Atria's Emily Bestler signed popular author Jodi Picoult to three new books, world rights, with agent Laura Gross. Picoult's next, due out in March, is My Sister's Keeper.... Dan Halpern at Ecco won a hotly contested auction for a big Italian cookbook by star chef, restaurateur and TV cook Mario Batali, formerly published at Clarkson Potter; it was a North American and first serial deal with agent Anthony Gardner, for spring 2005.... Norwegian publisher Cappelen's book by Ala Bashir, Saddam Hussein's personal physician for 20 years, Saddam's Confidante (Hot Deals, Sept. 1), has made a number of foreign sales, and Time Warner U.K., which bought world English, will be looking for a U.S. buyer in Frankfurt this week.... Another book with high Frankfurt hopes is a comic first novel called The Journal of Mortifying Moments by Robyn Harding, sold by Joe Veltre at Carlisle & Company to Ballantine's Linda Marrow in a two-book, six-figure world rights deal.... Penguin editors here and in the U.K. (Wendy Wolf and Simon Winder, respectively) bought a book detailing the rise, impressive empire and final fall to the Romans of ancient Carthage by Cambridge historian and archeologist Richard Miles; Curtis Brown was the U.K. agent, and the sale here was made by George Lucas, his first since recently joining Carlisle & Company.... McGraw-Hill's Nancy Hancock paid six figures for a book called Shine: Searching for the Star Within You, an inspirational and anecdotal self-help title by former Hollywood producer and agent Larry Thompson; the world rights deal was made by agent Jan Miller at Dupree-Miller.... Portfolio's Adrian Zackheim bought a book tentatively called Head Trip by tennis coach Brad Gilbert (he has coached Agassi and Roddick) telling readers how to apply his lessons about performing under stress to their lives. It was a buy for world rights (except U.K.) from agent John Boswell.... Doubleday's Deb Futter bought a first novel by a young actress/screenwriter whose first movie (Anything but Love) comes out shortly. The book is The J.A.P. Chronicles by Isabel Rose, and it was part of a two-book deal, sold by agent Sally Wofford-Girand, that, with escalators, approaches seven figures.... In last week's story about the sale of Patricia Henley's new novel, we gave her the wrong first name.
Deals will not appear next week; its author will be in Frankfurt.