Becoming by RM Gilmore With my review


My Review

4 Stars

Very good read. Loved how this author tells you how Lynnie becomes what she is. I feel bad for Lynnie, she is scared and upset with the turn of events that have led her here to this time in her life. I am hoping in the next books she gets some happiness and some understanding of what is happening to her. I am really looking forward to reading the rest of this series.


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Howdy ‘do? 

My name is Sharlene Carolynn Diamond Russell. It’s a mouthful, I know. My mama must’ve hated me dearly to stick me with a name like that. Most folks don’t know me by anything but Carolynn, thank goodness. And my friends all call me Lynnie. So far, I’ve been pretty happy with that.

This is my account of the day my life changed forever. As best I can remember it anyhow. Now, normally someone would start their story from the middle, at the point the action begins. I think this story is better told from the beginning. Not back to the day of my birth, mind you. I will start my story just before I was born, for the second time. The day I became…

Hell Bent, but Homebound

It was my twentieth birthday. I always figured I’d be out on my own by twenty. Maybe I’d be living in a college dorm miles away from my parents and this hick town. Poor life choices and lack of funds kept me trapped in Havana, Arkansas.

Stifled by my overbearing mama and ignored by my absentee daddy, I didn’t have too many opportunities to spread my wings, as they say. I made the choice to move in with my older brother, Garret, at the thought of some kind of freedom. Well, as much as somebody could get in a place like Havana.

Daddy drives long-haul so he’s never home and when he is it ain’t long enough to get to know him much.  I’m sure he loved me, brought me gifts and things, just didn’t give up his time too often. My mama, God love her, she never could stay in one place too long without a man to keep her there. She loved us kids with all her soul, but if it weren’t for me and my brother she’d have left Havana a long time ago and never looked back.

Garret moved out the day he turned eighteen. He landed himself a roomy, three-bedroom, double-wide on a couple of acres just outside of town. Just far enough away from home. That was six years ago. I was pissed when he left. He’d left me alone in that smiling, happy, penitentiary we called home. I moved out to his place a few months before my twentieth birthday. I tried to stick it out long enough at home to save up enough to get a place of my own. That obviously never happened.

I knew eventually I’d break free of this backwoods, redneck prison. But, I kept reminding myself, living with my older brother had its perks. For one, having a housemate that’s twenty-four provides a ton of opportunities to get drunk. It’s a luxury, I promise. My home town, Havana, is in Yell County. I am one of the lucky twenty-thousand people in this county who can’t drink, legally, regardless of age. You see, we’re a dry county. Alcohol isn’t sold here.

Thanks to my brother and my only real friends, it was Maldoon’s for my birthday celebration. I’m not really into honky-tonks but Carolynn Russell never turns down a good time. Maldoon’s is just over the county line by Blue Mountain Lake; it’s technically in Logan County. It’s nothing big, basically a glorified barn with a full-bar and a bandstand. Maldoon’s is chock full of cowboys in their tight jeans and shit-kickers, but it’s the closest place to Havana that will serve alcohol. Hell, Leroy will get anyone drunk for a price or a smile and wink. Kids have been going to Maldoon’s to drink since before I was born. The guy who owns it, Leroy Maldoon, is pushing eighty by now and used to be the sheriff of Yell County in the sixties. I guess when you’re the law you can do what you want.

Normally I’d be working till five, but its tradition at Sam’s gas station to get your birthday off so I had the entire day to relax and figure out what I’d wear to Maldoon’s. On any other night I’d just pull on a pair of jeans and a tank top, but it was my birthday so I figured I’d dress up.

It was twelve on the dot when Garret walked through the front door. “You make lunch, sis?”

If I learned anything being stuck at home with my mama it was to always have something on the table. “I got beans in the pot and the bread’s just ‘bout done.” I said, as I smiled at my big brother. He smiled back.

Garret is the only man I ever trusted. I loved to spend time with him.  We look a lot alike, my brother and me. Our smiles are almost the same. Bright and shiny and showing a lot of teeth.

“Did you talk to mama today?” He asked while he picked at the beans in the pot on the stove.

“She called at eight. Woke me up on my day off to say happy birthday. You know her speech; it’s the same every year. ‘Twenty years ago today you were born. It was eleven fifty-four at night, your birthday could have been tomorrow, but out you popped, cryin’ and hollerin’ all the way’.” I copied my mama’s voice pretty good. Hell, I was damn near her spitting image. I was pretty annoyed by that. Garret laughed. He knows our mom just as well as I do. He knows how annoying she can be. “You coming to Maldoon’s with us tonight?” I asked him.

“Yeah. I’ll be bringin’ Rusty with me.” He smiled and wriggled his eyebrows up and down.

Rusty Kemp was a scoundrel to say the least. He was ornery, no good, and had harassed me since I hit puberty. He’s also been my big brothers best friend since the second grade.

“Shoot. Why you bringin’ that idiot?” Rusty always made my blood burn under my skin he bugged me so. It’d been like that since I was a kid. He always wanted to play with me; I usually just kicked dirt at him. My mama used to say it was ‘cause I liked him. I never could figure out why my mama would ever think I liked a boy I kicked dirt at.

“You know he can’t be left alone too long. He might chew things up,” Garret said with a stupid grin.

