Indie SF Series to Tor
Diana Gill, executive editor at Tor, took North American rights to the self-published Cas Russell series by S.L. Huang in a five-book deal. Tor said the series, sold by Russell Galen at Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency, is a fast-paced science fiction thriller about “a ‘retriever’ whose quantum math skills make her a superhero able to shoot around corners. Think Trinity in The Matrix, but in our world.” Huang, who has a math degree from MIT, is a professional stuntwoman and weapons expert; she has appeared on shows such as Battlestar Galactica. The first book in the series, Zero Sum Game, is scheduled for September 18.

FSG Buys Middle Grade Debut
In a two-book North American rights deal, Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo sold her middle grade debut, Ruby in the Sky, to Janine O’Malley at FSG at auction. Stacey Glick at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret, who represented Ferruolo, said the book is a “modern-day Because of Winn-Dixie meets Walk Two Moons.” It follows a 12-year-old named Ruby Moon Hayes who is desperate to hide the fact that her mom has been arrested from the kids at her new school. Glick explained: “Ruby’s story is about the walls we hide behind and the magic that can happen when we’re brave enough to break free.” The manuscript won a number of plaudits, including 2016’s SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Work-in-Progress Award and the 2016 PEN-New England Susan Bloom Discovery Award. Ruby is slated for winter 2019, and the second book in the deal, which is currently untitled, is set for winter 2020.

Smiley Lands at Gallery
Comedian and radio talk show host Rickey Smiley sold world rights to Stand by Your Truth to Jeremie Ruby-Strauss at Gallery Books. Truth, Gallery said, will be “part memoir, part testimonial, and part life guide,” melding Smiley’s “down-home humor with the wholesome values that stuck with him, both from his childhood spent in the Baptist church and from his professional and comedic mentors.” Smiley’s Rickey Smiley Morning Show is, according to Gallery, broadcast to more than four million listeners; he has also released a number of bestselling comedy albums, and appears on the TV One docudrama Rickey Smiley for Real. Alan Nevins at Renaissance Literary & Talent represented Smiley. The book is currently set for November.

Pavlovitz Sells ‘Super-You’
Blogger and pastor John Pavlovitz sold his sophomore book, Super-You: Becoming the Kind of Person Who Can Save the World, to Christine Pride at Simon & Schuster. Sharon Pelletier at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret represented Pavlovitz; she said the book “explores the 10 superpowers of everyday heroes and how to cultivate them.”

Pam Krauss, for her eponymous imprint at Penguin Random House, took North American rights to the cookbook Sababa by Adeena Sussman. Subtitled The Sunny, Spicy Flavors of Israeli Cuisine, the book is, the publisher said, “the ultimate guide to the Israeli kitchen, its staple ingredients, and vibrant flavors, filled with 125 recipes designed for the home cook.” Agent Janis Donnaud represented Sussman. Sababa is scheduled for spring 2019.

For Da Capo Press, Robert Pigeon nabbed world rights to Stephen Coonts’s Dragon’s Jaw, a work of military history about the multiyear campaign by the U.S. to gain control of Thanh Hoa Bridge during the Vietnam War. (Thanh Hoa Bridge was nicknamed “the Dragon’s Jaw.”) The publisher said the book tells a “riveting from-the-cockpit story” about “one of the most dramatic stories in aviation history.” The publisher added: “Every war has its ‘bridge’ story; this is Vietnam’s, told now for the first time.” Coonts is cowriting the book with historian Barrett Tillman. Deborah Grosvenor at the Grosvenor Literary Agency brokered the deal with Pigeon.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of author Adeena Sussman.