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.

 
rate the book

to rate this book please Register or Login

 

tags

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

on 9 watchlists

38 comments

 

Text Size

Text Colour

Chapters

11

report abuse

True to First Mother's words, training proved to be physically and magically exhausting. Juneau spent more time training than she ever had studying for tests, researching and grading papers, and snacking between classes as a student. Sometimes the trio trained alone whether in the dōjō sparring, or in the garden meditating. Other times, they were joined by some of the servant monks, mostly boys of about twelve whose sole interest lay in knocking each other on their butts.

First Mother was incorrigibly strict in the dōjō. She detested Juneau's lack of focus. Beside that, the girl needed discipline. Left to her own devices, Juneau probably would've woken up late, gone to bed late, ate at odd hours, and failed to practice any of her techniques, which led to unnecessary aches and pains, both physical and familial. Fortunately, Mameha had little faith in Juneau's devices and watched her like a hawk.

She emphasized how clarity of mind wasn't something that occurred on a whim. "You have to work at it. You have to invite it in for tea, and make sure it stays for dinner."

Juneau thought this sounded an awful lot like a koan, but offhand comments usually only invited further criticism. She kept quiet and tried to focus on focusing.

She soon fell into the habit of waking up at six every morning and, after splashing cold water on her face, creeping off to the sitting room to meditate over her tanden. Unlike her other ikebana, the tanden seemed capable of living long after it should have died. Juneau would pull on a leaf here, or adjust the accent there, but otherwise she was left to her thoughts (which were purer now that Kato was back in his element and largely out of her orbit; Mameha wouldn't suffer him gumming up the works).

At first, meditation proved too harrowing and distracting. Her thoughts would begin a wide loop around her mind, like a train on a one-way track, stopping at the usual destinations. First up was always Kuni: worrying about her, wondering if she was safe--or at the very least warm and fed. How could Juneau have taken her eyes off her for even a second? She should have listened to Kato about Rikka! Which was a natural progression toward thoughts about Kato. Initially, she'd been smitten with his good looks, then thrown by his cockiness. Now, she was back to yearning for him at night. Her loins were constantly on fire whenever he was around. It didn't help matters at all that the heat of Kamakura--so much more cloying that that of Seattle--had impinged upon his fashion sense, reducing him to jeans and tight-fitting T-shirts. If there had been any question about the shape of his body, they were gone now. Juneau couldn't remember wanting Matthew as much. And then she started thinking about him. Matthew, and breaking up through the door--and what must he have thought of Kato when he'd given him the letter with Juneau's name and picture in it? Did he open the letter? Then, Kato's letter made her think about Hideyoshi--her father. She had certainly formed an opinion in recent days--and not a good one. He may be a decent warrior and a focused martial arts instructor, but--she was fairly certain--he would never live up to her expectations of what a father should be. She had set up an impossible obstacle for him to prove his viability as parent, for the only way she would call him Father was if he went back in time and made up for all the lost days, months, and years of her life that Kuni had been a single parent. The only people capable of doing that was Rikka (and she never would) and Juneau herself. She wouldn't ever stoop so low.

Of course, she also thought about Chase and Rikka (Was the former safe? Was the latter scheming?), but not necessarily daily.

Understandably, when it came to meditation, Juneau was filled with a mortal dread--at first.

However, with practice, she was able to move beyond that. Her mind's cogs stopped clicking into the same ruts, the gears came to a halt, and for one blissful hour, she managed to fill her mind with a plain tableau whose sole purpose was to remain unblemished and white. Perfect.

In all truth, it took her an hour to get to that blessed place, but she enjoyed it for scant moments before her stomach prodded her toward breakfast.

On a particular morning some weeks after she had arrived in Kamakura, after the morning meditation and breakfast, Mameha chased the other girls off and took Juneau to the training hall for a private session.

"It's time for you to become better acquainted with your magic," First Mother explained.

"Finally," Juneau breathed, gratefully. She had spent many hours already watching her sisters practice hanate, which she found to be little different from karate in her layman's opinion, save that hanate incorporated the ikebana elements of time, space, and mind. It was rather frustrating for Juneau, who knew little about karate and even less about her powers. Hideyoshi was going through the painstakingly slow movements--punches, kicks, blocks, etc.--but intoned more than once, "You cannot learn hanate until you have learned to harness time."

No small feat.

First Mother asked Juneau to sit, then disappeared for a moment. When she reappeared, she was holding Juneau's newest tanden. She had been missing Chase when she made this arrangement, so it closely resembled the one she purportedly gifted him what seemed like forever ago. Wide, green ribbons of aspidistra drew a bed for the purple orchids over a pool of water. It even had thin bamboo sticks jutting out from it.

"Look at this piece," First Mother said, placing the ikebana between them on the floor. "You see the lines, the volume, the accents?" Juneau nodded. "Tell me which you like best. Which one best describes you?"

Juneau thought about the question for a while. When she had first looked at it, she was drawn to the bright, lavender orchids--the accents. But, gazing harder at it now, she felt a change. When she closed her eyes, her mind kept pulling her back to the lines. Her focus immediately went to the tan bamboo, her eyes following the lines they threw into the air.

"You see it, don't you?"

"I see the lines," Juneau answered.

Mameha only smiled. "When I look at this piece, and every piece, I first see the accents. It is hard to ignore them. But when I look away, when I close my eyes, I am continually called back to the volume of the piece. Here, it is the voluminous aspidistra, filling my mind with its green-ness. I even sense a smell about it that it very green. This is because of my connection to the volume element, space. You, however, are connected to the lines."

"I see. But what does it mean?"

"It means that once you know how to identify and control your powers, and how to focus your energies on your tanden, you can control time."

