Monday, July 21, 2014

TV rights to WONDROUS STRANGE series go to Shaftesbury

Apparently it's all TV/film deals, all the time! We've had a number of exciting TV/film deals announced recently (see The Clan of the Cave Bear and Olivia Kidney), and now we're delighted to announce another!

Leading producer Shaftesbury Films has acquired TV rights to Lesley Livingston's acclaimed Wondrous Strange trilogy, published by HarperCollins! The award-winning trilogy, which includes Wondrous Strange (2008), Darklight (2009), and Tempestuous (2010), follows the adventures of Kelly Winslow, a teenager whose life takes a dramatic turn when she learns she is the long-lost heir to the Faerie realm. 

Livingston will be part of the creative team behind the Wondrous Strange TV production, and as she says in Quill and Quire, "To say that I’m excited about this would be a galactic understatement. Galactic." Shaftesbury produced the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's long-running Murdoch Mysteries series, as well as the Canadian Television Network's paranormal police series The Listener.

The announcement was picked up by Deadline, Quill and Quire, and Publishers Weekly, among others.

Below is the full press release with additional details:


“With a marvelously refreshing heroine, a genuinely lovable hero, and a swift-moving, fascinating plot, Ms. Livingston gives a modern twist to the age-old epic hero’s 'coming of age’ story. Wondrous Strange shows that the world of Faerie can be updated and yet retain its age-old charm - as well as its aura of deadly danger. This is my kind of fiction, and my kind of heroine!”
-LJ Smith, author of The Vampire Diaries

TORONTO/LOS ANGELES, July 14, 2014 – Leading producer Shaftesbury has acquired the television rights to Lesley Livingston’s acclaimed Wondrous Strange young adult trilogy, published by HarperCollins Canada as well as HarperCollins U.S. Including Wondrous Strange (2009), Darklight (2010) and Tempestuous (2011), the book series follows the adventures of a young woman who discovers she is the long-lost heir to the Faerie realm.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Bitten and Orphan Black have shown us that television audiences are hungry for genre series featuring strong female protagonists who are dealing with extraordinary circumstances in the real world,” said Maggie Murphy, Head, Shaftesbury U.S. “By putting a refreshingly darker spin on classic fairy lore, Wondrous Strange offers an entirely new fantasy world that has never been seen before, with empowering, believable characters who speak directly to the young female demographic.”

“I could not be more thrilled to hand this world and these characters over to Shaftesbury,” said Livingston. “This kind of creative, dedicated, professional team is one that writers wait a long time for and I’m so excited to see this story getting the opportunity to grow beyond the pages of the books.”

Shaftesbury has a long-standing, successful track record in adapting the best of Canadian literature for film and television, including the works of Margaret Atwood, Carol Shields, Mordecai Richler, Timothy Findley, Morley Callaghan, Michael Ignatieff, Dr. Vincent Lam and Maureen Jennings.

In Wondrous Strange, when the invisible membrane dividing our world from an unknown, other dimension is punctured, a young woman named Kelly Winslow joins a small Guard determined to stop the tide of evil…but soon discovers she is born of the very thing she has sworn to destroy. With the mysterious Sonny Flannery by her side, Kelly learns Faeries are alive and well and that she is the missing heir to their throne. As she falls desperately for Sonny, she wonders if the two can ever truly be together. In New York City, just off Broadway - amongst never-ending roadwork, digital overload and street meat - lies the battleground. The evil in Wondrous Strange hides in plain sight, often disguised in seemingly benign human form - always present, awaiting that split-second opportunity when we lower our guard. Late at night the parasites come to call, to snatch our innocent sleeping children. Can Kelly embrace her heritage in time to save the imperfect world she calls home?

Released in Canada and the U.S. in 2009 and multiple international markets including Brazil, Denmark, France, Italy, Spain, Russia and Poland, Wondrous Strange was the 2010 Canadian Literary Association’s Young Adult Book of the Year and the 2010 White Pine Honor Book, and was also shortlisted for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Speculative Fiction.

Lesley Livingston is an acclaimed Toronto-based author whose Wondrous Strange series includes Darklight (2010) and Tempestuous (2011). Livingston’s second trilogy, published by Penguin Canada, includes Once Every Never (2011), Every Never After (2013) and Now and For Never (2014). A spin-off to the Wondrous Strange series, Starling, was released by HarperTeen in 2012 and includes Descendant (2013) and Transcendent (forthcoming December 2014). Livingston’s middle-grade series with Jonathan Llyr, The Wiggins Weird, was published by Penguin Canada in 2013 and includes How to Curse in Hieroglyphics and The Haunting of Heck House. A principal performer and founding member of the Toronto-based Tempest Theatre Group, Livingston also regularly appeared on the Space network series, Spacebar. Livingston is represented by the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Inc.

