Awakening the FORCE

Source: Awakening the FORCE


Time To Clean Up and Organize My Blogs

Announcing the birth of:

I first started blogging for our furniture business and the “green” movement that we are a part of. Since I was writing “Conscious Thought” it was the blog that came up when people googled my name. That was fine if they wanted to hear about the furniture industry and the eco-movement but not if they wished to follow me and my writing. “Conscious Thought” is fairly inactive because I am writing on more than one blog in my spare time (..working my day job and writing my books etc.). If you are following that blog but aren’t interested in the furniture industry then please go to my new blog: I really want to stay in touch with you.

The second blog came about because of my line of science/fantasy books. It was started in July of 2011 in preparation of my first e-book coming out and is the more active blog. The “Sage Seed Chronicles” blog actually had two locations. One was attached to my website which I built  because I couldn’t figure out how to do everything I wanted to do on the WordPress blog site and .. you guessed it.. the other was on WordPress but didn’t have any book information. The two “Sage Seed Chronicles” sites were cumbersome. They had the same blog posts (I didn’t know how else to handle it).  One had more book information and pictures but no ability to communicate via commenting, tweeting or sharing. The other had only the blog posts but we could interact with each other.


Entering from stage left is my website/blog savior. My publisher, Paper Crane Books, saw the mess I was making of things and decided to give me a helping hand. So I now have a new website. It has information on my books and my blog is there also. We can communicate with each other and share.  YEA!

The old Sage Seed Chronicles sites will disappear. Please my friends, go to my new.. lovely.. remastered website to keep in touch.

Follow me..

Tag.. You’re it!

See you there.


The Latest News from Our World

This blog will not be a tight fit with either my business blog or my writing blog but speaks to the underlying structure of my life and how everything fits together.

There are a couple of things I would like share. Our furniture business has been green for a long time and we support green practices. It is a philosophy that is in our lives. We are practical people who blend well with the eco philosophy.

Last December as I was contemplating what to do about Christmas gifts I started looking at the piles of scrap boards that were too small to build anything out of but that we hadn’t gotten rid of. Rosewood pieces and Zebra wood. Teak, Wenge, Walnut Jaboty and other small treasures. We hadn’t ditched them because they were precious to us. Well I started making bracelets and pendants from these pieces. Gorgeous reclaimed exotic wood jewelry. The idea has blossomed and I will be in Richland, WA at the Art in the Park juried show with a stock of these beauties on the 29th and 30th of this month. If you can’t make it in person, I can sell you a piece or make one for you. :)(
I’m in full production mode right now but will have updated photos and information on the page link above.

In late summer-early fall my first book will be published. It is part of a finished sci-fi series that takes place on a Green/Low Tech world. It is action packed- murder- suspense. (And they do quite well with out oil)

Recently we were contacted by a terrific group of film makers. They have produced films that have won awards at the Sundance Film Festival. Their latest “Freedom” looks at alternative fuels. On August 4th they will be in Bellingham with “Freedom” at the Pickford Theatre. Here is the trailer:

The reason I am grouping all of these seemingly different topics together is because they are truly related. We all do things the way we do because of philosophy, experiences and the knowledge we have… sort of a version of “You are what you believe.”

The Future is NOW

The HGTV survey results, from consumers of home furnishing, said that customers wanted to buy furniture that would last 15 years or more .. that was also custom or distinctive for their home. According to the survey, that was more important than getting the cheapest price.

We are custom furniture designers. Two years ago, at market, we started looking for a domestic furniture line that would be a good fit for what we can create. We found that good fit and were in the early stages of negotiation when everything just stopped.

What this particular company is doing is typical of the industry at large. The economy has everyone turning very conservative. They are afraid to try to innovate. Their new line? They have taken their twenty year old pieces, tweaked them slightly and re-introduced them. They even stated that that was where their new introductions came from.

