Houghton executive editor Jane Rosenman preempted a first novel by Australia's Anne Bartlett called Knitting, the story of an unlikely friendship between two women whose lives are defined by wool. It was a North American rights buy from Joy Harris, for publication next spring.... Another preempt for a fiction debut was by Hyperion's Peternelle van Arsdale, for a book with the tentative title Goodbye, Stranger by Matt Bondurant, a short story writer. It's about a middle-aged, obsessive American Egyptologist attempting to unravel an ancient hieroglyphic riddle at the British Museum and becoming involved in a contemporary mystery, and is, says van Arsdale, told in "a wonderful voice that's literary candy." She bought world English and audio from Alex Glass at Trident.... Thriller author Gayle Lynds made a high-six-figures deal for two books with Keith Kahla at SMP. The first, The Coil, is due this spring; Henry Morrison is the agent, and several hefty foreign sales, including ones to Germany and France, have already been made by Danny Baror.... Kate Morgan at HarperCollins Children's Books signed the world's top female soccer player, Mia Hamm, for an inspirational picture book called Winners Never Quit, to be illustrated by Carol Jackson. Byron Preiss made the deal, and the book is due in August.... A creator of successful videos on walking for fitness, Leslie Sansone, has done a first book, won by Warner's Rolf Zettersten in a five-publisher auction. It was a three-book deal worth three-quarters of a million, done by lawyer Nina Reznick for Sansone and Stephany Evans for coauthor Rowan Jacobsen.