Magic, Mystery, a little Whisky, and a Cat

Novel Magic: The Fascinating World of Investigative Reporting

The Fascinating World of Investigative Reporting

by Alana Lorens

When I was in my 20s, I knew I was destined to be a writer. I just couldn’t figure out how to get there. While I’d majored in English at college and took a few J-school classes, the last place I expected to end up was as a hard-bitten newspaper reporter.

Okay, not exactly Perry White (of the Daily Planet) or Woodward and Bernstein (of Watergate fame), but as a young mother, I found myself out tramping in the swamps of the Everglades and attending city council meetings that made me want to poke my eyes out. I worked for the South Dade News Leader, in Homestead, Florida, that covered the area just before you fell off into the Florida Keys. Several small cities, an air force base, and a huge farming community lay in our jurisdiction.  Then first week I was at the paper, I got selected as editor for a whole section—the religion page! I found out why I needed zero experience over the next few weeks, but I tried to spice up the page with features as much as I could.

Newspaper reporting, while it’s fallen into disfavor with the advent of the Internet, was once pretty exciting, and also fulfilling. Over the several 1980s years I served the paper, I got to meet local and state dignitaries, a few marginally famous actors, and the television reporters we mocked and competed against endlessly.

But it was the access that press card got me that really opened doors. I created a series called “A Day in the Life,” where I’d follow someone around for a day and describe their profession for our readers. This series won an all-state Florida award, and I was pretty proud of it. I got to ride on a Coast Guard interceptor in Biscayne Bay. I “flew”—and totally demolished—an F-16 fighter jet in the simulator at the base.  I went to court with a lawyer, was on a first-name basis with Bob Sheets of the National Hurricane Center, and spent an afternoon with a tropical produce farmer tasting fruits I couldn’t even spell. I even spent a very long evening at a local strip club with a quite raunchy drag queen.

 The story that caught the most flak, though, was the time I hung out with the undertakers at a local funeral home. Our photographer got a picture of the embalmers posing with their instruments, not quite gleefully smiling. I think every one of our elderly subscribers called in to complain it was too close to their futures!

But it wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops. I’ve always been a boundary-pusher, and in those days, feminism was raising its visibility. I wanted to score some big stories, not just trail behind the men. I used my access to the base to sneak out to the flight lines, to discover why some big C-130s were unexpectedly in town—after all, in prior years, one of our reporters had been there when disgraced Central American leader Noriega passed through in hiding. I frequented a notorious Florida City corner known for drug deals and, worse, hoping to spot something printable. My car was shot at on two occasions—once when I was loading my babies into it.

But I never came across anything as nefarious as Sara Woods does in my book REMNANTS OF FIRE. She was lucky, in a sense, to start out on a crime rotation, which is pretty rare. But the trail of deaths that seem to follow her is dangerous, indeed. The police are no help—in fact, they may be involved. Doctors, politicians, and even local wait staff seem to be involved. What can she do to save herself once she’s in over her head?

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Looking for a fresh start, Sara Woods takes a job as a news reporter in a small town. Her first assignment for the Ralston Courier is to investigate a string of deaths, all young women, all her age. To deal with chronic back pain, she goes to the Goldstone Clinic, a local healing center with a strange reputation. As local doctor Rick Paulsen teaches Sara how to access hidden energy skills and reveal secrets from her past, police officer Brendon watches Sara’s every move. The deeper she digs into the Goldstone, the harder it is to deny links to the paranormal. Can she figure out what is going on and who to trust before it’s too late?


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Meet Alana Lorens

Alana Lorens has been a published writer for more than forty years, after working as a pizza maker, a floral designer, a journalist and a family law attorney. Currently, a resident of Asheville, North Carolina, the aging hippie loves her time in the smoky blue mountains. She writes romance and suspense as Alana Lorens and sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal mystery as Lyndi Alexander. One of her novellas, THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE, is set in the city of Asheville during the old Bele Chere festival. She lives with her daughter on the autism spectrum, who is the youngest of her seven children, and she is ruled by three crotchety old cats, and six kittens of various ages.

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