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Hot Deals
John F. Baker -- 6/12/00

The In Place in Atlantic City | Love to Nancy, from Ron | Grove/Atlantic Zer s In on 1st Fiction
Zero Up Front for New Quinn | Holden, New Novelist to S&S

The In Place in Atlantic City
Jonathan van Meter, who was a founding editor-in-chief of Vibe magazine and now writes for Vanity Fair and Vogue, has hit upon what senior editor Doug Pepper at Crown calls "the perfect subject," and delivered a perfect outline for his book proposal--one he apparently rewrote many times, with the aid of agent Todd Shuster at the Zachary Shuster agency. It's for a book to be called The Last Good Time,and it will tell the story of an amazing character called Paul (Skinny) D'Amato, an Atlantic City kingpin whose 500 Club played host to the Kennedys and Sinatra's Rat Pack, as well as both local Mafia bigwigs and the FBI. Pepper secured it for a reported quarter of a million, for North American, open market and first serial, after a protracted auction involving no fewer than seven publishers. It was said to be at 500 that Dean Martin first met Jerry Lewis, and later Sinatra was a regular performer there. Pepper said the book is at once a portrait of D'Amato himself, of a wide-open era and of the rebirth of Atlantic City as a gambling center, which D'Amato did much to facilitate, although the club burned down (in 1972) before he could take advantage of it. Pepper plans to publish as early as he can in 2002.

to Nancy, from Ron
It's not often a former president's love letters to his wife see print, but that lack will be remedied when Random House brings out I Love You, Ronnie: The Letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan in September. Executive editor Kate Medina signed up the collection of letters, which Mrs. Reagan had been about to donate to the Ronald Reagan Library archive in Simi Valley, Calif., when she thought that perhaps they deserved wider circulation. Random agreed, and bought world rights for an undisclosed sum from lawyer Martin Garbus,representing Mrs. Reagan. According to Medina, "These letters showed me a Reagan I never imagined and that he probably never shared with anyone else." They span nearly 50 years, from his courtship of Nancy when they were both Hollywood players, to his final letter to the American public describing the onset of the Alzheimer's disease from which he now suffers.

Grove/Atlantic Zer s In on 1st Fiction
Both Morgan Entrekin and Elisabeth Schmitz at Grove/Atlantic made six-figure, two-book deals recently for work by first-time authors. Entrekin bought Crawling at Night by Nani Power, described as a literary, "dark, edgy and sexy" tale that has become known, for reasons of a plot device, as "the sushi novel." This was a North American sale concluding an auction, and Entrekin plans to publish it as a lead title next spring. It has already made sales to Germany, Holland and Sweden, through agent Wendy Sherman and foreign rights agent Agnes Krup.Schmitz bought a story collection by Ana Menendez,a Cuban exile now living in India, from Amy Williams at the Gernert Company, world rights. The book, also set for next spring, is In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd,to be followed later by a novel about an affair with Che Guevara. Foreign sales (preemptive) were made to Germany, Holland and Italy.

Zero Up Front for New Quinn
Daniel Quinn
made a considerable name nine years ago when he won a $500,000 contest for a first novel, and his Ishmael,published by Bantam, sold more than 600,000 copies and went on to become the Anthony Hopkins movie Instinct. A second book, Beyond Civilization drew a six-figure advance from Crown.Now he has a new publisher, the fledgling Context Group, with all of four books under its belt so far, and a very different kind of publishing contract. Context's Beau Friedlander paid Quinn nothing at all up front for his new novel, After Dachau, saying he is tired of big advances that don't earn out, and promising Quinn he would put the money into promotion and marketing instead. He got world rights for his zero dollars, and has already begun calling bookstores to promote the book. It's about a wealthy young man obsessed with the idea of reincarnation, who finds a girl with a memory of being murdered; he in turn discovers his family wealth was built on a terrible crime. Friedlander, about to get married, described the acquisition as "the best wedding present I could have," and plans to publish next February.

Holden, New Novelist to S&S
The company's Geoff Kloske has signed thriller writer Craig Holden (The Four Corners of Night) to a two-book deal, world English rights, from Gail Hochman at Brandt & Brandt. The first book will be The Jazz Bird, a thriller set in the '20s; Holden was formerly published at Delacorte. Kloske also bought, from Tina Bennett at Janklow & Nesbit, a first novel by a New Yorker writer, Jeffrey Frank.This is The Columnist, which Kloske describes as a black comedy that sends up media and journalism. This was another world English deal, and will be published next spring.

Correction:The captions for the pictures of Kathleen DeMarco and Sara Foster were reversed in Hot Deals, May 29.
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