Book Jacket


rank 4561
word count 87535
date submitted 27.07.2010
date updated 09.08.2010
genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy, ...
classification: universal

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

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"What's so bad about living forever?" Juneau asked.

Kitsune gazed off into the distance. "Immortality isn't the gift some would have you believe. Especially if love is a possibility. Everything I love is fleeting. I could have let the butterfly 'live', for example. I could have loved it, but its life is measured in days, weeks, scant months. Then it dies. Everything dies.

"Not me... I watched my heart Ayumi die. Many times, in fact. Over and over again. She died alone, a lonely woman whose heart a fox had eaten alive. She continued to live long after I left her, but you could also say that she truly died the day I destroyed all of her other selves. That's certainly when she lost the capacity to love. She never learned to love again, and I never learned to let go. Imagine that hounding you all your never-ending days! Is it any wonder that I'm so crazy?"

"Oh, so you know you're crazy, too?" Juneau jibed.

"I am! And Ayumi wasn't my only love. There were others, all intense, all short-lived, even when I managed to possess her until death. Death, you see, is the only god of import. It possesses everything in the end. For you humans, death and time are synonymous: the latter counts the seconds until the former arrives. Time is death's courier, and life lasts as long as it takes time to deliver death's message: 'You're mine'..."

"How very poetic. You should write some of this stuff down."

Kitsune narrowed his eyes in the sunlight, though he might have been seeing another reality, another past, or the future--anything but what was right in front of him now. "Truly, death is the gift that we immortals can never attain. It shall be my gift to Tachibana Rikka."

"Yeah? Well, don't bother sending me any presents!"

Juneau led the fox spirit past Engaku Temple, then to Shokadō School through the courtyard beside the training hall. The fox spirit's eyes lit up when he saw the dōjō. "This brings back so many memories..." His image seemed to waver and blink, like the image on a television set with shoddy reception. When he was solid again, he was smiling.

"Where did you go?" she asked.

"To visit Ayumi. The dōjō was the last structure that Ogawa Tarō needed help with. It was where the last brick was laid, by Ayumi's hand..."

Juneau reflected on Ayumi's flight from Kitsune's clutches. The fox spirit didn't appear to be the evil thing that the scrolls must make him out to be. "You loved her." She had meant to ask, but it came out a statement. She knew it was true. Time and space may not affect him, but he had become such a fixture in a human culture that he had absorbed the quintessential human strength and weakness: love.

He waved the statement away like a gnat. "I can't be controlled. Your mind tricks won't work on me."

"What mind trick? I wasn't trying to control you!"

"Weren't you? By putting words in my mouth, weren't you trying to control me?" Kitsune had lost some of his carefreeness and seemed rather irritable now. He eyed her for a moment before continuing through the courtyard toward the school grounds. "You know it's curiosity like yours that put Rikka in this position."

"Wait a minute!" Juneau jogged to catch up. "What does that mean? Are you saying Rikka and I have something in common?"

Kitsune shrugged. "I'm only saying that when humans get a taste of power, they want more. It's like a drug. You have to quit before it's too late... It's not too late for you, my dear." He glanced around him and sniffed the air. "I'm hungry. What's for lunch?"

Juneau was struck silent by his remark. "I'm not drunk on my powers."

"Not yours, no. It's become almost passé. But you'd like to learn Claire's powers someday, right? And eventually, Yuki's..."

"No!" she objected forcefully. "I don't like what you're implying. I am not power-hungry. I only thought that learning my sisters' powers might somehow save our lives."

The fox spirit made an air-raspberry. "Learning your sisters' powers won't save your lives; I will."

Kitsune led the way to the schoolhouse, and beyond it to their quarters. In a stifling silence, they passed the sitting room where her newest arrangement was sitting, dappled by sunlight. Peach carnations, stones in a shallow tray, stalks of bamboo at acute angles to each other. Mameha had been right; tending her tanden meant it lasted longer, impossibly longer. It was like an animal, almost--something needing more attention than food, more love than water. She decided to change the water and strip off the dried, dead edges.

"It is beautiful," said the fox spirit with a snicker. "But have you never wondered why your sisters don't have theirs on display?"

"I have, actually."

