Else Howard at HarperChildren's preempted world English rights in a fantasy called The Witch's Boy, the first venture into writing for children by Michael Gruber, whose thriller Tropic of Night made a splash at Morrow last year, and who has a contract there for two more adult books. Simon Lipskar at Writers House made the deal, and the agency's Maja Nikolik will be offering it at Bologna.... Bloomsbury editors here and in the U.K. (Colin Dickerman and Liz Calder) jointly bought world English rights to a bio of racy novelist Harold Robbins, who virtually invented the sex-and-shopping Hollywood novel. The author is Andrew Wilson, fresh from an admired book about Patricia Highsmith, and the deal was made with Clare Alexander at Gillon Aitken's London agency.... Senior Time editor Christopher John Farley sold a historical novel about a biracial, cross-dressing Caribbean pirate, narrated in her own voice, to Rachel Klayman at Crown. Called Kingston by Starlight, it's set in Farley's native Jamaica and was sold for North American rights by Caron Knauer at her Caron K agency.... Emily Bestler at Pocket Books made a two-book deal that will include Raising Atlantis by Thomas Greanias, which began life as a Web site and went on to become a bestselling e-book on Amazon.com. It's about a city lost beneath the Antarctic ice, and Bestler made the buy from Simon Lipskar at Writers House.