The blog for Charlsie Russell's Loblolly Writer's House. Love and romance, sex, violence, mystery, suspense, and happily ever after from the deepest of the Deep South. Subjects include writing, independent publishing, book marketing, and history.
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I recently read
Hodding Carter’s The Angry Scar, an
easy-to-read overview of Reconstruction written by a moderate Southerner with a
knowledge of history and obviously possessed with an interest in the “whys” of
what happened—particularly after Reconstruction—and into the twentieth century.
I’ve had the book for several years, but about to delve into the sequel to my
most recent novel, Camellia Creek, I
finally took time to sit down and read it. One book in THE MAINSTREAM OF AMERICA
SERIES published back in
the 1950s, the entire set sweeps American history from the discovery of the New
World up to, well, the 1950s. I intend to ferret out other books in the series
to see if they are as good as this one. Then again, perhaps it is simply Hodding
Carter’s writing I like.
An editor of the Greenville Delta Democrat-Times
(Greenville, Mississippi), Carter wrote a slew of books. This particular work
comes replete with an extensive bibliography for further reading. Yes, I like
older works, written before the revisionist has polluted the record by the
mores and values of his present day (and yes, I know that same revisionist
would argue the older works are polluted by the heat and passions of times too
close to events). But it is the heat and passions and truths,such as the
people living during those times perceived them to be, that I’m trying to
capture in my insignificant works of escape fiction.
ends the forward of The Angry Scar thus:
“...; and my overriding purposes have been to separate truth from myth and to
link significant past events with the present legacies of those events. In
attempting to do these things I have become convinced that it has been almost
as unfortunate for our nation that the North has remembered so little of
Reconstruction as that the South has remembered so much.”
Today, so much of
the myth is irrelevant to where the
focus of the argument should lie, and spouting it undermines the rightness of
the South’s cause. It simply is not needed; substantiated truth more than
fulfills that goal. For all the right reasons the South was right, and in my opinion the “present
legacies” prove it.
pre-teen years, through high-school, college, and even into my early days in
the Navy, I was a football fan. One might even say that football was the man in
my life. (Bear with me here. I do have a point.) In late summer, I could
“smell” football in the air and see it in the changing blue of the sky. Yeah,
it was really the approach of fall, but to me it was football. The demands of
the Navy interrupted my weekend-long sojourns in front of the television. Then
I got married and had a real man in my life, followed by his children. My
interest in football, if not the unrequited love, faded away. Occasionally,
when talking with my oldest son, I’ll slip and place the Colts in Baltimore.
Hell, Johnny U is still the quarterback.
Now, to my point:
In the last
chapter of The Angry Scar, Carter
highlights all the old “myths” I grew up with regarding the South’s fight for
independence and the degradation and humiliation of Reconstruction and the
justification for all that came after. It’s easy to read between the lines and
suspect he’s putting forth those old arguments tongue-in-cheek, as if maybe he
doesn’t quite believe them himself, or more likely that he does and they simply
don’t matter anymore (the book was published in 1959 at the dawn of the Civil
Rights Movement, and he was a Kennedy man). When I read those arguments, as
real to me today as when I learned them growing up, I ask myself, “Are you in
as big a time warp on this subject as you are in regards to the Baltimore
Maybe, but I really do
know that the Colts are in Indianapolis and Johnny Unitas is a football legend
passed on to Glory. I’ve been out of the Navy and back home now for as long as
I was in. I don’t live in a vacuum. I’m very much aware of the party that
controls the White House and who or what controls the Congress of the United
States; of universal suffrage and an electorate that votes into office corrupt
men and women who pilfer the earnings of working Americans to feed their
dissolute government handout programs and perpetuate the cycle of non-working
recipients voting them back into office; of costs driven so high by the perverse
injection of tax-payers’ dollars and federal regulations into private programs
such as healthcare and higher education that even younger, working tax-payers
are forced to accept government support in order to make ends meet.
