Indie Book Promo is happy to welcome Pricilla Bleik to the blog! She’s here to share about her book, One Little White Lie. If this book sounds like the sort of book you would be interested in reading, please find some buy links below and pick up a copy or two.
When India Roman’s sister Cylia dreams of making it big and decides to enter the worldwide phenomenon that is the STAR singing competition, India is horrified. Cylia suffers from a number of anxiety disorders and India is convinced that her sister won’t be able to join the winding open-audition queue without having a major breakdown. A mother of two with a distant husband, India finds it difficult to feel sympathy for Cylia, particularly as her mother has always favoured her much younger sibling. However, fate steps in and Cylia somehow ends up on the edge of the stage, about to audition for two of the toughest critics on TV. What happens next is both shocking and life-changing for the entire family.
One Little White Lie is available:
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pricilla Bleik is 38 years old and works in Asia in finance and business. She began writing as a hobby after completing a diploma in creative writing, but decided to seek publication when an editor friend saw the synopsis for One Little White Lie and encouraged her to do so. In addition to spending her spare time writing, Pricilla is also an avid collector of art pottery, loves to travel with her husband, and has never once contemplated trying out for a talent show.
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CYLIA WAS STANDING OUTSIDE Bletchley bus station, frowning and staring pointedly at her watch. A clutch of large duffle bags was in a pile beside her. I was two minutes late.
‘This is crap,’ she called, as I pulled up to the kerb. ‘Jesus India, anything could have happened to me.’
I noticed she was trembling, her fists clenching and unclenching.
‘Calm down, Cylia. You’re perfectly fine.’
‘Don’t Cylia me, India.’ The tone was all Mum.
Cylia wasn’t her real name. Technically, she was Amelia Alison Castle. Dad had named her after his own mother and when he had absconded two months after her birth, Mum refused to call her Amelia and began calling her Cylia after her own mother. Presswick was Mum’s maiden name and had been mine too, because Mum and Dad weren’t married when I was born. They hadn’t bothered to change my name when they eventually tied the knot, but Cylia was legally Amelia Castle. Mum was definitely warped when it came to Dad: she hated anything to do with him, but had never filed for divorce, or tried to change Cylia’s name. You’d never think the woman had a degree in Physics from a redbrick uni.
‘I did tell Mum I had to take the twins to nursery,’ I explained, as my little sister threw herself into the car, leaving me to deal with the bags. Christ, how much luggage did she need for a short stay one hour from home?
‘Mum said to come early, just in case.’ The hysteria had subsided and she cast a practised eye around the car and scrunched up her nose. ‘How long since you cleaned in here?’ Cylia had recently been diagnosed with moderate obsessive-compulsive disorder. I hated cleaning so much that on hearing this, I wondered if there was a condition for what I had – terminal untidiness, perhaps.
Taking an aging takeaway coffee cup out of the holder in front of her, I threw it in the back seat. ‘Mum is good at organising others, pity she doesn’t check with them first.’
‘Mum always does her best, India.’ Cylia pouted and swivelled her head to observe some ramblers ambling along the roadside.
Ungrateful little wretch, I thought, not for the first time.
I wove my way through a couple of roundabouts and turned onto the long country road that led to Little Mitting. A lifetime of making concessions for Cylia’s ‘problems’, including being home-schooled alongside my sister so that Cylia wouldn’t be lonely, made it more and more difficult to feel sympathy for her.
Or even to like her.
‘What do you think of my chances at the audition?’
Given her fear of crowds, I didn’t believe she would hold it together for long enough to audition, so it was challenging to display any level of sincere interest. Nevertheless, I tried. ‘What are you going to sing, then?’
‘My vocal coach says I should do something jazzy.’
‘Mrs Minton. You know, from across the road.’
Since when was that frizzy haired old lady with a banged-up piano who gave lessons for a fiver a vocal coach? And come on, jazzy? Although I didn’t watch talent shows with any level of commitment, I knew that STAR professed to be the international home of the undiscovered pop idol. Pop. Not jazz.
‘Are you sure that’s what STAR is looking for?’
Cylia’s perfect features crumpled. ‘Why? Crap, should I do something else? I’m not ready, am I? Everything will go wrong. Everyone will be prettier than me; they’ll look at me as if I am a freak. Oh crap, oh crap . . .’
Here we go. I could have kicked myself. What was I thinking? I knew better than to stress her out; it had been drummed into me for years and yet I still managed to ignite the crazy. ‘Calm down, sis. You’re twenty-one and gorgeous, which is why I thought you might do something a little more, err, youthful.’
‘Ella Fitzgerald is cool and indie; Mum says it will make me stand out.’
I gave up. As if Mum would know anything about a televised singing competition – her favourite TV programme was Countrywide. Yet, if I tried to change Cylia’s mind, her inner nutter would raise its ugly head again.
The sad truth was I would have to watch my sister bravely make her way into the mouth of STAR and get savaged. Mum was completely gaga to have encouraged it. The girl couldn’t travel on National Express for over an hour without freaking out, so how in hell was I supposed to persuade her to actually mount the STAR stage? She might insist she wants to do it, but once she gets there . . .
‘What are you going to wear then?’
The expression on her beautiful face remained sour. ‘That’s another problem. Mum bought me too many outfits. Now I have to choose.’ She looked across at me. ‘You’ll help me choose.’ It was a demand, not a question, but I was more focussed on the words bought me too many outfits.
‘Has Mum come into some money, then?’
‘All those new outfits?’
Cylia nonchalantly waved the question away. ‘Oh, I don’t know.’
I wished Mum would get a grip, or at least stop hitting me up for cash and then spending it on useless stuff for Cylia. Those dresses meant yet another massive overspend on Mum’s overdraft and in a month or so, the bank statement would come, and Mum would be on the phone, instructing me to do my duty as a daughter and sister and pay the minimum ‘just this once’. This year alone, ‘just this once’ had ballooned to five payments. Phil would go spare if he knew that the cash I took out for the organic vegetable market was, in fact, going to support Mum’s ‘Cylia’ habit. Of course, he might discover the secret credit cards first, and then there wouldn’t be anything to worry about, because he’d kill me for that and I’d obviously be dead before the vegetable lie was revealed.
After driving for a few miles in silence, we eventually pulled into my drive.
‘Not sure I can do this, Ind,’ Cylia said, grey eyes focused on her perfectly manicured nails. I wondered how much it cost Mum to have a beautician come to the house to do them.
‘Of course you can.’ Patting her hand in fake assurance, I wondered what Mum would do if I just sent Cylia home again, with instructions to return all those pricey clothes for a refund.
Go mad was the answer.
Helen appeared next to the passenger door.
‘Ahhhhh!’ Cylia screamed, seeing the figure staring in at her.
‘Calm down, that’s just my neighbour.’ I got out of the car. ‘Hi Helen.’ The poor woman was still holding the air rifle. ‘I thought he came home last night?’