Tour Magenta Kingdom: Festung Ehrenbreitstein in Koblenz

Koblenz is the next stop in our Tour of the Seven Kingdoms! This fairy tale world is inspired by real castles in the Rhine and Mosel River valleys in Germany.

When you take the train, you can look up and see the fortress as the train pulls into the station. The big, hulking rock towers way up above the city of Koblenz.

We took a “crooked elevator” [Schrägaufzug] up to the youth hostel in the fortress. *Entertaining but bring exact change*

In normal times, you can also go by aerial tram. This site is in German but it’s worth checking out for the overview photos. *Gorgeous!*

Gate in giant stone wall of Festung Ehrenbreitstein
Ehrenbreitstein Fortress guards the Rhine and Mosel Rivers from above. ©Laurel Decher, 2020.

Clip the map below to find all the tours:

Cartoon drawing of the Seven Kingdoms with locations on Rhine and Mosel Rivers marked by colored towers
Click the map to tour the Seven Kingdoms: Cochem, Marigold, Magenta, Indigo, Saffron, Rose, and Blackfly.

From the water, the Rhine valley feels like a river surrounded by high hills. But from the top, you can see that it was a meadow carved by a river. ©Laurel Decher, 2020.

Feeling cooped up? Take a mini-tour of Ehrenbreitstein Fortress in Germany. People have been defending this rock for 5,000 years. It’s the inspiration for Magenta Kingdom in the #SevenKingdomsFairyTales.

The flat top of the fortress means there’s plenty of room for marching bands. From the air, the paths in the huge green field draw a lovely star-shape.

The real fortress is big enough for five museums and lots of gardens.

Plus the youth hostel. If you stay overnight, you wake up inside the museum. It’s a good idea to get the map the night before. 🙂 Because the museum might not be open yet!

Just for fun! Marching bands and people dressed up for Prussian Day at the Ehrenbreitstein fortress. I especially like the part with the merry-go-round. (starts at 12:00)
Book cover for bonus story Trouble at the Christmas Fair shows snow on German Christmas market

If you like Ehrenbreitstein fortress as much as I do, you might enjoy Prince Nero’s adventures at the Christmas Fair.

This short story is an appetizer for the full-length Seven Kingdoms Fairy Tales.

And a way to spend a little more time in the Magenta Kingdom.

Happy reading!

Click here for more about the short story.


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If you’d like to stay in touch, sign up for my Reader’s List. Once a month, I share a new book recommendation for readers ages 9 to 12, story-related freebies, and/or related blog posts. If it’s not your thing, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Click here for more about the Seven Kingdoms Fairy Tales (for ages 9 to 12).

Thrive During NaNoWriMo with the Magnificent Step Seven: “Give it one more try”

Passageway that turns right into a passage you can't yet see. Towering interior walls of a fortress in Koblenz block your view in all directions..
When you can’t quite see the way out of your story. Ehrenbreitstein fortress, Koblenz, Germany. © Laurel Decher, 2016.

This is the seventh (and final!) post in a short series on preparing for (and thriving during) National Novel Writing Month. The first post collects story ingredients here , the second finds the core of your story here , the third cuts the story up into manageable portion sizes here, the fourth clarifies the story soup here, the fifth looks ahead to life after NaNoWriMo, the sixth collects what you’ve learned about how you write best. Happy Writing!

This post is about the last push. Maybe you’re coming down the home stretch of your manuscript and you can taste that 50K.

If so, what are you doing here? 😉 Go write. See you later!

Or maybe you’re having one of those moments where the phrase “word count” makes you feel nauseous. If so, this post is for you.

Story 1: One of my first paid jobs was as a dishwasher in a chemistry research lab. The “dishes” already looked clean before I washed them, but I had to wash and rinse each tiny glass piece six times to make sure nothing would interfere with the experiments. One day, nothing went right. I might have broken a tiny flask. At any rate, I packed up to go home and stopped by my mom’s lab next door on my way out.

“Give it one more try,” she said.

Because, moms.

I was positive I couldn’t do another 15 minutes, but I went back and somehow found my dishwashing mojo. The rhythm of the work took hold. By the end of the day, things were better in dishwashing land. And hey, when you get paid by the hour, every little bit helps.

Story 2: Last night, story strands were all over the place–leaking out of notebooks and laptops and phones and index cards. The chapter-in-progress was overwhelming me.

I wrote in my notebook: “I have to stop thinking up cool ideas for this story. It’s bulging at the seams!!”

I wanted to pack it in and go to bed.

But the husband was chipping away at his lecture and, you know the drill:

“Give it one more try.”

I looked for the simplest thing I could do. A bulleted list of things a sidekick character was trying to convince my main character of. Then I shrugged and went to bed.

This morning, I found a whole new chapter buried in that list. You don’t have to be inspired to create. All you need is the rhythm of the work: Work it, let it rest, work it, let it rest. We’re back to the pie crust analogy.

A simple paradox: It doesn’t matter if you don’t get 50,000 words this year. It matters if you let the days go by without getting any words. Because writers don’t get paid by the hour, but if we don’t write words, nothing happens.

As Rachel Aaron writes in 2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better, Writing More of What You Love:

“[T]he single most efficient change you can make isn’t actually upping your daily word count, but eliminating the days where you are not writing. Also, you’ll be a lot happier. Personally, I’ve found there is no greater source of peace and contentment than that which comes from being happy with my stories.”

You’ve got until Wednesday for this year’s NaNoWriMo: So listen to mom’s advice and “Give it one more try.”

Happy writing!

Have you come up with ways to ease or entice yourself into the work? Share in the comments. I’d love to learn a few new tricks. 🙂

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If you’d like to stay in touch, sign up for my Reader’s List. Once a month, I share new middle grade fiction, story-related freebies, and/or related blog posts. If it’s not your thing, you can unsubscribe at any time.

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