I heard it said not
long ago that public memory was around five years. So, theoretically, in five
years people will struggle under the onerous weight of Obamacare as if it’s
always been part of us, just like the huge socialist programs and federal
interference enacted by LBJ fifty some odd years ago have “always” been part of
us as has the misinterpreted “retirement plan” known as Social Security inacted under
FDR and the income tax under Woodrow
Wilson. Those programs are all twentieth- and, now, twenty-first-century Constitutional
violations attributed to democrats, but the republicans have done nothing to
eliminate them. This huge expansion of Federal control links directly to the
South’s defeat a century and a half ago. That concept is regarded as a joke
these days, yet things just keep getting worser
This brings me
back to Hodding Carter’s forward—the North’s remembering so little, the South’s
so much. It’s good to remember for the sake not only of the South but even more so
for the Republic. As critical as the delegation of powers between the three
branches of the Federal government, so too was the delineation of powers
between the federal government, clearly limited by the Constitution, and that
of the States—broadly interpreted by the Tenth Amendment and insisted upon by
the states upon ratification of the Constitution. No, I do not
believe the War was over slavery. I do believe people use such lofty arguments to
excuse the things they do, but I do not believe populations kill and sacrifice their lives for
philanthropic purposes. Economic self-interest, offensive or defensive, couched as such, yes. I do believe the South seceded
to protect its economic interests in the face of a hate-filled section of the
nation that enacted repeated threats to Dixie’s interests (not to mention
darker, more nefarious threats to her people) for the betterment of its own.
And yes, I do believe the South had a right to secede to protect its interests, its way of life, and its people. No, I do not believe
the South started the War, despite the provocation at Sumter—Lincoln, not
Jefferson Davis, chose war. And yes, I do accept Lincoln prosecuted the War
better than did Davis (oh duh).
And finally, yes, I do
have lofty dreams, which any of you who know the history of then and of the time
since can understand, if not necessarily appreciate. Those are no less than the
nullification of the Fourteenth Amendment, the striking of paragraph 2 from the
Fifteenth, and repealof the Sixteenth Amendment.
That should put the correct powers back into the states where they belong, end
that “anchor baby” bullshit, and cut off the exorbitant capital the Federals
require to fund their give-away programs and the corresponding bureaucracy to
operate them, while at the same time holding the States hostage for taxpayers’
dollars. Of course, to be on the safe side, the sixteenth amendment should
probably be replaced with something else clarifying that income tax is not
apportioned—it wasn’t in 1789 and it isn’t today—to keep Congress from
continuing to pilfer the working man’s dollars by perverting Article 1, Section
8 of the Constitution. And just another little point regarding the sixteenth
amendment—the controversies regarding the
actions of way too many state legislatures reported to have ratified that thing
makes it, in my humble opinion, worthy of nullification vice repeal—can states nullify what they passed in
violation of their own constitutions? I don't know the answer.
with all that, right? Tongue-in-cheek aside, I wonder what Hodding Carter would think
of the looming power of the Federal government, fueled by a corrupt democracy,
Yep, those “present legacies” just keep getting worser and worser.
I fear not. I think he really was making
a perfidious reference to the Deep South of the Southern United States. That
would include my Mississippi, folks, and I’m not taking it lying down.
I recently visited North Carolina,
a state with which I have ancestral ties that go back so far as to exist only
by word of mouth, that being the existence of a redheaded, blue-eyed Scotsman
(that would be the Russell side) who came from the “Carolinas.” Ever so often
he returns, my daddy told me as I was growing up. My grandmother Russell had
two redheaded sons (my father wasn’t one of them) and I, too, gave birth to him
twice, but my sons don’t bear the surname Russell; that’s my maiden name.
Though I’d always suspected the “Carolinas” in this case referred to North
Carolina, tentative research strongly indicates the family did indeed travel
from North Carolina into Tennessee, then Georgia, briefly Alabama, and my
branch has been in Mississippi for four generations now—six if I count my non-Russell
offspring and their offspring.
