Book Jacket

 

rank 4565
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

6

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Kuni Sakamoto had had the gumption and know-how to open a flower shop and turn her love into money. She now owned a small gift shop downtown near Pike Place Market. Juneau didn't have much of an opinion about her mother's work, but she really hated the name: Gifts & More. Leave it to a Japanese woman, Juneau had thought many a time, to choose the most generic, uninspired name on earth. She had asked her mother on any number of occasions to change it, with no luck.

"I like the name," Kuni would say.

"Of course you do," Juneau would counter. "You named it!"

The worst thing about it was that Gifts & More was surrounded by other shops with names just as inane. Often the names of neighboring shops were simply an ad for what was sold and by whom: So-and-so's Roasted Peanuts, Such-and-such's Flowers, Someone Else's Smoked Salmon. Furthermore, the noisy fish sellers and their heave-ho's robbed the jewel of more of its shine. Juneau was personally glad the shop was too far from them to smell the fresh fish.

She stepped into the shop and heard the bell jingle, echoing the jangling of her nerves. Steaming, she walked past the Seattle-themed figurines, snow globes, and postcards that bombarded her from all sides, as well as the Mariners and Seahawks paraphernalia, the boxes of smoked wild salmon and gourmet chocolate truffles. Flowers were everywhere else. Bouquets, individual stems, funeral offerings, leis, and supplies for making any and all of the preceding.

Even among the tumult of green, Juneau recognized her ikebana instantly, sitting behind the register. It only riled her more. She would never have given this particular piece to her mother. It was too busy. The accents were in two different colors and varieties: a red dahlia and a handful or green chrysanthemums. The lines were hala leaves, imported from Hawaii, which would have irked Kuni. ("Use materials from your own environment," Kuni would have said. "Don't go stealing them from someone else's yard.") Furthermore, there was baby's breath through out. Kuni hated baby's breath. ("Baby's breath does not smell like a baby's breath. It smells like moldy bread and lawnmower grass. I bet a man gave it the name. A man who never spent a second of his life around a baby.")

But Juneau had made the piece as a kind of celebration of color and style. She'd wanted to make something with a little more pizzazz and little less restraint. Ikebana seemed the epitome of restraint at times.

"Mom!"

A couple of customers looked over at Juneau and smiled. She tried not to feel so guilty. No one here knew that the flower arrangement she had made--and delivered, if pervy Kato was right--had somehow landed her best friend in the hospital. Nobody suspected her. She was innocent. Beyond innocent, she wasn't to be implicated because there was no crime. Chase wasn't poisoned.

She sincerely hoped Kato was telling the truth, even though it meant her life was about to get very complicated...

"Mom!"

"Juneau?" Kuni came out from a small walk-in refrigerator where the flowers were stored. Kuni's black hair was little more than a bun on her head held in place by chopsticks, her face a bit on the pale side. Onlookers gazed from one to the other and instantly recognized the likeness. On the outside, Juneau was her mother's double--a carbon copy from their skin tone to their sweet teeth. "What's the matter, honey?"

"Mom, we have to talk," she said, then shoved the letter and photo into her mother's hands.

Kuni looked at the picture and smiled (it was a decent photo), but when she read the characters on the page accompanying it, her eyes grew wide with knowing. " 'Ieyasu Junō'," she read aloud.

"Who is Ieyasu Junō?"

A tear came to Kuni's eye as she took in a deep breath. Without prevarication, she said, "You are. You were born Ieyasu Junō in Tokyo, December 12, 1991. You are Ieyasu Hideyoshi's youngest daughter."

The bell over the door tinkled, and mother and daughter turned to look. Juneau had originally felt a mounting sense of dread, knowing that Kato was following her here. Much later, she would learn that the person who appeared in the doorway was so much more dreadful a person than humble Kato.

At the moment, however, neither Juneau nor Kuni recognized the beauty in the vermilion kimono. About her waist, she wore two obi: a wide navy blue one overlaid with a thinner one in pink. A phoenix was embroidered across her breast. Though she was young, no more than seventeen by Juneau's estimation, her eyes were dressed in peacock-blue colors, which made her look older. Her hair was held up by chopsticks with baubles dangling on the end of them. She was flanked on either side by girls roughly her own size and age, dressed in different colored kimonos (tea-brown, and blue tones) of similar design. Neither of them sported the phoenix, but they were no less lovely.

"Wow," Kuni breathed, forgetting her moment of sorrow. "The Japanese cruise ship must have docked early." Then she turned back to her daughter.

But before she could say anything, Juneau blurted out, "What do you mean, 'I'm Ieyasu Junō'?"

They heard the bells chime again, and Juneau saw Kato come in. "Oh, great!"

"Juneau!" he called over to her.

"Get out of here, Kato!"

"Kato?" Kuni looked up and saw the young man dressed all in black. "So it is time..."

"It is, Kuni," he said, bowing his head slightly.

