Book Jacket

 

rank 4562
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

10

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Mameha changed the subject. "Yuki says your ikebana are stunning."

"I just learned from a book," was Juneau's unconscious response. Offhandedly, she mentioned the author of the book.

"She was once a student at Shokadō," Mameha said.

"You knew her?"

"I trained her." As if perceiving Juneau's question before she could answer it, First Mother said, "This was before any of you were born. She is not an Ieyasu. She learned the modern ways, of course."

"Of course."

Mameha smoothed a wrinkle in her kimono, and the sunlight caught it so its glamour almost blinded Juneau. She almost missed the invitation to sit on the bench beside First Mother. She quickly complied.  Seated beside the tiny woman (were all the women in Japan so frail as a geisha doll? she wondered), Juneau felt the strictures of a foreign society begin to wind about her, strapping her limbs to her torso and clamping her dry throat shut. But she fought against the silence, and finally couldn't keep one question from flying out. "Why am I here?"

Mameha stood up then and walked over to the armoire. She might have been smiling, or frowning, or impassive, Juneau couldn't tell. Her voice changed in no qualifiable way. "Only recently did we realize how important it is that the blood of Ieyasu Tarō run through the agents of the Triad. It was Hideyoshi who realized what everyone before had missed." Mameha gazed out the window at the woods beyond the garden. "Of course, this alone would accomplish only so much. Rikka has been growing and changing in her art, modulating forms and bending rules more easily than Yuki bends matter. Meanwhile, Shokadō had become set in its ways. The agents of the Shokadō Triad haven't been able to defeat her for hundreds of years, because they couldn't match her advancements with their own. She danced circles around us all. It was pitiful!"

Mameha's inner light seemed to dull as she spoke, but here again it rekindled. She may have been hardly five-foot-four, but Juneau felt her strength and power flowing in the room even from far away. She said, "This Triad will be different. Already is. We have experienced Yuki and Claire's powers first hand. None of the preceding agents have ever been so strong. Or so innovative, thinking of new avenues down which to take their powers."

As she spoke now, Mameha opened the low, black armoire. The doors swung out, revealing an open cavity on the left and a stack of drawers on the right with handles in matching brass-red trim. From the recess on the left--which was full of vases and trays--Mameha brought out a shallow, lacquer dish in plain black. From the drawers on the right, she produced necessities for flower arranging.

Juneau came to stand beside her and picked up a blade of steel grass. She ran her fingers along the length of it. It felt heavier than it looked. The leaf weighed nothing in her hands, but psychologically, metaphysically, she couldn't imagine a heavier load. She thought about the few ways she had bent time recently. The easiest thing to do now would be to go back and forget that any of this had ever happened. Maybe Claire could help her forget by using mind-bending...

Sensing her daughter's unease without addressing it, Mameha said, "You are different from your sisters, but no less amazing. In fact, you are possibly more incredible than either of them. Not necessarily for your powers--they have powers to match--but for your strength of character. A person is only as strong as her strongest trait."

Juneau was tempted to say that a chain was only as strong as its weakest link, but she kept her trap shut.

"Work with it, I say," Mameha was saying now, "and you can work wonders." Then, with a deep breath, she pronounced words that terrified and galvanized Juneau all at once. "This is why you three will succeed where none before you have."

"How do you know?" she asked, fearful of the answer.

"I cannot say for sure that I know. Only, I have faith. It isn't so because I say it's so. It is so because I believe it is. But things will not fall into place simply because we will them to. It will take much time, practice. Blood, sweat, and tears. Your sisters have learned, and now you will, too."

Juneau nodded slowly. She hardly noticed when Mameha moved away from the armoire to give her room or when she left altogether. Juneau looked at the materials before her, unconsciously measuring the angles and the distances, and considering the outcome, too. Mameha returned with a jumble of flowers and filler plants in all manner of shapes and colors, which she set down without a word. Juneau went to work. She put down the blade of steel grass and moved the shallow lacquer dish closer to her. She cut and cajoled, measured and estimated. The steel grass was too long; she bent it back on itself. The accents weren't the right color or shape; she tossed them aside in favor of others. The sight of the hateful baby's breath made her think of her mother and how this must look like procrastinating. But toward a greater good, right? Juneau shrugged the thought off and let her hands work in complete silence. She fell into a trance. She knew what she was doing only as she was doing it but, as the piece came together, she felt an energy surge in her. This element fell slightly askew, but rather than change it, Juneau worked with it. Sometimes, a mistake--a missed stroke on a perfect parchment, an awkward angle on a line or accent--made the result that much more real.

Finally, Juneau stepped back and took in the ikebana in reserved tranquility. A lotus flower rested on a bed of folded and twisted aspidistra leaves, beneath which lines of steel grass sprouted like two-dimensional petals. The whole sat off-center in a shallow pool of water, black pebbles shining just beneath the surface.

Mameha broke the utter continuity between art and artist when she announced, "It is a perfectly balanced arrangement. It has line, volume, and accent. So, too does each Shokadō Triad have three agents. You have demonstrated your attachment to the line element. Congratulations on your first tanden, Juneau."

" 'Tanden'?"

"A tanden is an arrangement that draws your energy into focus and concentrates it, much like a magnifying glass. But unlike a magnifying glass, which you must carry with you in order to use it, a tanden you take with you in your heart and mind and soul. Wherever you go, it is there. Your tanden will be pivotal in defeating Tachibana Rikka. As will your training in hanate."

"What's that?" Juneau asked.