But, let me get back on point. My
visit was to Buncombe County in western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains,
Ashville specifically, a lovely, quaint little city favored by artists and
flocked to by tourists and historically by those in need of the healthful
mountain air to relieve whatever ailed them. I went with my daughter’s
mother-in-law to visit old friends she wanted to see there, and they, knowing
my interest in history, made a point of taking us to some of the local
historical sites. What provided fodder for this particular blog were comments
made by a tour guide at the birthplace
of Zebulon Baird
Vance, 37th and 43rd governor of North Carolina. His first term was during the
War for Southern Independence, and he is beloved by the people of North
Carolina for being “War Governor of the South.”
Zebulon Vance was the second son
of David Vance, a veteran of the Continental Army that sent the Loyalists
packing at King’s Mountain. The elder Vance either built or bought the house in
1795. The family ran a wealthy, slave-owning farm. Here is what got my goat.
This young man, our guide, went off on a brief tangent highlighting how slavery
was different in North Carolina, where more valuable skilled slaves were the
norm vice the less valuable field laborers from the more southern states, where
labor was cheap and the slaves were “worked to death” then replaced. He threw
his hands out in front of him and said, “No big deal.”
I beg your pardon? Where did this
double-standard, hypocritical, hogwash come from? Quentin Tarantino? Perhaps it
was Harriet Beecher Stowe, but to believe the latter, I would have to credit
the young man with having made some effort to research the history of slavery.
I, in fact, use those same words—“worked to death”—referring to slaves, in
my most recent novel Camellia Creek,
spoken from the mouth of a hate-filled, bigoted abolitionist witch who didn’t
know what she was talking about. There were plenty of skilled Negro slaves in
the Deep South, and all slaves, skilled or not, certainly were costly, considering
the slave-trade ended in 1808. Even assuming we in the Deep South were
sub-human and cared nothing for human life, working slaves to death would have
been economic suicide. I’m not saying such never happened, but it was not the
norm and would have been as likely to happen in North Carolina as Mississippi.
I was hoping the thoughts espoused
by the tour guide were his own, but subsequent discussion with my host
indicates this “slavery in North Carolina was kinder, gentler” has become a
common thread among those who wish to apologize for slavery’s existence in that
state. Of course, I don’t know that those North Carolinians, whose roots go
back to the beginning, really swallow that “bunk”, pun intended. I hope not. My
host, who is not a Southerner, snickered when he gave me that “kinder and
gentler” line. I can only surmise that such tripe handed out during tours is
the result of federal funding or is an effort by the politically correct crowd
to whitewash something it appears to be ashamed of. To those individuals I say
whitewash it if you feel a need, but do it without defaming your sister states,
whose ancestors were sure the devil no worse than yours, no matter where they hailed
Better yet, I would argue that
when giving a tour of Governor Vance’s birthplace, place emphasis on the man
himself and the time he lived, rather than gloss over it. He was a man who
believed a state was sovereign, vis-à-vis a central government, in all things
except those limited areas where said central government held precedent (a
prominent characteristic of a number of North Carolina statesmen going back
long before the War). Something all state
governors should remember now, something governors in the North should have
remembered then and the dark years following the War--something they all should
have remembered in the 1960s. That
belief is what the people of North Carolina fought for (in numbers that
exceeded all others, I should add, all the while resisting Confederate
conscription policies in the name of those same rights), not slavery. That autonomy as well as the inviolability of the
Constitution are what were lost with the South’s defeat, and as regards the
health of the Republic, those two things alone eclipse the radical and
irresponsible dissolution of an institution doomed to extinction within a relatively
short period of time. For all the right reasons, the South was right, something
Southerners should remember and be proud of instead of hanging their heads in
shame and prevaricating in the face of liberal propaganda and federal
I think I’ve figured out KindleGen,
the Amazon-approved creator of .mobi books for its Kindle devices. As it turns
out, KindleGen is, in my opinion, simple. Simpler, in fact, than MobiPocket Creator. I wouldn’t have said that when I started, but my difficulties were the result of “mechanics” and not the program itself.
