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.
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01ANW5C8O
Extract from Crimson Muse: The Crimson Series#1 by Jan Art
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.