Steel Empires: Building an Alternate History Workshop


Master Building Your Own Alternate History 

Do you find yourself working on alternate history fiction, but getting lost in the process? Practice your worldbuilding skills with author expert J.L. Gribble, who has created the critically-acclaimed STEEL EMPIRES series, and her hand-picked panel of experts.

This event is for fans of all permutations of alternate history, from the fantastic to the science-fictional and beyond. Join us for an evening of discussion and exercises, with a chance to have your own questions answered directly live during the event.

About the Presenters

J.L. Gribble

By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. She is currently working on the Steel Empires series for Dog Star Books, the science-fiction/adventure imprint of Raw Dog Screaming Press. Previously, she was an editor for the Far Worlds anthology. Gribble studied English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She received her Master’s degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, where her debut novel Steel Victory was her thesis for the program. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats.

Jay Whittaker

Jay Whittaker is an award-winning standup comedian, promising actor, avid birdwatcher and podcast producer. Originally honing his sharp wit on the streets of Los Angeles and Orange County, California; Jay Whittaker burst onto to the comedy circuit with his own distinctive comedy styling.  Jay’s upbeat performance engages the audience and keeps them continuously laughing whether he’s doing a short set or headlining. His past work can be seen in films such as;  “Cartel 2045”, “Jane & Emma” & “Jingle Belle”.  He is also a longstanding sitting member of the award-winning Geekshow Podcast, and the host of his self produced Big Lil Kid Podcast. His candid humor, stage presence and undeniable charisma are the reasons he was voted Best Utah Comedian in 2014 and Best of Fest in the 2018 Big Pine Comedy Festival among many other credits and accolades. Whether he’s rockin’ comedy clubs, pubs, corporate sales meetings or even fashion shows, his winning attitude and crowd-pleasing charm make him perfect for any audience. 

Maria V. Snyder

When Maria V. Snyder was younger, she aspired to be a storm chaser in the American Midwest so she attended Pennsylvania State University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology. Much to her chagrin, forecasting the weather wasn’t in her skill set so she spent a number of years as an environmental meteorologist, which is not all. Bored at work and needing a creative outlet, she started writing fantasy and science fiction stories. Over a dozen novels and numerous short stories later, Maria’s learned a thing or three about writing. She’s been on the New York Times bestseller list, won a half-dozen awards, and has earned her Masters of Arts degree in Writing from Seton Hill University, where she is now a faculty member. Her favorite color is red. She loves dogs, but is allergic, instead she has a big black tom cat named…Kitty (apparently naming cats isn’t in her skill set either). Maria also has a husband and two children who are an inspiration for her writing when they aren't being a distraction. Note: She mentions her cat before her family. When she's not writing she's either playing volleyball, traveling, or taking pictures. Being a writer, though is a ton of fun. Where else can you take fencing lessons, learn how to ride a horse, study marital arts, learn how to pick a lock, take glass blowing classes and attend Astronomy Camp and call it research? Maria will be the first one to tell you it's not working as a meteorologist.

Keith R.A. DeCandido

Keith R.A. DeCandido is a writer who has written many Star Trek novels. He has also done rewatches of The Next Generation , Deep Space Nine , the original series, and Voyager for He has also reviewed each episode of Discovery , Short Treks , and Picard as they come out for the same site. DeCandido was born in New York City to parents who were both fans of Star Trek. He attended Fordham University in the city. He has written tie-ins to numerous other science fiction franchises including Doctor Who , Andromeda, Farscape, X-Men, Spider Man, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as CSIand Dungeons and Dragons. He has also co-written work with John Gregory Betancourt. He has been nominated for two Scribe Awards for his Star Trekwork, in 2008 for Q&A and 2010 for A Singular Destiny , and in 2009 was named a Scribe Grandmaster for his entire body of media tie-in work.

Stay Home, Stay Safe, Have Fun

This online event features a main stage where our panel of experts will lead the workshop. You can interact with the onscreen presenters, other attendees, and event staff through the chat area, and take polls as they pop up there as well. After the workshop you can explore other areas of our virtual event space.
Then Expo area features vendors just like at a convention. Here you will find publishers, authors, other workshops, and more.
In the Networking area you can meet other attendees in speed networking sessions of 30 seconds to 3 minutes in length. If you want to maintain this connection you can exchange contact info that will be stored in your Hopin profile for later reference, just like exchanging business cards at an in-person event. The system introduces you to other attendees at random.
All you need to join us is:

  1. a Hopin account
  2. a ticket to the event
  3. a strong internet connection

Due to increased internet traffic, we recommend closing your browser and trying again if you encounter glitches. While this is rare we have received some reports of these issues and are investigating. Thank you.

Proudly Supported By


Hosted by

John Edward Lawson

Creating events in the arts space for those who cannot attend traditional conferences, workshops, and more.