I began my effort trying to use KindleGen’s “command prompt” feature
and after two days of failure, used what some bloggers consider the easier
process of uploading the book files into Amazon’s Kindle Previewer. After an
hour or so of trying to figure out how to use the Kindle Previewer in this
capacity, I did build my book. After sleeping on what I’d done and considering
the files used during my success with the Previewer, I returned to the “command
prompt” screen and tried that method again. It worked, too.
I’m gonna briefly describe my ordeal, then show you the steps I used to create my book using both
the Previewer and the “command prompt” line in my computer. Keep in mind, this
post isn’t meant for those who understand the workings of computers and
command prompts or even the placement of files in folders, though you folks might
enjoy a good laugh from the read. Any helpful comments from that audience are appreciated,
too. No, this post is intended for folks like me who are “clueless” when they
read a blog or forum post that takes for granted the reader understands what
the writer is talking about, without step by step instructions. I hope my new-found discoveries prove
helpful to some of you out there. I use the term “discoveries” on purpose, because I do not necessarily understand what I have done.
KindleGen is a free download from
Amazon (more on that below) and uses a “command prompt”. You may remember the
“command prompt” from the dawn of personal computers, when the owner had to
boot-up the computer on a black screen using letters and symbols (i.e.,
< > : \ \). Despite the fact that
computers now magically boot-up themselves without the help of the computer
helpless, command prompts are still in vogue with those who know how to use
them (not to mention know where to go to find that black screen). I’m told the
“command prompt” is a powerful feature in the right hands. As regards, myself,
however, I spent the better part of two daysstruggling with the guidance provided by the ebook formatting company
eBook Pioneers in its March 2013 blogand could not get Camellia Creek
to build. I did attempt the methodology used by a couple of other bloggers, similar to, but different from that of eBook Pioneers. The results were no better.
I had created five
files to “build” my book: the .html of my book; its .opf; its toc.ncx; cover
graphic; and logo graphic, and I figured they all needed to be in the “prompt”
line. I considered with each fail that I was not listing my files in the “command prompt”
correctly or I was placing them incorrectly in folders. I also thought the
problem might be Windows 7. I swear, as many times and as many permutations I
completed trying to make that “command prompt” work I was sure I had to have
the “prompt” line right at least once. As stated in my last post, I finally zipped
up Camellia Creek’s five files and
uploaded that to the Kindle Direct Publishing’s digital text platform (DTP). Hardly
mastery of KindleGen and most unsatisfactory for one who considers herself a serious
publisher, albeit of only my own stuff. Misfortune offered me an opportunity to
While uploading Camellia Creek to the DTP, I noticed on
my publishing page that Epico Bayou (which
had gone “live” over a year before when I uploaded the MobiPocket-created .prc),
for some inexplicable reason, had fallen into a “draft” status. Like my recent
experience with Camellia Creek, I
could not get that original MobiPocket Creator-crafted .prc to re-upload and
when I zipped up Epico Bayou,
replicating what I’d done with Camellia
Creek, Epico Bayou’s navigational
table of contents (the .ncx file) didn’t work. I wanted to sit down and squall.
Instead, I resolved to master KindleGen and at the same time fix Epico Bayou’s shortcoming.
My effort to build Epico Bayou using the KindleGen “command
prompt” mirrored that of Camellia Creek
two weeks earlier. Nothing I did worked. The “command prompt” window couldn’t “find
a file” (always the last one in the list—I know because I switched them
around). I now know there should not have been a “list” of files, which brings
me back on point. I didn’t know how to write a command prompt.
At the beginning and the end of
that eBookPioneer blog referenced above, the author suggested the easiest thing
to do was to forgo the “command prompt” evolution and upload the files, along
with the KindleGen execute file, kindlegen.exe, in the Kindle Previewer. I’d
seen this sentiment expressed by others on the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
forum.So, I opened the Previewer.
Where? Where, when I open the Previewer, was I supposed to load the darn
files? There was nothing that said “build book.” Nobody had explained how or where to drag and drop those files into the Previewer, and it took
a little guessing for me to finally figure it out.
