The Write Stuff

'Homecourt' has option advantage

“Homecourt Advantage,” Rita Ewing and Crystal McCrary’s upcoming insiders’ novel about the NBA, its players and their wives, has been optioned jointly by producer Kevin Brown, Wesley Snipes’ production company Amen Ra, and New Regency for feature, TV or possible series development.

Ewing, ex-wife of New York Knick Patrick Ewing, and McCrary, wife of Seattle Supersonic Greg Anthony, will serve as co-executive producers. The novel will be released by Avon in November to coincide with the start of the basketball season.

William Morris agent Bill Contardi negotiated the deal on behalf of the authors’ literary agent, Denise Stinson.

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Based on a eight-page treatment, Columbia TriStar TV and Storyline Entertainment have optioned “Fearless,” a proposed young-adult series from Francine Pascal, creator of the “Sweet Valley High” book series that became the basis of the TV series.

“Fearless” features a superhuman teenage girl — she has no fear — who is living in New York and is a prime target for terrorists since her father is a famous anti-terrorist mastermind.

Pascal will serve as co-executive producer. Literary agent Amy Berkower is now looking for a book publisher for the project.

This is the third young-adult series TV option negotiated recently by William Morris agent Bill Contardi. Previously he sold “Roswell High” and “Spy Girls,” both upcoming young-adult book series to be published by Pocket Books, to Granada Entertainment and Fox TV, respectively; producer Kevin Brown is attached to both projects.

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“Southern gothic comedy is a pretty fair description, and the reference to ‘Heathers’ has been appropriate,” says Scribner editor Gillian Blake about “Eating the Cheshire Cat,” a first novel by Alabama native Helen Ellis that Blake just bought at auction with a rumored low-six-figure advance.

The tale details the often cruel social struggles — complete with competing steel magnolia mothers and charges of sexual abuse — of three very different girls growing up in Alabama.

Ellis was repped by Sterling Lord Literistic Inc. literary agent Chris Calhoun.

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After years of approach and discussion, Broadway Books senior editor Lauren Marino has finally signed up a first book by R&B legend Barry White. White’s inspirational book “Love Unlimited” is scheduled for publication in the fall of 1999 and is expected to coincide with a Christmas album release. White was repped in the deal by William Morris agent Mel Berger.

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