Book Jacket

 

rank 4566
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

28

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As she followed First Mother, Juneau watched the peach tail dangling down from her obi, the fresh spring color defying the end of summer. It was such a hopeful color, so clear and tranquil--and not at all indicative of her mood as she left the room.

First Mother would turn from time to time to look at Juneau. Smiling intently, her eyes slid toward Juneau now. "You must think it odd that so much hangs on your having discovered ikebana. How can such an innocuous act have such grandiose repercussions?" Juneau nodded thoughtfully as Mameha went on, "And to think, you created your focusing piece in but an hour and a half, never to really look on it again, or spend any time improving it, augmenting it, changing it as you yourself have improved and changed. Imagine if Hideyoshi and I had left you to fend for yourself as you have your tanden? Have you even thought to change the water?" She tsk-tsk-tsked with modest reprehension. "This was a grave error on your part, my daughter, but one everyone before you has made."

Realization like a sudden rush of blood to her cheeks changed Juneau's expression from irritation to shame. She had completely forgotten about the tanden she'd created her first day in Kamakura. It seemed a lifetime ago. She remembered it quite clearly, however. A huge lotus flower afloat in a shallow pool of water, aspidistra voluminously, copiously wrapping it in a green shawl. And all around it, steel grass soared and dipped, tracing still bigger petals to accent those of the lotus. Her heart leapt now when she thought about it. Mameha brought her back to the sitting room, thrusting a dart through her high-flying balloon of a heart, which fell down her throat into the pit of her stomach.

The piece was now an eye sore. The steel grass had flopped over, twisted out of shape and dried up. The broad, green leaves had browned and lost all form. Aphids were eating holes into it. The lotus blossom resembled more an insect poisoned, dried-up, crinkling petals twisted toward the center to protect its exposed underbelly. The water was stagnant, making the whole smell like mown grass left out to mold.

Juneau raced over to it. "I can't believe I forgot!"

Mameha said without condescension. "It is human nature to forget about our creations and hope that things will work out best for them."

"It hasn't been that long, has it?"

"More than a month!" First Mother clucked, a hen over her egg. "You've made other pieces, but never returned to this one..." She settled a practiced gaze on Juneau, saying volumes with her expressive eyes tinged inky, enveloping black.

"But if it's been a month, it should be a lot more decayed right?" Juneau asked, and Mameha nodded evenly. "It has something to do with how much time-bending I've been doing, right?"

"Like you, this tanden works outside the realm of time. Yuki's similarly works outside the realm of space."

"I should have taken a picture of it..." Juneau said wistfully.

Mameha chuckled without a word.

"How come I kept my powers, when my tanden had died?"

"Your powers came into fruition when you discovered ikebana. But your powers do not come from arranging flowers. That is in your blood. As an Ieyasu, your powers are your birth rite. The tanden merely focuses it."

"Tachibana Rikka isn't an Ieyasu," Juneau pointed out. "Why does she have the same powers--and more?"

"I think you know the answer to that one."

Juneau found that she did. "She was part of the original school at Ikenobo. Her blood line is as pure in the true ikebana teachings as any Ieyasu's."

"Purer," Mameha said unequivocally. "With each generation that passes, the Ieyasu line becomes thinner and thinner, a soup stretched to feed too many. Think then how strong Rikka's powers must be since she has been passing all of her chi to her replacements. Five hundred years of experiences, memories!"

"No wonder she's been running circles around us!" Juneau huffed, scowling at Rikka's unfair advantage. "Why did Hideyoshi dilute the blood line by fathering... half-breeds?" Juneau tried not to sound too indignant and annoyed.

Mameha reached up and smoothed Juneau's hair away from her forehead. "My child, Juneau, you are half nothing. What Hide may have sacrificed in purity, he more than made up in heart. This is what Tachibana Rikka lacks: your heart. Yuki's heart. Claire's heart. Hide saw the need for differentiation. That is the only way to knock Rikka out of the sky." She kissed Juneau on the forehead (which required Juneau to bow forward awkwardly) and added, "Your heart is currently besieged by doubt and anger and sorror and pain. You need to clear away the bad, so that your heart's light can shine again."

With this, Mameha backed away from the low armoire taking with her the dead arrangement.

Juneau knew what she had to do. She opened the doors to the black armoire and rummaged for materials. She cleared her mind of everything, trying to find purity in herself and let it come into the world through her fingertips. It occurred to her that the best way to do this was to walk among nature, not to simply look at it. She left the cool shade of the sitting room for the surrounding greenery bowing under the sun's rays like so many worshippers before a god. Everywhere she looked, she found inspiration. The large, heart-shaped leaves of this tree, the low shrubbery and its thick, wiry branches all moved her. She grazed her finger over the flowers she passed, and thanked the parent plants of the fresh blooms she picked. She hadn't set foot in a car or plane for what seemed like forever. She reveled in this new freedom from technology, and let nature all around her ground her and soothe her frayed nerves. She whistled Claire's French song the whole time. Her mind was clear, her heart light. All of the negative emotions and dead baggage was lifted from her consciousness.

This was what had been holding her down. This was what had been making life difficult. When Mameha took away the dead ikebana, she also stripped the terrible weight of Juneau's fears, anxieties, and pain off her shoulders. Feeling happier than she had in days, perhaps weeks, she sang out loud all the words she knew to the song about the little horse. When she ran out of verses, she started all over again. If she thought of the Three Gorges catastrophe, she lightly brushed it off. She was beginning to understand why Hide laughed when he did. It may seem the wrong time, but when the fabric of time and space was malleable, everything--even the heavy, potentially life-changing things--was funny. When it wasn't funny, it was fixable. Eventually, she would come to a place where she could make changes, and then she would.

Juneau chose accents for a new piece, settling on carnations the same peach as Mameha's obi. She found a copse of bamboo in the midst of tall trees and broke off some of the dead branches. They weren't flexible, but the line element was in her mind now; she could bend it and twist as she saw fit. The tanden focused her efforts, but the elements were inside her now. Everywhere she went, it followed, always ready.

Back in the sitting room, she took out a clear, rectangular tray of glass. She stood the dry bamboo branches in a florist's frog so they pointed off in slightly different directions. Atop and around it, she built a little altar of stones and dressed it with two carnations, one big, one small. She added more stones to the opposite corner for balance and floated large mint leaves on the water's surface.

She set the ikebana beneath the open window. It brought her a sense of pure, unadulterated joy. It made her think that, not only would they finish off Rikka, but they would also succeed in righting the gravest of her wrongs.

 

Chapters

28

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Laura Bailey wrote 1062 days ago

This is very well written. No problem backing it.

Laura Bailey
Beneath The Blossom Tree

Eunice Attwood wrote 1289 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 1350 days ago

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

Ryan K. Nolan wrote 1350 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 1356 days ago

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

Pia wrote 1356 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 1356 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 1358 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 1358 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 1358 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 1359 days ago

Backed

Ferdi
A Bed of Thorns

missyfleming_22 wrote 1360 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 1360 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 1361 days ago

Lovely!

Ryan K. Nolan wrote 1361 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 1362 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 1362 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 1363 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 1363 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 1363 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 1363 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 1363 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 1363 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 1363 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 1363 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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