Book Jacket

 

rank 4567
word count 87535
date submitted 27.07.2010
date updated 09.08.2010
genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy, ...
classification: universal
complete

Juneau's Line

Ryan K. Nolan

Juneau discovers ikebana flower-arranging--and her whole world changes. Luckily, she has all the time in the world to figure things out.

 

According to the Japanese art of flower arranging ikebana, the world and all of nature can be broken down into three elements: time, space, and mind. Juneau Sakamoto finds herself the unwitting possessor of the ability to bend--and even break--time when she takes up ikebana as a talisman against boredom and the stresses of college. She soon meets her half-sisters, Yuki and Claire, who have since come into their own powers: space- and mind-bending, respectively. The sisters set out for Kamakura, Japan, where Juneau meets her father for the first time. His sordid past has led to her morbid present--and the future doesn't look too bright either, if the trio can't nullify a beauty with all three of their powers combined. Fortunately, Juneau and her sisters have some otherworldly help in Juneau's Line, the first in the Master Arranger series.

Juneau's Line is complete. All 47 chapters are posted here on Authonomy.

 
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tags

china, flowers, japan, magic, sisters, time travel

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Chapters

4

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She called her mother first thing the next morning. Kuni picked up on the third ring. "Juneau? It's a beautiful morning! I hope you've had a big breakfast!" She was always a ray of sunshine by dawn.

"Cut it out, mom," Juneau said cuttingly. "You know why I'm calling."

"I do?" Her mother sounded pained. "I'm on the highway so you'd better make this quick."

"Don't be coy, mom. And you know you shouldn't use your phone when you're driving. It's against the law."

"You called me on the phone while I'm driving to lecture me about using the phone while driving?" Kuni giggled mirthlessly. "Junebug, you really should pick your battles..."

"That's not why I called. I know you sent Chase the flowers I made." Juneau was annoyed that after all this time--two years!--her mother still couldn't get over the fact that Chase was gay and would never, ever father Juneau's babies. In this respect, Juneau recognized how different she was from her mother and her ancient ways. They shared the same long, silky black hair and the same almond eyes. But they were cut from a different cloth. Kuni was a silk kimono: soft and elegant, and reminiscent of greater eras long gone. Juneau was a pair of denim jeans: rugged, utile and all-American.

"I saw the flowers you made at home, June," Kuni was saying. "They were lovely. You really do have a gift. You should think about cultivating your talents, doing something with it."

Juneau had to pause. It wasn't like her mother to play along like this. Kuni Sakamoto had a horrible time of keeping secrets, and playing pranks on people went counter to her delicate sensibilities. "You mean you don't know who sent Chase my ikebana?"

"Well, why would I send Chase your ikebana?" she asked. "Has he decided to become a family man after all?"

"He's a 'family' man all right," Juneau said with a smile her mother would never see or comprehend.

It was only then that Juneau noticed the morning light falling in soft cascades through the living room window and the glorious day outside. Evergreen firs lined the streets, retaining their color in spite of the heat and dryness. It changed the way she felt for some reason, looking at the vibrant life outside. She lost the thread of her agitation and decided not to go looking for it again. For the first time in a long time, Juneau felt rested, for the red wine had wrestled her down for a good long sleep. Not even the strangeness of the late-night delivery could keep her eyes open.

Yawning, she changed the subject. She couldn't go on believing that her mother had been behind Chase's gift. So someone had taken the liberty of gifting her best friend one of her favorite arrangements. So what?

When she hung up, Juneau felt little more informed. Her mother could have written the inscription, and sent the gift, but she said she hadn't. But if not her, then who? She had to find out. Juneau didn't want to put a damper on Chase's enthusiasm, so she slipped out the door silently. She would do some snooping from her office, she decided.

The apartment was walking distance from the university campus. On the way there, she stopped for a latté, then joined the other early birds milling about for the proverbial worm. She was not expecting Matthew to be waiting for her at her office.

"What are you doing here?" she asked him as she unlocked the door. The deadbolt slid from the lock and rammed into place with a loud report. It was the sound of her heart falling into the empty drum of her stomach, a hollow thunk.

"I couldn't sleep," he said, and it showed. His face was haggard and stubbly, bags under his red-rimmed eyes.

Juneau pretended not to notice. "You too?" she said without warmth. "What a coincidence!"

Matthew huffed in after her. "Can we cut the crap, Juneau? What the hell is going on here? Why don't you answer my calls, and why don't you ever want to hang out with me?"