I clicked on “open kindle book,”
primarily because there wasn’t much else to click on. What opened, of course, was
the library listing the books that are already in my Previewer. I went one
folder up: Local>Amazon>Kindle Previewer and it is that window into which
I dragged my book file—that is the “Kindle Previewer window,” right? Clear as
mud! Then I clicked my book file to open. Low and behold, the .html file and
the .opf file appear in the folder. The others aren’t there.
Now, I already suspected from
other vague comments in the forums that the .opf file was the key, so I clicked
on it and, much to my amazement, a window opened up and said the Previewer was
compiling a book. Sure enough, seconds later the window changed, said a book had
been created and to view it, click here [not a live link]. I clicked and was taken to a
window that showed me Epico Bayou as
a .mobi book, and when I opened
it—now in the Previewer—not only was my old, familiar Epico Bayou there, its .ncx worked.
I wasn’t completely out of the
woods. Though I had Epico Bayou in
the Kindle Previewer, I still had to find that file in my browser so I could
upload it to Amazon’s DTP, and the address given in my browser showed that it
was residing down a long link of folders, some of which were unfamiliar to me,
so I couldn’t follow them back to find where the book was stored. That meant a
search. I did find it, quickly as it turned out, in My Kindle Content folder. In
one forum, a fellow stated he found his in My Publications. I have a My
Publications file, too, but as I said, Epico
Bayou.mobi was in My Kindle Content folder. Obviously, where a
Previewer-created book resides is not set in stone. Just to see if the
Previewer method would work a second time, I made Camellia Creek into a .mobi using the same methodology. It took
seconds. Previewer stored that baby away in My Kindle Content, too.
Realizing the .opf file is key to
building the book compelled me to try the “command prompt” again—hey, I’m slow,
not stupid. This time, I put my five files (.html, .opf, .ncx, cover, and logo
graphic) into one file and added the kindlegen.exe to it. Here’s the prompt I
I hit “enter” and the screen
filled with line after line of data and at the end it said “book built
successfully.” I blinked in astonishment, then looked over at the open window
displaying my book’s files. Sure as shootin’ there sat EpicoBayou.mobi in the folder with a little blue book symbol on its left. I
opened it in Previewer, and its .ncx worked, too.
Now, I think the “command prompt” window is simplest.
Okay, let’s go through both
methods step by step, but before I start, I’m making the assumption you are
building an ebook for uploading to the Kindle Direct Publishing’s DTP and have
created the required files needed to work on all Kindle devices—that is your
goal, right? If you have only a book file, you probably won’t encounter the problems I
The files I’m referring to are your book itself (mine is in .html format); your
book’s .opf file; your toc.ncx file (this is a table of contents that makes
navigation through the book easy for the reader and creates the “tick” marks at the bottom of the kindle screen so
the reader knows where he is in the book); and all graphics saved as .gifs
(Kindle wants .gifs, not jpgs). If you need further reference regarding creation of the
ancillary files, see my old blogs dated 1 December 2011-3 February 2012.
1. Create your book files and put
them together in one folder:
KindleGen is a .zip file. Unzip it and copy
and paste the kindlegen.exe file to
the book folder you made above. While you’re at it, make several copies of that .exe
file and store ’em for future Kindle books.
3. If the KindleGen Previewer
didn’t come with the KindleGen download, find it here:
5. Go to “open kindle book” on
homepage of Previewer.
a. You should now be in your library.
b. Go one folder up. The browser at the top of the window should read
something to the effect: Local>Amazon>Kindle Previewer. No matter what
comes before it, you want the window for the “Kindle Previewer”.
6. Drag and drop/copy and paste
your book folder into this screen of the Kindle Previewer.
7. Click on your book to open it.
You’ll see the .html (or whatever format you have your book in) and the .opf.
8. Click on the .opf file. A
window will open telling you Previewer is compiling the book.
9. When the compilation is done
(seconds), a window will come up and tell you the book has been created and to
click here to review it. Go ahead, feast your eyes on your new baby.
10. Back in the book folder, you’ll see that
another file has been created called book’s
name converted.opf. That’s your book.
