A first novel by

K.L. Cook, who won the Prairie Schooner fiction award for a story collection called Last Call, was pre-empted for Morrow by

Jennifer Pooley. It's called

The Girl from Charnelle and stars a teenage girl who must try and hold her family together after her mother abandons them; Richard Russo and Bret Lott both gave it advance kudos. The North American rights deal was made with agent

Jennifer Cayea at Nick Ellison.... Latina singing star

Gloria Estefan is writing her debut effort, a children's book starring a dog based on her bulldog Noelle, for

Rene Alegria at Harper's Rayo imprint; he got world rights from

Frank Amedeo of Estefan Enterprises and will publish next November, in both English and Spanish....

Peter Bergen, CNN terrorism analyst and a top expert on Al Qaeda (Holy War, Inc.), has signed a new, two-book deal with the Free Press's

Dominick Anfuso. The first will be an oral history of Osama bin Laden, the second a look at the post-9/11 development of Al Qaeda into a global movement. The world English deal was signed with

Tina Bennett at Janklow & Nesbit.... A new novel by

Brian Morton (whose last was a Today Book Club pick, A Window Across the River) was signed for Harcourt by

Ann Patty in a six-figure deal for North American rights. It's called

Breakable You, and the seller was agent

Harvey Klinger .... Military historian and novelist

Caleb Carr is writing his next novel, a Sherlock Holmes tale involving murder in the entourage of Queen Victoria, for Carroll & Graf, where

Will Balliett bought North American rights from agent

Suzanne Gluck at William Morris; it's called

The Italian Secretary and will appear in May.... A book that examines the Supreme Court on the brink of major change, by

Jan Crawford Greenberg of the Chicago Tribune (and Court analyst for PBS's NewsHour) was bought for Penguin Press by

Ann Godoff from agent

Melanie Jackson, North American rights.