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

34

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Juneau recognized his bizarre leather tunic and boots, the ruddy fox-hood ending in the white-tipped tail. Sunlight hit Kitsune's amber eyes, and Juneau was reminded of her cat Ferris. She wondered fleetingly if he was all right, and conversely whether Kitsune would eat him, given the opportunity.

"Yes and yes," he said without solicitation.

Juneau tried not to smile too wide. Secretly, she was delighted to see him, more so to find him alone. "I'm glad I found you."

Kitsune smiled and stepped closer. He exuded an exhilarating musk that made Juneau realize that it had been ages since she had had sex. Yet all of a sudden, this virile specimen of an immortal appeared before her, and in rushed the hedonistic thoughts. She blushed because she knew he knew she was having them. Her rouge deepened to know that he was doing this on purpose, that he was making her giddy--and she could do nothing about it.

"How have you been?" the fox spirit asked, still close enough for his breath to caress her ear and petition her loins to prepare a welcome committee.

"Fine." Juneau tried to recompose herself, giggled foolishly. Recovering somewhat, she noted,  "It's been literally hundreds of years since we first met, yet it feels like yesterday."

"Time is a no concern--for me, at least." Kitsune winked. Crouched on his heels, he rested his hands on his thighs. "How you humans perceive it... is confusing and utterly useless to me. It is like a prison that follows you wherever you go: no doors, no windows, no escape. For me, it's this hood. I can put it on or take it off. I can become it; it can become me." He slipped the hood over his head with one hand to demonstrate, and his features were sucked away. The next moment, the fox eyes, equally amber, blinked and focused on her. When the fox maw spoke, it was in Kitsune's voice, unhampered by the long, narrow ribbon tongue, or the sharp teeth and the shape of the jaw. "Time is like a coat you wear in winter, an umbrella against the rain in spring, sunglasses in summer sunshine." As he spoke, his coat changed color: brassy red to snow white. When he mentioned sunshine, the light filtering through the overhead canopy intensified and burned Juneau's skin wonderfully.

She was breaking into a sweat, uncomfortably infatuated. She thought this was what it must be like for a geek dating a supermodel: all the preconceptions were wrong, but the visions were dazzling. She said, mostly to distract herself, "You can visit other realities, too, can't you?"

A hand lifted the fox's lower mandible up and over Kitsune's human face, which appeared magically now. "To answer your question, in one realm you are furious with me for being so presumptive. This Juneau has thrown the mission, and the Three Gorges Dam will indefinitely remain destroyed. In another, you are still fighting with your sisters. In that one, as in this, you are mystified about what is tearing Yuki up--and what she's not telling you."

"What isn't she telling me?"

Kitsune laughed. "I'm sure if she knew what was bothering her, she'd tell you." He ignored her attempt to interrupt again. "In a third realm, you never made it to Japan, because you have yet to discover ikebana. In this particular realm, you are still dating one Matthew Carver." He was towering over her again, looking down. The amber in his eyes were thin rims around the black discs of his irises. She could practically feel his pheromones being sucked into her skin, as if by osmosis. When he spoke, it sent a shiver down her spine. "And in every one of these realms, I could devour you and leave no trace of you ever existing, Ieyasu Junō."

She shivered again, yet felt strangely safe beside him. The chemistry between them, or the hormones in her body of their own accord, drew her attention to his striking features. He was a god among men. How could she go back to dating scrawny guys like Matthew Carver? Kitsune was very handsome, skin of bronze under a light dusting of stubble. He didn't look Japanese in the least, which didn't make a difference to her. Her impression of him was rather of a movie star, like Clive Owen or Daniel Craig--men built strong with perfect white teeth and million-dollar smiles. But, oh, the up-keep! These beauties, she realized (and she counted Kitsune among them) seemed more work than they were worth. They wouldn't suffer her walking around in skuzzy T-shirts and track pants, no makeup, uncoiffed. She didn't mind getting dolled up once in a while, but everyday everywhere was just too much.

She was suddenly derailed, released from his grip on her. With his musk, he had stunned her into submission--but no more. As quickly as it started, the sexual Olympics racing through her mind, the queasy deliciousness of that musk being sopped up by her spongy nasal passages all stopped. She had broken free. She laughed in Kitsune's face like Hideyoshi reading gory headlines.

"Ha! Take that!" She smiled whole-heartedly. "Look, Mister. I don't know what you want out of me, but you ain't getting it. As for what we want out of you, you know you're gonna help us out."

He raised an eyebrow at her mockingly, undaunted by her shimmying out of his mental mitts. "And why is that?"

"Because you're bored out of your skull, and this'll be entertaining."

"At least for a little while," he agreed with a nod and a great, big smile.

From that moment forward, he acted like a puppy on his way to the park. He followed Juneau eagerly, smiling as they angled back down toward Shokadō.

"You have been bored," Juneau noted. "What have you been up to for the last five hundred years?"

Kitsune shrugged. He plucked a butterfly off a star-shaped purple flower. It froze in his fingers and when he shook it, it fell to the ground in a rain of cherry blossom petals.

"Where does it go?" she asked, aghast at the subtle yet ostentatious display of power. "Does it just cease to exist?"

"Does anything 'cease to exist'?" the king of foxes retorted. "The butterfly has become these petals. Let's say these petals will live for an hour before dying. If I told you the butterfly was going to die in an hour, would it be any less gruesome?"

