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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38 comments

 

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Chapters

31

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"1478 turned out to be a busy year for Tarō-san. Ogawa Tarō had returned to his father's home in Kamakura, possessed with the spirit to build Shokad, per Master Ikenobo Senno's prescriptions. Part of the reason for breaking away from the Ikenobo School in Kyoto was because of how popular ikebana flower arranging had become shortly after the School was founded. Secrecy had worked against Ikenobo in Kyoto. Tarō-san had the ingenuity of building the school near a renowned religious fixture: the five Zen temples of Kamakura, whose majesty would detract attention from Shokadō.

It was Master Ikenobo who suggested that Tarō-san change his name. Ieyasu was the name the Master gave him--a name immersed in the ancient powers. Understandably, Tarō-san's father was upset that his son had taken another man's name. Tarō-san explained his desires for the school, and his father saw how important it was to Tarō-san. The process wasn't quick. It took Tarō-san several years to convince his father of the merit in building the school, and then to start the construction. Furthermore, no one in the family was supportive of Tarō-san's plans. All told, it took twelve long years to erect Shokadō.

He experienced difficulties convincing his family that secrecy was of the utmost importance. He made them take an oath of silence--but word of the school's intents traveled nonetheless. This was how Mitsurigi Ayumi appeared on Tarō-san's doorstep before the school's last brick had been laid.

Now, Tarō-san was still reeling from his romance with Tachibana Rikka years in the past. He had poured himself into the school and put his personal aspirations aside. But Tarō-san was still a man. His heart would hear none of the Master's admonishments, and he went on loving Rikka. He passed many nights tossing and turning, dreaming of the girl of striking beauty with tears like diamonds in her eyes.

All that changed when he saw Mitsurigi Ayumi on his doorstep. She was beauty incarnate. Actually, she reminded him a lot of Rikka, for there were tears in her eyes too when she came to him. She appealed to him to let her study ikebana under him. She said, 'Your name and secret have traveled far, but from my lips, they shall never again be told.' She bowed deeply to him, three times as is customary. Her forehead touched the ground, still white with dust and mortar.

He welcomed her, fed her and began his first lesson with her that very day. Soon, he began to teach her the Zen principles and taught her the Way of Flowers. Before long, he'd segued into the principles of the Flower Hand. Ayumi was a quick study. Her body was like water. She could pierce any opening with her palms or fingers. She could slip from any arm-hold. She was like liquid through a sieve, save when Tarō-san put his arms around her in their first embrace. Her eyes filled with emotion as she gave herself to him, that night and many nights thereafter. If her body was like water in the dōjō, it was like honey in bed. Tarō-san found every inch of her delectable, and sampled fervently of her offerings. He told himself it was love, and soon he believed it. His heart, in its distraction, finally forgot about Rikka.

But the tides changed quickly. The skies showed portents of tough times. Ayumi was soon languid in the morning, reticent to Tarō-san's demands. She applied herself once she was awake, but she was finding it harder and harder to wake in the morning and remain awake in the early evening. Tarō-san managed to teach her the principle elements of ikebana: line, volume, and accent. He extrapolated for her their natural and magical uses: manipulating time, space, and the human mind. Ayumi became the first line element of the Shokadō Triad. She knew how to bend time to her whim and used it to buy them many more moments of love.

But Tarō-san began to notice the change in his lover. He would often find her asleep in the dōjō, in the middle of a movement or complex choreography. He couldn't understand what had so transformed her.  It occurred to him that magic was amiss. The next morning, spurred by her interminable lassitude, he asked Ayumi for the truth of her origins.

She cried and told him that her intentions weren't pure. She had not come from her father's farm to the north as she had said. There was no farm, no father--no family. Instead, she had come running from the east, chased by the fox spirits. 'I fell in with them on accident. They followed me one day, thinking I would make a feast. Instead, I beguiled their leader Kitsune. They were all of the same mind: his. I knew he lusted for my body, so I gave it to him. I thought that living among them would be better than fending for myself in the villages and forests. I thought I could love him.

'Kitsune was in turns wonderful and horrible. He would kiss me, then bite my tongue until it bled. He would ravish my breasts and leave them bruised. He carved deep welts down my back with his claws. He would enter me from behind without asking, and it would hurt--but his kisses would ease the way for him, and I would let him have his way.'

