Life after death – true love

What is there to say when you have experienced ‘happily ever after’? When the song is done, the stage is cleared, and the players move to other roles? Raven Bond died peacefully on November 21st; we were married for 27 years, and together in spirit before that and forever after. We were married three times, the first by a civil authority, the second in a magical event where we pledged our vows, and one last time on his death-bed. It is not over. It is not done. Love is forever.

“You must have an amazing life, you hear me?” he wrote in his death letter. It was, appropriately, in a file called ‘death letter’ where I could find it easily. “I will be with you forever, even though I don’t have a body,” he said, and “I feel more for you than words can express.”

I feel the same way. He had the gift of unconditional love, and I found myself the recipient of that regard every day. Does that mean he was a saint? No. He was as gloriously flawed, as full of doubts and baggage as any other. His spirit though? That was as brilliant as a star, as courageous, as full of fire and hope and humor.

It is three months since he left the world of form. The body held the spirit so lightly, it was as if he were tethered by will alone. In the last year, we embraced the moments, one by one. We held hands and watched silly movies. We petted the cats. We invented characters and wrote books. Always together.

I traveled around the world to be with him, from Sydney to Seattle so long ago. We kept traveling towards each other all that long while, finding new countries, new worlds in the intersection of our wonderful romance.

I am surrounded by my friends of the heart, by extended family, and by those who called him friend, love, counselor, healer and teacher. He touched so many lives. Wherever he is traveling now, I’m certain he is being and becoming exactly who he is meant to be.

Raven told me a story about time, about being now. He said that if something happened, and that was now, even if that event was a long time ago, then that now is still Now. It comforts me to think that we are meeting for the first time, at Ancient Ways in the heat of summer in 1987; we are holding each other in the kitchen the morning that he died; we are celebrating life on a beach in Hawaii, and in some when, we are meeting and making love in other bodies. We are entangled, and that’s a good thing. We are now.

It is as if he has stepped into another room, yet his spirit lingers with me in between particles, suspended like motes in the glitter of stars, in reflected sunshine, in a dark obsidian mirror. I wrap his cloak around me; it keeps me warm at night.

Having been touched by true love, having lived within it, the embrace lingers.

We will meet and know each other again.

And yes, my love. I will have an amazing life.




Writing journey side trip


Billabong Flats: The Big Race – Story and images by Ria Loader, copyright 2016

As we write, sometimes the journey sometimes takes a bit of a side trip; that happened to me about three months ago. I was writing the ‘how to kindle’ book and got side tracked by a creative adventure. It started when I was writing the chapter on formatting for kindle. I wanted to show the difference between unformatted text, and how it looks when you add a bit of structure such as Chapter Heading, first paragraph with no indent and subsequent body copy. It happened that I needed a couple paragraphs of story to use for that section. Out of nowhere, the start of a children’s story sprang to mind and I scribbled it down. That began a side journey that has involved a lot of steps.

Unformatted text
The Big Race
The wild bush animals gathered at Billabong Flats, a place where everyone has fun.They met in the shade of the big gum trees.They would race to the big hill and back. Emu was there, along with Magpie and Kangaroo. Wallaby and Cockatoo, Possum and Flying Fox were there too.
End of unformatted text

Didn’t mean to procrastinate finishing the kindle book, though that’s been on hold while I’ve been caught up in a whirlwind. Finishing the story fragment above has led to learning about kids books, taking up drawing again, and writing a dozen kids stories. Sometimes, as an author, it feels like you are just along for the ride.

The place?
Billabong Flats, an imaginary place in the Australian Bush.

The characters?
Australian animal friends – Kookaburra, Koala, Kangaroo, Echidna, Cockatoo and Flying Fox, Dingo and Brolga and all the critters that run, swim, jump and fly.

The idea?
A place where everyone gets along and has fun.

The challenges?
Those of friendship everywhere. Things are lost and found, curiosity leads to new discoveries, new homes need to be found, visitors become neighbors and scary monsters are avoided or defeated, friends are supported in times of loss, and adventures and fun is had along the way.

The images?
After searching through thousands of photographs, it came down to around 200 images as inspiration. From that. pen and ink drawings were embellished with watercolor and digital brush work.

The web site?
It felt like the stories needed their own web site, so I started one at When friends said they wanted images of the characters, I began to set up some materials for Billabong Flats Art on Cafepress. The first image, of KoalaDreaming is ready. I’ll be asking folks who join the Billabong Flats mailing list to vote on which story and which character I put up next on cafe press. I have images of many of the animals ready to go.

The first illustrated children’s book?
It is called Billabong Flats: The Big Race. It will be out on amazon in a couple of weeks.

Strong Mystery: A new book by Raven Bond


Too much fun. For the past month I’ve been editing, formatting and proofing Raven’s omnibus edition Strong Mystery. The goal was to get it done in time for him to read from it at Gearcon, a Steampunk convention in Portland. He’s a guest author there. I wanted him to have physical copies to sell at the bookshop, along with his other series novel, Wind Dancer.

I’ve been coming home from work, having dinner and then sitting down again with InDesign. Later, once I’d printed it out, there seemed to be a couple weeks of redlining (marking the print out with a red pen) and fixing before it was ready to send to print. Happily, the copies arrived this week.

This week I’ve been transferring all the corrections to the Word files so I can publish to kindle. Just a few pages left and it will likely be up online tomorrow. In reading the three stories together, I realize once more what a terrific writer he is. The plots are tight, the murder mysteries play out well, and the magic system is believable. I can’t wait until he writes the next one.