Penguin publisher Kathryn Court bought a first novel set in the unfamiliar territory of northern Wisconsin, called The Turtle Warrior by local author Mary Relindes Ellis. It's a family tale about death and survival, which in-house readers have compared to the work of Jim Harrison and Louise Erdrich. Court bought world rights, plus first serial and audio, from agent Marly Rusoff for publication early in 2004.... George Hodgman at Henry Holt paid six figures for world rights to a major biography of singer Peggy Lee by GQ writer Peter Richmond; it was bought from ICM's Esther Newberg.... Random's Scott Moyers preempted North American English rights in a Spanish-language novel, La Sombra del Viento (Shadow of the Wind), a literary thriller by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, hitherto known as a writer for children; it's about the search for a vanished Catalan author in postwar Barcelona. Rights were sold by Tom Colchie, acting for Antonia Kerrigan in Barcelona.... Viking Penguin's Wendy Wolf preempted a book about the checkered history and enormous social, economic and political impact of cotton through the ages. Author is Stephen Yafa, and the world rights buy of the untitled book was made from Sterling Lord at his own agency.... Entomologist/author Jeffrey Lockwood, in a book called The Lost Locust, is trying to find out why the locusts that plagued the western U.S. in the late 19th century suddenly disappeared. His tale was bought by Perseus senior editor Amanda Cook from agent Rob Robertson at Princeton Literary Management, for publication in spring 2004.... Author Carol Goodman (The Lake of Dead Languages) has signed a new mid-six-figure, two-book deal with Linda Marrow, her Ballantine editor; it was for North American rights only, with agent Loretta Barrett; the first will be done in 2004.... Agent Andrew Blauner sold the screenplay of the new movie Secretary by director Steven Shainberg and author Eric Cressida Wilson to Richard Nash at Soft Skull Press, an unusual sale that will launch the publisher's new ScreenPrint series of screenplays as literature.