Juneau sighed. "Sorry, Matt." She quickly added, "And don't tell me to call you 'Matthew'; I started dating a 'Matt' and I'm breaking up with a 'Matt'."

"So you are breaking up with me?" Matthew asked dumbfounded. He looked truly surprised, which made Juneau think she should have done this long ago.

"I thought that was obvious." For what seemed like the first time in a while, she looked up at him. She looked into his eyes. She didn't think she liked the person she saw before her.

"You could've told me to my face, Juneau."

"All right!" she cried. "I'm breaking up with you, Matthew! This is the end of the line--get off! Happy? God, pull yourself together!"

They stared each other down for a spell. Juneau expected him to break, to turn into the boy he had been when they'd first met, the one that had had a certain lost charm about him. A boy named Matt. She didn't want to be reminded of that eighteen-year-old kid who didn't really want to be a doctor or psychologist, but whose parents wouldn't let him think of being anything else. The boy who asked about homework answers and test scores--that was the boy that Juneau had fallen for. She didn't see him anywhere anymore. At least, that's what she told herself.

Finally, she said, "I got a lot to do, if you don't mind."

"I don't know what went wrong," he said steadily. "I thought we had a good thing going. I don't know why you want to throw all that away." Then, as an afterthought almost, he added, "You know there's nothing wrong with being normal."

He left her office then, but not without slapping something down on her desk, pinning it under his open hand. The hand looked for an instant like a great and furless spider, post-mortem pale. "Somebody left this for you. Have a good life!" He stomped off, the limp spider-hand crumpled and stashed in his jeans pocket.

Juneau didn't let herself watch him go. She wanted to. Some sadistic part of her wanted to witness the harm she'd done. She pulled the chopsticks out of her hair and shook her tresses loose. It was going to be a long day.

The envelope he'd left was burgundy with gold trim. When she opened it, she found stationery in honey, black ink bleeding through the page in places. She unfolded it, and something slipped out. She let it fall, for a bouquet of wild roses and the undeniable smell of green awoke her senses. She instantly recognized the Japanese characters in old grass-script on the page without knowing why. It read, in wide strokes like miniature paved roads: Ieyasu Junō. She ran her fingers over the script, which was written from top to bottom, right to left: the traditional Japanese way.

As a student of linguistics, she felt ashamed for never delving into her own mother tongue. The language precepts were there: the fundamentals of its syntax and grammar, basic vocabulary. But she had never learned to speak or read any of it, not even her name. Yet, here she was, reading the characters without a problem.

She put the sheet down and picked up what had fallen on the floor. It was a photograph, face down. When she turned it over, she felt the wind knocked out of her, and she dropped it again. This time, it fell face up. The photograph was unmistakably her: on her phone on the 71 and, by the look of it, it was taken yesterday. She tried not to freak out, but this was so out-of-the-blue, that she couldn't not freak out. Someone had taken a picture of her--and then gone out of their way to deliver it to her! Someone was watching her!

But who?

Matthew would know! She had to call him, even if it would be icky and awkward so soon after they'd broken it off. She was pulling her cell from her pocket to give him a call, when it rang.

It was her mother again. "Junebug, how ever did you get this ikebana here so quickly?"

Juneau wasn't paying attention. She was looking at the photograph, but also looking at the foreign script on the honey-colored paper. How was it she could read the script? And why had she bothered to answer the phone? Annoyed, she groused, "Sorry, mom, I'm kinda busy."

"Well, you certainly have been busy, running around with all these deliveries! Your Auntie Kanako wanted to thank you, too."

Now she was confused. "Auntie Kanako? What are you talking about, mom?"

Kuni Sakamoto sighed loudly into the phone. "That's what I'm trying to tell you, June. Auntie Kanako wanted to thank you for your ikebana--and me, too! It was waiting for us this morning, on our desks when we opened up the shop. There wasn't a name or card on it, but I recognized them from your studio. Thank you, my darling girl!"

Juneau was flustered. First an ikebana of hers showed up at Chase's house, and now this? Who was making these deliveries on her behalf? And why? She slipped the letter and the photo back in the envelope. "Mom, I gotta go." Mystified, she hung up only to call Chase. She could ask Matthew about her stalker a little later. Right now, she needed to find out more about why her ikebana were showing up everywhere unbeknownst to her.

Chase didn't answer the first time she called, or the second, or ten minutes later when she tried again. To be sure she wasn't having trouble with her phone, Juneau called Matthew and hung up as soon as he picked up. She would just have to find Chase in person.

