Ty Pennington, the hunky Atlanta carpenter who stars in the hit cable TV show Trading Spaces, has a book deal with Hyperion editor Gretchen Young, who won out over four other contenders in an auction conducted by agent Michael Broussard of the Dallas-based Dupree/Miller agency. She got world rights in what Broussard says will be a memoir that reflects Pennington's unique humor "without downplaying his sex appeal."... Sarah Burnes of Burnes & Clegg, who used to work at Knopf, sold a first novel by a Knopf staffer, Karen Latuchie, to Norton's Jill Bialosky, a poet and novelist herself. It's The Honey Wall, a tale told largely in flashbacks of a woman's efforts to come to terms with a long love affair.... Chris Jackson at Crown has bought a biography he sees as the perfect match of author and subject: poet and journalist Patricia Smith (publicly chided for fabrications in some Pulitzer-nominated newspaper stories seven years ago, and repentant ever since) on the celebrated slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Her book is called Fixed on a Furious Star and will use creative nonfiction techniques to present Tubman as a human figure as well as an icon; Jackson, the author and her agent, John McGregor at JMG Books, jointly brainstormed the notion of the book, and Jackson won it at auction with his six-figure floor.... An unusual combination of publisher and author is that of left-wing Verso and celebrated biographer Carol Brightman. The house's Niels Hooper has signed her for a book tentatively called On Dissent, which will be at once a history of dissent in the U.S., portraits of some celebrated rebels and a call for a return to more activism among intellectuals. The deal was signed with agent Sandy Dijkstra.