He smiled warmly, condescendingly, coyly--all at once. "It's because they take it with them wherever they go. You keep referring back to this piece in this place. But once you internalize the tanden and cultivate it in your heart, you can take it with you to every time you go."

"I thought I had," she replied absently.

With the sun at its apex and the heat finally unbearable, no one was in the stuffy sleeping quarters. They continued on toward the kitchen where Mameha and the servants were making lunch. Juneau pulled Kitsune aside before they stepped inside.

"I forgot to mention something," she whispered. "Jūban Rikka, one of Tachibana Rikka's replacements, is here training with us. She's turned against Kuban, her predecessor. She knows about you and your powers--what it means for her. She's a good soul, it seems, but she knows that we can't trust her not to turn out like all the Rikkas before her." She paused, thinking about what she really wanted to say. But she couldn't find the words.

Finally, Kitsune saved her the trouble. "Juneau, Jūban has the best gift a human could want. She knows what many humans obsess over without ever learning: the precise cause of her death. She is scared and frustrated on many levels. But somewhere in there, she's happy, too." Seeing that this did little to bolster Juneau's spirits, Kitsune added, "I promise not to aggravate the situation any more than necessary."

In the kitchen, First Mother greeted Juneau with a warm hug, which Juneau turned around and gave right back to her mother. (Kuni had done well to stay out of the way, checking in on Juneau from time to time, but basically busying herself around the school grounds, as she was at the moment, helping First Mother in the kitchen. Mameha was thrilled with the progress Kuni'd made in the garden, which gleamed with a newfound glow.)

Juneau moved to introduce Kitsune, but Mameha had eyed him already and offered him a modest bow. Kuni, too, seemed to recognize him. They moved into the dining room adjacent next, where Yuki, Claire, and Jūban were sitting at the table chatting and giggling. For a second, Juneau didn't want to interrupt. Watching them smile and enjoy themselves was a rare joy. They had been so focused on getting Rikka, so devastated to find themselves powerless against her, even Jūban--or perhaps especially Jūban. (Indeed, as long as Kuban was wreaking havoc somewhere, the Triad and all of Shokadō would continue to question her loyalties.) But something about today--the good weather, the fortuitous meeting with Kitsune, Kuni's gardening, Mameha's cooking?--had lifted their spirits.

Claire saw them first. "Juneau, come sit! And who is your friend?" A coy come-hither stare transformed her face into a movie pin-up. She lightly twisted the chestnut coils at the nape of her neck.

"Guys, this is Kitsune." She was watching Jūban's reaction closest, expecting a glimmer of recognition or some other indication that the jig was up. But the girl seemed as surprised as the other two, whose eyes went wide to take him all in.

"Mameha didn't say anything about him being a hottie!" the French one declared.

Yuki laughed and covered her mouth with a chunk of bread, which she took a bite of. "Nice coat." At her side, Jūban nodded at the fox spirit with a subdued air.

Juneau didn't need to introduce them, she knew, but she did anyway. When she reached Jūban, she gauged the fox's reaction and was mildly disappointed when he seemed nonchalant. He bowed at them silently and sat on Yuki's other side. Juneau sat across from him, next to Claire. Looking around the room, he adjusted his garb to more closely reflect theirs. Juneau thought he looked quite handsome in jeans and a muscle-T, which showed off his toned arms and through whose V-neck she could see virile tufts of chest hair.

Yuki elbowed him in the arm and asked, "So, you gonna help us, or are we gonna have to bring on the hurt?" She chuckled and nibbled on more bread.

"He'll help," Juneau said with a smirk in his direction. She was famished, so she tore herself a piece of the bread and tossed the remainder of the loaf to Kitsune.

He nodded, eyed the loaf in his hands, opened his mouth wide and downed the whole thing. He didn't even chew. Jūban's face went ashen instantly and Juneau thought she looked ill. But the girl kept quiet and simply went about tearing her hunk of bread into itty-bitty little pieces.

Yuki was furious. "Gee, thanks, guy! I was eating that!"

"Don't worry," Mameha said as she brought in a tray of steaming goodies and placed it on the table. "Lots more where that came from. Eat up. Kitsune, I'm preparing something else for us adults. Will you join us?"

