Guest Post: Who Are We, Really? Thoughts from the Author of Aloe and Goodbye, Janice Peacock

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Guest Post

Who Are We, Really?
Thoughts from the Author of Aloe and Goodbye
by Janice Peacock

What if you had to give up your home, your possessions, the city where you lived, and a job that you loved? For me, it would be unimaginably horrible. Now, imagine if you could no longer be the person you had been your whole life—that is, you had to take on an entirely new identity. What if somebody dropped you off in a place so odd and different from where you’d been—that would be the worst possible scenario. And that’s where we find Ruby Shaw, Aloe and Goodbye’s main character, on page one of my new cozy mystery.

Ruby ends up in the witness protection program after witnessing a grisly murder. A US marshal puts Ruby and her twelve-year-old daughter in the small hillside town of Paradise, Arizona. Ruby and Allie have left behind New York City, and they find themselves in a tiny village with new identities. Ruby, an artist, can no longer paint for fear that a criminal involved in the murder would recognize her and put both Ruby and her daughter in danger. Faced with a life in a new and unusual place, Ruby has to figure out how to survive. While it won’t be easy, she knows it is the only way to move forward.

In building her new life, though, there are challenges. One of the biggest is that a local real estate maven, Mrs. Stramtussle, is murdered next door to Ruby and Allie the night they move in. Having witnessed a murder that landed her in witness protection, Ruby is shaken to the core. She knows that the best thing she can do is find the killer so that the people in town will stop giving her the side-eye, and the deputy sheriff will stop threatening her.

While Ruby struggles with her own identity, her new city is having a similar problem. Paradise, a former ghost town, had been revitalized by Greta Stramtussle in recent years.  While there are many old stories and myths about the former mining town, it’s unclear whether it is haunted. At least one shady character, the son of the recently deceased Mrs. Stramtussle, thinks the stories of hauntings would undoubtedly help his business. But ultimately, a haunted ghost town is not what Paradise is anymore. It has lost that identity and, like Ruby, faces challenges to move forward.

With all the time I’ve had at home during the pandemic, I’ve been thinking about who I am, who I want to be, and the various identities I’ve had in my life: mother, daughter, wife, artist, writer. I cherish them all. Each role has brought new challenges. At times it’s hard to wear so many hats—after all, I play many of those roles more or less simultaneously. Are there more roles for me in the future? I hope so. Like Ruby, Allie, and even the town of Paradise, I’m ready to embrace inevitable change with courage and a light heart. Are you?

 Ruby must find the killer before she and Allie lose their new home or even worse—their lives. -Aloe and Goodbye (Ruby Shaw Mysteries) by @JanPeac

About The Book:

About The Book:

New Yorker Ruby Shaw arrives in a hillside town in Arizona with a brand-new name, a duffel bag on her shoulder, and her daughter, Allie, at her side. Before arriving, Ruby witnesses a murder that lands her in the witness protection program. That decision means she’s gone from being a successful artist to being a nobody in a postage-stamp-sized town called Paradise—a name that doesn’t fit the former ghost town. Even though their new digs are a little shabby, and there may be ghosts haunting the town, they are optimistic about their new lives, that is, until a neighbor turns up dead.

Having just arrived in town, living next door to the victim, and without an alibi, the community members are suspicious of Ruby. A local deputy befriends her, but the deputy still points to her as the culprit each time they find a new clue. If matters weren’t bad enough, Allie is having trouble fitting in at her new school, and Ruby can’t seem to hold down a job.

As they settle in, they meet the quirky inhabitants of Paradise: Bette—the chatterbox café owner, Flora—Allie’s eccentric babysitter, and Derek—who runs local history tours, which he jazzes up with ghost stories of questionable veracity.

Ruby’s life improves when she meets a handsome cook at the local café who is passionate about succulents and cacti, and may feel equally passionate about her. Even though Ruby and Allie want to stay in Paradise, a US marshal has other ideas, as he threatens to move them to a new town after Ruby gets mixed up in the murder investigation. Ruby must find the killer before she and Allie lose their new home or even worse—their lives.

Book Links: Amazon 

About The Author:

About The Author:

Janice Peacock is a cozy mystery author who specializes in craft and hobby mysteries. She loves to write about artists who find new ways to live their lives and perhaps catch a criminal or two in the process. While working in a glass studio with several colorful and quirky artists, she was inspired to write the Glass Bead Mystery Series. The Ruby Shaw Mysteries, which are set in a small hillside mining town, were inspired by her trips to Jerome, Arizona, and Jacksonville, Oregon.

When Janice isn’t writing about amateur detectives, she wields a 2,500-degree torch to melt glass and create one-of-kind beads and jewelry. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and an undisclosed number of cats. Visit Janice online at

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  1. Hi everyone! Please let me know if you have any questions or comments, I’ll check back in later. I hope you’ll give Aloe and Goodbye a try. –Janice


    1. Thanks for stopping by to check for comments. I have to say that I loved your guest post. It really makes me want to read the book. The premise is really interesting.


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