Ten seconds later, she received a text that made her regret calling Matthew. Worse, it further muddied the already murky waters. It read:

 

I don't know how to read you! One minute you're breaking up with me, the next minute you're sending me flowers. Thanks, I guess? Btw, nice to know you remembered orange is my fav color! Love, your "normal" Matthew

 

Chapters

4

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Laura Bailey wrote 1064 days ago

This is very well written. No problem backing it.

Laura Bailey
Beneath The Blossom Tree

Eunice Attwood wrote 1292 days ago

This is certainly something different and refreshing. A very feminine feel to your writing, which is lovely. A great storyline which plays out well. Happy to back. Eunice - The Temple Dancer.

Ryan K. Nolan wrote 1353 days ago

All right, the whole book is up for anyone who wants to see how it ends.

Ryan K. Nolan wrote 1353 days ago

I apologize again for not commenting sooner. The truth is that I am very busy. I'll be traveling back to China in a week, have a full time job technical editing (which means that staring at a computer screen after working for eight hours is the last thing on my mind), and I am currently working on another book completely unrelated to Juneau's Line. Needless to say, for all the writers out there, you know how it is when you've fallen in love with a new project: the older projects receive less attention. That said, I hope no one will take my lack of a backing or commenting on your books. Everyone understands that there are simply too many books to read--and even more to write!

I understand that this won't help my standing at all, but I'll keep at it.

Thanks again, everyone!
Ryan

tlst wrote 1358 days ago

What an interesting storyline - your pitch is intriguing and the writing style doesn't disappoint. Backed. Tania, This Last Summer

Pia wrote 1359 days ago

Ryan -

Juneau's Line - I enjoy this very much, love the gentle rhythm of the writing, and the theme openes a whole new world to me. Thank you.

Backed recently, Pia (Course of Mirrors)

Katherine Edwards wrote 1359 days ago

Lovely writing with a gentle rhythm which I enjoyed greatly. Well done on this and good luck. Katherine.

Kidd1 wrote 1360 days ago

Beautiful written narrative in a voice that has a calming effect on the reader. Backed

I hope you will give mine a read and back it if you like it.
Best,
Robert
Golden Conspiracy

Beval wrote 1360 days ago

There's a calm quality to the writing that seems to reflect the calm beauty of Japanese flower arranging. There is also the same discipline and attention to detail.
I found the opening chapter excellent, there was a haunting element within the writing that complimented the sensations Juneau was feeling.
On a more mundane level, I loved the cat as well, arrogant, self centred and totally catlike.
The narrative is beautifully written and draws the reader along at this calm regular pace that is a pleasure to read, the story unfolds before you, never demanding attention, but gently compelling it.

klouholmes wrote 1360 days ago

Hi Ryan, I can imagine that Kuni hides her anxiety well since her mother isn’t aware of it. You’ve captured a personality here that is discreetly seeking and with very lovely prose. This is very interesting, the reference to Zen and then the time bending in the synopsis. Kuni’s POV is done well while this subject is pleasant to read about and it stimulates with concept. Happy to shelve – Katherine (The Swan Bonnet)

C W Bigelow wrote 1361 days ago

Ryan, an entertaining, well written story that is humorous, with a style that is captures the reader. Nice job. Backed. CW (To Save the Sun)

Barry Wenlock wrote 1361 days ago

This is original, intriguing and extremely entertaining. Backed with absolute pleasure,
Barry
LITTLE KRISNA AND THE BIHAR BOYS

homewriter wrote 1361 days ago

Beautiful descriptive writing. Well researched. Superb story telling. Don't be influenced by the 'show don't tell brigade' that inhabit this site! Backed, Gordon - The Harpist of Madrid

Ferdi wrote 1362 days ago

Backed

Ferdi
A Bed of Thorns

missyfleming_22 wrote 1362 days ago

Really interesting and vivid. I love that you take something like the flower arranging and weave it into the story, it's fascinating. I like that this book doesn't really feel like sci-fi to me, the time travel parts just felt like a natural part of the story. That's impressive to me! You've done something original with this and I love that. The writing and the characters are strong and really kept me reading.

best of luck with this
Missy

KW wrote 1362 days ago

Ikebana and time travel. Why not, if you set out for Kamakura. "If Juneau's father was out there somewhere, she'd never know." I have a feeling she will find out soon. Then she is suddenly able to read Japanese. Until this moment, or a little later, ikebana "had been less than a hobby." Now, she begins to realize it "is a way of life." At least, for Shokado in Kamakura and the Ieyasu dynasty. Of course, her father's name has to be Hideyoshi. I have a feeling that there is a Nobunaga lurking around somewhere.

