Ballantine is taking over another bestselling author (shades of Richard North Patterson!) from a fellow Random imprint for a new two-book hard/soft contract. This time it's Kristin Hannah, previously published by Crown, and it was Ballantine editorial director Linda Marrow who signed her up from agent Andrea Cirillo at Jane Rotrosen. First book in the new North American rights deal will be Distant Shores, in summer of next year.... A biography of Lord Kelvin, the British scientific prodigy who gave his name to a temperature measurement, has been sold by agent Susan Rabiner to editor Jeffrey Robbins at an imprint new to us, the Joseph Henry Press at Washington's National Academy Press. It was a six-figure preempt for Degrees Kelvin by science author David Lindley, which is scheduled for fall 2003.... Anita Diggs at the One World imprint at Ballantine has bought a trailblazing guide for black women wanting to reconcile their sexual and spiritual selves. It's Oh God!: A Black Woman's Guide to Sex & Spirituality by the Rev. Dr. Susan Newman, and Diggs paid a quarter-million to an agent new to us, Djana Pearson Morris of Washington's Pearson Morris & Belt. It's due for publication next spring.