Weekend Coffee Share – Homeschooling & Mojave Desert Book Project


Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)! Grab a cup of coffee and share with us!  What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? 

It’s been a great week here. I’d say that we’ve created some wonderful routines in our new house. In our homeschooling project about Nevada, we’ve been learning more about Sarah Winnemucca. We’ve also started to use Adventure Academy, an online educational program for children 8-13 years old. (My daughter just turned seven, but she is very computer savvy.) I’m planning on using this program mainly to encourage her problem solving skills, and thinking outside the box. It’s made by the same producer’s that made ABC Mouse, a learning program for younger children (toddlers.) My daughter LOVED ABC Mouse, and learned so much, so when I read about Adventure Academy, I figured we definitely needed to give it a try. After we’d set it up together, my daughter got into the virtual learning world very fast. She asked me to not disturb. She played with the program for many hours, continuing long after her school day was over.

I’m very much a non-linear, entrepreneur type of person. I LOVE projects, wether it’s homeschooling projects with my daughter, gardening projects, writing projects, editing/translating projects, tutoring, or photography. Projects makes me feel alive. 

Valley Of Fire State Park Art Print featuring the photograph A New World by Sagittarius Viking

Right now one of my biggest work projects, is a book project. I know I’ve mentioned a couple times that I am working on a book, about a year of exploring the Mojave Desert. Well, I’ve been spending time every day for the past months working on this. I’ve published a book six years ago, but lots of things have happened since then. I’ve re-learned marketing strategies, how to package my book, how to choose an audience, and how to narrow it down to that potential audience for long term success – it would be nice if people actually read my book, right? There is a lot of variables to consider. I’m thoroughly enjoining the process. 

Joshua Tree Panorama Photograph by Sagittarius Viking

Based on this I’ve been trying to narrow down my ideas for book titles. I still have a list, but at the moment I’m leaning towards the first title on the list.

  1. Outside Las Vegas – Your Guide To The Mojave Desert
  2. Zen Strategies – One Year In The Mojave Desert
  3. One Year In The Mojave Desert
  4. Zen In The Mojave Desert
  5. A Year of Exploring The Mojave Desert
  6. A Year Of Beauty In The Mojave Desert
  7. The Desert Around Las Vegas
  8. Places You Need To Experience Outside Las Vegas 
  9. The most amazing nature close to Las Vegas Strip
  10. Amazing experiences outside Las Vegas
  11. The Best of Mojave
  12. Things you need to see outside Las Vegas
  13. How to experience the other side of Las Vegas – The Amazing Mojave Desert.

I believe that the first title would be a good fit, since it’s both short, contains the word Las Vegas, that many people google every day, and the sub title tells a potential reader exactly what the book is about. Including the word guide, and The Mojave Desert that are highly used words for search engines. Any thoughts? I’d love your input! I’m still not 100% set on the title. 

White Dome Woman Photograph by Sagittarius Viking

How is your week? What’s going on in your life this week?

It’s National Read A Book Day today! What are you reading? I’m going to indulge in a book after dinner tonight. Like I do most days. Which one it will be I haven’t decided yet. I am reading Milagro Beanfield War, by John Nichols. I haven’t gotten so far into the book yet, and honestly it’s a little weird. It’s completely the opposite from books I usually read. It has me laughing, it’s some kind of novel, with a twisted sense of humor. I’ve been reading it in the evenings for a few days. I’m not giving up on it, but I think that I am going to start another book, on the side. Maybe I’ll start a new one today. I have a few new ones to pick from, I’ll keep you posted about that. Need a refill on that coffee? 

I hope your week is amazing so far, and that your weekend becomes everything you want it to be, and more 🙂


Ms Zen


Published by Sagittarius Viking

It’s all about experiences, and the healing power of nature. Life is about choosing happiness. I entered the magic world of photography when I was five years old. My gypsy soul have taken me to many different countries, and definitely taught me to be more humble. I believe that you are what you eat, body and soul. I enjoy growing my own food, and spending time outdoors. Above everything else is my daughter. A Sagittarius loves to travel, have an open mind and, and a philosophical view. It motivates them to wander around the world in search of the meaning of life. Sagittarius is extrovert, optimistic and enthusiastic, and likes changes. A lot of that perfectly describes me. The fact that my ancestors, on both parents sides, were vikings, doesn’t exactly lessen my desire to explore. Maybe a slightly more mindful exploring, compared to the average viking. My blog, and my art prints is a results of my (inner and outer) explorations. Love, Maria

