonic other” for his counterparts in the book. Fascinating. Frankly, it’s been a long, long time since I was doing literary analysis, so it blew my mind. I was just nodding and going, “Whoa.” Probably looked like a dork. But in another way, it was so cool! Was all that really in a book I wrote? Yes, I did write some of it in there on purpose, and it’s definitely a book I put enormous effort into, but the responses were so amazing to me.

I want to thank the students for reading BIG IN JAPAN, and I want to thank Lynette for choosing it as her curriculum and for inviting me to be part of her class. It was one of the coolest days I’ve spent as a writer.

Domo arigato! (Now you’re filling in the blanks with “Mr. Roboto.” Sorry.)

Paradise Paradigm Shift

After over a year of what I might term “relentless stress,” we took a family vacation. As a mom, I wouldn’t say I look forward to a family vacation most of the time because they usually entail doing all the stuff you have to do at home but without the conveniences of home–taking care of kids’ needs and meals and laundry and entertaining the kids, etc., but while living out of a suitcase. We haven’t really done much in the way of family vacations ever (other than visiting relatives. Does that count? Kinda not.) About seven years ago we took our kids to California, but while we were at Disneyland, some of the kids cried a little saying they wished they were at Grandma’s house with the baby kittens instead. So, yeah. Why bother with Space Mountain, right? (Even though I adore the Magic Kingdom.)

But this year our oldest graduates, and then he will leave for two years to be a missionary, and then he’ll start college, at which point the next one will leave for two years, and, so on and so forth, and some of them will (we hope!) get married, and then…well, our family dynamic and configuration might never be the same again. We needed to do something to create a family memory. We needed a vacation.

So we threw caution to the wind, figured out a frequent-flyer-miles scheme, took up a friend’s offer for a beach house, and went to Hawaii. HAWAII, people. Hawaii. I never in a million years thought we could take five children to Hawaii. But with God’s grace, we were able to make it happen: a visit to paradise on earth.

Normally, I’d be a stress case about this: what to do, where to go, when to go there, how to entertain five kids on an island…but after minimal looks at Volcanoes National Park, a general map of the area in my head, and certainly zero time to plan (due to aforementioned “relentless stress), we just got on the plane.

GLORIOUS. That’s the only word I can think of right now to describe the trip.

And for the first time in over a year, I didn’t have any stress. I just absolutely decompressed. Now that we have three teens and two tweens, no one needed much in the way of mom attention. All I did was cook meals, which is…whatever. No problem. We walked to the beach, watched the dolphins jumping in the bay, listened to the waves day and night, drove to the volcano and saw the glow of the caldera, drove up another volcano to 13,000 feet and watched the sun set through the blanket of clouds, sat on another beach, went to church, went to a historical site, ate macadamia nuts, and did nothing.

I’m telling you, it was incredible. And while I was there, I realized that a lot of the things I’d been overstressing about were, frankly, unnecessary. I had been doing everything I possibly could. For everyone. For everything. But that isn’t always the right thing. Sometimes I just need to do what’s necessary, and not everything that’s possible. Does that make sense?

Coming home, I was immediately bombarded with the usual stuff, but instead of letting it take over again, I just pulled back. I had a friend remind me that I need to evaluate “where am I irreplaceable” and then do *those* things. Not EVERYTHING. And it’s okay. Other people can take those responsibilities for now, or the duties can wait.

Since I’ve been back, I’ve done things at my house that were waiting for a long time. Filing that hadn’t been done since 2014. Mopping my floor for the first time since Christmas. Writing letters to my family members far away. Cooking normal meals for my family and standing in the kitchen to listen to my kids. Helping my husband with a major project he’s involved in where he needs my support. I even took one nap.

What I haven’t done? Write a single word in a manuscript. Promote my novels other than a tweet or two. Spend any time on social media or even answer emails (sorry, email friends!). Start up a single fundraiser for a good cause (unlike several I spearheaded earlier this year.) Stuff like that. Stuff that felt like if I didn’t do it I’d be a terrible person. Yes, I still have people to visit, friends to try to lift and support, but I’ve had to do most of that remotely instead of traveling to them for now.

A couple of months ago, my husband said the most romantic thing he’s maybe ever said to me: “Jen, your mental health is important to me.” Ha, ha, ha. But it was so touching. And true!

So, for a bit, I’m concentrating on the now, on the moment, on the family, on the sanity.

I’ll let myself go insanely obsessed over writing again, most likely. But it’s good to have seasons for things in our lives. Sometimes it takes a trip to an island to get our minds redirected to what’s really important, and I’m incredibly grateful for the blessing going on that trip gave me. I hope everyone who is as snowed under and stressed out as I am/was can find their island to get their bearings. Because all we have are moments. All we have is now. It won’t, actually, ever be the same again.

