Jim Carroll, the poet and musician best known for his highly successful memoir (and later movie) The Basketball Diaries, has written a first novel about a painter in crisis in the art world of 1980s New York, which Viking's Paul Slovak bought for North American and first serial rights and plans to publish in 2005. He made the deal with Betsy Lerner at the Gernert Company.... Sean Desmond at SMP signed an instant book called Howard Dean in His Own Words, about the front-running Democratic presidential candidate, for publication next month; it was put together swiftly by Lisa Rogack and sold equally swiftly by agent Bob Diforio.... Dan Conaway at HarperCollins made a two-book deal for debut thriller author Forrest DeVoe, whose Into the Volcano is about a pair of spies and their worldwide adventures in the 1960s; it was for North American rights, with agent Henry Dunow.... A three-day auction involving nine publishers ended in a win for Susan Kamil at Dial, who paid a "significant" six figures for a collection of stories and a novel synopsis by Indian writer Lavanya Sankaran. Her subject is the trendy young people in India's computer industry who have stood the caste system on its head; Kamil bought world English rights from agent Lane Zachary.... Morrow's Carolyn Marino bought a first novel and a sequel about a prosecuting attorney by an author who was one: Michele Martinez. Her first book is Most Wanted and it was bought, North American rights, from Meg Ruley at the Jane Rotrosen agency.... Editor Alicia Brooks is leaving SMP, where she has edited such notable books as Noelle Howey's Dress Codes and Nega Mezlekia's Notes from the Hyena's Belly. She can be reached at (212) 645-4298 or by e-mail at a.t.brooks@att.net.