Exploring Faith: Zak’s redemption

Faith requires trusting in the unknown and being fully aware of your limitations as a red blooded form of flesh and bones. Faith makes a fool of what makes sense but it is in the confusion, that we find direction. It is in the confusion that we learn to trust in the unknown. It is in the confusion that we learn to believe in what we truly want. It is in the confusion that we learn to lean on something else besides ourselves. I would like to thank everyone who’s been supporting the Crimson Series and I want to hear from you. Do you think Zak (the lead male protagonist in my book) deserves to be redeemed?

Excerpt from Crimson Death (The Crimson #2)
Zak

“Do you believe in miracles Zak?” Thembi asks me before I step out of the car. I stare at my sister from the corner of my eye and somehow the answer comes naturally to me.
I smile. A sad smile that doesn’t reach my eyes, but still, it feels good to just smile given all that has happened. “My life is a miracle Thembi.”
“Do you think life is pre-destined no matter the efforts one makes or the prayers?”
Confused, I raise a brow at her. “This is broad Thembz, in what sense?”
“Do you think that people are what they are no matter what? That, you were always meant to be this guy, proud and successful and that Khaya was always meant to be that guy who’s sad, broken and sick?”
Understanding dawns on me as she says this. I take her cold hands in mine and look deep into her eyes. “Life is all about choices babe. A war of cause and effect and I think there is life and death simultaneously in every choice that we make.”
“Are you proud of your choices?” Thembi then asks me and I suddenly know what she’s really trying to say to me. This is about Khaya – what she thinks I did to him and how his life turned out in general.
I should be angry.
I should be fuming at the fact that everyone seems to think that I am personally responsible for how Khaya’s life has turned out but I don’t let the anger consume me. I think my family has had enough pain and anger to last us a lifetime.
“Khaya is his own person and his choices are his and his alone to carry,” I try to reason with my sister.
“Are you proud of your choices Zak?” Thembi asks again, not letting me off the hook.
Fuck, I am tired of taking the blame for everything. Again, I should be angry. I should be angry but I’m not. Instead, I have a deep realization about it all that has never really dawned on me before until now that I am forced to seek it.
“I am not proud of all my choices Thembi, but I wouldn’t change a damn thing. I wouldn’t be who I am without them.”

aya and zak quote

 

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NALEDI (Excerpt from new sci-fi book)

NALEDI
(Catching Realms #1)
By
Jan Art

“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.” J.R.R. Tolkien

Chapter 1
Over the Northern Seas
Grayson Falcon landed in an eerie flash of blue light leaving a trail of dust to form around him wildly. He was exhausted. His lean muscled body sunk to the floor where he sat with his knees raised and head buried in his hands. He reveled in the adrenaline he still felt every time he defied time and space.
“A blessed man is what I am,” he admitted quietly. He shook back the dark hair that framed his face and forced himself to recover. The power of his stone still flowed, enchantingly around him from the teleportation and his body ebbed. It had been an exhausting journey. He stood now, admiring the giant doors of his family mansion and found that he was quite excited to be back. He was home now – home once more where he belonged, with the people he guarded. He smiled to himself as he made his way up the clear crystal stairs leading up to the entrance of the exquisite Falcon mansion.
When he turned towards the family parlor, he stilled on his tracks in shock as he felt a strange whisper of power. It was strong and enthralling and it was the most intoxicating feeling in the world. His heart tightened in his chest and he swore it would stop. He felt a magic like no other fill his senses. It was powerful. It felt so powerful that the diamond pendant around his neck began to glow in a sparkling indigo. The magic filled his senses and his stomach coiled like snakes lived in his belly. He took a deep breath and tried to calm himself before he opened the door to the meeting quarters. Forcing himself to recover, he walked into the wide open room and found his uncle, Robert Falcon, who was also his adviser and guardian waiting for him with a frown marring his old face.
“I have been trying to get a hold of you for hours now. Where have you been Grayson? I hope you haven’t been chasing maidens again,” the old man spoke irritably. Grayson couldn’t help but laugh at how well his uncle knew him but chose to keep the wild conquests of his latest ventures all to himself. Quite simply – he was exhausted.
“I have secured many good deals for our lands uncle,” he spoke. When his uncle said nothing, he sensed something was clearly not right around the mansion since his departure.
“Uncle, what’s the problem?”
His uncle paced the room and then let out a sharp breath before he spoke again, calmly this time.
“You have a guest from the African Gold, daughter of a very good friend of mine who met his death a few weeks ago. She is eager to speak with you.”
“She?” Grayson questioned, devilment playing on his face and he couldn’t help but smile. His thirst for women was his weakness, even he knew that.
“Could you be serious for once in your life Grayson?” Robert barked.
Grayson said nothing because he wasn’t in the mood to argue with his uncle who clearly needed a sense of humour. Then he stifled a yawn, making his uncle’s brows crease in annoyance. He has hardly been back a minute and his uncle was already uptight, Grayson thought.
“She traveled very far and would not tell me her reason for being here. She wished only to speak with you and said that her matter involved the gods.”
“What do they call her uncle?” Grayson asked, curious to know why a girl from the African Gold would seek him out. African women were always too reserved, cultural and traditional. They were of no interest to him and his wild ways. And besides that, Grayson fancied women with pale skin and romance in their eyes.
“They call her Naledi Zwane, keeper of the African stone.”
The smile on Grayson’s face faded when he heard his uncle’s last words. The girl from the African Gold was a keeper? The realization made his stomach coil.
###

