Welcome Guest Abby L. Vandiver

I am so delighted to welcome Abby L. Vandiver who also writes as Abby Collette. Her first book as Abby Collette is A Deadly Inside Scoop an Ice Cream Parlor mystery. Look for a giveaway at the end of the post. Here’s a bit about the book:

Recent MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse has just taken over her family’s ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and she’s going back to basics. Win is renovating Crewse Creamery to restore its former glory, and filling the menu with delicious, homemade ice cream flavors—many from her grandmother’s original recipes. But unexpected construction delays mean she misses the summer season, and the shop has a literal cold opening: the day she opens her doors an early first snow descends on the village and keeps the customers away.

To make matters worse, that evening, Win finds a body in the snow, and it turns out the dead man was a grifter with an old feud with the Crewse family. Soon, Win’s father is implicated in his death. It’s not easy to juggle a new-to-her business while solving a crime, but Win is determined to do it. With the help of her quirky best friends and her tight-knit family, she’ll catch the ice cold killer before she has a meltdown…

A Supporting Cast Member

Abby: I love a good whodunit. Following the amateur sleuth as they figure out the clues and catch the killer while the reader tries to see if they can guess, too, gives hours of enjoyable and satisfying reading. But as a writer of cozies, I know my main character wouldn’t get far in solving the mystery without the help of secondary characters, or the “supporting cast.” It goes without saying, a good story needs to be populated with memorable characters.

Cozy mystery protagonists need reliable, relatable sounding boards to bounce their ideas off of, to ground them and provide additional insight. In most cozies it’s usually a best friend, family member or a romantic partner.

But people aren’t the only secondary “characters” a story can have. I believe that writers can make the “setting” of their story a character in its own right.  Like a character’s personality, a setting can cause conflict and evoke feelings of familiarity. Giving the setting of your story a personality through the description of place and the experiences of the characters as they interact—the combination of details and the emotions attached to them—can make it into a living thing. Through the eyes of the reader, the setting can become an anchored emotional center to the story.

In a cozy, it is almost per definition that the setting of the story is a quaint town (or village) giving off a homely feel. It evokes all five senses from the bookstores, libraries, bake shops and knitting circles to the lives of the neighborly inhabitants–close knit, quirky, nosy people who don’t mind exchanging gossip, whether it’s helpful or not. It’s usually the place where the protagonist has moved back to and considers “home.” And what’s better than home? Everyone can relate to that. They know exactly how it makes them feel. (Although, most people in real life wouldn’t be tempted, no matter what feelings are evoked when home is brought to mind, to move into a place where murder abounds as it does in cozies.) 

In my cozies, I’ve love adding some life and personality to my settings—Southern charm, small town life and in my newest book, A Deadly Inside Scoop, waterfalls and a family business that has been in the same location for generations, permanent fixtures in a world that is constantly changing. I’ve tried to write my setting so that my readers can snuggle in and get lost inside the world I’ve built.

A Deadly Inside Scoop is set in Chagrin, Ohio a real suburb of Cleveland where I live. It is a charming little village with big old houses, a quaint main street with shops and people, and it has local annual events that have tradition and lots of history. In real life, people flock all year round from all over to the village of Chagrin Falls to see the waterfall and visit the place where I have my story takes place. The book’s fictional ice cream store, Crewse Creamery, sits over the waterfall and the inside was created with the hope of evoking the feeling of being in a 1950s soda shop. Bright. Colorful. And of course cozy.

I hope you’ll drop by and meet Win, her family and enjoy a scoop of the delicious ice cream she makes because, in the book, recipes are included!

Readers: Ice cream can evoke memories of special times, chase your blues away and just the thought of its creaminess and decadent and fun flavors can dial up your cravings to full blast. In A Deadly Inside Scoop, Win makes snow ice cream because it reminds her of her grandmother. What feelings or memories does ice cream evoke for you and have you ever concocted your own homemade flavor?

(To celebrate the release of A Deadly Inside Scoop, I’m giving away a signed paperback. Just leave a comment to enter.)

Bio: WALL STREET JOURNAL, USA TODAY and internationally bestselling author, Abby L. Vandiver, also writing as Abby Collette, is a hybrid, writing both as an indie and traditionally published author. She has penned more than twenty-five books and short stories, including her Logan Dickerson Cozy Mysteries and Romaine Wilder Mystery series.  She resides in South Euclid, Ohio and enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and is looking forward to writing more of her new series, An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery.