This is quite entertaining and intriguing. I'll be back to read more of this time-traveling ikebana fantasy. Backed for now.

yasmin esack wrote 1363 days ago

Lovely!

Ryan K. Nolan wrote 1364 days ago

WOW! To everyone who's commented, thank you very much. Juneau's Line is very much a labor of love, which is to say that I love flowers, language, most things Japanese, and above all writing! I am very, very new to Authonomy, so I don't even know how to back a book, but I'm encouraged that as many readers have backed me in as many hours as I've been on Authonomy! It is very, very humbling. I hope to have to time to return the favor to you all. As an aside, the picture on the cover I took myself of a piece of ikebana I did myself. Actually, I fell in love with ikebana, which I took up literally the day I started writing the book...

PS. I have already begun writing the sequel. Also, I would like incite on a possible deal-breaker for future readers: the series goes backward! So, Juneau's Line is actually chronologically third of three. Any thoughts?

Burgio wrote 1365 days ago

JUNEAU’S LINE
What an imaginative story. I’ll think of it every time I pass my local flower shop which always feature at least one Japanese inspired bouquet in their window. I like the whole idea of being able to bend time; it’s good plotting. Juneau is a good main character; she’s likable and interesting to follow as she explores all the strange things happening to her. I’m adding this to my shelf. If you have a moment, would you look at mine (Grain of Salt)? I’m in 8th place but only holding on by my teeth. Burgio

name falied moderation wrote 1365 days ago

Dear Ryan
this is a beautiful book cover, so well done. Your long pitch was the thing that drew me to your book, and I thought I had already backed it but obviously not....I will coment later when I have read more but till then i wish to support your climb to the top
Backed for sure my me
THE VERY BEST OF LUCK
BACKED BY ME FOR SURE
If you would take a look at my book, comment ( hopefully positive ) and back it that would be soooo great. if not that is OK also
VERY best of luck
Denise
The Letter

andrew skaife wrote 1365 days ago

This is a wonderfully written piece of work with a quiet pace that runs smooothly over the read. You have, in tune with your pace, an exciting structure and rhythm that moves the narrative forward well.

You know your stuff and the Japanese scenery, environment and background is beautifully imprinted upon us.

Your use of language is admirable: just two examples:

"Her neighbourhood (I still still over American spellings), like her bedroom, housed no shadey characters."

"Kuni Sakamoto. on the other hand, was old-fashioned or perhaps just Japanese fashioned."

These two lines work on so many levels that it is dizzying.

Excellent and certainly BACKED.

livid wrote 1365 days ago

Hi, I am sorry that this comment does not help you in any way just yet, other than to let you know that I think your work is worth backing, but I am getting used to the site slowly. Also, work commitments and writing are being squeezed to try to keep up. After the first days I thought that the reading returns and support would slow but as yet they have not even begun to. So, in order to be fair I am backing everyone who I think deserves it, thanking everyone who has backed me and keeping an increasingly long list to get back to and give my hand written comments over. I hope this is ok with you? Cheers.

livid wrote 1365 days ago

Hi, I am sorry that this comment does not help you in any way just yet, other than to let you know that I think your work is worth backing, but I am getting used to the site slowly. Also, work commitments and writing are being squeezed to try to keep up. After the first days I thought that the reading returns and support would slow but as yet they have not even begun to. So, in order to be fair I am backing everyone who I think deserves it, thanking everyone who has backed me and keeping an increasingly long list to get back to and give my hand written comments over. I hope this is ok with you? Cheers.

livid wrote 1365 days ago

Hi, I am sorry that this comment does not help you in any way just yet, other than to let you know that I think your work is worth backing, but I am getting used to the site slowly. Also, work commitments and writing are being squeezed to try to keep up. After the first days I thought that the reading returns and support would slow but as yet they have not even begun to. So, in order to be fair I am backing everyone who I think deserves it, thanking everyone who has backed me and keeping an increasingly long list to get back to and give my hand written comments over. I hope this is ok with you? Cheers.

CarolinaAl wrote 1365 days ago

You provide us with an outstanding story with an intelligent plot and fascinating characters. Polished writing. Backed.

celticwriter wrote 1365 days ago

Continuing to be entertained by your journey. Nice continuity of story, structure. Happily backed.

jim
jack & charmian london

lizjrnm wrote 1365 days ago

This is excellent writing! Easy to back for an intriguing unique story.

