A first novel by one of the first women pilots ever to fly an Air Force plane in a war combat zone (the first Gulf war) was signed by

Dan Conaway and

Jill Schwartzman at Harper. She is

Kim Ponders, and her untitled book is about the experience of being a woman in the male world of battle conditions. It was a world rights buy from editor/agent

William B. Goodman, for publication in 2006....

Paul Slovak at Viking bought a book called

Humboldt's Current by up-and-coming historian

Aaron Sachs that examines the impact of German explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt on 19th-century American exploration and environmentalism. The agent was

Zoe Pagnamenta at PFD's New York office.... Two big-name women's authors signed up for new three-book contracts for large sums at Ballantine and S&S last week.


McNaught made her deal with Ballantine's

Linda Marrow by way of a world rights contract signed with

Suzanne Gluck and

Owen Laster at William Morris; and Pocket's

Amy Pierpont made a seven-figure buy of three more romantic thrillers by

Linda Lael Miller, also for world rights, signed with agent

Irene Goodman....The true story of

Keiko, the whale star of the Free Willy movies, will be told by Atlantic Monthly writer

Kenneth Brower in a book just preempted for world rights by

Brendan Cahill at Gotham Books; the agent was

Scott Waxman .... A new-fledged agent in Canada,

Amy Moore-Benson, just made a seven-figure, three-book deal for a writer she used to publish as executive editor at Mira, Harlequin's hardcover line. He is thriller author

Alex Cava, and the deal was signed with Amy's former boss, Mira editorial director

Diane Moggy .... Rodale's

Stephanie Tade jumped into a five-way auction with a large winning bid for

Way of the Warrior by documentary filmmaker and author

Karin Muller. The book, to tie in with a PBS movie in fall next year, covers the secret, traditional life that continues behind the scenes of contemporary Japan. Tade bought world rights from Coast agent

Jodie Rhodes, except for Asia, which the agent is selling.... A book called

Animal House: The Memoir, in which

Chris Miller reminisces about the real-life characters in his '60s Dartmouth fraternity who inspired the iconic movie, was preempted by

Michael Pietsch at Little, Brown. He made a six-figure deal for two books, world rights, with agent

Craig Nelson.