A new novel by John Hough Jr. called A Matter of Time, a bittersweet literary romance set in '60s Cape Cod, made an unusual hard/softsale recently—to two different publishers. West Coast agent B.J. Robbins made the six-figure sale to Michael Korda and Chuck Adams at Simon & Schuster, but two NAL editors, Carolyn Nichols and Ellen Edwards, were also so keen that they persuaded S&S rights directorMarcella Berger to sell them the paperback rights.... Michael Connelly is regarded as such a hot property at Little, Brown that publisher Michael Pietsch just signed him for a further two thrillers, one starring his tough cop Harry Bosch, long before the current contract, which still has two books to run, expires. The world rights deal was made with agent Phil Spitzer. Connelly's latest bestseller is A Darkness More Than Night .... Another regular on the thriller lists, Richard North Patterson, has just had his Protect and Defend optioned for a movie, for what his Coast agent, Fred Hill, says is a seven-figure deal including bonuses. The buyer was Rob Reiner at Castle Rock, and Matthew Snyder at CAA helped put the deal together.... Another Coast agent, Jillian Manus, who often makes big-money deals, has made a smaller one for a book she feels strongly about, by Alexander Sanger, head of Planned Parenthood and grandson of birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger. Tentatively called A Call to Arms, it was sold to Peter Osnos and Lisa Kaufman at Public Affairs, and will be, said Manus, part of an effort to reenergize the prochoice movement, which Sanger believes needs a new approach.... Ballantine editor-in-chief Nancy Miller preempted two books by author and clinical psychologist Martha Manning, North American rights. The first is A Place to Land, the story of the author's relationships with two struggling women, one white, one black, and how she helped them in a group called Habitat for Humanity. The agent was Arielle Eckstut of James Levine Communications.... Agent Loretta Barrett, who sold a first thriller, The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman, as part of a two-book, mid-six-figures deal to Linda Marrow at Ballantine, reports strong interest from overseas, with at least two auctions about to begin.