She saw that her words were hurting Tarō-san, but with heavy-lidded eyes she persevered. 'I couldn't go on that way forever. So I ran away. I heard about you and your teachings--your secrecy. I thought when you let me in, I was saved. I think I fell in love with you instantly. You are nothing like Kitsune, except that you are like him at his gentlest--and then more still. It was after the very first night we made love that I felt the change. The next day, it was more difficult than usual to get up, but I was so excited to see you that I jumped out of bed. That night, I felt the weariness come sooner, and last longer into the morning.

'Finally, here we are. I can only keep my eyes awake for a few hours in the middle of the day. I'm afraid that Kitsune has put a spell on me, and soon I will waste away in sleep... forever.' Then, as if to prove the merit of her tale, Ayumi fell into a powerful sleep.

Tarō-san set out to find Kitsune immediately. He didn't have to look far or long; Kitsune and his skulk were watching the school. They had come seeking Ayumi, tracking the scent of her tears and honey to Shokadō where they met Tarō-san in the courtyard outside the dōjō. Kitsune was immediately recognizable. He was the only one among them who stood on his hind legs. In turns, Tarō-san saw that he was a man in a fox-hooded cloak and a fox on hind legs in a leather tunic and boots.

"What do you want with Mitsurigi Ayumi?" Tarō-san cried out.

The foxes around them yipped and yapped, streaked like lightning for Tarō-san's legs without nipping at him or attacking in earnest. A taunt like laughter rose up in their wake as they raced away from him.

Kitsune saw that Tarō-san was brave, for the ruse did nothing to strike fear in him. Without taking his eyes off him, Kitsune bent down. When he was crouching on his hands and knees, he bowed his head to mock the human custom. A glint appeared in the fox head's eyes, and its mouth gaped wide open in a menacing sneer. He attacked.

Tarō-san dodged the assault and landed a heavy kick on Kitsune's retreating posterior. The fox spirit howled in indignation. He reared back, front paws in the air like a horse, and Tarō-san saw Kitsune's genitals. He kicked him hard, right where it counted. It did the trick. Kitsune rolled on the ground in agony, then scurried off, head bowed, tail between his knees.

But it was only the beginning of the worst for Tarō-san and Ayumi. Kitsune regularly declared war on the two, and even wreaked havoc on the rest of the Ogawa family. Tarō-san quickly realized that they were out of balance with nature. They needed a third to take up the final element, a final student of the true ikebana teachings to fill the shoes of the Mind-Bender.

Tarō-san appealed to Master Ikenobo in a letter. The Master sent a young woman named Wakata Kaori. Tarō-san was humbled to merit Ikenobo-sama's aid manifested thus, but he was also distracted to find Kaori the very image of Tachibana Rikka, save for a darker complexion and a different demeanor.

As a matter of fact, Tachibana Rikka intercepted Wakata Kaori en route, changed her appearance and put on an act to take Kaori's place. She wanted to see what Tarō-san was up to. Rikka was furious to find Mitsurigi Ayumi in residence with the man she still loved, but she buried her feelings deep. Rikka as Wakata Kaori applied herself. Now, she had been dabbling in the other elements and saw this as a great opportunity to diversify and test her training. She fell in rhythm with the other agents--and tried not to fall for Tarō-san again. She took on the final element: human mind control.

Tarō-san, for his part, knew that Rikka had been a pupil of the line element at Ikenobo, so he didn't give another thought to the possibility of Rikka impersonating Kaori to keep an eye on him--their physiognomical similarities notwithstanding. More than a dozen years had passed. Surely, Tachibana Rikka would have moved on by now.

Meanwhile, Rikka recognized the tension between Tarō-san and Ayumi, the lack of a spark between them though they shared a bed. She let her old passion be reignited and offered herself to Tarō-san, subtly at first, then shamelessly. He had a hard time ignoring her advances. With Ayumi sleeping more and more of the day away, Tarō-san soon gave in--and opened up another can of worms."

 

Chapters

31

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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 1348 days ago

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

Ryan K. Nolan wrote 1348 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 1354 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 1356 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 1359 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 1360 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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