~ VirtualCafe Book Tours ~ SAPPIRE by BRYAN ALASPA
W. Alaspa is a freelance writer and professional author of both
fiction and non-fiction. Having lived in Chicago almost his entire
life, he spent a few years living in St. Louis. Bryan's writing first
began when he sat down and wrote a three -page story on his mom’s
electric typewriter in the third grade. It’s been all up-hill
over 20 books in both fiction and non-fiction genres available, you
can find most of them at Amazon.com with few books just for your
Kindle and iPad users. Be sure to check them out.
blogger for some time, you can learn about upcoming books as well as
various author events Bryan is involved in.
Jimmy Parker is a typical high school student. Unpopular with
the girls and picked on by the boys, he’s just trying to survive long enough to
escape the tiny Pennsylvanian town of Knorr. With Jimmy and his friend, George,
heading to the school dance, they expect nothing but the usual ritual
humiliation from their peers. But when a girl in a brilliant blue dress enters
their lives at the side of a lonely old bridge…everything changes.
Her name is Sapphire, and she is the most alluring girl that
Jimmy has ever met. Yet, there is something strange about her; something
different. Why has he never seen her at school? Why does she only want to meet
up near the bridge? And why does everybody keep warning Jimmy to stay away from
Before long, Jimmy is plunged into a decades-old mystery. The
town of Knorr has many secrets; some held by powerful men. Men that would do
anything to keep them from getting out. Something dark happened one night in
Knorr, and now Jimmy is a part of it whether he likes it or not.
And Sapphire holds the key to understanding it all.
Jimmy discovers that his bond with the mysterious girl creates a
unique power between them. A power that bridges time, space, and even
dimensions. It is the one thing that could save them both.
Because sometimes the most powerful force on Earth is love.
“A superb, well written story with a 50 year timeline. Initially
a ghost story that turns into a mystery that becomes adventure and
investigation turns again into a whodunit.”
~Robert Drake, Amazon
“I was drawn to this book for the cover and it had been
recommended to me by friend who knows my love of Western PA. I thought this
book really captured the rural feel of a teenager's life and just as I was
feeling a little complacent about it, Jimmy and George meet up with Sapphire on
the river bank and the story really takes off.”
~Mary H., Amazon Reviewer
“A story of mystery and murder. A chilling, ghostly tale. An
account of the pains and joys of youth, a romance, a love story like no other.”
~Daniel Cheely, Amazon
stood in front of the full-length mirror and did not like what he
saw. The sleeves were too short. The white cuffs of his shirt stuck
out from the sleeves of his jacket. Any dork could see that.
Unfortunately, most of the student body at Knorr High School already
thought of him as a dork. The last thing he wanted was feeling that
way during his senior prom. However, here he was, looking at an
image that could only be described as “dork.”
one will notice,” said his mother from behind him. She was
hovering over his shoulder like a specter. She was smiling and
proud. “You can take it off once you get there, and no one will
even be paying any attention. Everyone will be too busy having a
good time to care what you’re wearing.”
sighed and tugged uselessly at the jacket’s sleeve. “Mom, you
just have no clue.”
came forward and hugged him. Then she leaned in and kissed him on
the cheek. Jimmy felt even more like a geek.
not supposed to,” she said. “Mothers are not supposed to have a
couldn’t I have rented one?” Jimmy asked for the nine-hundredth
time that afternoon.
know why,” she said, turning her back and fussing with something
out of his sightline. “We can’t afford it. Your uncle had this
perfectly serviceable tuxedo and it’s a shame not to use it.”
reappeared beside him in the mirror, her hand on her hip. Her mouth
was a tight line. Jimmy knew that poking at the nerve that they were
not a family of means was a low blow. He had seen that look before.
This was the same look she had given him as a kid when he wanted a
toy that was just too expensive. It was the same look she had given
him when he begged her for a cell phone. And he saw the exact same
look from her whenever he talked about needing a car.
spent a lot of time getting the shirt and pants to fit you,” she
said. “I did the best I could with the jacket. If you want, you
can spend the night at home with me instead of going at all. So,
either deal with this situation the best you can or don’t go. I
really don’t care.”
cared. Jimmy knew she cared. She and his father had worked their
fingers to the bone to provide for Jimmy. The family had never gone
hungry. They had never been without clothes. They may have shopped
for their new school wardrobe at Goodwill, but they had clothes.
They may have eaten more macaroni and cheese than others, but they
were never hungry. Their car may have been rusted through and
coughed out oily blue smoke, but they always got where they needed to
go. The house may have been run down and it may have been in the
part of town most of the other kids avoided, but they always had a
roof over their heads. Then his father had died, suddenly, a few
years ago. The pain was always there, behind Jimmy’s eyes, lurking
around every corner. His dad had done what he could to make sure his
family was cared for, but it had not been easy. His mother worked
smiled his crooked smile. “Sorry,” he said sheepishly. “I
appreciate it, Mom. Come on, it wouldn’t be a weekend if I didn’t
complain about something.”
mother’s face softened and then her smile returned. Jimmy managed
to turn away, searching for the bow tie, before she could plant
another kiss on him. He was only willing to be gracious up to a
certain point. He found the tie and fiddled with it for a moment.
When he turned back toward the mirror his mother was fiddling with
something behind him again. He affixed the tie and straightened it.