He grinned devilishly, stood and followed Mameha back into the kitchen. When he left, Juneau felt the part of her mind that had been stuffy and threatening a migraine clear. She had managed to shake the fox spirit's hold on her, but she still felt like her body and mind were fighting off constant advances. It was different from the feeling she got in Kato's presence, which originated in her loins and her gut. She piled food onto her plate in hopes of mitigating the dull throb in her temples.

"So tell us all about him," Claire ordered, staring dreamily through the doorway as if in hopes Kitsune would come back. "I am so in need of a manly intervention..."

"You know he's like a million years old, right?" Yuki was eternally entertained by Claire's foolishness. "A regular 'Harold and Maude'..."

"Funny." Claire bonked her sister on the head with a chopstick. To Juneau, she said, "Well?"

Juneau ran through her encounter with Kitsune: the pheromones driving her into high gear; how time and space affected him naught; his penchant for returning to the past to watch Mitsurigi Ayumi--whom he truly loved; how the last thing he wanted for anyone, Tachibana Rikka included, was immortality. On this last note, her eyes drifted over to Jūban's direction.

The girl had been present to the whole story and, though the color was back in her cheeks, she swallowed thickly. She didn't wait to be asked before answering, "It's for the best."

"It's so strange," Juneau said shaking her head, "all these movies you see make it seem like immortality is the be-all, end-all. But Kitsune is sure it's more like a curse. He thinks he'll be giving Rikka the ultimate gift."

"Creepy," Claire said.

Yuki shivered, "Tell him not to do me any favors."

"I know, right?" Juneau cried.

"Well, you know all that Hollywood stuff is bunk, right?"

"Wait a minute, Yuki," Juneau said. "You're the movie nut-job here. And now you're trying to tell us that we shouldn't buy into it? Hello, Kettle, how's it feel to be black?"

"I don't get it," Claire muttered, her eyebrows knitted on her perfect forehead.

Yuki patted her on the hand. "It's an English thing about 'the pot calling the kettle black'." To Juneau, she said, "What you don't seem to understand is that movies are an important part of popular culture. It opens up a dialogue for movie-goers to compare notes, debates themes, you know?"

"I know," Juneau replied, unrattled. "The Seattle International Film Festival is one of the largest public film festivals in the world. My mom and I go see a couple films every year."

"Well, good for you," Yuki mocked. "I don't see why you don't like me expressing myself through film, then."

Juneau frowned. She honestly didn't know why either and decided it was a silly thing to get frustrated about anyway. "Alright," she conceded, "I'll try not to roll my eyes when you start your movie rants..."

Yuki smiled. "That's all I can ask for."

Claire looked lost. "I still don't get it. The pot and the kettle are... African American?"

They laughed and gabbed some more, and Juneau was absorbed into the circle of laughter and joy she had witnessed coming into the room. She was an agent of the Shokadō Triad--burdened with keeping balance in their topsy-turvy world. But she was also a sister, a daughter, a mortal. In light of this, she understood how meaningful it was to enjoy the time she shared with her favorite people. Soon, with help from the fox spirit, she could put this whole nasty business behind her and go back to living a normal life.

It was only natural, however, for Jūban Rikka to be less than jovial throughout the entire affair.




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Laura Bailey wrote 1065 days ago

This is very well written. No problem backing it.

Laura Bailey
Beneath The Blossom Tree

Eunice Attwood wrote 1292 days ago

This is certainly something different and refreshing. A very feminine feel to your writing, which is lovely. A great storyline which plays out well. Happy to back. Eunice - The Temple Dancer.

Ryan K. Nolan wrote 1354 days ago

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

Ryan K. Nolan wrote 1354 days ago

I apologize again for not commenting sooner. The truth is that I am very busy. I'll be traveling back to China in a week, have a full time job technical editing (which means that staring at a computer screen after working for eight hours is the last thing on my mind), and I am currently working on another book completely unrelated to Juneau's Line. Needless to say, for all the writers out there, you know how it is when you've fallen in love with a new project: the older projects receive less attention. That said, I hope no one will take my lack of a backing or commenting on your books. Everyone understands that there are simply too many books to read--and even more to write!

I understand that this won't help my standing at all, but I'll keep at it.

Thanks again, everyone!

tlst wrote 1359 days ago

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

Pia wrote 1359 days ago

Ryan -

Juneau's Line - I enjoy this very much, love the gentle rhythm of the writing, and the theme openes a whole new world to me. Thank you.

