Waaaaay back in October of 2011 Indies Unlimited was no more than a twinkle in the eye of a certain Stephen Hise, fondly (or not) referred to by us, his minions – er, I mean, members and staff, as EM or Evil Mastermind. That moniker has proven to be apt as you will see.
A few notables joined the crew in the months following. First came Kat (K.S.) Brooks, now known as Queen Bee when she’s not just another minion. She was soon followed by Ed McNally, JD Mader and Valerie Douglas. I think David Antrobus arrived before I did, as well and Cathy Speight.
My invitation to join came from Kat early in Feb. of 2012, an auspicious month, as it turned out, as mine was not the only name added to the roster. I could not have been more floored if someone had told me I was the long lost heir to a forgotten fortune. Who? Me? You must be kidding? I only have two books under my belt. What makes you think I have anything of value to contribute?
It was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Fame! Fortune! Adulation! Kow-towing! Caviar! The world beating a path to Amazon to buy my books! I was promised a 100% raise every month. Honest! After all, 100% of nothing is, well … you do the math.
Seriously, though, this experience has exceeded my wildest expectations. I now have a group of people I truly think of as friends, even met one in person and a follower as well. These friends have taught me how to do ‘stuff’ on the computer. They still are. I mean, when you start off in kindergarten it takes a lot of learning to graduate from high school. I think I may be in grade six now.
“What!? I’m a slow learner, all right!? Leave me alone! Kaaaaat…..make them stop.”
Oh, yeah. That’s the other things about IU. I get to have fun. They make me laugh. Sometimes they even laugh at a joke of mine. No, really, they do. Sometimes one or two of them ROTFL, or something like that. I think I’m breaking the code. But maybe they are pulling the wool over my eyes and it means something much more sinister. Could be. EM can be VEEERY devious.
So what am I doing here? You mean besides having fun, making friends, fighting over gruel rations and asking dumb questions? I write a post twice a month. And they don’t even tell me what to write about. My choice. Bad decision on their part, perhaps, but there you have it. It’s in my contract. No way out. I have it in black and white – er, maybe in black on grey … with a blue background, since it’s on my computer.
A few of our early members have left IU. Somehow they found a way to get through the maze EM put up – both to keep us in and to keep the spies out. I think the bears got them.
Truthfully, I shed a few tears when a couple I had become very fond of left the fold. But they did not become strangers. I still am in contact with them, as are the rest us here. They are still family.
Who knew these virtual bonds could be so strong, that I would want to reach out and hug my friend from Britain, or Poland, or Australia, that I would rejoice in the safe arrival of a young American man’s baby daughter, that I’d share the pain of another’s bad review (which wasn’t even meant for his book), that I’d worry over the illness of a precious pet, or gross out over someone’s over the top humour?
Being a member of IU, participating in the various opportunities both there and via external connections made through IU, have given my career as a writer an immeasurable boost. I have been able to spread my wings here and learned I can fly.
Now back to the typewriter before EM gets wind that I’ve been chatting.
“Oh, EM, please may I have an extra portion of gruel? I’ve been ever so good, really I have. …….What do you mean it’s all gone, um …….sob.”