Twitter: www.twitter.com/abbyvandiver Instagram: www.instagram.com/abbylvandiver Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorabbyl.vandiver Website: www.abbyvandiver.com Amazon: bit.ly/myamzpg

36 Thoughts

  1. Congratulations, Abby, on the fun, tasty new series. It has been fun following your online events on blogs and Facebook this week.

    I agree that setting is important in many cozy series. I like Win, her quirky friends, family and Chagrin Falls.

    I love ice cream so much. My birthday is in late February but I always wanted ice cream and not a birthday cake for my treat. So this was one of the few times I could get a take-home container of jamoca almond fudge from Baskin-Robbins.

    1. Hi Grace! It’s Abby. Thank you for blog hopping with the book and me this week. I’ve for me too. I eat ice cream all year round. Like Win, can’t wait for summer for it.

      1. Glad to see I am not the only one who likes eating ice cream all year round. My parents thought I was weird wanting ice cream in winter but I did get my February treat. And yes, it will be nice to eat ice cream in spring (or summer) like weather soon. I think our polar vortex deep freeze is finally waning this weekend. We just need our beloved gelato and ice cream shops to open up here!

  2. Congrats on your new series, Abby! I agree that setting can be its own character. And I’ve never tried to make my own ice cream. That’s way too much work for me!

  3. Welcome to the blog, Abby! Chagrin – what a perfect name for a town in a mystery, and you say it’s real? Amazing! I love it, and can’t wait to read the book.

    Do you have ice cream recipes included? We had a old-fashioned hand cranked ice cream freezer growing up, and I can still taste the fresh peach ice cream my parents made from the peaches in our southern California yard.

    1. Hi Edith! Thank you. Happy to visit the Wicked blog.

      What a sweet memory! I’ve got peach ice cream in one of the books. The book is all about ice cream memories and yes, there are recipes in the book.


  4. Ice cream was a rare treat growing up in the 40’s, but I remember getting a cone occasionally – coffee! It is still my favorite flavor.

  5. Welcome to the Wickeds and congratulations on the new series! Ice cream makes me think of our time living in Massachusetts. It is full of small ice cream stands that make their own ice cream. It’s probably a good thing we don’t live there anymore.

    1. Thank you, Sherry for having me and my book on the blog. What fun! And talking about ice cream makes it even better.

      My favorite flavor is chocolate. I love it more when there are almonds involved. Yummy!


  6. Congrats, Abby! I’ve heard of Chagrin, Ohio believe it or not. It’s a great name for a town in a mystery.

    Growing up my town had a Dairy Queen, but the real place for ice cream was Charlaps, located across town and where they made their own ice cream. I remember biking to the local pool for the day and the trip always included a stop at Charlaps.

    I don’t make my own ice cream, but there is a place nearby that makes their own. They come up with some crazy flavors, but my favorite is the black raspberry – yum!

    1. Hi Liz,

      Wow, you know Chagrin Falls!

      In my book, all the ice cream is handcrafted right in the back of the shop. I haven’t included black raspberry but that sounds really good. Maybe I’ll have to put that one in the book.


  7. Congratulations, Abby, on your new series. One happy memory of my childhood is turning the handle of our old-fashioned ice cream churn. It took awhile, but it made the best ice cream. I seem to vaguely remember that we made lots of peach ice cream.

    1. Hi Grace.

      Well peach seems to be a popular flavor!

      I make ice cream with my grandkids. Makes for great memories for sure.


  8. Ice cream brings up many happy memories for me. As far back as I can remember, I was the one assigned to sit on the ice cream churn as others cranked away. I was thankful for Mom’s heavy quilt between it and me. Usually this was at family gathering and vanilla was usually the flavor of choice to make everyone happy. However, occasionally we had it for just our family (with me still sitting on the churn) and Mom would add fresh fruit like strawberries or even toasted pecans for Dad’s favorite butter pecan.