3. Go to Computer or My Computer by
clicking the Start button at the
bottom left of your computer screen (or you can use the icon on the Desktop).
4. Amongst that list of program
files and users, make a new folder and call it KindleGen.
5. Return to your KindleGen
download and open the folder (it’s zipped).
6. You only need one file out of
7. Copy it, then go back to your KindleGen folder in your “Computer” folder
and paste kindlegen.exe there.
8. Find all your book files:
.html, .epub, whatever you’ve called it;
.opf; .ncx; graphics; and anything else you have associated with your book. Copy and
paste each into the KindleGen folder
with the kindlegen.exe.
9. Go to All Programs/Accessories and open Command Prompt
10. A black screen will appear with a starting
line something to the effect of :
↑ This name is probably you or whoever owns the computer
substitute the name of your .opf file, of
12. Hit enter and the book should build and
will, within seconds, appear in your KindleGen
folder as title of your book.mobi.
13. Click on it, and it will open in the Previewer
I chose to put my KindleGen folder in Computer because that’s where eBook
Pioneers suggested I put it way back when I started this evolution, but you can
put it wherever you want. And you should probably be more specific with the
name of the KindleGen folder so you will one day be able to distinguish one book folder
from another (i.e., KindleGenEpicoBayou,
KindleGenCamelliaCreek, and so
forth); just remember to type it as such in the “command prompt” line when you
build the book.
No, not the whale, but the program
that creates the digital book for Amazon’s Kindle (though at the moment I’m
ready to put the great white whale’s last name to the whole evolution and refer
to it by the crude vernacular). Since readers have their accounts set up and
click a button to download their Kindle Book to their Kindle device all in a
matter of seconds, an author needs her book in the Kindle Store. To get
it there, she must create her masterpiece in .mobi format.
Getting my latest novel, Camellia Creek, a gothic
mystery/suspense set against the backdrop ofPresidential Reconstruction at the end of the War for Southern
Independence, into mobipocket, .azw format, took days, untold hours I wish I’d
actually recorded so you could more clearly understand how absolutely anal I
am. For those of you who have looked at my blog for “technical” advice, no
matter how unintentionally spurious, you know that over a year ago I blogged extensively about my creation of
the files required by MobiPocket Creator to build a mobi book. With those files—sitting
in the folder for each individual book in the “My Publications” folder
associated with MobiPocket Creator—I managed in 2011-2012 to upload my first
four books and get them in the Amazon Kindle Store. Camellia Creek, thought I, will be a piece of cake.
Wrong. Oh, I created the files
easily enough based on templates I’d created from my first four books—the .html version
of my book, the .ncx file, a proper version of the .opf (MobiPocket Creator
creates an .opf file automatically from whatever data one feeds it—if one feeds
it no extra data, it creates it from the .html file itself and it always
overrides whatever .opf file you place in the folder so you have to keep
checking and cutting and pasting your good one over the one it makes. Suffice
it to say, that evolution is time consuming and frustrating.). Then I added my
only two graphics—the cover and my logo.
For four days I tried to get
MobiPocket Creator to build my book. Now, I didn’t sit in front of my computer
uploading and re-uploading the same files over and over during that time with
the expectation of one time getting a winning result. That folks, is the
definition of stupid. I’m just sorta stupid for sticking with it all that time.
I’d make changes to the .opf and tried different renditions; I checked and
rechecked all my files, my headers, my content, my “#$!%” html. I even removed
MobiPocket Creator and reinstalled it—on both the computers I own with access
to the internet. One thing I did discover was that every time I took the “failed”
build and removed the .ncx from the mix, the book built. I knew the problem was
with the .ncx or the .opf (which references the .ncx). I went to the online
forums and studied and tried to replicate individual methods of inserting files
into MobiPocket Creator and overcoming the Creator’s frustrating habit of
messing up my .opf. At one point I created a .zip file of Camellia Creek’s files and attempted to insert that into the My
Publications folder. That didn’t work either—works for epub, but not mobi. I
kept the .zip file anyway.
