Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt Stop #9

Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt Stop #9

Welcome to the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! If you’re just joining us, the hunt begins at, with Stop #1. If you complete the loop of 26 stops, writing down the clue on each author’s site, you can enter to win all 25 books as well as Amazon gift cards, an iPad and more!

Without further ado, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to my guest for the Scavenger Hunt, Judith Miller. You're going to enjoy Judith Miller books if you don't already! She's written over 40 and her latest The Lady of Tarpon Springs is one of her best. A little piece of Florida will come alive for you and so will the Greek isles in her post below. Like Judith, I love research and her post will have you swimming in the midst of a special part of her story. Leave a message for Judith and enjoy!

Here’s her professional bio:

Judith Miller is the author or co-author of more than forty books. She enjoys history, research and Bible study and being a grandmother. Judy makes her home near her Kansas family. You can learn more about Judy on her website or on her author page on Facebook.

Here’s the summary of her latest book:

When a small group of Greek sponge divers arrive in 1905 Tarpon Springs, Florida, they don’t expect to be ordered about by Zanna Krykos, a young female lawyer. Their leader, Nico Kalos, immediately locks horns with the intelligent Zanna, and soon sparks fly. But when both the business and lives are threatened, can Zanna and Nico set aside their pride and come together to save what matters most?

You can purchase her book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD or your local bookstore.


by Judith Miller

Research is a must for every writer, and I truly enjoy digging in and learning new things as I begin a new project. For me, the research begins when my book is just a germ of an idea and it progresses throughout the writing process. In the beginning, there’s lots of reading, searching old newspapers, possibly traveling to the area where the story is set, visiting museums, and combing through historical records.

In the past, I’ve studied maps of old towns, the art of carving and painting carousel animals, a system of communal living and their beliefs, the town of Pullman and the Pullman railcars, and much, much more. However, one thing I never imagine researching is SPONGES. Yes, you read that correctly, SPONGES. Those soft things used to wash your face, apply your makeup, or used by artists and decorators. 

Before writing The Lady of Tarpon Springs, I had no idea that sponges had been harvested off the gulf coast of Florida for many years. First, by the Bahamians who used hook boats and long poles, and later by Greeks who arrived in Tarpon Springs in the late 1800s. The Greeks brought with them their new style of machine diving boats, diving helmets and canvas ‘dresses’ that used compressed air and gave them the ability to dive much deeper, harvest sponges of higher quality and greater quantity. I went out on one of the sponging boats and watched as a diver, using one of the old helmets and suits retrieved a sponge. If you look closely at the picture of the diver, you’ll see that the sponge on his hook is black and looks more like a lump of coal than a sponge. Later, after it is cleaned, it is the soft, yellowish product you see in the store. 

There are four primary types of sponges harvested in the Gulf. The Yellow Sea Sponge, a fine bath and body sponge; the Wool Sea Sponge, the longest lasting and most popular bath, spa and body sponge; the Silk Sea Sponge, the soft and gentle when wet and provides mild exfoliation; the Grass Sea Sponge, used for washing, household and industrial cleaning, decoration and faux painting.

When I began writing historical fiction, I never envisioned writing about the sponging industry, but you never know where a little research will take you and what you’ll learn. If you ever travel to Florida and enjoy history and good Greek food, be sure to make a stop in Tarpon Springs.

Thanks for stopping by on the hunt! Before you go, make sure you WRITE DOWN THIS CLUE:

Secret Word: WITH

Got it down?? Great! Your next stop is #10, Judith Millers’s site. And if you get lost, a complete list of the loop with links can be found on Lisa Bergren’s website.

Don't go away just yet, how about a GIVEAWAY from JANE?

Subscribe to Jane's Story Sparks HERE to enter to win.  If you already subscribe, comment below with your email address to confirm your entry.  Easy as that!

Since my latest novel is about a memoir within a memoir, I'm giving away a copy of my own memoir Homestead about leaving suburbia and moving to rattle snake and rock ranch and how it changed my life. I'm also giving away a book to encourage your own storytelling titled Your Life is a Book: How to Craft and Sell your Memoir.
 Homestead    -     By: Jane Kirkpatrick

Have a great time on The Hunt!  Thank you for participating and showing your support for these amazing authors.  Join in our conversation below, especially if you are already subscribed to my Story Sparks.

What are you willing to take risk for, or to stand up for?