Hope you all enjoyed this very exclusive first look at my new book Titled Naledi (Catching Realms #1) to be released in July 2016

This African warrior princess was done by Mnkene.African_princess_warrior_by_mnkene

Eureka: Creating an urban cocoa princess

Eureka: Creating an urban cocoa princess

naledi
When I was a child, I wanted to be a princess. My thoughts would drift, ever so enthusiastically to a place of magic and beauty. A lot like the Disney fairy-tales I would binge watch with my sisters. Not only was I fascinated by the art of animation and storytelling, the little girl in me was also captivated by books. I would read and read and read hoping my mind wouldn’t detonate from all the visuals playing a dance in my wild imagination. I would dream of what I would see through the narratives.
And so I dreamt – of milk-skinned pale beauties with honey golden locks, silky dark curls and eyes like the ocean, eyes like sparkling emerald stones and eyes like hazel sands. I would dream of their beauty and how much I wished to be like them. I loved everything about storytelling, especially the fairy-tale elements of the trinkets of jewellery, flowing ball gowns and the diamond crowns. I was fascinated by the little elements that made a story glow. Be it the golden slippers, the poisonous apple, dwarfs, god-mothers turning pumpkins into carriages, ornaments of magic and even the Prince who slayed the dragon. It all intrigued my young mind into curiosity.
I imagined what it would be like to be a character in one of those ever so popular Disney stories that have stayed with not just me but young kids all around the world for so many generations. I’m talking Cinderella, Sleeping beauty, Alice in wonder land, Snow White and even Princess Jasmine from Aladdin who was at least some sort of Indian Asian beauty. Princess Jasmine and my all time favourite Pocahontas really stood out the most to me.
It was Princess Jasmine and Pocahontas’s physical attributes that made my mind snap. It was like a moment of truth – a moment of realization for a young ‘wanna-be’ princess like me at the time.

pocahontas
A Eureka moment.
For the first time in my life, I truly grasped the human traits and elements that these ‘made-belief’ characters actually possessed.
Princess Jasmine and Pocahontas were not…WHITE.

disney-princess_28129_8
The child in me realized for the first time that as human beings…even those in fiction and animation, we’re all different somehow.
And as I got older, my childhood books, cartoons, movies and dreams stayed with me. They found a place deep in my soul to bury themselves as parts of my most treasured memories. The narratives of the stories I read as a child stayed with me and collided with new ones from the novels I would read as a grown up. Mills and Boon Titles, The Circle Trilogy, The Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games, The Fifty Shades Trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia and the recent indie published titles like Callie Hart’s Blood and Roses Series or even Brenna Aubrey’s Gaming the system series. I loved them all and still do.
Yes.

