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Conference Blog

Kristen Gearhart

Posted by on Sep 18, 2013 in Faculty | 0 comments

Kristen Gearhart

Kristen manages acquisitions for CBH Ministries (formerly Children’s Bible Hour) and edits, develops, and markets Keys for Kids. She also manages the Seasons of Faith picture book series, which is adapted from CBH’s treasure trove of classic radio stories. Before CBH, she worked at Zonderkidz as a children’s book and Bible editor. At this time, her hobbies include posterior house painting, master bedroom renovations, kitchen facelifts, and courtyard makeovers at her Arts & Crafts home in Grand Rapids, where she lives with her husband and two cats.


CBH Ministries …because kids need Christ!

Box 1001
Grand Rapids, MI 49501-1001

From Novice Writer to Published Author

Posted by on Sep 14, 2013 in Conference Staff, Testimonies | 0 comments

From Novice Writer to Published Author

One of the best things about Maranatha is the variety of writing professionals which share their writing and marketing experiences. In the past 5 years, I have found them to be personable and willing to meet for a one-on-one conference to talk about your ideas and give suggestions on how to get it in print.

In 2011, Bill Myers, writer for Focus on the Family’s  Adventures in Odyssey and the McGee and Me series, worked with me to ‘actionate’ my first page by showing and not telling. He helped create a page-turner. If a person wants to write in the secular market of newspapers or magazines, attend Holly Miller’s workshops. Holly is the editor of the Saturday Evening Post. If you want to create story books for children, don’t miss anything Crystal Bowman offers. If you feel led to write devotionals from your life experiences, Eddie Jones is most helpful. If fantasy strikes your fancy, Brian Davis will take your writing into that new dimension.

One of my favorite writers and speakers is Carol Kent, who writes of a heart-breaking experience in her family and the triumph God brought through it. For those of us who are now published, we have to market our books through public speaking. She will lead a workshop on how to speak and promote your book.  I’m also expecting to hear great things from Ruth Graham – daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham, who wrote, In Every Pew Sits A Broken Heart. Sounds compelling and I’m sure I will learn something new from her too.

Connecting with Community

Posted by on Sep 11, 2013 in General | 0 comments

Writing is a solitary work. We sit in front of our laptops and computer screens, drawing verbal pictures to expand on lessons or experiences that have filled in the colors of our lives. We want to connect our ideas to the world, yet we thrive on the quiet imaginarium that churns between our ears. It’s no wonder that the world doesn’t quite know how to portray writers when the make a cameo appearance in TV shows or movies.

Into this disconnect between personal and public life steps the writer’s conference. Like Olympic gymnasts and swimmers who compete alone against the clock, writers work as individuals. Yet even the greatest athletes arrive at the games as part of a team. They live in the Olympic village with their brothers and sisters who share a bond. Their teammates know what it took to rise to the top of their sport. They share early-morning  practices, and the personal sacrifice it takes to become an Olympian.

Long before the world takes note and the cameras roll for the final race, the athletes’ team mates are in the stands cheering them on through the qualifying rounds. Their friends provide balance and perspective when an athlete is too focused on his or her own weaknesses, or the next hurdle.  The community makes the athlete stronger. At the end of the games, they stand together to receive recognition for their reward.

At a writing conference, writers of all levels can grow and improve their writing skills through the same experience.

  • Before our first or next book hits the shelves, we find friends who encourage us.
  • We gain insight from those who have walked the road ahead of us, and learn about all the things we didn’t know . . . that we didn’t know.
  • At a writers’ conference, we learn about the market, and what a publisher expects us to create if we want them to print our work.

I started writing 12 years ago, and after early success my computer screen and writing tablet went blank because I was trying to walk this solitary writing journey on my own. Before long, I looked around and four years had passed during which I hadn’t written anything.  A writing community helped me get back to work on the calling Jesus put on my heart in a hotel room in Texas, January 2000.

Jesus taught us through is life, words and lifestyle,  and the lesson I was slowest to learn was that of community. Even Jesus, God in the flesh, carried out his ministry in community. He was God. He could have done it all on his own. Yet Jesus set the example for his 12 closest friends that ministry takes place in the context of community. In a redemptive community, we are individually responsible, but together we find the balance, accountability, courage and strength.

In just two months the 35th annual Maranatha Christian Writers Conference kicks off the most incredible week of inspiration, education and encouragement for Christian Writers we’ve ever put together. We have keynote speakers from around the country, and sessions covering everything from fiction to social media and devotions. Check your calendar, and make sure you join us on Lake Michigan’s beautiful shores, Sept 24-28. You will learn; you will grow, and you will find community.


Gabriele Udell

Posted by on Sep 10, 2013 in Faculty | 0 comments

Gabriele Udell
Gabriele Udell serves as editor for the consumer product line at Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City (a division of Nazarene Publishing House).  Gabriele has served in several positions at Beacon Hill, including
marketing, administrative, project management, and editorial.  She has worked on titles including Angry  
Birds and Killer Bees: Talking to Your Kids about Sex; Simply Rejoicing: 12 Months with God; Developing  
a Giving Church; and A Faith of Their Own: An Experience Guide for Parents and Preteens.  She works
exclusively with nonfiction titles.
Gabriele graduated with a B.A. in English at Olivet Nazarene University in 1999 and obtained her MBA
from the University of Kansas in 2006.  During her time as an undergraduate, she also had the privilege
of studying at Oxford University, during which she developed a passion for rugby.
Gabriele and her husband Scott reside with their six-year-old son Nate in Olathe, Kansas.

Del Teachout

Posted by on Sep 10, 2013 in Faculty | 0 comments

Del Teachout

Delbert Teachout is Managing Editor for Halo Magazine. He has a PhD from Christian Bible College and Seminary (1996), an M.S. degree in Psychology from Central Missouri State University (1991), and a BA degree in Psychology from Saint Leo College. He was ordained in ministry in 2002 by Shalom Ministry, Inc.

Delbert has worked in many lay positions in the church including: nursery, children’s Sunday school, adultSunday school, church outreach director, church training director, Sunday school superintendent, and deacon, He taught Old Testament and New Testament Survey and General Psychology as an adjunct faculty for Alpena Community College.

Delbert Served in the USAF for 22 ½ years retiring as a captain.

He has more than 175 published articles in periodicals with combined circulation of over 700,000. He has recently been given the title of Managing Editor for Halo Magazine. Delbert has been married for 38 years and has 4 children and seven grandchildren.

Del wanted you to know that when he started joining us at Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference, he had never been published.

Del will be available for a limited number of consultations.

Writers Learn “How To” Write their Vision at our Conference

Posted by on Aug 22, 2013 in Celebrating Success, General, Testimonies | 0 comments

Writers Learn “How To” Write their Vision at our Conference

I felt God wanted me to somehow send a personal spiritual message to the people on my Christmas card list, but I didn’t have a clue on ”how to” do it.

Then when I attended the Marantha Writers Conference for the first time, Den Slattery provided instructions on “how to” write a Christian tract.  He not only provided information on the format, but stressed to season it with prayer.

The next year I attended the conference, I sat down with Den as he critiqued my first attempt of writing a tract.  He spoon fed me through the process and by the time I left the conference my first tract was ready to be delivered.  I want to thank him for his patience and encouragement.  I have included a tract in every Christmas card ever since then.  My daughter even uses them in her Christmas cards also.

Prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit’s guidance has been my routine in developing something new each year.  Quite often a devotional or sermon will be a catalyst in creating a new tract.  It is exciting to see what God has in store for me to write!