E-Story Time

Amazon.com has started selling new works of short literature and nonfiction from authors who write them exclusively for the Internet retailer.

It won't be offering printed editions, just digital copies of short stories that can be e-mailed, downloaded or printed from a Web site for 49 cents a pop.

"Publishers have always had a hard time selling and marketing the single, short-form work," author Daniel Wallace said in a statement released by the Seattle-based e-commerce titan. "Amazon.com has created a new way for authors to get that kind of work out there, which is incredibly exciting."

About 60 authors have signed up, including novelist Danielle Steel, who writes about her life in a 13-page short titled "Candy for the Soul."

The top selling title late Friday afternoon: Harry S. Dent's "Bubble After Bubble in the Ongoing Bubble Boom: Oil Bursts, the Housing Bubble Fades and Now Stocks Emerge Into a Greater Bubble That Finally Ends in 2010."

The new "shorts" range from 2,000 to 10,000 words.

Show Them the Money

Some guys have all the luck. Just not Rod Stewart.

The 60-year-old singer is being dragged to federal court by Harrah's Entertainment in a flap over a canceled casino concert. The Harrah's-owned Rio hotel-casino accuses "Rod the Mod" of breach of contract, contending he should return $2 million he was paid for a canceled performance Dec. 30, 2000, in Las Vegas.

Stewart's lawyer, Louis "Skip" Miller of Los Angeles, said the show was canceled after Stewart underwent surgery for thyroid cancer in May 2000.

"The man had cancer," Miller said. "He had to have surgery. His voice didn't recover in time. He's now fully recovered and he's willing and able to perform the concert. They won't let him."

Harrah's spokesman David Strow said the company would not comment on a pending case. The civil trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday in Las Vegas.

Noted . . .

"Desperate Housewives" star Marcia Cross has announced her engagement to stockbroker Tom Mahoney, according to Us Weekly . . . "Blind Justice" actress Rena Sofer and her husband, TV director Sanford Bookstaver, are proud parents of a baby girl. Avalon Leone Bookstaver was born Aug. 5 at a Los Angeles hospital, Sofer's publicist announced Friday.

. . . and Quoted "Every second that passed by, I thought 'That's the last one. That's the last second I'll be here.' "

-- Grammy-winning singer Marc Cohn, on surviving an attempted carjacking Aug. 7 in which he took a bullet to the temple. Cohn explained the near-death experience on "20/20" on Friday.

Compiled by Chris Richards from staff and wire reports

Rod Stewart, taken to court over a canceled performance.Danielle Steel: Selling short. Marcia Cross, future housewife?