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NEW SALES: Life on the Farm, at Sea and Within the Black Death ( a Columbia University professor who suffers memory loss after he has a tumor removed from his brain....- Apr 05 10:37 AM ET

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Posted on: 04/05/2001

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Thursday April 05 10:37 AM EDT "NEW SALES: Life on the Farm, at Sea and Within the Black Death"

NEW SALES: Life on the Farm, at Sea and Within the Black Death

By PJ Mark

Little, Brown's Geoff Shandler paid $750,000 for North American rights only to Skeletons of the Sahara by Dean King, one of many books mentioned as being shopped around at the London Book Fair. King, the author of Harbors and High Seas: An Atlas and Geographical Guide to the Complete Aubrey-Maturin Novels of Patrick O'Brian, will return to sea in his new book, which examines an 1815 shipwreck off the coast of Africa and the English sailors who survived only to become enslaved by nomadic tribes. The sailors who made their way back home five years later published their accounts, which became bestsellers of their time and the first Western record of the Sahara. The books were later used later as text for expeditions in the 1860s. The deal was agented Jody Rein; Agnes Krup will handle international rights. Ballantine was the underbidder.

Simon & Schuster's Geoff Kloske bought three books recently: The Cyclist by Viken Berberian, a literary novel about a terrorist attack that goes awry; Melanie Jackson agented the deal for North American rights only. Kloske also preempted a memoir by Frederick Morton from agent Sandy Dijkstra, in a North American rights only deal. Tentatively titled Waltzing With My Father, Morton -- a contributor to Vanity Fair and the author of the bestseller Nervous Splendor -- will write about leaving Austria before World War II and trying to make a life for himself in New York. The third book Kloske purchased is Enough About You by David Shields, which was bought at auction in a world English rights deal from agent Henry Dunow. The book, apparently, is not strictly a memoir, but more like a mediation on memoirs.

Dunow also sold Scribner editor Jake Morrissey a new book by Robert Hellenga -- author of The Sixteen Pleasures -- called Corinna, Corinna. (Unlike Hellenga's previous novels, this one does not take place in Italy). The book, according to Morrissey, is "a novel about the blues" and finding one's calling in life. It will be published in January 2002; the "healthy six figure" deal was for North American rights only.

Agent Bill Clegg, who recently went on his own with pal and former editor Sara Burnes, sold his first book as part of Burnes & Clegg, a untitled first novel by Nicole Krause to Amy Scheibe at Doubleday. Krause, a 26-year-old poet with a master's degree from Stanford and Oxford, and a protege of the late Joseph Brodksy, has written a novel of identity, about a Columbia University professor who suffers memory loss after he has a tumor removed from his brain. Krause also organizes a reading series called Samovar. The book deal was North American rights only.

Washington Post Magazine writer and Esquire contributor Jeanne Marie Laskas, author of Fifty Acres and Poodle: A Story of Love, Livestock and Finding Myself on a Farm, has sold her next book to option publisher Bantam and previous editor Robin Michaelson, in a six-figure, two-book deal. The first book in the deal, Anna and the Poodle, is a sequel to Fifty Acres, and her memoir of moving to the country. Laskas will explore her longing for parenthood, and the near-death of her mother and her own search for a daughter -- she and her husband traveled to China to adopt a baby girl. Andrew Blauner of Blauner Books Literary Agency negotiated the deal.

St. Martin's Press editor Linda McFall bought world rights for an undisclosed sum to the next two books by Bharti Kirchner, from agent Liza Dawson. The first book Darjeeling, (to be published in Spring/Summer 2002) is set in Manhattan and in Darjeeling, India, as a family is torn apart when two sisters fall in love with the same man. The second novel, Pastry, will be published in Spring/Summer 2003.

Agent Loretta Barrett sold HarperCollins's Diane Reverand North American rights only to a memoir by a spiritualist in his early 30s named Noah Levine. Called The Dharma Punx, Levine will explain how the deepest depths of anger and despair allowed him to make peace with life and what it has to offer. The author, once a violent punk with an alcohol and drug problem, is from a background of spiritual teachers -- his father and stepmother are best-selling authors Stephen and Ondrea Levine -- and his own teachers have included the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hahn and Jack Kornfield. Dharma Punx will chronicle Noah Levine's ongoing journey towards enlightenment (which he still balances with a healthy dose of positive punk-attitude) as well as offer advice by example to readers from his generation and beyond. Reverand paid $125,000 for the book.

Marjorie Braman, vice president and executive editor of HarperCollins, bought a work of narrative nonfiction about the Black Plague of the 14th century. According to Braman, John Kelly's book, And The Morning No Longer Belonged to God: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time, will tell the story of the plague through the eyes of historical characters, using diaries from the time. The deal, brokered by agent Ellen Levine, is for world rights; underbidders included Ballantine and Crown; HarperCollins paid in the significant six figures. Kelly, co-wrote a book about divorce, For Better or Worse With Dr. Mavis Hetherington, forthcoming from Norton this fall.