41 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share – Homeschooling & Mojave Desert Book Project

  1. I agree with Eliza, a great photo Maria! The other photos look like the Valley of Fire, always beautiful. I like your first two titles best, I’ve no idea how to write a book! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When I see your beautiful photo, I want to say Hi Maria! 😃 I have never made a book, I think that’s so AWESOME, you are so inspiring. I like the first title and the last title, and I can see the thought you need for titles so that they pop up on searches easy. I know you’ll pick the PERFECT title! I can feel your happiness in your post as you and your daughter are settling in to your new home. It gives me such warm feelings and puts a smile on my face. 😃♥️😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much ! I do like both number 1, and 13. I like the flow, and softer feeling of number 13. The only reason to go with number 1 would be the length of the title. I hope your weekend is spectacular!


  3. Hi Ms Zen – your projects sound so fun
    and I had a few tidbits about the book titles – and had to share a few thoughts —

    My top two titles are:

    Re: The Desert Around Las Vegas

    This needs more – but is a solid start – next one is better

    How to experience the other side of Las Vegas – The Amazing Mojave Desert.’
    This one also needs a little work, but like this title a lot.
    It connects it to LV and also tells us what the Mojave is – and targets the experience we will have.

    Ones i did NOT like

    Outside Las Vegas – Your Guide To The Mojave Desert
    Amazing experiences outside Las Vegas

    Using the word outside makes it feel so far away – separates it too much
    and this might deter folks as they do not know how close it is – and also – it is part of the Las Vegas experience – just a little separate – so don’t use words that push it too far away – it is part of the Vegas greater area and play that up –

    Zen Strategies – One Year In The Mojave Desert
    One Year In The Mojave Desert
    A Year of Exploring The Mojave Desert
    A Year Of Beauty In The Mojave Desert

    The problem I have with “one year” is that most people will not be going here for a year – and I see how you used the year as a focal point for your structure – and then certain books have that year or 12-month theme – but for a geographical nature book this “year” seems not fitting and if I saw this title – I would maybe skip it because a year feels daunting – unless I was buying a devotional or had a specific reason to want a year’s worth of stuff (that is just my take)

    I do like the words beauty and explore in the last two – but beauty is another one of the words that is subjective and tough to define – explore is a key word here that really helps define what you are offering folks.
    And if I were traveling though the area and got your book –
    would want to explore and experience the Mojave desert with you through your book

    Re: Zen In The Mojave Desert

    As much as I like the word Zen, it is a bit overused these days and then it also has a certain connotation attached to it – this might be the exact vibe you want with your book – but it feels too personal and less universal – not everyone wants Zen – even tho I think if you defined it, we’d agree we do like and want it –
    but some people don’t know what zen means or they might view it is a new-age word – or a religious or spiritual term
    and again, it is a tired word — I even see yoga stuff getting away from zen.
    I even recall those mini zen gardens that were sold in boxed in 2008 and well… it is not a title I would pick up for those reasons

    Places You Need To Experience Outside Las Vegas

    That one does not work because you are not showing “places” – you are highlighting the desert area and places in the title make it a little confusing – is the desert one of many areas? I would stick to the Mojave Desert in the title because this is the charm – the catch – the goal

    The Most Amazing Nature Close to Las Vegas Strip

    This is too wordy and subjective – “amazing” is different for each of us and is also hard to define — and “most” is a superlative fluff word – and then the “Strip” conjures up a certain vibe – because there might be folks who want your book and will never visit the LV Strip – and how are you defining nature here? the plants – the animals – the insects – the climate

    The Best of Mojave

    For those of us who do not know this area – we could think this is a dessert or coffee drink
    also best of feels tired – and then best according to who?