He took another look. His image still said “dork,” but he had
lived with that image for a long time.
too long he would be elsewhere, and all of the things he had gone
through in high school would be over. He could live with looking
like a dork for another night. Besides, he was going with his best
friend George, anyway, so things couldn’t get too bad.
is George getting here?” his mother asked.
five more minutes,” Jimmy said.
wish you two had managed to find some nice girls to ask,” his
there isn’t a girl in Knorr High School that would be caught dead
attending the senior prom with Jimmy Parker or George Howell,” he
said as he adjusted his tie one more time. It immediately went
crooked again, and he decided that the tie really didn’t matter.
sure that’s not true,” his mother said.
turned to face her. “Mom, trust me on this one. George and I are
not the most popular kids in school. In fact, we are far from it.”
reached out and pinched his cheeks. This was the one thing worse
than the kiss on the cheek. One thing was certain: his mother had
some kind of cheek fetish.
you’re such a smart, nice kid,” she said.
snorted. “Mom, even in your day the smart and nice kids were not
the popular ones in school, were they?”
put her hands on his shoulders. “I found your father in high
school. He was smart and nice.”
also played football,” Jimmy said.
was the kicker,” she said. “You know, back in the old days when
dinosaurs walked the Earth, and your father and I were young.”
still wear uniforms,” Jimmy said. He paused to make sure his hair
looked OK one more time. The cowlick towards the back of his head
was still there despite the industrial strength hair gel he had put
then, the phone rang. Jimmy’s mother vanished into the kitchen and
Jimmy turned back to the mirror and adjusted his tie for the
millionth time. He also tried to plaster his hair down, but to no
avail. He sighed. He was always going to look this way, right?
his mother said, returning to the bedroom. “It’s Jesse.”
smiled. Jesse was the town’s librarian. The library was small,
but filled with wonder, as far as Jimmy was concerned. It overlooked
a river and was surrounded by touristy attractions, but inside it was
all books and musty smells. Jimmy had buried himself there when his
father died and Jesse had taken a kind of liking to him. It may have
been a stretch to say that Jesse was a father figure, but their
relationship was pretty close. Jimmy ran to the phone.
Jimmy! Are you looking sharp in your suit?” Jesse asked.
laughed. “Jesse, I would not look sharp wearing a suit full of
on, you know that isn’t true,” Jesse said. “I’m sure you and
George will have a good time. Maybe try to get up the nerve to ask a
girl to dance.”
wouldn’t put money on that,” Jimmy said. “I’m betting most
of the girls there arrive with dates.”
just never know,” Jesse said. “I had a pretty amazing time the
night of the big dance when I was your age. And I ended up going
with a beautiful girl, to boot. You need to be a bit more positive.”
honk came from outside. This was followed shortly by a sound that
was only slightly quieter than a Howitzer shell going off in the
living room. George had arrived with his car. The engine settled
into a low rattle as the car set about trying to shake itself to
Jimmy!” came the bellow from the car. That could only have been
George leaning out the driver’s side window. George was not known
for being subtle.
sounds like George,” Jesse said.
that’s him,” Jimmy said.
was a pause. It seemed like there was more to say, but anything else
would have crossed some line between them and that line was still
held by Jimmy’s father, even though he was gone.
be careful tonight, Jimmy,” Jesse said. “Come by the library
when you can and tell me all about it or give me a call tomorrow.”
will,” Jimmy said, and paused, then added. “Thanks for calling.”
bet,” Jesse said.
he was gone, and Jimmy ran back to the bedroom. His mother was there
with her hands to her throat in an unconscious anxious gesture she
often did, looking as if maybe she had been crying. His mom
appreciated how Jesse looked after him, but the pain of losing his
father was still there. Jimmy smiled and gave her a kiss on the
cheek. Another honk came from outside, so Jimmy had to move.
tried to move past his mother, but she grabbed him by the shoulders,
pulling him back and looking him full in the face again. She smiled,
and, much to Jimmy’s consternation, he saw tears swimming in her
eyes. She was about to give him some sort of speech about how proud
she was of him. It would be similar to one she had given him when he
had first gotten the scholarship to attend Clark University.
careful,” she said instead, her voice quavering. “And have fun.”
smiled. This time, he leaned in and kissed her on the cheek. He
left quickly just because he did not want to see her cry. He ran
down the hall and through the living room.
bolted through the door and heard it bang shut behind him. George was
hanging out the window of his car, his tuxedo jacket already tossed
in the backseat. He had a huge grin on his face, his hair already
wild and windblown from driving with the window down.
on, the party awaits!” he yelled in the rather odd way of speaking
that George had and that so marked him as an outsider, and leaned
back into the car, reaching over the passenger’s seat to unlock the
it waiting for?” Jimmy asked as he opened the large, rusty door
with a loud screeching sound.
my man,” George said as Jimmy planted his ass on the passenger seat
and slammed the door. “It is waiting for us.”
laughed. “You do live in an amazing fantasy world.”
leaned around the passenger seat to peer out the back window as he
shifted into reverse. “You should move into my world, my friend,”
he said. “Plenty of room, and the fun never stops.”
laughed again. He thought that maybe it would be a night to
remember, after all. Once Jimmy was situated in the passenger seat,
as often happened when he was with George, Jimmy’s own form of
speech slipped into the oddly formal way that George spoke.