Backed recently, Pia (Course of Mirrors)

Katherine Edwards wrote 1360 days ago

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

Kidd1 wrote 1361 days ago

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

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

Beval wrote 1361 days ago

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

klouholmes wrote 1361 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 1361 days ago

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

Barry Wenlock wrote 1362 days ago

This is original, intriguing and extremely entertaining. Backed with absolute pleasure,

homewriter wrote 1362 days ago

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

Ferdi wrote 1362 days ago


A Bed of Thorns

missyfleming_22 wrote 1363 days ago

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

best of luck with this

KW wrote 1363 days ago

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

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

yasmin esack wrote 1364 days ago


Ryan K. Nolan wrote 1364 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 1365 days ago

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 1365 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
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
The Letter

andrew skaife wrote 1366 days ago

This is a wonderfully written piece of work with a quiet pace that runs smooothly over the read. You have, in tune with your pace, an exciting structure and rhythm that moves the narrative forward well.

You know your stuff and the Japanese scenery, environment and background is beautifully imprinted upon us.

Your use of language is admirable: just two examples:

"Her neighbourhood (I still still over American spellings), like her bedroom, housed no shadey characters."

"Kuni Sakamoto. on the other hand, was old-fashioned or perhaps just Japanese fashioned."

These two lines work on so many levels that it is dizzying.

Excellent and certainly BACKED.

livid wrote 1366 days ago

Hi, I am sorry that this comment does not help you in any way just yet, other than to let you know that I think your work is worth backing, but I am getting used to the site slowly. Also, work commitments and writing are being squeezed to try to keep up. After the first days I thought that the reading returns and support would slow but as yet they have not even begun to. So, in order to be fair I am backing everyone who I think deserves it, thanking everyone who has backed me and keeping an increasingly long list to get back to and give my hand written comments over. I hope this is ok with you? Cheers.

livid wrote 1366 days ago

Hi, I am sorry that this comment does not help you in any way just yet, other than to let you know that I think your work is worth backing, but I am getting used to the site slowly. Also, work commitments and writing are being squeezed to try to keep up. After the first days I thought that the reading returns and support would slow but as yet they have not even begun to. So, in order to be fair I am backing everyone who I think deserves it, thanking everyone who has backed me and keeping an increasingly long list to get back to and give my hand written comments over. I hope this is ok with you? Cheers.

livid wrote 1366 days ago

Hi, I am sorry that this comment does not help you in any way just yet, other than to let you know that I think your work is worth backing, but I am getting used to the site slowly. Also, work commitments and writing are being squeezed to try to keep up. After the first days I thought that the reading returns and support would slow but as yet they have not even begun to. So, in order to be fair I am backing everyone who I think deserves it, thanking everyone who has backed me and keeping an increasingly long list to get back to and give my hand written comments over. I hope this is ok with you? Cheers.

CarolinaAl wrote 1366 days ago

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

celticwriter wrote 1366 days ago

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

jack & charmian london

lizjrnm wrote 1366 days ago

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

The Cheech Room

soutexmex wrote 1366 days ago

Ryan: I read Chapter 5 and this is very competent writing. Nothing to gig you on. Even the pitches both worked for me. Think you're gonna have to pound the pavement to get people to read this effort. All godd writing does on this website. BACKED!

I can use your comments on my book when you get the chance. Cheers!

The Obergemau Key

Rusty Bernard wrote 1366 days ago

Hi Ryan,

your 'future' is 'bright' if you continue with this. Well done and good luck.

I have backed your book because I was hooked by the pitch, loved the introduction and read on. How much more I read depends on time and commitment.

Enjoy everything and good luck.

Rusty Bernard
The Mental Pause

lynn clayton wrote 1366 days ago

You describe excellently, particularly Juneau's sense of being watched in the night - not overwritten, not over-stressed, and all the more believable for that. For me, though, there was one false note - I didn't believe it when she stifled a yawn. I think in those circumstances something physical takes place that precludes yawning. We're very much on the alert.
Excellent, though. Backed. Lynn

SammySutton wrote 1366 days ago


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 1366 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 1366 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 1366 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 1366 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., 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 1366 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
The Last Dream

Katy Christie wrote 1366 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 1366 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 :)