A first novel with the unusual title The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break was a resounding hit, particularly with independent bookstores, for Southern author Steven Sherrill, and now his agent at Writers House, Simon Lipskar, has made a new two-book deal for him at Random House. Senior editor Lee Boudreaux signed for North American rights in Visits from the Drowned Girl and Mocksville Lights. The former is a Southern gothic about a man obsessed by a girl he sees drowning herself; the second retells familiar biblical tales as they might be experienced by some small-town losers. The books were bought hard/soft for Random's trade paper line as well. Sherrill's original success was published by John F. Blair and paperbacked by Picador.