Win a #Free Signed Paperback!

I can’t get enough of these Goodreads giveaways! They are so awesome! And with the great response LEGALLY WEDDED has received, I’m just thrilled. It’s been at #2 on Amazon’s hot new releases (legal) since its release. Can you believe it? Neither can I. SOooooOOoo, anyway, it’s time to win your free copy! Sign up, share with your friends!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Legally Wedded by Jennifer Griffith

Legally Wedded

by Jennifer Griffith

Giveaway ends February 25, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Of Wheat Thins and Lessons Learned

This past few weeks has been one continuous round of wild rides. Everything from family surgery to being in charge of fundraisers (that’s plural, fundraiserz) to politics to a book releasing to meetings-a-go-go to missionary discussions to two extremely exciting new opportunities to a busted pipe in a field to mission papers to an Eagle project and its accompanying papers (believe me, those are plural) to … you name it, it’s been on our calendar.

Except pulling weeds. That hasn’t been on our calendar. (Hey, this is Arizona, we have weeds year-round.)

Some seasons are just like that.

And to top it all off, I’m on a diet. WHY must we diet? Why can’t we just burn calories by experiencing stress? Shouldn’t worrying be a form of physical exercise? I mean, I know it wears me out. Why do I also have to subsist on Wheat Thins (not a bad thing, since they’re DELICIOUS, as long as they are the name brand, not the store brand) and whatever “they” define as a “handful” of almonds. Believe me, it’s possible to get a lot of almonds in my hand when I’m feeling like I’m starving.

Sigh.

However, I was thinking about something my father-in-law said the other night about signing up for this life. “I didn’t sign up for ease. I signed up for experience. And believe you me, I am getting it. In spades.”

There aren’t any of these experiences hitting us this past month or so I’d trade. I want them all. Even the less-pleasant ones, I can look back on with fondness, eventually, and with gratitude–either for what I learned, or simply that with God’s help we survived.

Right now I’m looking at this particular week with a boatload of gratitude. A whole heckuva lot of friends and family and kind people came to my support for the release of my most recent book, and I just felt showered with all the kindness and encouragement. I know I’m not some magically wonderful writer, and that maybe only one or two of my books out of a dozen may be worth reading. I hope I’m improving–and I just feel thankful to everyone who has encouraged me to keep trying along the way. I wish I could share my box of Wheat Thins with all of you.

Thank you.

Grab One E-Book for 99-cents, Get Another Free! Here’s How!

Do you love romance novels_ Grab one ebook for .99 cents and get the second one free.

On February 2nd, launch day for LEGALLY WEDDED, I’m excited to give you a fantastic deal!

For just two days, I’ll be offering Legally Wedded for 99-cents. That’s the lowest price I’ve ever offered a full-length novel. But wait, there’s MORE! If you order Legally Wedded, will send you a kindle file of this amazing, hilarious new novel by CJ Anaya, MARRY YOUR BILLIONAIRE. Yay!

Marry Your Billionaire won’t release until March 2nd, so this is an exclusive sneak-peek. Awesome! I’ve read it, and I’m telling you, you don’t want to miss this romantic romp into reality TV.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Purchase LEGALLY WEDDED on February 2nd (or 3rd) for 99-cents here.

2. Copy and paste your confirmation/order# into an email with the subject line “Legally Wedded Purchased” and send it to authorandbookspotlights@gmail.com.

3. Check your email! You’ll receive a Kindle (or epub) copy of Marry Your Billionaire. Easy peasy lemon cheesy! Free book!

 

LEGALLY WEDDED

Will Morgan and Josh ever be able to pay for college, or will getting legally wedded be their only option?

Will Morgan and Josh ever be able to pay for college, or will getting legally wedded be their only option?

Morgan Clark is desperate. With just her senior year to go at Clarendon College and her scholarship up in smoke, she suddenly finds she can’t qualify for financial aid. Until Morgan finishes and can work full time to pay their rent, her sister can’t even start school.

Josh Hyatt is desperate. Without his degree from Clarendon he won’t be able to join his girlfriend in their dream career which she’s already begun, and he can’t qualify for government grants thanks to his estranged father’s interference.

Morgan, meet Josh. Josh, meet Morgan. Are they desperate enough to get legally wedded?

Get wrapped up in the knots Morgan and Josh create for themselves in this marriage of convenience story with legal and emotional consequences. Legally Wedded is the third installment in bestselling romantic comedy author Jennifer Griffith’s Legally in Love series, following Attractive Nuisance and Asked & Answered, all of which are standalone stories full of romance and comedy and legal attraction.

