What’s next?

The Sweet Blue Distance - coverThe Sweet Blue Distance is with the publisher going through the long editorial process and is scheduled for release in April of 2024. More info below.

What came before?

As of September 2021 there are eight novels in total,[1]Three additional novels were published under my legal name (Rosina Lippi). Homestead, mentioned above, is one of them. The other two are Tied to the Tracks and The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square. … Continue reading six in the first series (generally called the Wilderness series), and two in the second (Waverly Place Series). 

Both series of novels are set primarily in northern New York State or Manhattan in the 19th century, but there are storylines that spend time in Annandale, Scotland, Graubünden, Switzerland, Genoa, Italy, the French Antilles,  Spanish Florida; the Gulf of Mexico,  New Orleans and environs, rural New Jersey and Staten Island; St. Louis; Kansas Territory, Northern New Mexico Territory  The Wilderness novels run from 1792 to 1824; the Waverly Place novels are set between 1883 and 1885; and Little Birds is set in 1857.

Second, there is information about the stories themselves and the zillion or so characters wandering around in my frazzled  head.

This is, strictly seen, a wiki.  A compendium of information about all my historical novels.  It is poorly organized and full of holes, but there is a lot of information. Go forth and discover, if you have time and energy. You may come looking for something specific but the wiki may not give you exactly what you are looking for. But  here are other things like, lots of maps, short character bios, floor plans, newspaper advertisements, and plot lines.  Oh, and a big ole family tree. 

What you won’t find here

I kept a busy weblog for more than ten years, and that’s the place to go if you are looking for information about writing fiction. There are  multiple discussions of technical and craft issues (point-of-view, narrative voice, how to write sex scenes — a perennial favorite, etc.) That’s also where you’ll find posts about my own storytelling process, how I have dealt with writer’s block (or failed to deal with it); my experiences with the business end of publishing and also a series of autobiographical essays.  If we know each other through some academic connection, there are some posts about linguistics on the weblog, as well as links to some academic publications, also on the weblog, which you’ll find here.  The weblog is very old and creaky but full of information.  To give you a better idea of what you’ll find over there, here’s a subset of posts on the craft of writing fiction:

The Sweet Blue Distance

This novel, set in 1858 in New Mexico Territory, serves as a bridge between the Wilderness series of novels and the first two novels of the Waverly Place series.

A small and unassuming chapel used by the Penitentes since the 1700s. Abiquiu, New Mexico.  ©Phillip Noll/Raven Mountain Images

Backstory: 1845

Callie Ballentyne is a young girl when her life is upended and she must leave the only home she knows. With her mother – recently widowed – and her younger brother Nathan she moves to Manhattan. Lily Ballentyne remarries, a well-to-do old family friend, and they settle down in a large house on Waverly Place. Callie never learns to like the city, but she and her brother respect their step-father (if not their step-sister Margaret), and school is a welcome distraction.

 At fifteen Callie enters into a midwifery apprenticeship with her cousin Amelie Savard. She attends nursing school as well, because her patients and their children need more than one kind of care.

When she has been employed by the New Amsterdam Charity Hospital for six years, the director brings her a letter from his brother-in-law, Dr. Samuel Markham of Santa Fe in New Mexico territory. Dr. Markham is looking for a nurse and midwife to join his practice. To the person who can meet his rather unusual requirements he offers a modest salary and room and board with his family. The requirements are unusual but they appeal to Callie.

Dr. Markham requires someone who is not put off by living far from civilization, with few amenities. The landscape is harsh; the person who joins his practice will have to be comfortable traveling on horseback to see patients. The patients are poor, and most of them have no English. A willingness to learn Spanish is a non-negotiable requirement. The Navajo, Apache and Kiowa and other tribes sometimes attack wagon trains and settlements, so this midwife must be courageous, committed and able to handle weapons. At the same time, she will be living side by side with Indians of many tribes — primarily the Puebloan –  and she must be ready to learn about their cultures without assumptions or prejudice.
Opening: 1857
With Nathan as a traveling companion, Callie sets out for Santa Fe. The first part of the journey is by train. The rail system reaches only as far as St. Louis, and from there they board a packet on the Missouri River. Once they reach the Kansas border they must join a wagon train.

Callie will find Santa Fe to be full of unexpected contrasts. It is a town dominated by two forces: first, the Army, which is there to protect the citizens from Indian raids and to keep the territory under American control.[1]

In the course of the journey west and finding a place for herself in Santa Fe, Callie finds she can no longer evade the repercussions of the events which made her mother leave Paradise for Manhattan. While she struggles with unresolved loss, she develops a relationship with Eli Ibarra, half Basque, half Pueblo Indian. Callie has to learn what it means to be Indian in the west.

In Santa Fe Callie deals with racial, religious and ethnic conflicts, with slavery and with women’s mental and physical health, and with the political chaos of a nation on the brink of Civil War.


1It is less than ten years since Mexico surrendered the lands first colonized by the Spanish Empire hundreds of years before. At this point in time, New Mexico territory includes what is now New Mexico, Arizona, and a good portion of California.

New Mexico Territory, Santa Fe Trail


1Three additional novels were published under my legal name (Rosina Lippi). Homestead, mentioned above, is one of them. The other two are Tied to the Tracks and The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square. Both contemporary and set in the south.

8 thoughts on “Home”

  1. Can’t wait to read this one. I live in Colorado and have spent quite a bit of time traveling around in this area. A beautiful backdrop for drama.

  2. My husband is a commercial salmon fisherman; he just fished his 61st and final season in Bristol Bay, AK. I’d planned to complete a few projects during his absence, but I’ve had my nose buried in “Where the Light Enters” instead!

    I’d like to share a story seed in you’re interested: A couple years ago he and his crew came upon a dead walrus floating in the water. When he registered the head and tusks with the Dept. of Fish and Game he was told it had been shot — drug addicts are shooting these creatures for their ivory which they then sell for money to buy drugs (yes, it is illegal to sell ivory).

    • Hi Linda — that is an interesting story. I’ll let it percolate for a while and see if something comes of it.Glad you are liking the novels and thank you for taking the time to comment.

  3. On the first page of your weblog, you have this section:

    “If you’re looking for

    the series of posts on writing sex scenes
    story v plot discussions
    notes on constructing dialog
    ideas on generating story ideas

    … those posts are here. ”

    I was interested in seeing the posts, but there is no longer a link under the word “here”. It has either disappeared or is broken. Could you let us know where to find them?

    • Hi Naomi (you have a great name, by the way) — this post of yours got caught up in the spam filter so I’m late getting back to you. I didn’t realize the link had gone missing, so thanks for letting me know. All the posts about writing can be found at https://rosinalippi.com/weblog/

      I home you find something useful there.

  4. I just finished the “Into the Wilderness” series. I enjoyed it thoroughly. The “newspaper” clippings at the end and the obituaries at the end made me cry. I know they were fictional characters, but after reading the books, they become very real due to your excellent writing. Thank you and I am just starting the next series tonight. Can


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