    I can also remember how special it was to have banana splits. It was usually mid-summer when everyone was needing something cool and refreshing. Mom and Dad would go to the store for all the makings which included three flavors of ice cream, toppings like chocolate fudge, pineapple and strawberry toppings and marshmallow cream, a jar of cherries, coconut, and bananas just right in ripeness. We always had pecans on hand so there was some chopped one to sprinkle on top too. This wasn’t a dessert – it was a MEAL. Mine always seemed to end up being too big and I’d put foil on it and save the rest in the freezer for later. We didn’t do this often, but what a treat when we did. How often can you say your parents let you eat dessert for the whole meal?

    Thank you for the fabulous opportunity to win a signed copy of “A Deadly Inside Scoop”! Being a true southern gal living in a very small town and with my love of ice cream and cozy mysteries, this book sounds right up my alley. It would be the perfect way for me to get to read my first book from this just recently introduced to me author.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  9. Big time congrats on the new release, Abby! Some of my earliest ice cream related memories are of my dad adding peanut butter to his vanilla ice cream. To this day, I enjoy doing the same thing. A case of the apple not falling far from the tree!

  10. I’m looking forward to this new series. We have a family owned ice cream shop in my town. The owner is the mother of a former student of mine, and so we head over there quite often. My mother loved ice cream, and, frankly, it’s my favorite food. Good luck on your new series.

  11. Congrats, Abby, on a new series. Sounds delicious!

    My favorite story about ice cream is going to a party where the hosts had made several kinds of homemade ice cream, but had frozen them so hard no one ever got to taste them, They were unusual people to say the least.

    I have a vague memory of someone making ice cream when I was really little (and I believe it was peach!), but I mostly remember being impatient for it. When I want ice cream (which is way too frequently), I go to the local Turkey Hill and buy their yummy chocolate marshmallow.

  12. I can remember making homemade ice cream a few times growing up. Always vanilla, but it was fun. Hand crank and everything.

    (I don’t have this one yet, so I’d love to win.)

  13. Welcome to the Wickeds, Abby. I love ice cream in any season and homemade ice cream is delicious. I look forward to reading A Deadly Inside Scoop.

  14. Can’t wait to read this new series. Thanks for the giveaway.

  15. I love ice cream. I like the peppermint with candy cane bits at Christmas. My mom really misses the Pink Divinity ice cream. Do you know a recipe for that so I could make homemade for her?

    I got spoiled by all the interesting flavors when I was in Germany one summer in high school. I especially liked the caramel ice cream and the Spaghetti Eis.
    I’m so glad this book is out now. I’ve been looking forward to it since hearing about it a few months ago.

  16. Growing up, my dad used to take my brother and me for a hike in a local wildlife area and then we’d go for ice cream

  17. While I have never concocted an interesting flavor of our own, I used to make snow ice cream too.

  18. Congrats, Abby! So excited for your series!

    One fun memory I have was during college. We actually had a competition to concoct a new ice cream flavor! I didn’t enter, but my roommate did…with a snickerdoodle-inspired entry.

  19. My family used to make snow and regular ice cream when I was a child. Black raspberry was one of our flavors as well as peach because my dad used to lead us kids to pick berries by the railroad. Until the railroad started to spray the area. Boo! Hiss! I always keep ice cream in my freezer.

    Your new book sounds good. I love recipes, although I don’t make most of them.

  20. This book sounds intriguing a like a very good page turner and with recipes in it, sounds like a winner to me! I Love the title! Thank you so much for sharing about this book . You are a new to me author. Have a Great weekend. Stay safe and take care. God Bless you and your family.

  21. Sounds really interesting and fun to read. My grandma took me my brother and my friend to movies and got ice cream Sunday’s afterwards. Thank you for the chance

  22. Congratulations on your book! The book cover is really eye catching!

  23. My mom used to make snow ice cream for my sister and me on the few occasions we got snow in Texas. The thought of snow ice cream brings back happy memories. My grandmother made homemade ice cream for almost every family gathering we had. No new flavors were invented, but she made the best peach ice cream ever!

  24. This book sounds wonderful. Just hearing “ice cream” makes me happy. I’ve heard of Chagrin Falls, too. Tim Conway grew up there and when he was on McHale’s Navy he made his character from there, too. Thanks so much for the giveaway. Take care.

  25. A real draw-back of social distancing is ice cream will be impossible this summer. I did think I heard our sometime ice cream vendor a couple weeks back, but, alas, I was already in bed for the night. Not certain whether it would be wise to approach his truck in any case as I am 71 and under the strictest isolation controls.

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