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So I've been involved in a secret project for the last month or so and today I can finally announce it!
So What's Happening? The Descent: Kobo's Inferno Contest
Dante's Inferno hopefully needs no introduction, but on May 15 Dan Brown's new novel, also called Inferno is launched, based on Dante's work.
For the lead up to the launch of the book, Kobo is running an exciting new kind of interactive online contest that you can enter for free in order to win fantastic prizes, including $5000 and Kobo Glo devices signed by Dan Brown himself.
The first step of the contest is a series of short stories, written by – yes, you guessed it, me – under my fiction name J.F.Penn 🙂 EXCITING!
You can get the first story right now: Kobo.com/TheDescent
and here's the official Kobo press release about the contest
(The contest is only open to residents of US, Canada and the UK, but everyone else can still get the stories)
Solve the clues in each of the stories and they will lead you to the next step of the puzzle.
It's an extremely cool idea and I've had a total blast writing the stories, exploring aspects I haven't yet done in my full-length novels. They're steeped in the symbolism of the world of Dante's Inferno as well as religious and supernatural themes that Dan Brown fans will love.
I haven't been involved in the development of the rest of the contest, so I can't give anything away, but from what I have heard, it is amazingly detailed and layered in symbolism, myth and literature. It's worth reading Dante's Inferno (a modern translation) in order to get the most from the competition. For example, you might not know that the center of Hell is actually ice, rather than fire, and the story will inform the clues.
You can check out the Pinterest board here to see images of the various aspects of the story.
Here's an intro to the stories – as you can see, the covers feature the wild creatures Dante encounters in the wood at the start of his Descent.
Story 1: Sins of Temptation
When the tortured and mutilated corpse of a wealthy author is discovered, the police officer sent to investigate finds a curious diary amongst the occult objects at the scene. Will he uncover the author’s secret at the ruined chapel, and does he really want to pay the price that it demands?
Get the story right now at Kobo.com/TheDescent
Story 2: Sins of Violence
In a post-apocalyptic world, a young girl is about to be taken to the man known as The Minotaur for a Blessing that will end her innocence. Can her sister gain access to the fortified city of Dis in time to stop the ritual and wreak vengeance for her own lost youth?
Available on 2 May 2013 …
Story 3: Sins of Treachery
On the death of their Grandfather, twin brothers Simon and Gestas are left a map covered in alchemical symbols that could lead them to great wealth and power. But they find more than they expected in the frozen wastes of the Arctic north …
Available on 9 May 2013 …
You don't have to have a Kobo device to read the stories, you just have to join the site to get the download and then read on your computer, your mobile device or other apps listed here.
Once you sign up, you will also be in the contest to win loads of great prizes, so now's the time to check out Kobo!
The stories will be on sale after the game is finished but they are exclusive to Kobo for 6 months, so best get them for free right now.
You Can Also Listen To Story 1: Sins Of Temptation
I've recorded the first short story in this very podcast episode with an accompanying explanation about the launch. The bridging music before the story is Creative Commons Royalty Free Discovery Hit at Incompetech
If you'd like the unadulterated short story with no intro, you can also find it here as an mp3 file: www.JFPenn.com/sins
As an author, you should definitely be on Kobo Writing Life.
After Amazon, Kobo is the greatest proportion of my income, and many other authors and they have now overtaken B&N Nook as the #2 e-reading platform. Learn more about Kobo Writing Life in this interview with Mark Lefebvre from Kobo about how they help authors.
Find more info at KoboWritingLife.com
Please do leave any comments or questions below. Enjoy the stories and good luck with the competition!
Jared Dees says
Congratulations Joanna, this is really exciting!
this is really exciting, and I love my Kobo, though it wasn’t my first choice. I got it as a gift, and haven’t looked back. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the Canada office is just down the street from my work. Looks like it will be some fun to read!
Mark Leslie says
Hi Heather – glad you’re enjoying your Kobo reader. If you’re a fan of The Creative Penn and you work just down the street from Kobo’s head office, then I must offer you a tour if you’re interested. Hope you’re enjoying Joanna’s amazing “Sin Series” and best of luck with the contest.
Amber Dane says
Congratulations, Joanna-so excited for you! Off to get my copy 🙂
Jonathan Gunson says
Interesting cover design. (There’s nothing like good puzzle.)
laurence smith-henry says
amazing and brilliant idea ! joanna. well done !
Alyne DeWinter says
Great story, Joanna. I don’t like graphic corpse imagery generally, but it was necessary to this story as you discover at the end. There’s a lot of growth in your writing as well. you read it well too.
I love short stories too and wrote a bunch of them over a summer. I keep hearing they don’t ‘sell well’ which is a mystery to me. Maybe ebooks will change that.
Joanna Penn says
Thanks Alyne – I appreciate your words about my growth as a writer. I really do feel that the last 9 months have been significant for my craft. These short stories definitely stretched me but were brilliant to write and Desecration, the next book, is all the stronger for them.
I think ebooks have changed the reception for short stories, because authors can release them as mini anthologies and use them as a promotional tool with pricing etc. I’ll be writing some more!
Wonderful job! I am waiting very anxiously for the third story.
paulene klaudt says
I have read all three of the books as part of the contest, but I came upon this page by mistake, and it does not say anything at Kobo about reading Dante’s Inferno???? any feedback? I am wondering if that will be part of the puzzle too!!
Joanna Penn says
Hi Pauline – no, you don’t have to read Inferno – that was just my part of the fun:) You should be able to get to all the secret web pages from the ebooks themselves. But I don’t know anymore as I wasn’t involved in the build of the rest of the puzzle – have fun!
paulene klaudt says
I really enjoyed the three stories!! disappointed they were so short!! I’m hooked!!