Sunday, November 3, 2019

Murder at First Pitch - An Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Nicole Asselin to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Nicole writes the Ball Park Mystery series. Murder at First Pitch is the first book in the series and was released earlier this year.

Kathy: In Murder at First Pitch Madeline Boucher has joined the family baseball business as the new “Social Media Director” for the team. Have you ever wanted to work in Baseball?

NA: Of course! My dream is to work in some capacity with the Red Sox. I played tee-ball as a youngster, but that was as close as I ever got to the sport. I’m not super athletic, I just like sports. Writing about baseball helps with my passion that way, and the only injury I can sustain is a papercut. So, win win!

Kathy: Madeline grew up loving the Boston Red Sox. Do you love baseball? Do you have a favorite team?

NA: Well, I’m obsessed with the Red Sox. My Grandfather indoctrinated me and my brother on trips to Connecticut in the summers when we were kids. My parents were both raised Sox fans, so it only follows that we would be too. And of course, being a Red Sox fan the last few years (since 2004) has been pretty great. So we’ve been spoiled after a 86 year drought!

Kathy: Did you ever play baseball or softball?

NA: Just a little tee-ball/little league in my youth. When my dad was stationed in California, my brother and I played on the same team which just so happened to be named the Red Sox. We each had teenage mutant ninja turtle gloves. His was Michelangelo, mine was Raphael. That’s all I remember about my baseball career. The type of glove I had.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

NA: My Grandma was always reading mysteries of some sort. When I was young, my mystery gateway was the adventures of Nancy Drew. I wanted to be her! There was nothing cooler than a woman who could solve crimes with her friends. I found myself drawn to cozy mysteries since they usually had a character/amateur sleuth that I could identify with. A normal person solving mysteries! Plus, not too scary, not too bloody. Those aren’t my kind of books, so cozies fit me perfectly.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

NA: At the moment cozy is my jam. I do have a couple of fantasy WIP, but no where near as complete as my mystery work. Back in my youth, I had a fantastic YA that I had handwritten, but it got lost in the Navy move between Florida and Pennsylvania. *sad trombone* noise.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

NA: The Ballpark Mystery series is set in the town of Abington, MA (a real town, but not a real baseball team). Owned by the Boucher family, the Abington Armadillos is an unaffiliated Independent Baseball League team and Madeline Boucher returns to the family business. When she returns, she stumbles across a dead body and realizes she needs to figure out what happened in order to save her family and the team.

Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

NA: Madeline is my favorite. Not only is she my spunky main character, she’s loosely based on myself. Granted, I don’t work for a baseball team, and there is no baseball team in my town, but her personality mirrors mine. My favorite secondary character is Eliza. She is also loosely based on someone I know, Lizy. Lizy was receptionist at a company I worked for. She was brash, sassy, and took no guff from anyone, but she was also super nice and a great friend. Just as I see Eliza.

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

NA: My love for baseball and my love for my Grandpa Asselin. He was my baseball guy, and he loved to talk about those banana-heads on the Red Sox. (This was before they won the World Series in 2004). Initially conceived as a ballpark mystery set in Fenway Park, but I changed that after thinking the Red Sox might not love it if I murdered someone there. So I made up a team! And get to live a little wish fulfillment about owning a team.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

NA: Well, I knew there was a market for a baseball focus mystery, and I knew that mine could fill that hole. Here in New England especially, there are a ton of die hard baseball fans, and I felt that was an untapped resource in mystery. There are plenty of crafters, which is great for people who identify with that. As much as love those mysteries, I wanted to write something and publish something that spoke more closely to my interests. Of course, I didn’t know the Red Sox weren’t going to make the playoffs this year, so my baseball season is over. I hope people want to read my book to take their minds off the post season!

Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

NA: Jane Austen, for sure. Mark Twain, because I want to learn why he hated Jane Austen so much. (I learned that tidbit at the Mark Twain house in Hartford, CT and I love drama). Agatha Christie as founding mother of mystery. And….hmmm…..maybe Shakespeare. I think he’d be fun to have around. His comedies always make me laugh.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

NA: “Women of the Dunes” by Sarah Maines. I just started it today actually, and I’m obsessed. I loved her “Between the Tides” book and this is the perfect accompaniment. I’m also reading “Fray” which is the fantasy sequel to “Torn”. It follows a magical seamstress and the process of reform in her kingdom.

Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

NA: So reading is the biggest thing I do in my free time. I have over 500 books to read in my house, and I still buy more. Hobby or obsession? Why not both! I also love ballet and try to get into Boston as much as possible to see the Boston Ballet. I danced for 20+ years and it’s always been a dream of mine to get back into it.

Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

NA: Penne Pasta, Unsalted Saltines, Shredded sharp cheddar cheese, Pepperidge Farms Cinnamon bread.

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

NA: I’m in the midst of writing book two of the Ballpark Mysteries, tentatively titled “Concession Stand Crimes”. I’m excited to be diving into more stories with this crew!

I also completed a short story about a ballet festival and murder of course. I hope to expand on that in the future for another series.

I also have a WIP about a girl who is granted access to a Fairy Tale library. That one is the project that I would most like to finish outside of my mystery life.

Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?

NA: Meeting readers and other authors. It’s nice to find people who enjoy the things I do, and love to talk about them. When I attended Malice Domestic in Bethesda, MD as a reader a few years ago, everyone was so welcoming, and I really got a sense that readers are there to support one another. Now that I have my own book out, the connections just become that much stronger!


Murder at First Pitch: Ball Park Mysteries by Nicole Asselin

About Murder at First Pitch

Cozy Mystery 1st in Series  
Pandamoon Publishing (September 4, 2019) 
Paperback: 188 pages 
32-year-old Madeline Boucher’s Grandfather instilled a love in the Boston Red Sox into her from an early age and increased that love by purchasing a local Independent League Baseball team, the Abington Armadillos.
After losing her corporate job in Boston, Madeline realizes her best option is to join the family baseball business. As the new “Social Media Director” for the team, Madeline attends her first business function and witnesses an argument between her brother Ben, and a strange man.
A few days later when walking the ballpark during her early morning hours, she finds the body of a man beaten to death with a baseball bat in the Visitor’s Dugout. It was the man her brother was arguing with at the party. Madeline is concerned that her brother would be considered a suspect. Through the local Detectives and Davis - the head of security for the ballpark she learns the victim is Christopher Dailey, a local baseball scout and prior felon.
When her brother is arrested and taken to the police station, she realizes she needs to figure out who the real culprit is, so her brother doesn’t take the fall for something she knows he didn’t do.

About Nicole Asselin

Nicole Asselin grew up a Navy Brat, and spent her formative high school years in the middle of Pennsylvania but always identified with her New England roots. Nicole's family is originally from Connecticut, and her Grandpa Asselin introduced her into the Red Sox nation where she has been a member for her whole life and her Grandma Asselin introduced her to the world of mystery novels.
Nicole graduated from Curry College in Milton Mass with a degree in English/Creative Writing, minoring in Dance in 2004. She also attended George Mason University and received a Master's in Arts Management... Now working just outside of Boston as a Technical Writer, she lives on the South Shore of Massachusetts with her three cats Julia, Jacques, and Madeline (no relation to the main character of her book).
Nicole is a current member of Sisters in Crime (National and New England) and the Mystery Writers of America. She sits on the Board of Directors for the NE branches of both groups as Social Media Liaison.

Author Links:
Website -  
Twitter - @nanazlyn  
Facebook -  
Goodreads -
Instagram -  

Purchase Link - Amazon

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  1. Nicole and my family would get together real well since we are baseball fanatics. Whether it's minor league or major league we attend as many games as possible during the season. Living not far from Akron, OH we were even able to see the women's softball team, The Akron Racers play. I am looking forward to reading Nicole's book. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

  2. I think this is a great niche into the Cozy Mystery genre. I would love to start with this series. It sounds very intriguing and promising!

  3. I just love baseball as my son almost went to the majors so he and I always talk baseball or football when he calls ! This book is right up my alley and would love to read a PRINT of this book as I have been battling a disease for 34 yrs that has crippled my fingers so bad and I am home bound so not tech. I do hope that by going on this tour that you get a lot of new readers .