I was an avid reader all throughout High School and Varsity and even now. I am a self-proclaimed addict. In all honesty, I guess you could truly say that I’m a romance book whore.
I’ve found many relatable insights and attributes of strength from the heroines in the books I’ve read. I’ve found the female leads really strong in heart and mind but it’s never gone further than that in the physical sense.
There’s been a hole in the commercial storytelling voice that I’ve been struggling to accept because I want to believe that the world can’t possibly be such a shallow place. There’s been a hole that has been growing, wider and wider over generations because Africa lacks enthusiasm for commercial fiction. Little black girls from Africa grow up admiring every form of voice but their own. Little black girls from Africa grow up seeking every form of beauty but their own because the world is a shallow place.
Nobody is going to give you what you think you don’t have. Nobody is going to write the stories that you think need to be told too. As an individual, you have to take a stand. Find something to fight for or it’s like you’re not really living at all.
There’s so much to be told. There’s so much to be discovered and made right in an era full of contamination and hate. Love is a fire and in order to keep it burning, we need to set our souls alight. Burn for something and in turn let the world feel the flames of our fire.
My fire happens to be storytelling.
Creating Ayanda Miya (The lead heroine in my book Crimson Muse) was emancipation, like rain showers after an immaculate drought. It was a birth – The coming of a new voice full of culture, anxiety, insecurities, pain, joy, honesty, love and most importantly (at least to me) brown skin and thick coarse hair. Finding Ayanda’s voice and giving justice to the unique, confused and somewhat strange young woman that I wanted her to be was also a challenge – One that I found pretty enjoyable. I got to be someone else for at least the duration of 80 000 words. I have grown pretty fond of Ayanda and all that she has to offer. I love her voice and I hope that my readers find her as beautiful as I do.
Get to know Ayanda Miya – my version of an urban cocoa princess. Ayanda Miya is a varsity drop out and struggling artist who wants to paint the world in colour even though it keeps giving her black and white. She also claims to know how to decipher people’s aura’s…like how weird is that, right?
Extract from Crimson Muse:
Aya
Colour over colour, shapes and curves creating intensity with every stroke. I see rainbows dancing in my mind as I paint. An avocado shade of green, over many flows of brown, I’m layering, stroke after stroke, line after line. My brush smudges over plastered clay paper.
Suffocation – I’m calling this one, suffocation. Today, after many years, I’ve finally worked on a new painting, something I haven’t done ever since my dad made a remark, about me wanting to draw cartoons for a living. I laugh at this as I finish off the final shade. Now, here I am. With a mirage of wild colours that reflect exactly how I’ve been feeling lately.
Suffocated – I’ve been feeling trapped in a life with no real purpose, no inspiration and nothing great to offer to the world. Over these past two days, like a fool, all I’ve been able to think about is that, weird pull of energy between Zak and I. Ok, maybe I’m just imagining it – my imagination is crazy these days especially now that I’ve started painting again. It’s all over the place. That energy can’t possibly be real. His aura must be lying to me because, I’m no fool – I know guys like Zak. Guys like that don’t notice strange girls like me, so there’s no way in hell that, that was possibly some kind of surreal connection. Like soul mates and shit.
Yes, I’m gullible like that and damnit, all I know is that I’ve never felt anything like it in my entire life. The power of it – the power of his aura is something I want to puzzle out and solve. I want to paint it, the colours of his aura and the strokes of his energy. I want to capture it in art. Silly, I know – sometimes my mind is a foolish childish palace. Soul mates – I mean seriously, I don’t believe in that crap anyway. Not that I want Zak’s advances or anything. I’m a loyal friend, so that means that, Khaya’s enemies are automatically my enemies too.
Download Crimson Muse for free on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/607939
But it on Amazon for as little as $1: http://www.amazon.com/Crimson-Muse-The-Book-ebook/dp/B01ANW5C8O/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_img_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0PF7X0E31N24DQR5RND3

 

Crimson Death (The Crimson #2)

Crimson death official

 

Aya
Gone is the free solo heart living her own eclectic life because I have found my prototype and it’s the most invigorating feeling in the world.
Red.
I chose red and all that it comes with – the love, the passion, the pain, the joy and the fire of it all.
This is fire – soul burning, bones breaking and hearts alight kind of fire, but sometimes…fire is the real enemy.