Finally, on the fifth day, I
removed the publisher version ofMobiPocket
Creator and downloaded the “Home/Family” version. The MobiPocket Creator
website said it was simpler to use. Personally, I didn’t see much difference
from the “use” angle, but one thing that simple little sucker did when it, too,
failed to build on my first try was point out one tiny error in the spelling in
the “content src” for chapter seventy-four in my .ncx. I’d spelled “seventy”
“seveenty”. I fixed it and Camellia Creek
build on the next try, .opf, .ncx and all.
I don’t know that the misspelling
caused all those wasted hours, not to mention stress, but the results rendered
after its fixing indicates that was the problem. So why didn’t the “publisher”
version point it out to me when the “simpleton’s” version was so quick to do so?
Maybe the publisher’s version thinks publishers should know how to spell or are
such thorough proof readers there is no way they’d let a screwball thing like
three “e”s in seventy get by—this in
a work of 79 chapters and an epilogue (Camellia
Creek is twice the length of my previous books).
Oh, and now comes the really, really good part. I start
uploading to Amazon—I get to Part 5 at the “Upload Your Book” window. The
little pinwheel is purring, there’s a window there that says “uploading your
book, this may take a few minutes” and wahlah—the KDP (Kindle Direct
Publishing) platform rejects it. The window says, simply, that I used software
other than that approved by Amazon. I’m confused—I sent them the .prc. KDP
didn’t need to build my .prc. I SENT it one already done, darn it! And fifteen months earlier the KDP
platform had accepted four of my .prc books built the same way—ok, this one was
built with the “simpleton’s” Creator, but what the heck.
I go to the “formatting guide”
offered in the rejection window. Sure enough, .prc’s aren’t listed. I go to the
Amazon “techies”. “Yes they are,” the “techies” say. Two day’s later the
“techies” have it figured out—I needed to use KindleGen to build my .prc, not
During that two-day interim, I
went back to that “zipped” file I’d fortuitously saved during my nightmare of
working with the publishers version of MobiPocket Creator and uploaded it at
Part 5 of the Upload Your Book window. It uploaded fine. Camellia Creek is at the Kindle Store.
The USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) completed her final voyage last
fall. She will end her fifty-plus-year career as scrap. Outside the rather dubious end of being lost
at sea, I’m not sure of an appropriate fate for an outmoded platform short of
making a museum out of her. That would require a sponsor, and she would certainly be expensive to maintain. Using tax-payers’
dollars would, in this Tea-Partier’s mind, be inappropriate. Me? I would
happily make annual donations to that cause, but it’s something I’d do on my
own—and it would take a lot of “me’s”. Still, it’s a sad day for the United States Navy and for the
Americans who know their nation’s history and the history of its military. Though
indirect, the ENTERPRISE
(CVN-65) played an important role in my life.
I first learned of her near the end of my third-grade school
year. There was an article about her in my Weekly
Reader (do elementary schools still have those things?). Anyway, that should have been
1959. In the article she was under construction and would be, at completion, three
football fields long. Now I didn’t know do-diddly-squat about aircraft
carriers, or any ships for that matter, but I did know a little about football
and a football field was long—and
we were talking “three” football fields! The first thing I, Weekly Reader in hand, told my daddy when he
came home that night was about that ship—he knew about football fields, too—I
was a daddy’s girl, and we loved Ole Miss together.
He acknowledged the name ENTERPRISE and immediately took control of
the conversation. Once, he told me, he’d served on an ENTERPRISE. I can still remember my
disappointment that my massive ship had been overshadowed by his knowledge of
I asked, “But was it three football fields long?”
“No,” he answered, “but she was big in other ways. Let me
tell you about her.”
And being daddy’s girl, I listened.
