Mystery novelist Martha Talley's series sleuth is breast cancer survivor Hannah Ives, and Sarah Durand at Morrow just preempted North American rights for her next three starring Hannah, taking Talley away from previous publisher Bantam Dell; the deal was signed with agent Jimmy Vines.... Ecco's Julia Serebrinsky got world rights in Courting Justice: My Battle with Holocaust Denier David Irving by Deborah Lipstadt, whose book accusing the British historian resulted in a significant court battle in London, won by Lipstadt and her publisher Penguin; Serebrinsky got world rights from Gary Morris at David Black.... Toni Burbank at Bantam preempted for six figures a book by first-time author Julie Gregory called Sickening, about her mother's little-known mental disorder, which inspires parents to abuse their children; agent Katherine Boyle at LitWest also sold the book in a handsome preempt to Century Arrow in London.... A true-crime account of the Texas murder of Stephen Beard, in which his wife and her lesbian lover are accused, was signed both for a St. Martin's Book (by Charles Spicer) and a TV miniseries (by Barbara Lieberman at Robert Greenwald Productions). The book by Suzy Spencer, tentatively titled Pink Coffins, and the TV option were both sold by agent Nick Ellison.... Harper's Marjorie Braman made a preemptive deal for two new thrillers by Joseph Garber, author a few years ago of Bantam's Vertical Run; first of the new titles is an espionage tale called Whirlwind, and Braman bought North American rights from Ellen Levine at Trident Media Group.... Two authors who work with Tom Clancy on his Secret Warriors and Special Forces series for Putnam have signed with the house's Neil Nyren for a book that will follow the Special Forces troops spearheading the American advance in Iraq; it was a six-figure buy of U.S., Canada and open market rights from Mel Berger at William Morris.