On one hand I totally understand. The economy has everybody looking for their crystal ball. Most all stores are carrying the tried-and-true low to mid range priced items that they have sold in the past. “If it ain’t broke.. don’t fix it!” But here is where I start to question.

Look at the trends. The “Baby-Boomers” are beginning to do their preliminary looking and research on-line. But the Re-Boomers, those Gen X and the Gen Y’ers, are there..doing 90% or more on line. It is second nature to them. The shear numbers of that market are to be discounted at our own peril. They don’t want what Grandma had or even what their parents had. They want fresh, new and something that will last.. a good investment. Show them something that will get them to pause and contemplate how it will look in their home.

Look at what they are buying! The number of iphones, etc, that are cool, cutting edge, do many things for them and make a statement! Why would their homes be any different? It doesn’t mean weird looking! But it should be look fresh!

I totally respect those that are looking for their own look. I am not one that wants a cookie-cutter home either. I don’t see why you should settle for less than the look you want. One special piece or the whole home. Let us help. We can assist you… sort of like your partner and personal shopper for your home…….. from the drywall to the housewarming we are there for you as should every furniture business be. If they aren’t listening to you or working with you to find your desired piece then they aren’t worth your time.

The Awareness of Our Power

Over the last several years the economy has been a bit sucky! This situation has gone on longer than usual. It is a complex situation with many causes and the solutions … well ..there are a series of things that need to happen to totally right the problem. BUT there is one thing that can get the train wheels moving again.

We have been bombarded with negative things in our 24 hour news cycle. If it isn’t fear it is scandal, quickly followed by another dose of scare tactics. The whole thing keeps us off balance and distracted. There is power in the concept of making us powerless. Roosevelt said “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” ..A lot of wisdom in that statement.

A well known economist said that the economic downturn, that we are experiencing, will last until the people get tired of it. That seems simplistic but when you examine the statement it makes a lot of sense. We .. have.. the ..power. We can simply start thinking then acting differently. We can refuse to participate in the recession. We can vote. We can be frugal when we need to be without shutting down the economic flow.. by buying smart, buying quality and buying American.

More Green Trends

As an addendum to my last post…. I find it very interesting that Amazon.. the epitome of a (green) online shopping business is recording record breaking sales on…e-books. They are outselling hard bound and paperback books combined. Though we all love curling up with a good book this goes one more step into the future. Think about the bulk of carrying around a book as it becomes dog-earred and tattered. Consider the backpacks filled with school books.. all replaced by a tablet reader. Then there are the trees to produce the paper and the landfills. Don’t forget the energy used to produce the book (printing, shipping etc). It is a very interesting trend.

Two New Trends That Have Eco Impact

There are two trends that we are finding across all markets (not exclusive to furniture) as we slowly emerge from the economic crunch. Both can be considered “green”.

The first is the rise in internet shopping. Whether it is because of the rising price of gasoline or simply due to the convenience and proliferation of computers, smart pads and smart phones- more people are doing their searches and shopping online. We have seen it personally but also article after article backs up our observations. Internet sales are up. Brick and mortar (the trade term for ‘stores’) sales are still struggling. The trends strongly indicate businesses that have a strong internet presence are in a better financial position and can offer their customers more.

The second trend is that there is more demand for customization and people are looking for quality in their purchases. I am not sure if this is because we are thirty to forty years into a trend of settling for a homogenized quality level. Perhaps it is because of so much of what we buy is made off shore and consumers are questioning the policy and quality of current furniture being offered.

This doesn’t mean that the personal customer service is out. It all depends upon the site. There are two that we deal with that are good examples. www.20besttwenty offers less per category than many sites but each item is carefully selected by them. Like a juried art show. They work hard to select the very best and have built their reputation for that. is green conscious. They have a following of loyal customers that interact with their site – sharing what their favorites are.

