Reflections on sports, humiliation and science fiction romance…

There are good athletes and average athletes, and then there’s me: athletically challenged.  No matter how bad someone is at sports–I’m worse. Junior high and high school PE was a humiliating experience.

I was the kid nobody wanted on their teams.

I sucked. I couldn’t hit—or catch–a softball to save my life, and I was afraid of hurting my fingers in volleyball. In sports like football or basketball, I was ignored by my teammates. If I happened to be in the right position, nobody ever passed me the ball.

The worst part was choosing teams. I was always the last one picked. Never third to last. Never second to last. Last. Every single time. Everyone considered me the worst of the worst, and nobody wanted me on their team. I knew it, everyone else knew it and that knowledge played out in a very public way.

I hated PE.

(Here’s some irony: I got Bs in high school P.E. while some of the really talented athletes got Cs. The gym teacher graded on “participation” so I made sure I looked like I was doing something when she glanced my way, AND she deducted points from your grade if you didn’t wear appropriate gym clothes. Some of the good athletes forgot their gym clothes a lot.  I always remembered. I survived high school PE by dressing appropriately!).

I drew on the humiliating experience of high school PE in writing Alien Mate, my new male order bride science fiction romance to be released April 10 (currently available on preorder).

Heroine Starr Conner is falsely convicted of a crime and is sent to another planet to become an alien’s mate. The aliens decide to do a “schoolyard pick” to choose their brides:

An excerpt:

“Once you have agreed to the selection, you will join your mate and travel with him to his camp,” Enoki said. “Let us begin. Number one!”

A tall man with black eyes and hair flowing to the hood of his fur—which pretty much described them all—bounded forward. His gaze zeroed in on a pretty woman with olive skin and almond-shaped eyes. Callie, I recalled. Embezzlement. “My name is Krok. I choose you.”

Callie smiled, fluttering her lashes. Some people were born flirts. “I would like that.”

He held out his hand, and she took it and told him her name. As he led her away, she waved with her free hand. “Bye, ladies! Good luck!”

“Bye, Callie!” We waved.

The farewell hit me with a thud, and I glanced at Tessa and Andrea. We’d become friends. Would we ever see each other again? How far apart were the camps? And what did they mean by camp? That sounded…primitive.

Number two approached Andrea. “You are very beautiful. I’m Groman. I would be honored if you would consent to be my mate.”

She sized him up, her scrutiny just shy of a visual rectal exam. For as long as it took her, I almost felt sorry for the guy. I could see his confidence slip with every passing second. Finally, she nodded. “I agree.” Andrea grabbed me in a hug. “We’ll find a way to meet up,” she whispered in my ear. “Remember, his name is Groman.”

“Groman,” I repeated, hugging her tight. A lump formed in my throat. “I hope you get what you came for, Andrea.”

“You, too. Good luck!”

I was looking for my appeal to come through so I could return to Terra.

She embraced Tessa next and then left with her alien beau.

“Number three!” Enoki called.

No one bounded forward. The men glanced at each other. Several checked their chits as if they might have the wrong number.

“Number three?” Enoki called. “Torg?”

“Torg is not here,” one man said.

Enoki shook his head. “Very well. He can wait until the end, then. Number four!”

A grinning alien jumped forward.

One by one, women and aliens paired up. Nobody refused anybody. Tessa was chosen tenth by a man named Loka. “Take off your hood so they can see your face,” she whispered in my ear when we hugged good-bye.

My chest tightened as she skipped away with her tall alien squeeze. They reminded me of newlyweds. The only thing this party lacked was confetti. And cake. I wished I had some. The selection process had triggered an urge to stress eat. Out of fifty women, Andrea had been chosen second and Tessa tenth. An irrational jealousy knotted my stomach, and the beginnings of humiliation heated my face.