I didn’t stop with his war stories. I augmented what he told
me with research of my own. By the time I began high school, I knew the entire
history of the war in the Pacific from studying the exploits of his ENTERPRISE (CV-6) from
her fortuitous late arrival at Pearl Harbor on December 8, 1941 (she’d been due
at 0730 on the morning of the 7th) until she returned to Bremerton
in 1945 after Tomi Zai flew his Japanese Zerodown
her number one elevator shaft at Okinawa. In earlier battles, in a war made for
aircraft carriers and a Navy with dwindling numbers of the crucial platform,
her damage control crews patched worse damage while evading Japanese bombers so she could recover
her returning aircraft, and those of her sunken sisters. Aircraft is the
carrier’s primary weapon, its purpose. The seasoned pilots, even if one is able to set the
human aspect aside, are equally valuable. The loss of aircraft and pilots, after completing their sorties,
due to the lack of a flight deck to land on, means the devastating loss of an
offensive weapon system. But when Tomi Zai hit ENTERPRISE in 1945 she wasn’t just one of one
or one of two carriers in the Pacific. The industrial might of the United States,
which she’d played a critical role in defending, had by then put other carriers
to sea and damaged ladies such as she could go home for repair. The war ended with
her in the repair docks in Bremerton
and my father home in Braxton,
Mississippi on leave.
From the age of seventeen when he’d hunkered down on a
seaplane ramp on Ford Island that fateful Sunday morning in 1941 (he didn’t
transfer to ENTERPRISE until February 1942) until the age of twenty-one when the
ENTERPRISE was knocked out of the war in August 1945, Charles Russell fought in
twenty of twenty-two major Pacific battles. With the end of the war, (mirroring
the future history of her namesake) CV-6, too, became outmoded. Back-fitting a
flight deck meant for F-4s, F-6s, Dauntlesses and Devastators to take jet
aircraft was impractical and unnecessary. I can remember reading the end of
Admiral Stafford’s book The Big E when
she was being cut up for scrap and crying as bitterly as I had when Jack the
dog died at the beginning of the second Little
House on the Prairie novel (Hey! I was eight). I
never read another word of any Little
House book after that.
Despite my youthful grief, I didn’t “shut the book” on the
United States Navy, because, after all, there was a bittersweet epilogue. At
the same time chunks of the old ENTERPRISE were being hauled away as scrap in
New Jersey, the United States’ first nuclear carrier was being built in Newport
News, Virginia—the same yard where CV-6 had been built over thirty years
before. The pride of the fleet, she was christened with its most decorated
I joined my daddy’s Navy out of college. I was an officer,
he’d been a boatswain. I stayed for twenty, he for seven. But I never fought in
the first damn battle, much less twenty, and that’s not counting Pearl Harbor.
And now I’m all teary-eyed again. When I read in the Patriot Post last fall ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) was making her last
deployment, the news momentarily took my breath away. No, I didn’t break down
in tears, not yet, but I haven’t read anything about trucks carrying great
chunks of her away to the scrap heap, either—but this time there’s no
My Navy without an ENTERPRISE is as strange to me as a president
who tells the Navy brass that its requirement for 315 ships will be met with
285 and informs his opponent (in front of the nation) that those numbers will
work because we now have submarines
and aircraft carriers, which makes how the Navy does things different. Right, if he intends to leave defense of
the Pacific Rim to his new friends in Moscow and Beijing.
I fear, given his lack of historical reference and
disrespect for all things military, President Obama will foolishly sacrifice
our strategic advantage in pursuit of delusional ideas vis-à-vis ruthless opponents
who do not suffer anything in the way of delusion. What they do suffer is the
lack of strategic advantage, which past generations of Americans have denied
them at great sacrifice to themselves. These disadvantages our leader is purposefully
eradicating for…. Gee, I’m not sure why a “leader” would do anything so foolish
to his people, and I’m not convinced ours knows. The only thing more pathetic
than Romney not challenging the man’s flippant remark about carriers (been
around since the 1920s) and submarines (made the scene during the War Between
the States and came into their own during World War I) is the fact that Obama
said something so ignorant to begin with.
Oh, and in answer to the question asked in my title—it was
the old ENTERPRISE.
In December 1944she set sail as the first carrier
certified for night operations, dubbed USS ENTERPRISE, CV(N)-6.