Edward P. Jones, whose story collection Lost in the City took a PEN Hemingway award 10 years ago, has a new two-book contract with Dawn Davis at Harper's Amistad imprint. The deal, signed with Eric Simonoff at Janklow & Nesbit for world rights, calls for a first novel about slavery in antebellum Virginia and a new story collection.... A first novel by freelance magazine journalist Lolly Winston was preempted for a "significant" six figures as part of a hardcover two-book deal by Warner's Amy Einhorn. Good Grief is said to be a funny and poignant account of the mourning stages a young wife goes through after the death of her husband; the agent was Laurie Fox of the West Coast office of the Linda Chester agency.... A royal author from Britain, Princess Michael of Kent, has been signed to write a book on two of her forebears, Catherine de Medici and Diane de Poitiers, and the roles they played, as wife and mistress, respectively, in the reign of King Henry II of France. The Serpent and the Moon was bought by Trish Todd at S&S's Touchstone Fireside division for hardcover publication in fall 2004; the agent was William Morris's Suzanne Gluck.... HarperCollins associate editor Nikola Scott made her biggest buy to date in winning a four-house auction for an epic Michener-style novel about Ireland through history called, simply, Ireland. She bought U.S. rights in the book, by Irishman-in-New York Frank Delaney, from agent Ed Victor in London (where he also sold it to Little, Brown on a preempt). Harper will publish here in fall 2004.