Eleven. Twelve. Thirteen. Fourteen. Taking Tessa’s advice, I pushed off the hood. Twenty-five, twenty-six. Not a single alien glanced in my direction. Thirty-one. Thirty-two. I was no raving beauty, but I rated on par with at least some of the remaining women. I had nice eyes. Good skin. A cute nose. Sure, I carried excess baggage around my hips and thighs, but in the disgusting, smelly fur they couldn’t tell! We were all bulky blobs. What was wrong with these aliens? Forty-five. I crossed my arms, tucked my still-freezing hands under my armpits, and glowered. Fine.

Forty-seven, forty-eight.

Last one. Forty-nine strode up to the other woman not chosen. “I’m so relieved,” he said. “I worried someone else would claim you before my number came up. Would you be my mate?”

Smarmy asshat. My throat thickened, and I yanked the hood over my head. If I could have crawled into a snowdrift, I would have. These aliens, desperate for women, had passed me over—every single one of them. I huddled in my fur and pressed my tongue to the roof of my mouth to keep from crying. Only me and Enoki, the head alien, remained.

He cleared his throat. “By default, Torg will be yours.”

Why don’t they want Starr? Where is Torg? Read Alien Mate to find out!

Book Description

I’m Starr Elizabeth Conner. Earth’s government falsely convicted me of a crime, packed me on a ship with other female felons, and sent us to Dakon, a primitive, frozen wasteland of a planet. Why? Earth needs minerals, and Dakon is desperate for females.

But I’m no barbarian’s ‘mail order bride,’ even if he is super tall, muscular, and the chief of his tribe. He doesn’t want a BBW blonde, either–it’s written all over his chiseled face. He’ll be truly angry if he ever learns what my ‘crime’ was.

I am Torg. I have waited 34 rotations for a mate of my own. With this shipment, I was sure to get a fine, sturdy mate who’ll bear me many daughters. Instead, I receive a small, curvy, pale-haired female who looks at me with anger and fear.

It is only when we ‘kiss’ that I believe things may work out between us. But I’m hearing rumors that Starr and her shipmates are law-breakers. To survive, Dakonians must obey all laws … or be exiled into the frozen wasteland.  Just when I have found her, will I have to send my mate to die?

Don’t miss this sexy, suspenseful sci-fi romance–preorder your copy of Alien Mate today!

Amazon US |  Amazon UK |  Amazon AU | Amazon CA

iBooks | Kobo |  Barnes & Noble

Want to try before you buy?

Download the FREE three-chapter ALIEN MATE SAMPLER on Book Funnel.


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12 Responses to Reflections on sports, humiliation and science fiction romance…

  1. There’s really something wrong with sports programs that leave students feeling like this, Cara. The pecking order in school sports was fierce where I went to school, too; I came away with something of the same defeated feeling, despite having a bit of latent athletic ability (as I eventually discovered). But I wasn’t a jock, so that made me a 2nd or 3rd class citizen.

    You got the last laugh, however. You got a book out of the experiences, so good for you.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Thank you, Ed. The thing about PE class (mine at least) was you never had a chance to get to practice. In a softball game, you might come up for bat once or twice. That’s not enough to get better. There was no shooting hoops before the basketball game. It was like being given a test every day without a chance to study.

  2. Livia Grant says:

    Oh goodness, how stressful for you and Starr. This sounds so good. Can’t wait to read it.

  3. Lea Kirk says:

    Gawd, I hated PE for exactly the same reason. I remember being picked second to last one time. It felt like I had moved up in the world.

  4. Viv says:

    Ugh, PE. My experiences were very similar. Sartorial consistency, for the win! This book looks sooooo good.

  5. I’m definitely in the Hate PE crowd. Apart from not being athletically inclined at all, I apparently couldn’t even get being a spectator right LOL! I remember sitting on the sidelines of a softball game at high school and, yeah me, obviously as if a bullseye was painted on my face, got hit by the blinkin’ ball (and it wasn’t soft!). Bloody nose ensued. Embarrassing and humiliating.

    As for Alien Mate, I already know how awesomesauce it is :-). Love it to bits. Highly recommended.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Oh my gosh. How awful! No, softballs aren’t soft at all. I got hit in the arm once. Can’t imagine getting hit in the face.

  6. Lisa Medley says:

    I pick YOU! 🙂 First every time 🙂

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