Book Jacket


rank 4566
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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"Wait! What do you mean 'face the past'?" Juneau leaped on the fox spirit.

"What's that sound?" Kato asked suddenly. The air was alive and moving out the window like steam through a kettle, and the whistle--the keening he could hear seemed to be getting closer all the time. The room stank with the smell of doom. "Yuki's right, Juneau. We gotta get out of here."

Juneau was too distracted. She'd thrown herself on the man-sized fox and was trying to wrestle Kuban's leatherbound body from his immense maw. Kitsune was huge, his eyes glinting in the oncoming sunset. In the periphery of her vision, Juneau saw that Kuban's hold on the illusions of the room had given way. The top of the layer-cake keep was as small as she'd thought, and a wintry gale came tearing in, carrying Kitsune's rank fox-breath to each corner of the room and making her gag.

She wanted to be done with it, but she didn't want it to end like this--not without first finding out how to split realities. She'd heard the keening, too, but she had too many questions for Kuban. She tried to pull on the woman, but her hands were slippery with blood. It gushed from where Kitsune's dagger-teeth had torn through the bark-dry, liver-spotted skin. Between his tremendous mandibles, Kuban was groaning.

Juneau heard a scream. Jūban and Yuki had slipped back into the room and came running toward them. "What's going on?" cried the first. "Why is Kitsune eating Kuban?"

"There's no time!" Yuki cried.

Jūban ignored her and came to Juneau's aid. Neither could get a handhold. They pulled with all their might, trying to dislodge the teeth, which had found new purchase in Kuban's wrists, gut and lower back. Juneau told Jūban to try bending his matter--or hers--but it wouldn't work. Kitsune was too strong and immune to their magics.

Finally, he leapt backwards and tore Kuban's slack body out of their grip. In one fell gulp, Kuban was gone, swallowed into the fox spirit's bloated gut.

Meanwhile, Claire was asking Yuki, "Why is there no time?"

"It's a missile!" Yuki screamed. "China's bombing Japan, starting with this castle!"

Suddenly, the world was bathed in a bright white blaze. Juneau saw the explosion as if from afar, through a haze. Time came to halt. Everyone around her had been spared the time-lock--and the whitewash of the nuclear blast.

Yuki grabbed Jūban and Kato by the hand and wrestled her sisters into a hug--just in time. Kitsune leaped toward Jūban, who screamed at his oncoming jaws. Yuki used her own body to shield her from him. Undeterred, the fox spirit chomped into Yuki's exposed thigh as a consolation prize. Juneau did what came to mind first: she rose her foot in the air and brought her heel barreling down on Kitsune's head. Stunned, he let go of Yuki, and Kato beat him back with a fist to the nose.

Yuki limped through the wormhole. Just as the portal closed and Juneau relinquished her hold on time, the blast caught up with them and washed them in hot, white light.

But they were already racing through formless space. Juneau also applied herself. As Yuki hobbled them along the space axis toward Kamakura, Juneau focused on sailing them back along the time axis to the present.

Yuki was having difficulty. She managed better by transferring her weight off her injured leg and onto Kato. Yet they were plunged in dark senselessness for longer than expected. But before long, they were pouring through the aperture, back in Kamakura and back in the present.

Mameha heard the commotion and came running. She saw the blood on Juneau and Jūban Rikka and how Kato was holding a fiercely bleeding Yuki up. While Kato seated Yuki on a chair, Mameha ran for help. Moments later, she came back, Hideyoshi, Kuni, and a number of monks on her heels. Two servants fetched some warm water and strips of cloth, while another pair ran for more supplies. Mameha took a clean rag from the servants to Yuki's wound and staunched the blood's flow. She wound a wide triangular bandage around the girl's bloody thigh.

Meanwhile, Kato tended to Juneau with Kuni's help. Mameha glanced over at Juneau and, though she was worried, she soon learned that none of it was Juneau's blood. "It's Kuban's," Juneau said. Then she remembered. "Himeji!"

