As a best-selling author himself, Ken Follett has made a fortune from such books as "Eye of the Needle," "Pillars of the Earth," and "The Third Twin." So his place in the literary world seems secure. Still, the British writer couldn't resist joining the new trend of paying to be featured in someone else's new novel. So earlier this month he bid $3,185 at a charity auction to appear in fantasy writer Terry Pratchett's next book. Said Follett: "I want to [be] a giant, but Terry is making no promises."


The occasion: their 21st anniversary. Bill Murphy's surprise gift from his wife, Jill: a nice ring. But not just any band. It was the high school class ring the Avon Park, Fla., resident lost in Tennessee four years before they were married. It was found by the new buyers of a campground where Murphy had stayed. They were able to trace him because Jill now coaches the swimming team at the same school.

By a long shot, California is top venture-capital magnet

Venture capital invested between 1970 and 2000 created 7.6 million US jobs and more than $1.3 trillion in revenues as of last Dec. 31, an economic-impact study by the National Venture Capital Association found. In addition, $273.3 billion of venture capital, most of which went to the computer, medical/health, consumer, and communications sectors, helped to build companies responsible for 13.1 percent of gross domestic product in 2000. Top states for venture-capital dollars invested between 1970 and 2000 (in millions of dollars), according to the study:

1. California $108,809.9

2. Massachusetts 25,986.0

3. Texas 17,189.2

4. New York 16,070.0

5. Colorado 9,881.1

6. New Jersey 9,137.8

7. Washington 7,383.5

8. Virginia 7,215.2

9. Pennsylvania 7,187.0

10. Georgia 6,435.3

- PR Newswire

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.