PossessonFrom Kirkus:

A terrifying illness tied to the occult threatens the life of a black girl who blogs about beauty.

Fifteen-year-old Laetitia writes a popular blog about what she calls “divanation,” or making herself up like a diva—which she aspires to be. But when she loses her voice and begins to feel ill, Laetitia’s hair and makeup tips give way to increasingly dark entries about mysterious burning pains on her skin and graphic visions of death and torture. Laetitia tries to shift her focus to a racially charged police shooting in her community and the protests that follow, but the illness worsens. When doctors dismiss Laetitia’s problems as psychological, Laetitia, her mom, and her grandmother look to their Christian faith and a local voodoo practitioner for answers. Laetitia wonders if something demonic has taken over her body—or perhaps it’s something benevolent. Laetitia’s ordeal is told primarily through her “found” online journal. The blog posts, written in a pitch-perfect black teen girl’s voice, are accompanied by police and social-services reports, hospital records, and eerie black-and-white photographs. The collection of documents is putatively edited by the fictional scholar of the paranormal “Montague Verano.” Laetitia’s story, the second in the Diary of a Haunting series, is unpredictable, mesmerizing, and scarily realistic.

Paranormal Activity meets The Exorcist in this chilling, well-crafted tale of a black teen girl’s struggle to make sense of horrifying forces within her. (Horror. 14 & up)

PossessonPossession (Diary of a Haunting), M. Verano.

In the tradition of Paranormal Activity and The Exorcist, an ordinary girl with a strange illness that doctors can’t seem to diagnose recounts her experience with the dark and ancient entity that’s making her sick in this chilling diary that features photos and images of what she experienced.

All her life, Laetitia Jones has only wanted to be a star. It’s more than an ambition—somewhere deep inside, she knows that she was born for greatness.

But her path to stardom now seems to be halted by a mysterious, undiagnosed illness that’s taken over her body. Doctors don’t have a clue and most days, she’s stuck at home documenting her strange symptoms—symptoms that start with fevers and chills, but soon escalate to bizarre bodily reactions.

Laetitia’s only escape from her illness is following the news—and the race riots that are moving closer and closer to her neighborhood. But when horrific visions begin to invade her mind, even the media can’t distract her and she begins to wonder—is her illness something biological…or is it something more? Are the voices she hears and the notes she finds in her own handwriting signs of insanity…or signs of something much more sinister and demonic? Or, perhaps, signs of something benevolent…something holy even.

Laetitia has always known she’d be famous…she just didn’t know it would happen this way.

M. Verano is an associate professor of history and curator of the North Idaho historical text collection. His research interests include new religious movements, occult and magical societies, and supernatural folk histories of Eastern Europe and America. His scholarship has appeared in Archiv fur Altreligionsgeschichte, Transactions of the Continental Society for Hermetic Studies, and Memoirs of the Frances Yates Academy, and his most recent work is a monograph on Uqbarian catoptromancy. He is currently editing a series of first person narratives documenting parapsychological activity.

1-diaryofahauntingDiary of a Haunting, M. Verano.

Following her parents’ high-profile divorce, Paige and her brother are forced to move to Idaho with their mother, and Paige doesn’t have very high hopes for her new life. The small town they’ve moved to is nothing compared to the life she left behind in LA. And the situation is made even worse by the drafty old mansion they’ve rented that’s filled with spiders and plenty of other pests that Paige can’t even bear to imagine.

Pretty soon, strange things start to happen around the house—one can of ravioli becomes a dozen, unreadable words start appearing on the walls, and Paige’s little brother begins roaming the house late at night. And there’s something not right about the downstairs neighbor who seems to know a lot more than he’s letting on.

Things only get creepier when she learns about the cult that conducted experimental rituals in the house almost one hundred years earlier. The more Paige investigates, the clearer it all becomes: there’s something in the house, and whatever it is…and it won’t be backing down without a fight.

M. Verano is an associate professor of history and curator of the North Idaho historical text collection. His research interests include new religious movements, occult and magical societies, and supernatural folk histories of Eastern Europe and America. His scholarship has appeared in Archiv fur Altreligionsgeschichte, Transactions of the Continental Society for Hermetic Studies, and Memoirs of the Frances Yates Academy, and his most recent work is a monograph on Uqbarian catoptromancy. He is currently editing a series of first person narratives documenting parapsychological activity.

Amy Danziger Ross has an MFA from the University of Idaho and a Bachelor’s in Critical Theory and Anthropology from Brown University. She also worked as the fiction editor of Fugue, and has lived in upstate New York, Providence, Paris, Chicago, Copenhagen, Kyoto, Idaho and Taiwan.

Writings around the web:

The Sissy
Punched in the Throat by Steve Almond
Revisiting The Body in Pain: The Rhetoric of Modern Masochism
False Eyelashes for Everyone
Summer Salad
A Brief History of America According to Motel Marquees

She is represented by Ayesha Pande, of Ayesha Pande Literary.

contact at amy.danziger.ross at gmail.