Liz
The Cheech Room

soutexmex wrote 1365 days ago

Ryan: I read Chapter 5 and this is very competent writing. Nothing to gig you on. Even the pitches both worked for me. Think you're gonna have to pound the pavement to get people to read this effort. All godd writing does on this website. BACKED!

I can use your comments on my book when you get the chance. Cheers!

JC
The Obergemau Key

Rusty Bernard wrote 1365 days ago

Hi Ryan,

your 'future' is 'bright' if you continue with this. Well done and good luck.

I have backed your book because I was hooked by the pitch, loved the introduction and read on. How much more I read depends on time and commitment.

Enjoy everything and good luck.

Rusty Bernard
The Mental Pause


lynn clayton wrote 1365 days ago

You describe excellently, particularly Juneau's sense of being watched in the night - not overwritten, not over-stressed, and all the more believable for that. For me, though, there was one false note - I didn't believe it when she stifled a yawn. I think in those circumstances something physical takes place that precludes yawning. We're very much on the alert.
Excellent, though. Backed. Lynn

SammySutton wrote 1365 days ago

Ryan,

Fabulous, in so many ways. Your words touch the senses in a rare way. The reader is bombarded with wonderful gifts practical, cultural, and artistic. This all is done in support of the story rather than in a distracting manner.
Absolutely wonderful. I am so impressed. Linguistics..Wow!
Good Luck!
I backed!
Sammy Sutton
King Solomon's '13'

PATRICK BARRETT wrote 1365 days ago

Beautiful and evocative with a thoroughly original thread running through it. I was suprised by the use of the term "Chowed down" when the cat was eating, this is a very masculine phrase to be used in a tale of a sensitive female and her life. Paula Barrett (Cuthbert-how mean is my valley)

K A Smith wrote 1366 days ago

I like the idea, I like the cross-cultural milieu. I like the cat. Juneau's Line is a bit of a slow-grower, for me, but I will persist, as there are qualities of the book which appeal to me. What almost stopped me from reading past the first paragraph was the first paragraph, which seems to be striving awkwardly for some over-literary impact - to the point where it didn't make much sense. The promise I saw in the pitch kept me reading, however, and I will finish it. The book gets better when it doesn't try so hard.

Jim Darcy wrote 1366 days ago

Evocative and quite haunting in places, lyrical prose that quickly cpatures the reader's interest and involvement.
Jim Darcy
The Firelord's Crown

Jason Morte wrote 1366 days ago

What a wonderfully original idea! This is something new for the fantasy genre and it's about time! Are you sure there are no elves in this book? What about ogres? Anyway, joking aside, this is well written and deserves some attention. We get to do some traveling to Japan, too, which is something different. Ikebana...wow, who would've thought ikebana could be novel fodder? Nice job. And space- and time-bending are drawn from Japanese lore, if I'm not mistaken. Very interesting stuff indeed.

Despinas1 wrote 1366 days ago

Great pitch promising an amazing sci fi with a twist of mammoth proportion. Backed on the strength of its pitch and originality. Wishing you much success.
Best of luck, backed with pleasure
Helen
The Last Dream

Katy Christie wrote 1366 days ago

So often it is the words that transport me more than the story but, in this case, I believe it's both. You have a lovely way with words and I wish I could stay with you longer but, alas, I can't (see profile). This story has the beginnings of the uncanny, the mysterious and all the trappings that draw the reader into the book. Well done and good luck.
Hate to canvas but I've got my first red arrow (ouch!), so if you could have a look at my novel with a view to backing it, I'd be most grateful.
Katy Christie
No Man No Cry

SusieGulick wrote 1366 days ago

Dear Ryan, I love that you are making this a series. :) It's wonderful & I love your heroine - she is so sensitive - wish I had powers. :) Your pitch is excellent, so set the hook for me to read your book. :) When you use short paragraphs & lots of dialogue, it makes me want to keep reading to find out what's going to happen next. I'm backing your book. :) Could you please take a moment to back my TWO memoir books? Thanks. :) Love, Susie :)

This is information from authonomy (so beware of any other untrue information you may receive that is spam & not quotes of authonomy):
"When you back a book, it only improves the ranking of that book, not yours. However, the author whose book you are backing may decide to back your book also, in which case yes, your ranking would be improved"
"Every time you place a book on your bookshelf, your recommendation pushes the book up the rankings. And while that book sits on your bookshelf, your reputation as a talent spotter increases depending on how well that book performs."
backed :)
Love, Susie :)

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