An untitled biography of Roger Bacon -- the 13th-century monk, encyclopedist and iconic "first scientist," whose work led to modern science being considered a separate discipline distinct from philosophy -- sold via Litopia agent Peter Cox to Kate Paice at Plantagenet Press. Written by Brian Clegg, British polymath and Cambridge experimental physicist, the book is the first lead title acquired by the new British start-up publisher.

For those who can't get enough of those zany, nudge-nudge New Yorker cartoons, Bloomberg Press and the New Yorker will co-publish six new cartoon books, the first of which will appear in October 2001. (Bloomberg has successfully published four previous New Yorker cartoon titles.) The new books "will venture farther outside the world of business and move toward more mainstream subjects, including kids and sports," says a Bloomberg spokesperson. Bob Mankoff, cartoon editor of The New Yorker and president and founder of The Cartoon Bank (repository of The New Yorker's cartoon archive), and John Crutcher, editor of the New Yorker books for Bloomberg Press will oversee production. The deal was brokered by Jane Cavolina, who edited The New Yorker 75th Anniversary Cartoon Collection when she was a senior editor at Pocket Books.

Zachary Schuster Harmsworth agent Jennifer Gates sold Amanda Murray of Simon & Schuster (with paperback rights to Greer Kessel Hendricks of Pocket Books) Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts, a first book by Mama Gena (a k a Regena Thomashauer). Thomashauer is a relationship expert who runs a "school for goddesses" on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and believes that feminine power is "the greatest untapped natural resource on the planet." And she has developed a step-by-step program to teach women how to release this power through the disciplines of fun and pleasure. Murray preempted the book after two publishers unsuccessfully tried to do the same.

Stuart Bernstein, an agent for writers and photographers under the moniker Representation for Artists who had been a longtime buyer and vice president of Endicott Booksellers, has sold Villard's Kate Niedzwicki North American rights to a gay-themed novel by William Storandt called The Summer They Came. To be published as a trade paperback original in May 2002, The Summer They Came is a comedic novel set in a summer resort town -- supposedly closely modeled on Watch Hill, R.I. -- about a group a gay yuppie investors who decide to make it the hot new place, much to the chagrin of the locals. Storandt is a tutor in the Bass Writing Program at Yale University and has been writing about his adventures aboard his 33-foot cutter, Clarity, among other topics, for Cruising World, a sailing magazine, for the last 20 years. His memoir, Outbound, will be published this August by the University of Wisconsin Press in their "Living Out" series of autobiographies.

Harvard Business School Professor Lynn Sharp Paine will use her experience as a corporate consultant to make a case for a new standard of corporate performance in her book Making a Decent Profit. Palmer & Dodge agent Rob McQuilken sold McGraw-Hill editor Mary Glenn the book in an undisclosed six-figure deal for world rights.

Putnam editor Neil Nyren has just bought an untitled book by Bob Schieffer -- the CBS journalist who has been covering Washington for 32 years (while most recently moderating the network's Sunday talk show Face the Nation) -- from Esther Newberg at ICM. The memoir will offer a behind-the-scenes view of Washington and relate experiences from Scheiffer's life and journalistic career, which began in Texas in the 1950s, when he got his first press card before he was old enough to buy beer. Publication is expected for late 2002 or early 2003.

The story of the last days of the Russian Imperial family will be the subject of a new book called President by Greg King, which The Literary Group's Frank Weimann sold to Wiley editor Stephanie Powers in a world rights deal. The book will examine the events leading up to the murder of Tsar Nicholas II, which occurred against the backdrop of war and revolution. His last book, The Duchess of Windsor, hit the bestseller list in the United Kingdom.

Joe Durepos of JDLA, Inc. sold HarperSanFrancisco executive editor John Loudon The Call and What We Ache For by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, in a two-book, six-figure, world rights (plus audio) deal. Dreamer's first book, The Invitation, sold over 200,000 copies in hardcover since it was published in May 1999 by HSF and had 16 foreign sales; it was also a six-month Publishers Weekly religion hardcover bestseller. The Call will complete a trilogy begun with The Invitation and The Dance. The second work, What We Ache For, is a book on writing and spirituality. HSF bought world rights and plans to publish The Call in 2003 and What We Ache For in early 2004.

Susan Rainhoffer of David Black Agency has submitted The Day the Men Died: Disaster & Redemption in America's Richest Silver Mine by Gregg Olsen, an account of a catastrophe at the Sunshine Mine in Kellogg, Idaho. According to the submission letter, 174 miners entered the mine on May 2, 1972, as part of a daily hunt for silver, and when thick black smoke billowed out of one of the air shafts, the safety engineer sounded the alarm. Eighty-one men were able to get out immediately, while 93 were trapped underground; of that total, 91 men died there, while two managed to survive after being trapped for seven days underground. Gregg Olsen is the author of six books of nonfiction, including Starvation Heights and If Loving You Was Wrong, published last year.

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