Juneau looked at the pink petals and felt a sinking feeling in her heart. "So it is dead?"

"Give it an hour," Kitsune teased before moving on. "Conversing with a mortal about death is like talking to a fish about water..." He seemed to be talking to himself. The phrase rang like a haiku, but she didn't want to play games--especially with a god. He clued into this and finally said, "I think about Mitsurigi Ayumi a lot. I go back and watch her. She is beautiful to look at, but her soul is changed, become something else. All I see of her is a shadow of what she used to be. It is frustratingly unfulfilling. But it makes me mad, too." He began to pace. Midstep, he crouched down and became a fox again. "Mad at myself, for acting rashly, for destroying all of her selves. One of them might have loved me--but instead of embracing that one, I devoured all the millions that didn't."

Juneau listened without comprehending. She thought about love, that fickle thing. Had she ever even known it? Matthew had claimed to make love to her, and she to him. She couldn't even remember why she had broken up with him. It wasn't so much a reason to break up with him as a reason not to stay with him. Had love ever wandered the corridors of her heart? Looking back at her past like this, she couldn't help but entertain another question: had she ever been happy? She had never worked hard for anything, never felt she'd accomplished anything worthwhile. Hence, she'd never felt the joy--the happiness--of achievement. But she had never struggled either--never been truly hurt or abused or manipulated. So had she really ever experienced happiness? Was it merely the absence of sadness--or its own thing?

"I assure you, they are different," Kitsune said, reading her thoughts. "And don't interrupt. I will do this thing for you, but only because it needs doing. I was once a human. Or I may have been a fox. I was mortal once, in any case. My past is far behind me, like a tail so long I can't see the end. But I can feel if it gets cut on a barb.

"I will do this thing for you," he began again, as if reminded, "but only as a favor to Tachibana Rikka. She must never become what I am. She must not be suffered to live forever."

 

Chapters

34

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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 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 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 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 1356 days ago

Beautiful written narrative in a voice that has a calming effect on the reader. Backed

I hope you will give mine a read and back it if you like it.
Best,
Robert
Golden Conspiracy

Beval wrote 1356 days ago

There's a calm quality to the writing that seems to reflect the calm beauty of Japanese flower arranging. There is also the same discipline and attention to detail.
I found the opening chapter excellent, there was a haunting element within the writing that complimented the sensations Juneau was feeling.
On a more mundane level, I loved the cat as well, arrogant, self centred and totally catlike.
The narrative is beautifully written and draws the reader along at this calm regular pace that is a pleasure to read, the story unfolds before you, never demanding attention, but gently compelling it.

klouholmes wrote 1356 days ago

Hi Ryan, I can imagine that Kuni hides her anxiety well since her mother isn’t aware of it. You’ve captured a personality here that is discreetly seeking and with very lovely prose. This is very interesting, the reference to Zen and then the time bending in the synopsis. Kuni’s POV is done well while this subject is pleasant to read about and it stimulates with concept. Happy to shelve – Katherine (The Swan Bonnet)

C W Bigelow wrote 1357 days ago

Ryan, an entertaining, well written story that is humorous, with a style that is captures the reader. Nice job. Backed. CW (To Save the Sun)

Barry Wenlock wrote 1357 days ago

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

homewriter wrote 1357 days ago

Beautiful descriptive writing. Well researched. Superb story telling. Don't be influenced by the 'show don't tell brigade' that inhabit this site! Backed, Gordon - The Harpist of Madrid

Ferdi wrote 1357 days ago

Backed

Ferdi
A Bed of Thorns

missyfleming_22 wrote 1358 days ago

Really interesting and vivid. I love that you take something like the flower arranging and weave it into the story, it's fascinating. I like that this book doesn't really feel like sci-fi to me, the time travel parts just felt like a natural part of the story. That's impressive to me! You've done something original with this and I love that. The writing and the characters are strong and really kept me reading.

best of luck with this
Missy

KW wrote 1358 days ago

Ikebana and time travel. Why not, if you set out for Kamakura. "If Juneau's father was out there somewhere, she'd never know." I have a feeling she will find out soon. Then she is suddenly able to read Japanese. Until this moment, or a little later, ikebana "had been less than a hobby." Now, she begins to realize it "is a way of life." At least, for Shokado in Kamakura and the Ieyasu dynasty. Of course, her father's name has to be Hideyoshi. I have a feeling that there is a Nobunaga lurking around somewhere.

This is quite entertaining and intriguing. I'll be back to read more of this time-traveling ikebana fantasy. Backed for now.

yasmin esack wrote 1359 days ago

Lovely!

Ryan K. Nolan wrote 1360 days ago

WOW! To everyone who's commented, thank you very much. Juneau's Line is very much a labor of love, which is to say that I love flowers, language, most things Japanese, and above all writing! I am very, very new to Authonomy, so I don't even know how to back a book, but I'm encouraged that as many readers have backed me in as many hours as I've been on Authonomy! It is very, very humbling. I hope to have to time to return the favor to you all. As an aside, the picture on the cover I took myself of a piece of ikebana I did myself. Actually, I fell in love with ikebana, which I took up literally the day I started writing the book...

PS. I have already begun writing the sequel. Also, I would like incite on a possible deal-breaker for future readers: the series goes backward! So, Juneau's Line is actually chronologically third of three. Any thoughts?

Burgio wrote 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 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 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 :)

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