"Blown to smithereens," Yuki said, grimacing at the pain in her leg.

"Not necessarily," Jūban said as she moved to kneel beside her, took her hand. "The castle is destroyed in the future. You still have several months before China mobilizes."

"Thank goodness for that," Claire muttered.

First Mother was preoccupied by another development. She glanced sidewise at Jūban, then back at the Ieyasu girls. "Why is she here?"

Yuki winced and glanced at Juneau. "Juneau had questions for Kuban. I figured this was a consolation, since it's obvious Jūban didn't tell us the whole truth before. Maybe she will now."

Juneau didn't like how Yuki was staring at her. She did have questions, but Yuki seemed to be availing herself of the geisha girl's presence more than any of them. Addressing Jūban Rikka finally, she asked, "Is it true? Are you Mameha's mother?"

First Mother's face blanched and her mouth fell open into a crooked gape. "Juneau...?"

Jūban said nothing, her face grave. Instead of answering, she looked up at Mameha. "Would it be okay if we went inside for a bite while I explain?"

Her mouth pursed tight, Mameha nodded stiffly. They repaired to the dining room where food had been laid out. With her sisters' aid, Yuki limped over to the chair by the door and plopped herself down with a grunt and a wince. Servants brought cool green tea and plum wine around to drink. They nibbled politely on the fair, no one very hungry. Even Yuki, whose only manner of eating was scarfing, picked at her plate.

After she had pecked at her food and sipped some tea, Jūban Rikka sighed. "Well, I guess it makes sense to start at the top, huh? Give you a better idea of your lineage..." She looked straight at Mameha, who seemed unable to meet that angelic gaze.



"I was born in 1461 to Tachibana Masayo and Ishigi Atsuko. I lived in Nara all my life in my father's beautiful house. He was a rich man who could afford to send his only daughter to a monastery to study. I became educated, which was not the way it worked for most young girls in that time. But I was spoiled. After my initial instruction in reading, calligraphy, and arithmetic, I took to the Zen teachings, which was unheard of. My father, a devout Shinto follower, certainly wouldn't hear it. So I convinced him to let me attend the Ikenobo School of Ikebana to study the mystic floral arranging that Master Ikenobo had only recently founded. I was seventeen. I found studying the art of ikebana to be boring though interesting too, as were the actual Zen teachings. The koan were and still are very frustrating. What does one hand clapping sound like?

Ogawa Tarō was just another student at the Ikenobo School, though among the first. We studied the Zen teachings and the Way of Flowers together. He had also been interested in martial arts even before I arrived. Bands of traveling Chinese monks spreading their gospel and demonstrating their abilities were common at the time. When Tarō brought this to Master Ikenobo Senno's attention, he gave Tarō his blessing to learn all he could from the traveling martial artists. Master knew nothing about my interest in the matter, but he paid little attention to me to begin with. I loved watching the monks practice their stances and movements and forms. I wanted to be like them. I guess I was more physical than other girls my age.

It was only natural, I suppose, that I fell in love with Tarō. He seemed to be the only man around who understood me. Indeed, there were few men next to him who possessed that promise of future success that my father had taught me to seek out. In addition, Tarō was handsome and strong, body like a prized stallion: all lean muscle. He couldn't resist me any more than I could him.

You know all of this naturally, but what you may not know is that it was my idea to open Shokadō. As men are wont to do, Tarō went to Master Ikenobo and told him my idea without mentioning me. The Master was greatly moved by his consideration and dedication to the principles and gave Tarō his blessing--and the first funds with which to establish Shokadō. Since the school was rather poor, I have no doubt that the funds were the money my father sent regularly to Ikenobo.

Then Master expelled me from the school. I went home to my father's house and cried to him. I asked him to found a school to rival Tarō's, but he thought I was simply being foolish, and that I would get over it and move on to something else. But I never did. I secretly sought out Nara's greatest ikebana artist, Hara Nobuo, with whom Master Ikenobo had discovered the art of ikebana. After the scandal with Tarō, Ayumi, and Kitsune, I returned once more to Nara and Master Hara. Under his tutelage, I soon mastered all three elements of time, space, and mind.

