Azure Books has released Kristopher Kelly’s collection, I Held My Breath as Long as I Could in an ebook edition. A paperback version will be available October 24 on Amazon.

Description: I Held My Breath as Long as I Could is a collection of 23 original stories, with subject matter ranging from the horrific to the absurd. At times deeply personal and moving, the collection deconstructs the boundary between the everyday and the monstrous.

The stories include:

  • One detective’s search for his missing partner ends in a terrifying discovery.
  • A man is harassed by monsters in his radiator, who threaten dire consequences if he doesn’t convince his roommate to move out.
  • Two college kids go on a road-trip, which turns into an odyssey through a nightmarish landscape.
  • A man takes self-improvement advice from a creature living in a jug of milk.
  • An auction is held for a painting that may be a window into Hell itself.

“I was inspired for this collection by the visionary quality of Clive Barker’s Books of Blood as well as Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery and Other Stories,” says Kelly. “I loved the liveliness of the variation in the length of Jackson’s pieces, which range from full-length short stories to near-vignette length in some cases, as well as the way she incorporates genre elements into an otherwise quite literary collection. What I tried to do with I Held My Breath as Long as I Could was to be the darker mirror of Jackson’s work, starting with a greater focus on horror, but bringing in a few pieces with no supernatural elements, even to the point of including two short nonfiction pieces, the intention being to suggest the connection between T. S. Eliot’s concept of the person who suffers and the mind that creates. Put another way, horror stories come from genuine experiences, and this book is an exploration of my own nightmares and demons as well as the quite real feelings which brought them about. Horror is always strongest when it remains emotionally honest, and that’s what I was after with these pieces.”

I Held My Breath as Long as I Could is available online through the following retailers for only $2.99:

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