Zak
Gone is the wild rebel heart living his own untamed life because I’ve found my muse and it’s the most liberating feeling in the world.
It gets lonely at the top but now it doesn’t have to be, because…I have a woman.
I have a woman and I will do anything to give her the rainbows that her black and white world longs for. I will do anything to keep her safe but first…I have to take on the night and fight the demons threatening to swallow us whole.

Death is calling in Zak and Ayanda’s Crimson world.

Get Crimson Death on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Crimson-Death-The-Book-ebook/dp/B01BNR3406/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_img_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1ERVZSSHEMHH44TVJT1E

or get it on Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/614705

Crimson Muse (The Crimson #1)

Crimson Muse

Aya
If the blood running through our veins was anything but red, mine would be green, in all its shades.
Green – I’m drawn to it. Green – my, safe place.
My life was safe, calm and controlled like nature. My life was safe…until it wasn’t.
Because, even I know nature has a wild side, a jungle waiting to be explored. I guess I’m only human and the loneliness is real.
So now, when I’m not a starving artist, a drop out – fresh out of varsity, seeing the world in many shades of colour, I’m being Lithium to my best friend, helping him out of the darkness when the insanity strikes – I’m also being a muse to a ghost from the past – A forbidden muse to my best friend’s brother – Zak Nkosi.

Zak
I needed to run.
I needed to disappear – Anything to stop the madness. I watched dad’s brains explode when I was a kid and then I ran and never looked back.
I needed to run. I needed to get away and make something of myself. I needed to run but now I’m back. It took me ten years to infiltrate the upper city of Johannesburg with a franchise of Clubs called King. It took me ten years of hustling and mixing up with gangs to run an empire.
So now – When I’m not being the King of the universe, or trying by all means to win back my family – I’m trying to find a Drug Lord from my past life in order to keep my family safe. I’m also gravitating towards a forbidden muse – Ayanda Miya.

I needed to disappear for their sake and mine. But now I’m back and never has, vengeance and redemption been this vital.

Get Crimson Muse on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Crimson-Muse-The-Book-ebook/dp/B01ANW5C8O

or download it on Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/607939

 

The Crimson Series

Crimson Muse is a book I wrote inspired by the concept of “black love.” As an avid reader, I often lose myself in books and immerse myself in the characters but as of late, reading became rather draining. I felt disconnected from many of the stories being told in romance fiction because I couldn’t relate to any of the characters. I then realized that we need a different narrative in commercial story telling. We need a voice – a young voice, full of passion, struggle and African ethnicity. That’s when I decided to birth a series of romance novels that will illuminate African urban love through contemporary romance.
Crimson Muse is the first of a four part series called The Crimson Series.

The first installment kicks off with Ayanda Miya, a struggling varsity drop out, who wants to paint the world in colour. She is ambitious but insecure and when she meets her best friend’s estranged brother, a part of her awakens and she finds her true artistic voice. Zak Nkosi is a rebel who makes a great return back home. Still dealing with his past, he tries to rekindle with the family he lost but finds a beautiful muse that inspires the deep photographer he’s always dreamed of becoming. Take a journey into the crimson world of young urban love.
You can download Crimson Muse on Smashwords for free or purchase it on Amazon Kindle for as little as $1 which adds up to about R17.
Smashwords link:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/607939
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01ANW5C8O
Extract from Crimson Muse: The Crimson Series#1 by Jan Art