Customization and customer service are at our foundation. By doing things the way we do means we work in an eco-friendly manner. We listen carefully to the customer and build what they want specifically. has several pages dedicated to this theme.. yet still don’t show everything we have made or are capable of building. We are increasing our web presence and are carefully selecting sites we can work with.

Both trends are green. People are not as willing to settle for something that will.. get by. By taking this mindset they are doing their homework, purchasing once and throwing away less.

Our Changing World

I’ve decided to separate my two blogs. If you want to read the author blog go to: This blog is for the eco friendly furniture business. I have to say that since both come from me, my Science Fiction books have a strong eco base. Hey! They are a world of my creation! Why not!

I want to share what we have begun. Until last October we had a “brick & mortar” (a store) downtown. The economy being what it is we decided to close it and pulled back to one location. That being the small showroom with our furniture making wood-shop. Since then we have been expanding our web presence.. reaching out to the world of clients we had never touched. It is slow but is beginning to grow.

The first step was to form a network of willing customers that we could concentrate on and offer our best deals- lavishing our expertise and talents for this group most willing to receive our knowledge and services.

Then we began to reach out to select marketplaces on the net. First we found They have many of our accessory pieces left over from our brick & mortar days. Now we have our beautiful exotic wood bracelets on the fantastic site: Wow what a treat! Look under the “jewels” category!

There is another site that will feature some of our custom furniture. When we get on that site I will let you know. This is a step into the world and into the future. The net is where Gen X and GenY are as well as a number of other age groups. That is where we are and will be!

The Traditional Road for Authors

The traditional road to becoming published goes like this: You write a book- edit and refine it then go through the process of writing and refining a query letter. You go to some very good Query sites, find the agents that are accepting queries in your genre and start sending out queries.

Literary agents are beleaguered with queries and are dealing with a constricted market. Form rejection letters are often the norm. Publishers have lost capital with the economic crunch  and are not as willing to pick up the unknown entity (a new author) because they don’t know if they will get a good return on their investment. New authors are really facing an uphill battle to find representation and getting their baby launched. The process has been fun and interesting even if it has, so far, fallen short of being successful.

I have met and am networking with great people who are also querying. (See Luke’s blog: It is a fascinating process and more so if shared.

One of the interesting things I have learned is how little authors earn. It is fascinatingly logical. The publishers do the editing, printing, distributing as well as a myriad of other tasks. They take the lion’s share. They are also throwing much more of the marketing on the shoulders of the author.The agents also work hard for the authors: editing, charming the publishers and working on the legalities, to list a bit of their job, earn 15% of the net. That means the author will earn somewhere between 4 and 8%. If the book sells for $10 that means the author earns, maybe eighty cents per book.

I would really like to hear from any of you that have experience or information on this. Feel free to jump in. My next few posts will be on what I have learned about vanity press publishing and e-books.

The Road Traveled by the Unpublished Author

It has been awhile since I have posted. Life sometimes throws us a couple of curveballs that we need to adjust for. Though this blog has been a forum for eco concerns with homes and furniture, I am going to switch gears. Now it will reflect more of my life. The eco concerns are still a part of me and I will still post blogs about that.. but now I am also creating a new life for myself. I am creating in different ways.

I have been writing for sometime. I started writing articles in 2001 for local publications. Some were research oriented and others were opinion pieces. In 2007 I was asked to write guest columns for a wonderful trade magazine: Home Furnishings Business. But in April of 2009 I began to write fiction.

I started what turned out to be a series in the Science Fiction genre. I have four books completed in the series and others in draft or early chapters. The series is called: The Sage Seed Chronicles. I had an agent. She is a very nice local lady with a background in the literary field. Things were going fine until she had a whole series of accidents with the resulting health issues. She quickly reverted to a non communicative mode, canceling meetings, not returning my calls or faxes and generally avoiding me. In February I started querying for a new agent. It has been an interesting and educational experience.

This blog will be my forum for sharing what I have found. Feedback is welcome.