MARRY YOUR BILLIONAIRE

Marry Your Billionaire (2)

Six years ago, Midge Knightly walked away from her trust fund, her Hollywood producer father, and the expectation that she would join the family business. Avoiding handsome playboys with hidden agendas was just an added bonus. Now one semester shy of graduation, she is shocked to discover her scholarship has lost its funding.

Her estranged father is having problems of his own. A contestant on his latest reality TV series has cancelled two months before shooting. His solution? Midge gets her trust fund back if she stands in as a potential marriage candidate for the dating series Marry Your Billionaire. Twenty women competing for one arrogant guy. Not Midge’s cup of tea.

Agreeing to this proposition sucks her back into the world she happily broke ties from, but no trust fund equals no college degree. Brody Prescott, CEO and owner of an online dating company, has recently been pegged as a heartless playboy-among other things-by a disgruntled female after a disappointing date.

His solution? Become the first bachelor on Marry Your Billionaire and hope that one of the contestants holds some potential. So what is he supposed to do when the woman who intrigues him the most wants to be eliminated?

Marry Your Billionaire is a fun, romantic romp set against the backdrop of reality TV. Throw on your PJ’s, grab some chocolate and popcorn, and settle in for an entertaining love story.

Giveaway! Win *THREE* Paperbacks in the Legally in Love Series!

To celebrate the release of LEGALLY WEDDED, there’s a massive giveaway going on. Enter to win ALL THREE books in the Legally in Love series, and be among the first to read LEGALLY WEDDED, a super fun romance that will keep you glued to your book. Enter! Tell your friends! Win!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Legally Wedded by Jennifer Griffith

Legally Wedded

by Jennifer Griffith

Giveaway ends January 27, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Cover Reveal: LEGALLY WEDDED

I’m so excited to reveal the cover for my newest installation in the Legally in Love series.

Introducing….

LEGALLY WEDDED

Will Morgan and Josh ever be able to pay for college, or will getting legally wedded be their only option?

Will Morgan and Josh ever be able to pay for college, or will getting legally wedded be their only option?

 

Here’s the synopsis:

Morgan Clark is desperate. With just her senior year to go at Clarendon College and her scholarship up in smoke, she suddenly finds she can’t qualify for financial aid. And until Morgan finishes and can work full time, her sister can’t even start school.

Josh Hyatt is desperate. Without his degree from Clarendon he won’t be able to join his girlfriend in their dream career which she’s already begun, and he can’t qualify for government grants thanks to his estranged father’s interference.

Morgan, meet Josh. Josh, meet Morgan. Are they desperate enough to get legally wedded?

So, what do you think? Will love prevail? Or will college costs choke their hopes? Haha.

This is the third book in my Legally in Love series, following Attractive Nuisance and Asked & Answered. All three novels are standalones, with different characters, settings and plots, so it doesn’t matter what order they’re read in. As long as you read them, I’m just pleased as punch. >winking smiley face emoticon here, even though that’s cheesy and weird<

I submitted it for reviews yesterday, and man! I am a ball of nerves now! I love it, but will anyone else? DYING. Just dying. I should go do some yoga or something to calm down, my sister would say.

This book is set for a Valentine’s Day release–well, the week before–February 2!

It’s up for pre-order at a special pre-order price! Here’s the link! http://amzn.to/1OidcZR

Everything Hits at Once

Am I right? Does it seem like life comes in waves, where there’s nothing, nothing, nothing for a while, and then BAM! you’re over your head? I kind of felt like that in a bad way from March until September, but I won’t go into it or I’ll sound like a whiner. No whiners!

I guess I’m getting whacked by a good wave today because BAM! I have THREE new things that just hit the shelves on Amazon: two paperback versions and an audio version of my books! AND…I’ll have a cover reveal coming at you next week. Pretty stoked about that. AND…yeah, that’s it. Oh, yeah. I won NaNoWriMo, which is why I haven’t posted anything on this blog since October. Kinda been drowning in that National Novel Writing Month wave–in a good way. Super excited to tell you about that new story…soon!

However, today is big as it is! SO, without further blabbering on and on, here we go!

INTRODUCING: The paperback version of ASKED & ANSWERED!

Asked & Answered Book 2 in the Legally in Love Series

Asked & Answered
Book 2 in the Legally in Love Series

AND: The paperback version of ATTRACTIVE NUISANCE!

Now both books in the LEGALLY IN LOVE series so far are in paperback. Woot! For those of you who aren’t Kindle lovers, this is a good chance to get to read this light, romantic comedy series about lawyers in love. Because even lawyers need love. I know, because I married one myself. <3

It's LAYWERS IN LOVE! What's not to love?

It’s LAYWERS IN LOVE! What’s not to love?

