By a weird cosmic coincidence, I read Amy Lane’s excellent basketball romance The Locker Room the same week that Rick Welts came out. If you haven’t heard, Welts is the president of the Phoenix Suns, and his profile in the Times is pretty interesting, discussing how difficult it is to be gay and in the NBA in particular. This week some good discussion relating to homophobia in the pro sports world primarily given certain NBA players’ habit of using the word “faggot” as an insult.

What I especially loved about The Locker Room was that, while the characters struggled (rather intensely) with staying closeted in order to keep the jobs they loved, there was plenty of shop talk about basketball. I’m a big sports fan, so I like that kind of detail in books, and so many sports romances are completely lacking in detail—the hero is a pro athlete but his career is only referred to obliquely, for example, or he’s a retired player so the novel doesn’t talk about the sport at all. That’s not a problem here. I don’t really follow basketball, so I can’t speak to the veracity of the lingo, but games were described in detail, with points earned and types of shots taken, and other details describing the mechanics of the game.

Baseball is my particular sports-related passion. I’ve got the Yankees game on as I type this, actually. And yes, yes, I root for the evil empire, but I’m a New Yorker and I’ve been following the team since I was twelve, back during that period when the team was not so good. (They lost the first game I ever went to at Yankee Stadium, in fact.) I like all the nitty-gritty detail of the game: the stats, the rules, the history, and so forth. I’m working on a m/m baseball romance (that I might even finish one of these days!) about two players who fall for each other, so I’ve been thinking about how much detail to include. Because I could go on all day about batting averages and RBIs and OBP and so on, but of course, non-baseball fans might find all that difficult to follow. Then again, the best sports romances don’t inhibit your enjoyment of the story—I don’t follow basketball, but I enjoyed The Locker Room immensely. (Also, as far as my books go, Jase played college ball, and Noah mentions being a baseball fan.)

Although maybe I should start following basketball; they’re building that horrifically ugly new stadium for the Nets right in my neighborhood. And I grew up near the Meadowlands, so it’s like the Nets followed me from NJ to Brooklyn.

Completely unrelated: I’ve been watching the news about tornadoes tearing up towns through the south. The recent one in Joplin, MO, maybe hit a little closer to home for me than the previous ones. I have family in Missouri, albeit on the other side of the state, and I grew up hearing stories of tornadoes (there’s a rather legendary one about how my great aunt narrowly escaped one once). But more to the point, the entire town of Joplin was wrecked. I find myself wanting to do something, and if you have the same inclination, here’s a list of ways to help.

I’m hip deep in the first round of edits for my upcoming Dreamspinner novel Blind Items, so progress on the writing front is going well. No sports at all in this one, but it’s a very New York novel in my mind, about a writer who gets entangled with the subject of one of his stories. More on that as the release date gets closer!