About Shaftesbury
With offices in Toronto and Los Angeles, Shaftesbury is an innovative creator and distributor of original content for television and digital platforms. Sold in 120 countries worldwide, Shaftesbury's programming slate includes five seasons of The Listener for CTV, Fox International Channels and ION Television; eight seasons of Murdoch Mysteries for CBC, UKTV and ITV STUDIOS Global Entertainment; and the hit kids series Life with Derek. Shaftesbury's groundbreaking digital media division, Smokebomb Entertainment, creates convergent experiences for television and original digital content including the comedy series Backpackers for The CW and CTV Extend; tween series Totally Amp'd and Unlikely Heroes for and Hulu; and 3D sci-fi series State of Syn for Hulu and Google Glass. Shaftesbury recently launched shift2, an innovative agency that creates, manages and markets digital content targeting Generation C on YouTube. Visit us online at, and

For more information:
Katherine Wolfgang
416-363-1411 x163 or 416-669-2823

Monday, July 14, 2014

Jean M. Auel's THE CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR to become major TV series on Lifetime

We are thrilled to announce that Jean M. Auel's bestselling The Clan of the Cave Bear and Earth’s Children® series will soon be on TV! Lifetime has ordered a pilot for a potential 2015 launch, with Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Allison Shearmur, and Linda Woolverton involved.

The Clan of the Cave Bear, the first in Auel's Earth’s Children® series, was originally published in 1980 by Random House. The sixth in the series, The Land of Painted Caves, came out in 2011. All six books are New York Times and international bestsellers, with over 60 million copies having sold globally.

In light of the heavy-hitters involved in The Clan of the Cave Bear pilot, people in the industry speculate this production could be the breakout series for a cable channel that has recently begun widening its viewer appeal and broadening its scope. Plans are also in the works for Lifetime to adapt the Stephen King novella Big Driver and V.C. Andrews's Flowers in the Attic, among others.

Below is the full press release, which was picked up in Variety, Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter, and Broadway World, among others:


RON HOWARD, BRIAN GRAZER and ALLISON SHEARMUR to Executive Produce and LINDA WOOLVERTON to Write Pilot Based on JEAN M. AUEL’S Series of Best-Selling Novels

LOS ANGELES, CA (July 9, 2014) – Lifetime has ordered the drama pilot The Clan of the Cave Bear, based on Jean M. Auel’s series of best-selling novels, it was announced today by Rob Sharenow, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Lifetime. A co-production of Fox 21 and Lionsgate in association with Imagine Television and Allison Shearmur Productions, the project will be executive produced by Academy Award®-winning director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Rush) and Oscar® and Emmy® Award winner Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind, 24), along with Allison Shearmur (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Cinderella), Linda Woolverton (Maleficent, The Lion King), who is writing the pilot, Francie Calfo (Gang Related, Empire) and Jean M. Auel. The project is targeted for a potential 2015 launch.

“I’ve always admired Jean M. Auel’s timeless work,” said Sharenow.  “With the visionary creative team of Ron Howard, Linda Woolverton, Brian Grazer, Alli Shearmur, Jean M. Auel and Francie Calfo behind it, this project has it all--epic storytelling, great characters and a unique world that’s never been explored on television before.  This is exactly the type of top-tier creative talent and great stories we embrace at Lifetime.”

The first book of Auel’s Earth’s Children® series, The Clan of the Cave Bear, takes place at a time in prehistory more than 25,000 years ago when Neanderthals shared the Earth with the first early modern humans and a band of cave dwellers adopt blond and blue-eyed Ayla, a child of the “Others.” As Ayla matures into a young woman of spirit and courage, she must fight for survival against the jealous bigotry of Broud, who will one day be clan leader.

Auel’s book series has sold more than 60 million copies globally and all six books have been New York Times bestsellers.

Lionsgate is a leading global entertainment company with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, family entertainment, digital distribution, new channel platforms and international distribution and sales. Lionsgate currently has over 30 television shows on more than 20 networks spanning its primetime production, distribution and syndication businesses, including such critically-acclaimed hits as the multiple Emmy Award-winning Mad Men and Nurse Jackie, the comedy Anger Management, the network series Nashville, the syndication success The Wendy Williams Show and the critically-acclaimed series Orange is the New Black.