I rolled my eyes and sighed. It was useless to argue, those two never left the house without each other. I served up lunch and we ate quietly. Before long Garret had finished shoveling food into his face and was packing up to head back to work. We said our quick goodbyes and he was off.

I was alone in the house again. I used the time to clean up lunch and straighten up the house. I swear, I think my brother only let me move in so he’d have a live-in maid. He’s too scared of marriage to get a wife, so his sister was the next best thing.

I realize that comment could be taken wrong by certain folks seeing as though we’re from Arkansas. But it’s not that way. I love him and he loves me. In a take a bullet for each other kinda way, not the marrying kind. He was all I had to lean on coming up in that backwards home of ours. We got close.

I cleaned for well into two hours but it still looked unkempt. You can’t polish a turd, they say. And a crusty old double-wide full of yard sale furniture is pretty turd-like. I finally gave up and decided to leave it be.

I headed off to my bedroom to figure out what I’d wear for my twentieth birthday party. It wasn’t like I was overly excited about the plans my friends had made for me. I don’t like Maldoon’s all that much and I can’t stand Rusty Kemp, but I was determined to have fun if it killed me.

I put a dress on for the first time in six years. Unless you include prom, but I don’t think that counts. The heat in Arkansas is sticky and tropical like, so most folks wear light fabrics. My choice for the night was a short cotton summer dress with little flowers printed on it. It showed my chest off nicely. My mama would’ve never let me leave the house in something that skimpy.

I gussied myself up as best I could with what I had. I was taking one last look in the mirror when I heard the front door open and slam shut.

“Whoo-wee! Look at you!” My brother’s voice hollered from the doorway of the bathroom.

“Oh, shut your mouth,” I said with a smile.

“Well, I’ll be damned. Lynnie, you sure are lookin’ good!” This time it was Rusty in the doorway.

“You shut your mouth too, Rusty,” I said, without a smile.

I saw Rusty smile behind me in the mirror. I ignored him and he walked away. If there’d been a pile of dirt nearby, I’d’ve kicked it at him. I gave my big blonde hair one last coat of hairspray and called it good. I had set my hair in hot-curlers and the result was big curly hair. The last of the hairspray promised it would stay that way. The higher the hair the closer to God, my nana used to say. I was pretty damned close.

I plopped my butt down on our hand-me-down couch and started pulling on my boots. Rusty was sitting in the Barcalounger by the front door. His face was dirty from laying asphalt. Him and Garret work in construction over in Russellville. I knew under all that dirt was a pretty handsome face. But under that handsome face was an idiot redneck I didn’t want nothing to do with.

Garret came through the room and brought us both a beer. Him and Rusty sneak beers over the county line in their lunch pails almost every day. Sometimes he’ll bring home something harder, but usually it’s just beer.

“You ready get goin’, birthday girl?” Rusty said with a wink.

“Go wash your face, Rusty. You got shit all over it.” I said to him as I guzzled down my beer.

The doorbell rang a second later. It was Hattie. Henrietta Ruby Savanna Willits her mamma and daddy named her. Her daddy’s name is Henry; we can’t right call her that. So, she’s just Hattie. Where you end up with Hattie from Henrietta I don’t know, but it’s better than Henry I’ll tell you what.

Been friends since kindergarten, Hattie and me. She’s spent every birthday with me since I turned five.  And even though she was the trollop draggin’ my butt out to Maldoon’s, there was no reason to change that tradition because of the location she picked.

“Your hair is so big, Lynnie. Mine don’t get that big.” Hattie said in a pout.

I just smiled at her. There was a part of Hattie that could be a bit uppity. She was Arkie as all get up but she sure as hell didn’t think so.

“Alright, y’all meet us there?” I asked Garret.

“Yeah, we’ll be along. Go on now, scoot.” He said pushing me out the door.

Me and Hattie piled in her daddy’s pick-up truck. The big tires kicked up rooster tails when Hattie stomped on the gas. I laughed and hollered, so did Hattie.

The sun was almost down and the road we were on was getting pretty damn dark. But I wasn’t scared; I knew the road to Blue Mountain Lake like the back of my hand. Hell, everyone old enough to reach the pedals can get to that lake blind folded.

And drunk. Maybe not at the same time, but, you get the idea.

Coming soon Book 2 of the trilogy
Soul Soured

Losing love before it begins can turn the soul sour. With a beast tumbling around in there with it my soul had a fight on its hands. A fight against souring. A fight to be saved. My fight to survive. My fight for an existence on this earth. 

Coming August 17th! 

About the Author

She’s Not Your Mother’s Author

Living in the dead center of California, R.M. Gilmore writes mystery thrillers with a supernatural twist.
Drawing from people and places in her life, she brings us the irreverent character Dylan Hart of the Dylan Hart Odyssey of the Occult series, and sweet Lynnie Russell featured in the Lynnie Russell Trilogy.
Gilmore has contributed to numerous anthologies, as well as, short stories and stand-alone works-in-progress.

Gilmore also creates original artworks in various mediums including paint and clay. Her home is filled with eclectic music memorabilia, horror flicks, and droves of complete Lego sets. R.M. shares a home with her husband, kids, and more than thirty animals including a Labrador, frilled dragon, and gargoyle geckos.

When she’s not insane with writing, household junk, and animal care, she loves to watch movies, digs detective shows, and imbibes in alcohol more than one person should.

R.M. Gilmore lives to laugh and will likely die laughing.


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