Holding Point

Don’t you love reading a book that leaves you hanging at the end of a chapter? You can’t help but read on to the next chapter, and before you know it, you’ve read the entire book. Mystery writers are famous for finishing with cliffhangers.

While writing my biography of Millie Benson, I learned that another term for this practice was called a “holding point.” This is a more accurate reflection of my memories of nearly holding my breath in anticipation of whatever was going to happen next in the Nancy Drew Mystery Story I was reading at the time.

Recently I met an up-and-coming mystery writer at one of my book signings. Her name is Abby, and she is pictured here with her sister Madeline. Abby shared that the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories were her favorite books. She was thrilled to be buying my biography of the original ghostwriter of the series, and getting it personally signed. Abby, if you’re reading this, I was just as thrilled.

Abby sent me a note after our meeting, asking permission to use the character names of Nancy Drew and Ned Nickerson in a new mystery series she was creating. It almost broke my heart to tell her that I did not have the right to do so. Just as my book reflects all the massive permissions I had to obtain for images and text, so too would she. Simon & Schuster holds the keys to the Nancy Drew kingdom.

That was okay, Abby responded. She had a different character’s name in mind anyways.

I love that.

Life is full of holding points. We don’t know where it will take us, but we can’t wait to find out. Sometimes it doesn’t quite work out the way we hoped for. But that’s okay. We come up with a new ending to our chapters. We hold our breath, turn the page, and carry on.

Thanks Abby for the inspiration.

Julie with Nancy Drew fans

Lessons learned


“At my very core I’m just a Mom who wanted to lead by example and show my two children what it means to live, to truly live…”

What you didn’t see of this interview on WTVG for the incredible and humbling honor of receiving a YWCA Milestones award was what I said prior.

When asked what it meant to me to be recognized in the Education category, I replied that I was very humbled.

For although I’m not by title an educator (and have the utmost respect for those who are, including my daughter Kyle!), I feel as though I’ve been able to teach others through all that I am blessed to do. In my role as Claire’s Day Founder, Maumee City Councilwoman, and children’s book author, I’ve been able to share my wisdom.

The wisdom that came from reading books by bereaved parents, by listening to my peers on Council, becoming involved in the world of children’s literature, and learning what it takes to get published.

Most of all, the lessons I learned from all of you along the way.

Thank you for your guidance, your knowledge, your support.

You’ve helped me truly live.



New year, new space

I’ve said in the past that I’ve never suffered from writer’s block. Seriously.

For me, it’s more a case of blocking the time to write.

You know what they say though. Never say never.

I’ve found myself the last few weeks luxuriating in the presence of my two children being home on break. They’ve offered a great excuse not to sit at my computer and work on my manuscript.

Reality sunk in this morning when I realized my deadline is just over a month. And I’ve got four more chapters to write. Yikes.

Yet, what did I do today? I began a project that is long overdue. I started to make progress toward moving my home office into a bigger room.

Yep, the “little room where big things happen” (according to a fourth grader during a school visit), is just about to get bigger. Way bigger.

I write, plot, dream and chair dance in what was a sewing closet when we moved in 22 years ago. It measures 9’ x 6. My new creative space is 12 x 13, or so.

It was the guest room, and before that, Claire’s room for just six months before she left us.

It is my hope that this larger room with its purple energy and spirit will lend itself to even bigger things happening.

Even better yet, I’ll not be restricted to dancing in my chair.

Get ready room, here I come.