Fox 21 is a cable production studio housed within Twentieth Century Fox Television devoted to making creatively ambitious scripted series for the cable television market, as well as unscripted shows for both cable and broadcast networks. Fox 21 currently produces the Emmy and Golden Globe winning Homeland starring Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, the critically acclaimed smash hit Sons of Anarchy (with FX Productions), Brannon Braga and Adam Simon’s freshman hit Salem, Howard Gordon’s dramatic thriller Tyrant, the animated comedy Brickleberry from Daniel Tosh and Witches of East End starring Julia Ormond and Jenna Dewan Tatum. The studio also produces the upcoming Rush from Jonathan Levine and Legends from Howard Gordon and Jonathan Levin, and is developing the drama series The Bastard Executioner (with FX productions) from Kurt Sutter and Imagine TV’s Brian Grazer.

Lifetime is a premier female-focused entertainment destination dedicated to offering the highest quality original programming spanning scripted series, non-fiction series and movies.  As a result of the network’s aggressive programming strategy that has doubled the hours of its original programming, 2013 marked Lifetime’s second straight year of growth among Total Viewers.  Lifetime Television®, LMN®, Lifetime Real Women® and Lifetime Digital™ are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A+E Networks.  A+E Networks is a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst Corporation.

A+E Networks Official Press Site:

Contact: Les Eisner

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hypocrisy suspected in school board's ban of THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST

This Monday, Cape Gazette announced that the Cape Henlopen school board in Delaware had decided to ban The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth from its summer reading list. The announcement coincidentally came just as LGBT Pride Month was ending and sparked a backlash against the school board on Twitter and the blogosphere.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a critically acclaimed young adult novel published by HarperCollins in 2012. It tells the story of a girl named Cameron growing up in rural Montana whose parents die in a car accident the same day she kisses a girl for the first time. Feeling a mixture of guilt and relief that her parents will never find out, Cameron moves in with her highly conservative aunt and eventually falls in love with her best friend, a girl. When her aunt discovers the truth, she sends Cameron to a religious conversion camp, where Cameron must decide the person she wants to be. You can read more about the book in our previous posts here.

Below is an excerpt from Cape Gazette:

Citing language deemed inappropriate for entering freshmen, Cape Henlopen school board has removed "The Miseducation of Cameron Post" from the district’s summer reading list.

The book was part of a 10-book list given to district middle school students entering high school in the fall and taking college prep and honors classes. The list, called the Blue Hen List, is a collection of books deemed age-appropriate by state librarians from across the state.

Yet, as noted on, the school board was not concerned with the same "inappropriate" language in other books allowed to remain on the summer reading list, including The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Hypocrisy, anyone? posits the real issue was not inappropriate language but rather homophobia.

Here's more on what had to say about Danforth's book:

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth, published in 2012, was a YA tour de force, a book that older queers wished had been written when they were kids, lauded by numerous high-brow publications for the quality of its writing. It was also nominated for the much-coveted Morris Award, given by the American Library Association each year to the best new voice in YA. This wasn’t just a book that the gays were reading. Everybody was reading it! And loving it! called upon readers to "act now," and email the school board with complaints. They posted the complaint letter they sent themselves, as well as the email addresses of all the members of the school board. You can view these here.

Browseabout Books, a local Delaware bookstore, got in the action.  It has been working with to give donated copies of The Miseducation of Cameron Post to interested readers in the area. Find out how to donate copies to the cause here.

In a recent blog post, Danforth pointed out that other books on the Blue Hen reading list have been banned elsewhere due to their supposedly offensive language. To combat this censorship, she decided to celebrate all the books on the original list with a massive giveaway. In collaboration with Browseabout Books, she's giving away every single book on the Blue Hen list--including a signed copy of her own and possibly others' books. Here are more details:

All you have to do to enter is to use your twitter account (easiest for tech-challenged me to track and collate) to explain, in not very many characters, why you want/need these books. Use the hashtag #LeaveTheBlueHenListAlone so that I can find your entry. (The limited character count is part of the challenge.) And you have to do this by next Friday, July 11th. Feel free to tweet about this as many times as you’d like—the more entries the better.

Already, people have been putting out some great reasons why these books are so important:

And, in a very recent update on, it seems the emails coming into the school board may have begun having some effect.  One board member claimed he would make a request to reinstate The Miseducation of Cameron Post on the reading list.

We can only hope the other board members will be swayed--but in the meantime, more emails to the school board can't hurt, nor can donating more books to interested readers in the area and speaking out to prevent censorship like this from continuing to happen now and in the future.