Sunday, May 26, 2013

Starting at the beginning.

        Alright, let's start at the beginning. My name is Niki Cluff. My parents decided to name me Niki since they knew they would call me Niki anyways. So that's it. Just Niki. I'm a 27, almost 28 year old mother of three. The Kid is my 6 year old son who just finished kindergarten. He's an amazing young man. Nanny is my 4 year old daughter who dreams of being a mother one day, though I hope she waits a very long time! Last is Shoe, my 2, 3 year old in July. She's a little firecracker much like her father, Big Daddy. We live in Prescott Valley, Arizona where Big Daddy has started his own landscape/landscape maintenance company. He started his business during the beginning of the recession, building and building until its grown to the point where they might need to hire help this summer. Summers are busy for him and his business partner, but we appreciate the work.
        I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. A Mormon, if you will, though I prefer to be called LDS. Mormon was once a slang term used back when Mormons were persecuted. Why do I tell you this? Because I have a firm testimony of the gospel. I enjoy discussing it with people who want to learn more and want to have a good conversation. Not bash religion. I don't like to argue beliefs. Everyone believes a little something different.
        A few years ago, back when Nanny was born, I went through the biggest trial I've ever experienced in my life. It was one of those trials that would change who you were, how you viewed life and would make or break a marriage. We survived, but I came to a realization during that experience. See, I watched my mom struggle with my brother's (I have two) and my sister moving on. She didn't seem to know who she was, or where she was going. I didn't want to be that way one day, when my kids would get married and have lives of their own.
       I've always been a writer. It started when I was in sixth grade. My best friend and I were heavily into anime. We had notebooks that we would carry with us. Every free moment we had we would write fanfictions back and forth. For those who don't know, a fanfiction is your take on a movie, book or cartoon. That's when my love of writing began.
        Years later I posted a few fanfictions on My best work had to be a Harry Potter fanfiction I wrote in between the fifth and sixth books. The others hadn't been released yet. I wanted to write more, go to college, create something of my own, but at 19 years old I met Big Daddy. We dated for 3 months, got engaged and in 3 months were married in the Snowflake, Arizona temple. A year or so later we had The Kid. I stopped writing, worked until The Kid was born and became a stay at home mom. Life went on as Big Daddy built a career and then began a business, the kids grew, we started raising a daneiff (Dane/mastiff) and I felt like something was missing.
        During the biggest low point of my life we had to live with parents. I realized that I loved being a mom, wanted to continue to be a stay at home mom, but I also wanted to work. Wanted a career. I missed writing. I still read. I've been an avid reader since the day I started reading, but I missed my fanfictions. Missed creating my own stories. That day I made a decision. I would write. I would find an agent. I would get published. That would be my career. I knew what I wanted.
        Kerry Blair, a local LDS author and also one of my young women's leaders when I was a teen, read some of my work. She encouraged me to pursue writing so I started writing more, started pushing myself. I wrote a couple of manuscripts in that time, but I struggled. My writing was nowhere near Stephenie Meyer or JK Rowling. Perhaps I wasn't meant to be an author after all, but I couldn't let it go. Ideas wormed their way in, circling around until I began to write. I read Million Dollar Outlines by David Farland and learned I was making some pretty rookie mistakes.
       Knowledge in hand I began to write again.
        Why do I tell you this? Because this is my journey and I want to share it with you. I live in a small town a couple hours away from Phoenix between Phoenix and Prescott. I haven't found a writer's group where I fit in, haven't been able to attend the writers conferences down in the valley because I work, but I've never given up my dream of becoming a YA author with published books. This is my story, my journey to getting published and I know this is only the beginning.

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