Big Auctions

Personal trainer Bob Harper of The Ellen DeGeneres Show and NBC's The Biggest Loser has sold his first book, Take Charge: Lose Weight, Find Your Inner Compassand Change Your Life; Stacy Creamer at Broadway beat out 10 other houses in an auction conducted by Peter Steinberg at Regal Literary. The book will provide an easy-to-follow diet and exercise plan, while also emphasizing its mental and emotional dimension. Broadway holds world rights; projected pub date is December 2007.

Viking's Molly Stern beat out three other bidders to acquire Jenifer Fox's A Strengths Awakening: The Answer to Your Child's Future; Jennifer Rudolph Walsh at William Morris sold North American rights in a major six-figure deal. In the book, Fox, head of the Purnell School in New Jersey, will describe her nationally recognized, strength-based approach to teaching known as the Affinities Program. Marcus Buckingham, author of Now, Discover Your Strengths, will write a foreword and Alessandra Lusardi will edit. Pub date winter 2008.

"Maxine!" comic strip creator Marian Henley has made a deal for a graphic memoir titled The Shiniest Jewel: A Family Love Story; Karen Murgolo at Springboard won North American rights via an auction conducted by Betsy Amster. Henley will write and draw about being a baby boomer woman facing a number of key midlife issues, from marriage to adoption to a seriously ill father. Tentative pub date is fall 2008.

Oxford's David McBride persevered in a three-way auction for Marshall Goldman's Oilolopy: Russia, the New Saudi Arabia via agent Sandra Dijkstra, who sold North American rights. McBride, who has briefed President Bush on Putin, is the former associate director of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard and now teaches Russian economics at Wellesley; pub date is April 2008.

Heather Jackson at Crown won the next two health books by Dr. Nancy Snyderman in an auction conducted by Amy Rennert, who sold world rights. Snyderman, chief medical correspondent for NBC, will guide readers through the conflicted and confusing world of medicine and self-care. First book will be published in May 2008.

Big Fiction

Robin Desser at Knopf has preempted a debut novel by Domnica Radulescu titled Train to Trieste; agent Jodie Rhodes sold North American rights. The book tracks the life of a woman who at 17 flees her native Romania under Ceausescu for Italy and then Chicago, enduring poverty, isolation, a disastrous marriage, and finally academic success as a professor. Radulescu is a professor at Washington and Lee, and the book already has blurbs from Sandra Cisneros and Andrei Codrescu. No pub date yet.

Random's Susanna Porter won an auction for two novels by historian C. W. Gortner for the Ballantine imprint; Jennifer Weltz at Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency sold world English rights. The first book, titled The Last Queen: The Story of Juana La Loca takes as its subject the last queen of Spanish blood to inherit the throne, a figure since haunted by speculation and lurid rumor. Gortner's follow-up will be a first-person account of the life of Catherine de Medici. The Last Queen will pub in June 2008.

Rowley on Roosevelts

Biographer Hazel Rowley has made a deal for a new book titled Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage; Eric Chinski at FSG bought world rights from Lane Zachary and Todd Shuster at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth. Rowley will focus on the intense, unconventional relationship between FDR and his iconic wife over their 40 years of marriage. No pub date yet; Rowley's most recent work is Tête-à-Tête: The TumultuousLives and Loves of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre (HarperCollins, 2005).