    Things you need to see outside Las Vegas

    We never use the word “things” in formal writing (because it is so subjective and flat) And in a book title, the word things is too vague, flat, and takes away from the beauty you are trying to highlight and help people see with your guide


    1. I really appreciate your comment. You made me think in ways that I needed to think. Thank you so much! Great feedback! English is my second language, and I really do appreciate the way you explained the pro’s and con’s. I am taking this into consideration. I do feel that the word zen have been slightly overused lately. That’s partly why I choose to exclude it from the name of my blog a year ago, when I moved to Las Vegas. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. and sorry if it was so direct – I read it later and realized I got right to the point – ha
        and it was all just suggestions and for thinking :0)
        thanks for your comment and speaking of your blog name – I will day that it is “memorable” and that is what really counts with any title or name – and so when I first met you (think thru Trent’s weekly smile) well your blog name was super easy to refer to and fine – so good job with that

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Maria,
    I thought I’d weigh in on the title of your book.
    I liked much of what Prior offered, and decided to offer a merge of a couple of good starts. “Exploring The Mojave Desert just Outside Las Vegas” as this would appeal to both the visitors who will only be there for a few days to residents who rarely get away from street lights.

    All your suggestions have promise and would appeal to many regardless, so, with my suggestion will now step back and let the master work her magic on the project.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Gary, I really do appreciate your constructive comment. Both your comment, and Prior House’s comment got my brain spinning 🙂 In a god way. Taking everything into consideration another title pops up in my head “Exploring Las Vegas Backyard – The Amazing Mojave Desert”. I’m going to save my favorite titles, and put them aside for a while, while working on the book. I have a feeling that the right one is going to be obvious at some point. I loved having some input, that made me think in new ways. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Gary – I really like your title and feedback – and side note – hope my long comment was not too direct – I really just was thinking as I went – and appreciate you mentioning my comment
      – better together eh?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad home schooling is going well that that your daughter has taken off with that program – I hope she learns a lot.

    The project sounds very interesting. I do have to say that I agree with you and disagree with some of the comments – to me “Outside Las Vegas – Your Guide To The Mojave Desert” tells people exactly what the book is.about. The others really don’t as well, at least from your description of what you want the book to accomplish. You want people to use it as a guide, not read about your adventures, so leave yourself out of the title. You want people to get out of the hot, flashy city and see some nature. To me this is it. I don’t think “Outside” sounds too far away.. If you are worried, “Outside Las Vegas – Your Guide To Natural Beauty within a Two Hour Drive of the City” OK, too long. “From Fake to Nature in Two Hours” 😉 “Escaping Las Vegas – Short Trips Into the Mojave”, Escaping Las Vegas – Short Trips Into the Paradise of the Mojave”. Anyway, you’ll figure it out.

    I hope your weekend is going well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I LOVE “From Fake to Nature in Two Hours”!!! That’s awesome. I’m not going to use that title, but that really pin points what it is! I really appreciate you constructive ideas. At the moment I’m thinking maybe just rephrase “Outside Las Vegas” and use “Las Vegas Backyard” instead. So it would be something like “Exploring Las Vegas Backyard – The Amazing Mojave Desert”. Still having the word “Las Vegas” and “The Mojave Desert” in the title. “Backyard” makes me think it is close. I’m going to think a little more about this. Maybe “Your Guide to Las Vegas Backyard – The Amazing Mojave Desert”? I’m going to give it some more thought, while finishing up the book. Thank you is much for your feedback. I got a lot to think about. I really appreciate it. Thank you! I hope you’re having a fabulous weekend! My weekend is over expectation so far!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Russell! It will probably be a variation of that title. I really like the clarity it has. At the moment I’m thinking “Your Guide to Las Vegas Backyard – The Amazing Mojave Desert”. I’m going to put the title aside while finishing ups the book. Hopefully the right title will show itself during the process. I hope you’re having a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am so glad that your Daughter is having such a wonderful time learning! It is awesome! I LOVE your pics of the desert. Having never been and most likely never to actually get there, I thrive on awesome pics. Keep us updated on your book, too! That sounds like a really cool idea for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. hi – I read what you wrote above and do love this

    “Exploring Las Vegas Backyard – The Amazing Mojave Desert”
    just remember that you need that apostrophe on Vegas
    Las Vegas’ backyard

    Liked by 1 person

      1. that is a good idea- but I guess it would depend on how many places you end up listing and if it fits the “credence and aesthetic” vibe – and if the number is not too daunting – would want it inviting – eh?
        but I enjoyed chatting with you on the title – it was fun to chew on


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