Juneau tried not to lose her cool. She felt her face get hot as she cried, "Time for what?" Turning to her mom, she asked, "So you know this guy? Why doesn't anyone fill me in on this stuff?"

"Allow me." The voice came from behind them. Before Juneau could turn around, she knew that the beauty like an orange dream had spoken. Her voice matched the silk of her kimono: smooth and alluring, soft and strong all at once. The girl and her followers (Juneau now saw how very alike they all looked; they might as well have been triplets) stepped forward, but Kato intercepted them.

"Stay away from her!" he shouted.

"You stay away from me!" Juneau cried in turn. She pushed Kato out of the way and glared at the girl in the vermilion kimono. "Who are you?"

"My name is Rikka. Hajimemashite."

Unconsciously, Juneau said, "Hajimemashite," too--as if she had been meeting and greeting people in Japanese forever. She was so flabbergasted that she forgot what she wanted to know so badly. For the first time, she noticed that all eyes were on them; the customers had stopped milling about and were watching them with growing curiosity.

Kato alone seemed upset. "Juneau, get away from her! She is evil!"

"Will you shut up?!" she snapped.

Rikka glanced at him, and Juneau saw a spark, the slightest of ripples, pass between them. Kato fell silent. Juneau wished she could silence a man with one stifling gaze. But Rikka had taken her by the arm and was leading her away, out of the store. Kuni followed, herself rendered strangely mute.

"You mustn't believe everything you hear these days," the vermilion beauty said, sounding less and less like a seventeen year old. "Don't you find that to be so?"

"I guess."

"Tell me, Juneau: what do you know about your past?"

Juneau scowled and tried to slip out of Rikka's grasp, but the girl's was an iron grip. She was beginning to think she should have listened to Kato. "I don't know what you mean."

"Come now, my darling. Everyone has a past. A mother... A father...?"

Now, Juneau definitely felt uncomfortable, though she couldn't fathom why. What about this girl was so sinister, for that was what she was. "My father's away on business," she lied. Rikka sneered, but for a second, before it was gone. But Juneau had seen enough to suspect foul play. "What do you want?" she asked.

"Ah, but it is for me to grant wishes!" Rikka announced. "Don't I look like a genie in this kimono?"

"A genie from Japan, maybe."

"That's the spirit!" Rikka laughed. "Now, what do you want?"

"Right now? I want you to let me go."

"Granted!" the girl squealed, and released Juneau's elbow. "You see? Whatever you ask, I'll give it."

"I am kinda hungry," Juneau said. No sooner was it said than Rikka produced a steaming humbow out of thin air. "Hey, I recognize this! It's from the Chinese place right around the corner. Thanks!" Without thinking twice, she gobbled down the bun.

"Have you noticed how you're always hungry, always thirsty... always tired?..."

Juneau stopped in the middle of a bite, wondering what to say and deciding to follow through with the bite after all. So what if she was always hungry and thirsty and tired?

Rikka continued, "Power takes energy..."

" 'Power'?" Juneau asked around a mouthful.

"Yes, Juneau. Power." Rikka smiled down at her--which was quite difficult considering that she was shorter than Juneau. But Juneau certainly felt that she was being outclassed.

With the humbow gone, Juneau realized how quiet Kato was. "Wow," she said, glancing at him. "You really shut him up."

"Because you asked me to."

"I didn't ask you to."

"I suppose not," Rikka corrected. "But you did ask for it. So I answered."

Juneau didn't like this at all. She was already beginning to regret eating the humbow, though her hunger had been curtailed. "Why are you doing this?"

"Because, my child Juneau, you are a very special girl."

"So I've been told," she said wryly, remembering Kato's words. "But why?"

Rikka shrugged, her lower lip jutting out prettily. "I only see in you what you haven't yet seen in yourself: possibility. Power... immense power... And it has everything to do with... your past."

 

Chapters

6

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Laura Bailey wrote 1060 days ago

This is very well written. No problem backing it.

Laura Bailey
Beneath The Blossom Tree

Eunice Attwood wrote 1287 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 1349 days ago

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

Ryan K. Nolan wrote 1349 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 1354 days ago

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

Pia wrote 1354 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 1355 days ago

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

Kidd1 wrote 1356 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 1356 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 1356 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 1357 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 1357 days ago

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

homewriter wrote 1357 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 1357 days ago

Backed

Ferdi
A Bed of Thorns

missyfleming_22 wrote 1358 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 1358 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 1359 days ago

Lovely!

Ryan K. Nolan wrote 1360 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 1360 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 1361 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 1361 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 1361 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 1361 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 1361 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 1361 days ago

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

celticwriter wrote 1361 days ago

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

jim
jack & charmian london

lizjrnm wrote 1361 days ago

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

Liz
The Cheech Room

soutexmex wrote 1361 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 1361 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 1361 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 1361 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 1361 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 1361 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 1361 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 1361 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 1361 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 1361 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 1361 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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