If I hadn’t lost my job at The Dunston Herald, I’d still be writing articles about church bazaars and Girl Scout cookie sales. Now, instead, I get to read for a living. Who wouldn’t rather do that?

As an intern at A Novel Idea, I’m part of a thriving literary agency whose members are becoming like a family to me. Oh, the agents are as quirky as co-workers can get, but they know their jobs and they’re the reason A Novel Idea is so successful.

The agency is located in the charming, artsy town of Inspiration Valley in the foothills of North Carolina. To be closer to work, my teenage son, Trey, and I have had to move in with my mother, which seems a little bit like a step backwards, but it’s only temporary until I can afford to get my own place. A typical day in this new life of mine looks like this:

I wake up in my childhood bedroom to the aroma of baking banana bread. In the kitchen, my mother might impart some words of wisdom as I pour myself a cup of coffee and grab a bite to eat. She’s known as The Amazing Althea and makes her living telling fortunes using a combination of palm and tarot card readings. If Trey were up, I might remind him to look for a job as I head off to work.

When I arrive at A Novel Idea, I first stop in at Espresso Yourself for a caramel latte to take up to my desk. There I’ll chat with my friend Makayla, the beautiful barista who owns the café, about books or about how I might get a date with handsome police officer Sean Griffiths.

When I’m finally at my desk, I dig into the numerous query letters in my email inbox and the stack that have arrived in the mail. There could be several proposals to read through as well. This is the part of my job that I love, because I might just find a gem that could be the next bestseller.

My boss, Bentley Burlington-Duke, may call a staff meeting, and I will join my co-workers in the conference room. Flora Merriweather, the plump chidren’s book agent and Franklin Stafford, the refined non-fiction agent, will be waiting patiently in their chairs for the meeting to begin. Zach Cohen, aka Mr. Hollywood, will enthusiastically announce his latest success. When the meeting starts, Bentley will peer over her diamond-studded glasses as she addresses items in the agenda. Jude Hudson, the sexy agent for thriller and suspense, will probably wink at me a couple of times, at least until the beautiful Luella Ardor, agent for romance novels, arrives, late as usual. She’ll flutter her eyelashes at Jude, and then he will no longer notice me.

At lunchtime I’ll grab a sandwich at Catcher-in-the-Rye, and if it’s a nice day I’ll sit by the Nine Muses fountain in the center of town to eat it while I read the latest novel by Calliope Sinclair, one of the agency’s authors. And then I’ll head back in to work, back to the query letters and proposals. My workday is all about books. It’s pretty much what I’d hoped for and expected when I applied for the job, and I love it.

What I didn’t expect, however, was to find a dead man in the lobby of our agency…

You can read more about Lila in BURIED IN A BOOK, the first book in the new “Novel Idea” mystery series.

** Thanks to the publisher, I have one (1) copy of BURIED IN A BOOK to give away. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends February 13. Leave a valid-email address with your comment. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. **

Meet the author:
Lucy Arlington is the nom de plume for the writing team of Sylvia May and Ellery Adams. As an amalgamated personality, she is an avid reader, cook, and gardener. If she had her way, she’d divide her time between preparing delectables in her kitchen, traveling the globe on her scooter, and sitting in a comfortable chair with a cup of coffee and a paperback until her legs cramped. Lucy is devoted to her husband and children – especially when they ply her with chocolate and gift cards to bookstores. Lucy’s first novel, “Buried in a Book,” a Novel Idea Mystery, had just been released. Visit her website at www.lucyarlington.com.

Sylvia May is the author of The Unraveling of Abby Settel. Visit her website at www.sylviamay.com.

Ellery Adams is the author of Books By the Bay Mysteries. Visit her website at www.elleryadamsmysteries.com.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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