Climbing Everest

Holt's Jennifer Barth has preempted world rights to a presently untitled book by journalist and climber Nick Heil, to be a narrative account of the 2006 Mount Everest climbing season, the deadliest in a decade, from Sloan Harris at ICM. In his account, Heil will focus on the less expensive—and less-regulated—north side of the mountain, where most of the deaths occurred. Heil will focus on two climbers who were left for dead there: Australian guide Lincoln Hall, who survived a night alone on the mountain, and Brit David Sharp, an experienced climber whose death has precipitated much controversy since. The book expands an article in this month's Men's Journal; Heil also contributes to Outside. Publication is slated for spring 2008.

In Sicily

Random's Signe Pike has signed up the next book on Italy by Marlena de Blasi for Ballantine Books; this one turns its attention to Sicily and is called Villa Donnafugata. The book will focus on the true story of the beautiful mistress of one of the last princes of Sicily, who turned her villa into a community for women in need, and her influence over the Mafia, the church and the ancient island cult of Demeter. De Blasi is the author of A Thousand Days in Venice, A Thousand Days in Tuscany and The Lady in the Palazzo. Agent Rosalie Siegel sold world rights.

Deadly Flowers

Rosemary Harris, a master gardener in the state of Connecticut, has inked a two-book deal for a proposed series of horticultural mysteries with Marcia Markland at St. Martin's Press, via Deborah Schneider at Gelfman Schneider. The books will feature Paula Holliday, a master gardener with a small landscaping business in wealthy, rural Connecticut. The first is titled Pushing Up Daisies and is slated for February 2008; SMP holds North American rights. Harris's husband, Bruce, is a former sales exec at Random House and Workman.

Kids and Sports

Agent Andrew Blauner has just sold Mark Hyman's Parents and Pennants: America's Love Affair with Youth Sports and How It Puts Our Children at Risk to Helene Atwan at Beacon. The book will examine the overheated world of youth sports and attempt to answer why parents care so deeply about their children's results on the field; it will also chart the history of youth sports to a time when adults were largely absent from their children's athletic lives. Hyman is a contributing sports editor at Business Week; Beacon holds world English and will publish in 2008.

The Briefing

Wiley's Tom Miller has acquired a new book by Deborah Davis titled Gilded: Riches, Romance and Reversals of Fortune in America's Most Exclusive Resort, a social history of Newport, from agent Harvey Klinger, who sold world English; Wiley published Davis's Party of the Century, about Truman Capote's Black and White Ball, earlier this year. Gilded is slated for September 2008.... Grove/Atlantic's Luba Ostashevsky has bought An Uncommon Divorce by Ilyon Wu, about a 19th-century case in which a woman reclaimed her kidnapped children from the Shakers and in the process changed legislation on family law; agent Julie Barer sold North American rights.... Dominique Raccah at Sourcebooks has acquired Joan Collins's The Art of Living Well, in which the actress will reveal her secrets to a glamorous life at any age; agent Alan Nevins sold North American rights, and an October pub date is planned.