Pratchett ‘Crumbles’ for HMH Kids
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers has inked a deal with Sir Terry Pratchett for a collection of middle-grade stories, Dragons at Crumbling Castle. Anne Hoppe at Clarion Books, the author’s longtime editor, took U.S. rights to the collection; the 14 stories in it initially appeared in The Buck’s Free Press (in Buckinghamshire, England). (Pratchett, before becoming a novelist, was a reporter and contributed a number of stories to the paper’s “Children’s Circle” section.) The book, which marks the first time many of the stories will appear in this format, will be illustrated by Mark Beech. Hoppe brokered the deal with Random House U.K.

Putnam Nabs Debut Trilogy
Kerri Kolen at G.P. Putnam’s Sons took world rights to Hester Young’s currently untitled debut series, a trilogy that follows a journalist named Charlie Cates. Esmond Harmsworth, at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary, represented the author, who is a former high school English teacher and has an M.A. in English from the University of Hawaii. In the books, Cates, who is struggling with the sudden death of her young son, is assigned to do a story about a famous family that also suffered a tragedy: decades earlier, their son disappeared. The heroine, who dreams about children in danger, travels from Connecticut to Louisiana for the assignment and, as Putnam put it, “soon finds herself immersed in a family mystery every bit as dark as her present.” Book one in the series is currently set for summer 2015.

Ratner’s ‘Ghosts’ Haunt S&S
For Simon & Schuster, Trish Todd bought world rights to Vaddey Ratner’s Music of the Ghosts. Ratner (2013’s In the Shadow of the Banyan) was represented by agent Emma Sweeney, who has an eponymous shingle. With the novel, Ratner is marking her sophomore effort; the work follows a Cambodian refugee returning to the country she fled as a little girl and connecting with an elderly man, called the Old Musician, who knew her late father. S&S said the narrative moves between past and present and “the Old Musician’s activities during the United States’ secret war in Cambodia and [the heroine’s] unfolding relationships with him... and her homeland.” For In the Shadow of the Banyan, a bestseller, Ratner was nominated for a Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. S&S does not yet have a pub date for Music of the Ghosts.

Porter Closes Double At Tor Teen
Author Sarah Porter (the Lost Voices Trilogy) closed a two-book deal with Susan Chang at Tor Teen. Chang, in a pre-empt, took world English rights to Vassa in the Night and a currently untitled YA novel. Tor Teen said Vassa in the Night is a modern-day retelling of the Russian folktale Vasilisa the Beautiful, about a girl with an evil stepsister and a magic doll, given to her by her late mother; the publisher said the novel “does for Brooklyn what Francesca Lia Block’s Weetzie Bat did for Hollywood.” Kent D. Wolf at Lippincott Massie McQuilkin represented Porter.

Moore Stays On Two Wheels at Pegasus
Tim Moore sold Gironomo! Riding the Very Terrible Tour of Italy to Jessica Case at Pegasus Books. Case, who took U.S. rights from Zoë Pagnamenta at the Zoë Pagnamenta Agency (acting on behalf of Georgia Garrett at Rogers, Coleridge & White), said the book follows the author’s inspiration to retrace “one of the hardest bike rides in history” after his disappointment with the cycling world in the aftermath of, among other things, the Lance Armstrong scandal. Moore, a travel and humor writer, is no stranger to tough rides: he tackled the Tour de France route for his 2002 book, French Revolutions (St. Martin’s Press). In this book, Case elaborated, Moore rides on “a bike built in 1914, which is made mostly of wood, to recapture the true heroic essence of [the titular] race.” Gironomo! is slated for a May 2015 release.

Tantor Media’s Ron Formica took world English rights in three formats (print, e-book, and audiobook) to Reuven Fenton’s true-crime book, The Ones Who Didn’t Do It. Fenton, who was represented by Bob Diforio at D4EO Literary, is a staff writer at the New York Post. The book chronicles a handful of men and women who wound up in prison for crimes they didn’t commit. Tantor said Formica’s account is “inspiring” and that the former convicts he interviewed “open up their souls to answer difficult questions.”