Here is where my history is uncertain with regard to Shokadō, for though I have haunted you for more than five hundred years, I have managed to keep myself private.

I have lived many lives. In one of them, Kuban Rikka's, I gave birth to a daughter from a man named Terashima Akira. She was not the only child I bore, but she is the only one alive today.

The worst thing about it is that I could have left her her father. But I couldn't suffer him to live--to move on and love another. In his final moments, Akira saw--as the fathers of all of my other children had seen before him--that I was a monster."



Rikka's features softened and she tore her eyes away from Mameha presently. "Kitsune has kept a guarding eye on Shokadō for me, but particularly you, Mameha. He has been protecting you from me all these years, because I don't have the strength to fight against my own programming." Though her story was through, Jūban did not say what they all knew to be true: her appetite for pain had briefly been satisfied when she murdered Mameha's father.

Juneau felt so strange listening to this teenager talk about past lives, hearts she'd broken, children she'd borne. She was brought back to Kitsune's ruminations on life and death, his hunger and flippancy toward time and space. Maybe these last centuries had turned Rikka into a kind of goddess. She certainly had the requisite appetite. Juneau could see that very little differed between Rikka and the god that would soon be her undoing, for he, too, garnered pleasure from the pain of others.

Jūban smiled weakly, looking softly on Yuki, her eyes then drifting over to Claire. Her eyes caught sight of something behind them, and they all turned to see their guest at the door.

"Hello, Kitsune."

"My love." The fox spirit's face was gaunt but steady. Patience beyond human capacity emanated from him, and it soothed Juneau. She would not stand in his way this time. "You are the last one in all time and space," he said simply.

Jūban nodded, whatever sorrow and malice she'd clutched to her chest gone from her. "I know. I feel the void closing around me."

She looked seventeen going on seventy-two. The age in her eyes belied the youth of her skin. Though no crow's feet crinkled at their corners, the iris and the pupils, and the mind they gave onto, had seen more than anyone else in human history. She stood and straightened her back. "I shall keep my promise to you, my darling daughter Mameha. I was responsible for destroying the Three Gorges Dam. I implanted in the Chinese Prime Minister the idea of declaring war on the United States and, further, bombing Japan and Himeji Castle, her greatest treasure. I betrayed you, and for it, I offer my life."

In a weak whimper, Yuki begged, "No."

Jūban looked at her again, the look of a friend, of a lover. She said nothing, but drew everyone's attention away from Kitsune. So when, in a great leap over them, he came down, jaws wide to consume her, the family gasped in communion. There was no tug-of-war, no wrangling with the body, and no awkwardness--for Kitsune himself had disappeared in a flash of light. Where Jūban Rikka stood, there was nothing, not even the memory of her sweet scent like lavender honey bubbling warm in a stainless steel pot.

The chair left behind sat patiently.

Juneau turned to see tears in every eye. She blinked back her own, wondering in awe how they could ever feel sorry for the loss of such a wretched soul. But it was that wretchedness that made it all the more poignant. She touched Yuki's cheek in an unabashed gesture of compassion, and it surprised the girl. Yuki hugged her, tight, tighter, burying her tear-stricken face in Juneau's shoulder. Juneau struggled for breath but didn't let go. She felt Claire come up beside them, wrap her arms around them and rest her cheek on Juneau's shoulder. It was soon wet.

The servants looked on from afar with reserved curiosity as the family came together in a loving embrace. Mother and daughter, father and sister: they were family.

It wasn't a moment later that Juneau remembered her own family. She reached for Kuni from the tangle of arms encasing her head and, finding her hand, clung tight to it.




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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!

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.
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,

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


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

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


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

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
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 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.

jack & charmian london

lizjrnm wrote 1362 days ago

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

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!

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


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., 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
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 :)