Not all free-lance writers live desperate lives relying on the kindness of strange editors. Consider Peter Ross Range, who is in London today, pausing before departing for Nigeria. Range is on a three-month tour of the world, courtesy of the manufacturers of Datsun, by whom Range is being paid a handsome sum to produce a book on how cars are used around the world. His itinerary includes Australia, New Caledonia, Bangkok, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Tokyo (naturally) and even his hometown of Washington . . . One of the capital's premier power-brokers, 78-year-old lawyer Tommy (The Cork) Corcoran is writing his memoirs for Times Books. Giving a hand at the typewriter keyboard is free-lance writer and author Philip Kopper who suggests publication will be in 1980.

Ghostwriters don't share much of the applause when their books hit it big, so when friends gave a suprise book party for John Stacks-the man who wrote John Sirica's Setting the Record Straight -the cake didn't look exactly right. Yes, the frosting duplicated the cover of the book, but up top, where Sirica's name should have appeared, was Stacks' byline . . . And Betty Ford's former pressperson, Sheila Weidenfeld, was assisted in the writing of her book, First Lady's Lady, by Linda Cashdan, whose name you'll find in a one-sentence acknowledgment . . . Also, on the subject of ghosts: if Washington born vivant Peter Malatesta does produce a memoir, free-lancer Teddy Vaughn won't be helping; the two severed their working relationship recently.