AND: Last but not least, the audio version of IMMERSED!

Immerse in Listening to Immersed on Audio!

Immerse in Listening to Immersed on Audio!

Immersed is book six in the RIPPLE EFFECT ROMANCE series, and if you’re more of an audio listener, this is the final installment to reach audio for the series. It’s about a 4 1/2 hour read/listen, and as I reviewed it after the amazing voice actress (and an author herself) Gwendolyn Druyor read it for all our listening pleasure, I found little fun parts I’d forgotten were in there, like the McDonalds scene and the reference to the stormy petrels. Aw, good times. So if you have holiday travel planned, this might be a good companion. Your kids might not love it as much as they’d love hearing a story about zombies, but they won’t be offended by it, either. (Unless they HATE kissing. It ends with kissing. OF COURSE.)

I’m really excited to have these projects reach the public at last. It’s so fun to see stuff I’m working on come to fruition. I’ll be glad to sign a copy for you of any of these titles, just message me. Well, I don’t know how to sign an audio download. Sorry. But otherwise, yes! You can email me! authorjennifergriffith@gmail.com.

Merry Christmas. I hope yours is full of WAVES OF JOY!

A Quarter of a Million Words, and I’m Still Feeling Like a Slacker?

October is almost over. I can’t believe how crazy it’s been. When it started, I had pie in the sky plans for finishing my third Legally in Love novel, and I was off to a running start, about 45,000 words in ten days. Yay! And then… for the next three weeks, not even 100 words as life high-jacked all my plans.

 

Sometimes, just to feel like a bit of a martyr perhaps or so that I don’t feel like a slouch and a time-wasting loser, I make a “ta-da” list instead of a “to do” list, especially when I am down on myself for not reaching a certain arbitrary deadline or goal I’ve given myself. Looking back on the word count disaster, I have to do this or else I’ll just mope.

 

TA-DA LIST:

  • Edited three 90,000+-word novels, for myself and two crit partners. That, my pretties, is over a quarter of a million words edited in the last 12 days. Shoosh!
  • Cleaned my house, yard, and truck for when my parents came to visit—quite a feat, since I’ve been writing like a maniac, and let’s just say things had started looking like nature was going to take the place back as her own.
  • Planned a lunch for 50 teenage boys
  • Planned and prepared a meal for 35 teenagers—the same day as the 50-kid lunch
  • Formed a committee to create a scholarship
  • Helped my kids enter stuff in the county fair, went to the fair FOUR times, and worked twice at the political booth
  • Went on three all-day trips out of town for kids’ events and stuff for my husband’s work
  • Prepared and taught a church lesson and attended quite a few meetings (normal Mormon life being that we believe in meetings; we believe in all meetings; we have attended many meetings and hope to attend all meetings…)
  • Ran 55 miles and biked about 70
  • Drove for the field trip (I’m sitting in the parking lot at the Observatory writing this right now)
  • Helped kids organize a total of SEVENTEEN (no exaggeration) different costumes, including sewing a skunk costume from scratch (and I don’t really sew)
  • Chauffeured a cute little batch of girls to play practice a dozen times and volunteered to keep the peace in the dressing room
  • Listened to and approved 4 hours of audio for the Immersed audiobook project (yay! It’s happening!)
  • Released TWO novels: Asked & Answered, and Under the Mistletoe (a Timeless Romance Anthology) which went to #1 in Amazon’s “Clean Romance” new releases. Woot!
  • Organized the ARC distribution of those novels to my Review Team
  • Formalized a Review Team
  • Developed an official mailing list
  • Created and distributed an author newsletter
  • Chose covers for two new novels, which I’ll reveal sometime soon
  • Had a great visit with my parents
  • Organized a family lunch for 30 at my house
  • And last but not least, saw my little daughter get baptized on one of the sweetest, happiest days of my entire life.

 

This is only stuff I can think of off the top of my head, and I’m not even going to mention the little skirmishes I had to fight against myself now and then. One thing that’s not on this list: slept eight hours at a stretch even once. One thing I wish weren’t on the list: gained seven pounds. Alas.

 

I know there’s a touch of martyr syndrome in me, and I’m working on that, but when I look at this list it does make me feel a touch better and less like a total slacker as a writer. Now, enough whining. I’m going to go add some padding to my word count. I wish I could get this whole project done in time to start a new book (which I outlined on one of the out of town trips) for NaNoWriMo for November, but I’m going to just cut myself some slack and write this book at a reasonable pace.

 

Meanwhile, ASKED AND ANSWERED comes out tomorrow! I’m really happy with the feedback reviewers have given it so far. It’s still fluff, but I think the characters are sweet, and their story makes me happy. I hope it will make you happy too.