"Control time," she repeated, stupefied. So much power, wielding time! "So I can go back and forth, or speed up and slow down--or what?"

"All of it, at your fingertips."

"What about paradoxes?" Juneau asked suddenly. "A change in the past means a change in the present, doesn't it?"

"Time is a very tricky thing, as is the human mind. Unfortunately, the former is much trickier than the latter. Time moves in all directions at the same time--and yet remains constant and unmoving, too."

"Huh?"

"An example: if you step forward, in another reality your double steps backward--or doesn't step at all. There are infinite possibilities to every action, infinite effects for every cause. And still, there will always remain one reality that is preordained. From it, all other realities deviate."

"Now we're talking about alternate realities. Is that necessary to time travel?"

"Not necessarily necessary," Mameha giggled, "but it is a natural byproduct of it. How else could you go back and visit yourself--without suffering the paradoxes that such a visit would imply?"

"I guess that's what I was saying..." Juneau frowned, her face hot with shame. "I'm having a hard time following..."

"It is a very difficult concept, child. Don't worry. Grasping it is possibly the hardest part." Juneau smiled, feeling comforted by this small consolation. Mameha went on, "Think of it this way: imagine that the preordained reality is a line." She produced a small spool of blue thread and a pair of scissors. She cut several lengths and draped them across her knee. Then she took a single thread and, moving the ikebana aside, laid it out for Juneau to see. "Here it is. Now, for every decision anyone has ever made or will ever make or is making now, there is a split." Mameha lined the rest of the lengths of thread alongside the "preordained" line, joining them at one end. "You see how many possibilities there are now."

"Yes."

"Yet the preordained line can operate as if none of the others every occurred. Indeed, all realities operate under the assumption that their reality is the only reality." To demonstrate, Mameha focused--with much difficulty, Juneau would have said--and the "preordained" thread turned black.

"How'd you do that?" Juneau asked.

"It's a mind-bend. Don't interrupt."

"Sorry."

"Now, it is also possible to return to the preordained line at any point--for Time and Fate are corrective and long to move along the preordained axis." She drew a couple of threads back toward the black thread so that they intersected. "And so it goes until another decision must be made, until infinity. You see? Infinite possibilities, all working their way back to the preordained line."

"Do they all make it there?"

First Mother shook her head, but smiled all the same. "It is necessary that some never do. Some realities have been irreversibly changed."

Juneau nodded. Her mind had gone blank minutes before, but she tried to pull it together enough to say something bordering cohesive, something indicating a teensy-tiny modicum of comprehension. "So, if what I want doesn't happen in this reality, in theory it does happen in another reality?"

"Exactly!"

Juneau had to be comforted by Mameha's enthusiasm. "Okay," she said with a curt nod, finally getting it. "But the only reality that matters to me is this one. The other... me's are fending for themselves, too. Right?"

"Right. And so you must use your powers to correct egregious wrongs created by Rikka's meddling."

"All of them?!" Juneau cried, incredulous.

"Not all of them," First Mother said, practically rolling her eyes. "Kidnapping your mother, for example."

"Couldn't we just find where she is and go save her?" Juneau wanted to know.

"That is a possibility," Mameha acceded. "But we have as-yet been unable to locate her hideout. Perhaps you will have more luck here, too." She smiled, and Juneau gleaned the slightest hint of condescension before it was wiped from First Mother's face.

Mameha then said, "Your greatest power, Juneau, lies in divining the optimal reality--out of literally millions!--and traveling through it to the desired goal. In effect, you will learn how to split realities. To leave behind the one you don't want for the one you do..."

Thus began Juneau's first foray into time-bending. Now that she could focus at will, it was easy to fall into a bending trance. Soon she was taking Mameha on little jaunts into the past and the future.

"I find traveling into the past like sailing," Juneau said. "Smooth and flow-y..."

"Interesting," Mameha replied. "I find traveling into the future like flying."

"Soaring?"

"Yes."

And so they struck a code: sailing into the past, and soaring into the future. Along with this, Juneau also practiced slowing and stopping time, or speeding it up. Mameha was hard on her, sometimes keeping her through lunch, once or twice through dinner. Juneau wondered how the old girl could go without food or water for so long. Juneau ended every day famished and dry as a bone--though often too tired to do anything about it.

All in all, the training was grueling, time-consuming--and no amount of time jumping would help Juneau absorb it any quicker. But she made progress. Mameha ensured her that, with time and practice, she could reach her destination in time with about a quarter hour of error. Moreover, the more Juneau used her powers, the better her focus got, as well as her accuracy and reaction time. Finally, Juneau now knew where to look for inspiration. The elements were everywhere around her: the straight edge of the windowsill, the open expanse of tatami-lined floor, and a glittering object in the periphery of her vision.

She had finally begun to train in the ways of the Way of Flowers.

Chapters

11

report abuse

To leave comments on this or any book please Register or Login

subscribe to comments for this book
Laura Bailey wrote 1061 days ago

This is very well written. No problem backing it.

Laura Bailey
Beneath The Blossom Tree

Eunice Attwood wrote 1288 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 1355 days ago

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

Pia wrote 1355 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 1357 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 1357 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 1357 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 1358 days ago

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

homewriter wrote 1358 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 1358 days ago

Backed

Ferdi
A Bed of Thorns

missyfleming_22 wrote 1359 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 1359 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 1360 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 1361 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 1362 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 1362 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 1362 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 1362 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 1362 days ago

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

celticwriter wrote 1362 days ago

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

jim
jack & charmian london

lizjrnm wrote 1362 days ago

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

Liz
The Cheech Room

soutexmex wrote 1362 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 1362 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 1362 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 1362 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 1362 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 1362 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 1362 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 1362 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 1362 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 1362 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 1362 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 :)

1