"Hanate is the martial arts associated with the Shokadō School. You see," First Mother said, taking on an inculcatory tone, "ikebana is a way of life. Its greatest teaching is balance. Balance in the world, balance in the mind and body... balance in the soul. At Shokadō, we have been taught and continue to foster the concept of harmony in life. Just as each ikebana arrangement is 'balanced' by three elements, so, too, is the Way of Flowers 'balanced' by a three-pronged concept of righteous living: adherence to the Zen teachings, meditation through ikebana arranging, and self-discipline through the practice of hanate."

"That's what Kato said."

Mameha nodded.

"Is hanate what Yuki uses to kick butt?" Juneau's eyes lit up, remembering the pummeling Rikka's cronies got at the goth girl's hands. "I wanna learn that!"

"And you will. In time."

"All this for one girl," Juneau sighed.

First Mother shook her head slowly, almost smiling. "You have no idea who you're dealing with, do you?" Juneau admitted she didn't, opening the way for Mameha to beat it into her. "As long as Shokadō has been around, there have been other schools, practicing other principles--some equally as honorable as ikebana, some not so honorable. There is one such sect that practices the same principles as Shokadō: the Tachibana School, our greatest adversaries."

Juneau nodded. "That must be the school Rikka comes from."

"The Tachibana School of the Ikebana Arts was founded by Tachibana Rikka."

"Same name... What a coin-ki-dink." Juneau rolled her eyes.

"It's no coincidence. Rikka was originally a Time-Bender like you--but she became obsessed with power. She never passed the torch. Technically, Tachibana Rikka died almost five hundred years ago. But shortly before her death, she went back in time and brought a younger version of herself with her to the future. Using mind-bending, she passed all of her memories and experiences to the replacement. She also ensured that she would live on by instilling within that replacement a strong sense of self-preservation, so that when this replacement Rikka was at death's door, she too would bring another copy of herself back from the past."

"Are you saying what I think you're saying?" Juneau asked with a slack jaw.

"We Ieyasus have been trying to defeat the same enemy for ten generations..."

"That's bad!" Juneau cried. "How are we supposed to beat this chick?"

First Mother simply said, "Hide and I are convinced that you three can defeat Rikka."

"How's that?" Juneau asked, not at all convinced.

"The reason is two-fold. First of all, Hideyoshi believes that it is a global effort. You three have received a more rounded education--different than what you would have received in Japan. You will have insight into this problem that others before you won't. Secondly, you are all Ieyasus. Preceding agents were weak in their powers, but you three--there can be no doubt that you are more powerful than almost any before you because of your blood."

"So, for ten generations, the Shokadō Triad has been trying to beat Rikka--but she keeps it up somehow. Was the last generation so crappy that they couldn't finish her off?"

Mameha blushed down to her pale hands. "It isn't so simple. We didn't have your powers..."

" 'We'?"

Mameha nodded. "I was the last Mind-Bender. Your father was the last Matter-Bender."

"Hide is not my father," Juneau said emphatically. First Mother only nodded, and offered no more on the matter, which Juneau was happy to drop. "I suppose we do have to work together, though."

"We do, but not in the way you think."

"What do you mean?"

With more than a little flush in her face, First Mother said, "Once you three came into your powers, our powers were largely transferred to you. We can teach you, but we have essentially passed the mantle on to you three."

"Don't you mean 'passed the buck'?" Juneau said harshly.

Mameha touched her hand tenderly. "Please, Juneau. Even if it doesn't seem like it, your fa--Hideyoshi was acting in everyone's best interest, not the least of which is your own. If Rikka took over the world, you wouldn't want to live in it, I assure you. She has tried in the past."

Finally, Juneau let go of the fight. She realized she was being a shit to the woman who had opened her gorgeous home up to her and who was offering her a way to save her mother. She swallowed her pride and put on a smile. "I'm sorry," she said, and was surprised not only to mean it, but also to feel tears come to her eyes. "I guess I'm just scared that... Rikka... I don't know. I'm just confused."

"We'll work around it," First Mother offered, along with a healthy dose of encouragement. "You're not alone in this. You have your sisters, and Kato. And though Hide and I don't have as much of our powers as before, we haven't lost any of our savvy. We'll train you like nothing before."

"Good, 'cause I've never had training of any sort."

Mameha bowed her head slightly. "I'm quite sorry to hear that. I only hope you won't hate us by the end of it."

 

Chapters

10

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Laura Bailey wrote 1066 days ago

This is very well written. No problem backing it.

Laura Bailey
Beneath The Blossom Tree

Eunice Attwood wrote 1293 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 1354 days ago

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

Ryan K. Nolan wrote 1354 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 1359 days ago

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

Pia wrote 1360 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 1360 days ago

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

Kidd1 wrote 1361 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 1361 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 1362 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 1362 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 1362 days ago

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

homewriter wrote 1362 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 1363 days ago

Backed

Ferdi
A Bed of Thorns

missyfleming_22 wrote 1363 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 1363 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 1364 days ago

Lovely!

Ryan K. Nolan wrote 1365 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 1366 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 1366 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 1366 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 1366 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 1366 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 1366 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 1366 days ago

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

celticwriter wrote 1366 days ago

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

jim
jack & charmian london

lizjrnm wrote 1366 days ago

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

Liz
The Cheech Room

soutexmex wrote 1366 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 1366 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 1366 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 1366 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 1367 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 1367 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 1367 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 1367 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 1367 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 1367 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 1367 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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