Aya
I believe that everybody has a light about them floating like a halo. Like – we are all angels somehow, born to illuminate the Earth. That’s just how I see the world, in deep colours of light. I have a rainbow aura for everyone I meet. Ashley is a rainbow spectrum of sunset oranges, star dust and sweet yellows. Like I said, the girl is gorgeous and guys flock to her like bees would to honey.
“Hey, how did your exam go?” she asks me and all I can do is scowl at her.
“It’s ok Aya, at least you came to write,” she adds, patting my arm. At her words, the tears I’ve been holding back find a way to burn down my cheeks.
“Hey, don’t cry babe, you’ll ruin your make-up.” She starts, wiping my cheeks with the back of her hand, fixing my dress and even powdering my nose. Shit, the girl is forever prepared with a beauty 101 kit in her hand bag for every kind of cry.
“Why did I do this again?” I ask her, not hiding the fact that I totally hate my new look. I. Hate. Weaves. I just don’t get it. The whole process of putting on another person’s hair has always freaked me out a little and besides, I love my afro and I miss it. I feel like an alien in my own body today. I tug at a strand of my new fake hair and glance at my best friend. She’s admiring me with a smirk on her face.
“Say something Ash,” I murmur, trying to appreciate my temporary new self.
“I’m hoping you’ll attract a corporate guy today, or maybe one of those nerd hot doctors that are graduating with your brother today,” Ashley squeals, tossing her long blonde hair over her shoulders.
Feeling irritated, I change the subject. “Where’s Khaya?” I ask her and she points towards the reception desk, where Khaya is huddled on a chair with his game boy, immersed in the small screen. I mean who does that right? Who still plays games on an ancient, out of fashion portable gaming console?
“Where do you even buy those nowadays?” I tease him as I cross to him. He purposely ignores me, making it pretty clear that his game is way more important than my stupid teasing. I laugh as he finally looks up at me, my breath coming up short when his eyes lock with mine. My heart is hammering in my chest like a wild drum to some unknown beat of nerves now.
“Ayanda, uhm wow, you look wow.” Choking on his words, Khaya looks me up and down in approval. I’m nervous suddenly, which is weird – I never get nervous around Khaya.
He’s Khaya Nkosi for crying out loud. He’s my white light, that familiar place of calm that I’ve known since I was twelve – I shouldn’t get nervous around him.
“Thanks, so you like the new look?” I’ve never been one to be concerned about beauty and making an impression but deep down inside, I really need to hear him say he likes my new look.
“I like everything about you Aya, just the way you are, even when you want to go hug a tree. I thought you knew that already.” Getting up, he makes a proper observation of me. I take him in too. He looks dapper in his dark grey suit, a formal look that he doesn’t really rock much because he’s such a geek – a handsome one though. Khaya is one of those pretty boys, a splitting male version of his mother. We stare at each other intently for about a minute until Ashley’s squeaky voice breaks the awkward silence looming in the air.
“Ok love birds, we really should get going,” she says and both Khaya and I turn to her in bewilderment.
“Love birds?” Khaya says as if testing the word for the first time. He smiles and shakes his head in awe. “Seriously Ash,” he murmurs and I give her a stern look of my own but she ignores us and disappears into the graduation hall. I meet Khaya’s deep brown gaze and sigh. He steps closer to me and touches a strand of my side pony, running his fingers through the fake hair as if feeling its softness.
“It’s organic Indian hair,” I explain, trying to fill the gap of our silence. Khaya raises a brow at me but I see the humour in his eyes. “I like, I will always like everything about you,” he whispers into my ear. I bury myself in his arms and revel in the warmth of his embrace. We’re around the same height me and him. I stand at five four and he stands at around five six. Releasing me, he sighs and looks down at me. I can already sense something is wrong by the intensity in his eyes. It’s all over him, smothering tension, dark like burnt scribbled crayons.
“Everything… ok?” I stutter. Khaya nods but it’s not very convincing. I scowl at him because I know him so well. With his condition, he can’t hide his emotions very well – It’s either, high, really really high or low, really really low. We get each other like that. When shit gets rough, I’m his person and his mine. I’m his Lithium when he doesn’t have any and he’s my paintbrush when I need it. There are some things that Ashley, as close as we are to her will never understand, simply because she’s always had a white picket fence kind of life. Wealthy white collar parents, a good commerce degree and a steady job at a major accounting firm, all at her disposal now. Khaya and I on the other hand haven’t been so fortunate. We know life, real life that involves black tax, emotional stress, depression – which apparently black families either feel like they can pray it off of you or that it just doesn’t exist.