‘Secret Life of Bees’ author has new book

The author of “The Secret Life of Bees” has a novel coming next year, her first since 2005.

Viking announced Tuesday that Sue Monk Kidd’s “The Invention of Wings” is scheduled for release Jan. 7. Kidd’s novel will follow the parallel lives of urban slave Hetty “Handful” Grimke and the girl for whom she serves as a handmaid, Sarah Grimke, a real-life historical figure who grew up to become a feminist and abolitionist.

The novel is set in Charleston in the 19th century. It begins when Sarah is 11 and Hetty, an invented character, is 10.

“The Secret Life of Bees,” published in 2002, has sold more than 6 million copies. Kidd’s second novel, “The Mermaid Chair,” was a best-seller published in 2005.

Douglas pens drug policy essay from jail

Michael Douglas’ son is speaking out from behind bars, calling for treatment rather than jail time for non-violent drug offenders.

Cameron Douglas wrote in an essay published Tuesday by the Huffington Post that United States laws impose tougher penalties on addicts than on violent criminals. The 34-year-old is serving a 9½-year prison sentence after various drug violations.

Douglas was first convicted in 2010 of selling methamphetamine, and a judge nearly doubled that sentence after he was found guilty of repeatedly breaking prison rules by arranging to get drugs.

Miss USA celebrity judges named

Donald Trump’s Miss USA pageant will be judged by experts in cooking, fashion and looking hot.

Pageant officials announced this week that Betsey Johnson, the over-the-top fashion designer, and Bob Harper, star of the weight-loss reality show “The Biggest Loser,” will be among the celebrity judges at the 62st annual pageant on Sunday in Las Vegas.

Cooking channel host and panelist on NPR’s `Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me!” Mo Rocca also will help name the next Miss USA.

The winner goes on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant.

Real housewife NeNe Leakes, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and “Duck Dynasty” personality Jessica Robertson round out the judging panel.

Dispatch call describes Paris Jackson’s injuries

Paramedics were dispatched to Paris Jackson’s home on a report that the 15-year-old had taken 20 Motrin pills and cut herself with a kitchen knife, audio of an emergency dispatch released Tuesday shows.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department released audio of a call describing the need for paramedics between one of its dispatchers and a sheriff’s department dispatcher who was relaying information from the home.

Paris is the only daughter of pop superstar Michael Jackson and was hospitalized after the June 5 incident.

DA: Brockovich to face boat DUI charge

Environmental activist and movie namesake Erin Brockovich will face a misdemeanor charge of operating a boat while intoxicated at Lake Mead, the district attorney in Las Vegas decided Tuesday.

Brockovich, 52, has an Oct. 7 court date in Henderson Justice Court stemming from her arrest Friday evening at a marina on the Colorado River reservoir behind Hoover Dam, said Tess Driver, an aide to Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson.

A Nevada state game warden reported that Brockovich appeared to argue on the 26-foot Cobra motor boat with her husband, Eric Ellis, and threw a cellphone into the water before having trouble mooring the vessel at the Las Vegas Boat Harbor.

The warden said he had to help Brockovich dock the boat, and said two breath tests measured her blood-alcohol level at twice the legal limit of .08 percent.

Wire report