As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"

Chatting with Dave Bond

Q:  Regular followers will notice that the scrolling books have disappeared. There is a reason for that... to accommodate my guest, Dave Bond. Dave, would you like to share with readers why you have requested this accommodation?

A: The complete answer is more technical than anyone, including me, wants to delve into, as a blind person, I use software on my "normal" computer known as "screen reading" software. It is very smart (and expensive), and simply reads what is on the screen. I have a tremendous amount of control over what it reads me, and how, including the speed and pitch of the voices, as well as the ability to change voices if I choose.

I use the standard voice pre-loaded with the software. The software is called JAWS (Job Access With Speech). You might derive from this name (first sold back in the early 90s I believe) how the focus of making computers accessible to blind persons has a connection to jobs. How well things have worked out is a topic for another discussion, but suffice it to say, because of JAWS, I can type using a regular computer and a regular word processing program (Word), and do most of what any other author is able to do concerning writing and editing a manuscript.

In recent years, with the Internet (and most other computer programs) becoming more and more graphical, screen readers struggle to interpret the screen properly, if at all. An image file of a building, for instance, has no data within itself to pass on to JAWS. "Hi, I'm a 50-story building. I am made out of mostly glass and gray stone. I'm facing east, with the rising sun giving all my glass a sparkling look. There are some high clouds, so the sky you see above me is a powdery blue."

Really? Anyway, graphics make things very tricky sometimes. The banners many blogs (and many web sites) display are not necessarily graphical (although they might be), but because they are moving (constantly changing), screen reading software is confused, as it tries to read the changing text, instead of other text I may be interested in reading. If the banner or scrolling displays are turned off, or don't exist, then my screen reader has a much easier time navigating and reading the page.

I hope this helps some understand the basics of using a screen reader!

Q: ...our disabilities are not limitations, but windows to new avenues in our lives. In my case, and I'm assuming in yours, our writing.

A: I am fairly confident I wouldn't be an author had I not lost my sight 24 years ago. I was 33 then, and working as a project manager for a construction company. I had a degree in technical illustration, and was a very "visual" person. It took some time after losing my sight, but when a window to write in fact opened, I did enter in and am glad I did!

Q: I also find it inspiring that you continue to enjoy the outdoors and would like to ask you about that.

A: Actually, my love of, and participation in the outdoors has lessened since losing my sight. I have years of memories of hunting and fishing, of hiking, of camping, and canoeing. I also did some skiing, I loved to play ice hockey on the ponds and lakes in the winter, and I loved playing church softball. I have tons of memories, and it's these memories more than any present day participation I interject into my stories.

Q: You know, I considered writing only after so many other avenues in my life where shut down, closed or pulled out from under me. I know I mourned over those things I lost. Did you go through a type of mourning, too?

A: I can't say I experienced a clearly defined period of mourning. Interestingly, now that I've been blind for about 24 years, I find I have "down" moments when I experience a kind of mourning. If you can call frustration and a little anger, mourning. I also tried a number of career avenues after the job I landed in after graduating college (as a blind person) was eliminated. This was in 2000. I initially sent out some resumes for non-profit organizations looking for a program director (my previous position) but soon gave up on that. I tried everything from web site design/maintenance, to becoming a certified nutritionist, to going back to college to begin masters working marriage and family counseling. But, writing eventually became something I quickly developed an interest in, and as they say, the rest is history!

Q: So, I hope I'm not spoiling anything from "The Attache", do you think the cable up the mountain is feasible? I mean it sounded totally possible to me, except that maybe if the mountain is public land there might be issues there. Obviously an author must pretend those political challenges don't exist.

A: Zach Brenner (the blinded male protagonist) inherited 300 acres, on which the mountain was located. So, it was not public land. I am fairly mechanically minded, and I "invented" the cable system based on what I considered a feasible concept. From a mechanical point of view. Because in reality, it really wasn't practical. But when Zach first thinks up the system, yes, it was entirely plausible IMO. Not that there wasn't any other way, but the cable system is what he thought up. FYI, in book 3 (Out Of The Desert), Zach's brother, Joel, returns to the Rocky Glen homestead, and, without giving too much away, Joel will end up with some of the 300 acres. You'll have to read the novel to see what he wants to do with it!

Q: Since you brought it up... Book 3. How many books are you planning in this series?

A: I've got 2 3-book contracts with DBP. Two trilogies, to put it another way. The Attaché was book 1 in the series entitled, 'All Things Are Possible,' and A Time To Build is book 1 in the series entitled, 'A Time For Everything' series. I hope to have my web site updated shortly where visitors can read more about these books/series, as well as see the cover art for both book 1's.

Q: Can you give us a blurb for 'A Time to Build'?

The short blurb which may appear on the Desert Breeze page follows:

Thirteen years is a long time. But not long enough for Brian Marshall to forget the face of the woman who stepped inside his office one July morning. Has the one mistake he made in his life finally come back to exact its toll?

Q: Can you share a link to your website?
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