Welcome to the Halvorson Times!

A weekly update from Odin Halvorson

Welcome to the Halvorson Times!
Here I am in a workshop at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference!

Hello! Welcome to my new weekly newsletter, where I share the eclectic goings-on from my weekly life. You’ll have paywall-free access to my top posts on Medium, highlights from my time around the internet, weekly videos and book reviews, and more!

If you’re receiving this initial newsletter directly in your inbox, it’s because we’re friends or family and I imported your email (no hard feelings if you unsubscribe, I know all about email overload syndrome). If you’re reading it on my substack site, you’re joining at a later date. Either way, I’m so glad to have the chance to share what I’m working on with you.

What to expect

I accomplish a lot on a weekly basis as part of multiple initiatives. That was the initial reason I wanted a newsletter: to keep track of everything I’m doing, just for myself!

I post daily short stories and articles to Medium on a wide variety of topics, I create regular videos as part of the YouTube channel I run with Katie, I share regular book reviews over at The Strand… and that’s only part of my week!

You’ll get one-stop access to all of that, plus Newsletter-only content.

  • My daily wordcount for various projects, like my in-progess novels.
  • Videos, photos, and audio recordings just for you!
  • Tips on writing, editing, and productivity.
  • App recommendations.
  • Movie recommendations.
  • Weekly recipes (that I’ve actually served that week for dinner)!
  • And more!
The Sheraton in Surrey served AMAZING sliders.

For instance, last week, I was in Canada for the Surrey International Writer’s Conference. There were some incredible workshops, panels, and keynote speakers that I would have loved to share on more than just a social media post. As part of this newsletter, I can!

Why a Newsletter?

I create an eclectic range of content, and juggle a ton of different balls at any given time. I needed a single place to highlight everything I do! I’m a community builder, and I’m continually looking for the chance to be a positive influence to the people around me. This newsletter not only allows me to centralize my projects, it gives me the opportunity to give back to everyone who supports me—by sharing advice, news, tips, tricks, and a little hope, every week.

Thank you so much for signing up, and I can’t wait to connect with you in the weeks ahead!

What’s new? A Preview!

October was a busy month for me. I worked hard to wrap up work on the Round Table Radio podcast, and took a trip to the Surrey International Writer’s Conference in Canada (yes, the one Diana Gabaldon attends, she’s just as awesome in person as you’d expect).

Diana Gabaldon (author of Outlander) gave a great talk on tension construction at the Surrey conference!


I’m no longer writing for Howchoo.com, as they’ve been purchased by an evil venture capitalist and refuse to pay their writers a living wage (we all left). But that just means that I have more time for my work! Next year is going to become extremely busy for me, so there’s no better time than now to double down on my personal projects.

As part of my “morning pages” initiative, I’m writing a piece of micro-fiction every weekday that will go up on Medium. If you’re a writer or creative type, feel free to think of these as prompts for your own work.

One of my pieces this week was about maps and landscapes in science fiction and fantasy! Geography in fantasy and science fiction has become a bit of a pet project for me, ever since I wrote my MFA thesis on the subject. Since then, I’ve led workshops on the topic and presented on it at conferences.

I’ve also continued to make progress on my novel! After meeting with two agents and an editor at the Surrey conference, I decided to take my completed novella and turn it into a short 80,000 word novel. Why? Novels sell better, and I had enough content in the story to make it work. My goal is to complete the draft by November 30th.

My first-ever poutine experience while I wrote a new chapter, in Vancouver.

I’ve wanted to write more book reviews for a while now. Getting paid to do reviews for Analog Science Fiction and Fact this year was a treat, and I’m currently planning a new series that I hope will be released through The Strand Mystery Magazine. I’ll share those as they arrive.

Other projects

I’ve taken up a new daily walking routine, so expect to see pictures from that each week. Overall, diving into another push for better health and fitness, despite the ongoing pressure of chronic health issues! I’d love to share that journey toward health with all of you. From cooking recipes from around the world, to exploring new exercise habits, there’s a lot that goes into this.

This weekend, I helped Katie shoot her outfit collection for the #5wears challenge from the incredible clothes designer Son de Flor. Vote for her looks here!

I also have a new YouTube series debuting soon, all about what it’s like to do a Master in Library and Information Science degree… oh, didn’t you know? I’m fully enrolled in the 2023 Winter class for the San Jose State University librarianship program! I decided to undertake an MLIS program because my resume, as it currently stands, is eclectic… but beneath the MLIS umbrella it all suddenly makes sense. I also have strong opinions about how the public library system is the last bastion of public socialization in the United States, and I’d love to devote my time to supporting them.

I’ll share those videos about the MLIS as they come out, here, but please subscribe to the channel Katie and I run together! That way you’ll never miss the cool stuff we do.

Related to this, my work with EveryLibrary continues! EveryLibrary is the only political action committee fighting for libraries in the United States! I’m working with them on an extremely exciting new project dedicated to defending the First Amendment from attacks by conservative book-banning activists and scary special interest groups.

In news closer to home, the RoundTable Writers group continues to grow! We’ll have various write-ins during November to keep you on track for National Novel Writing Month. Our podcast is reaching the end of season two! The podcast is hosted by yours truly and has a bunch of awesome guests this season.

Movies, shows, and apps

In the future, I’ll solicit questions from my readers here about all matters media and tech. Your questions are my privilege to research and expound upon. For this preview, I’ll just make a couple of highlights.

Movie: Jacobs Ladder (1990)

Jacob's Ladder Remake Comes Back to Life with a New Writer

Wowzer, was this a doozy of a film. I spent the evening with some good friends the other day and finally watched this psychological horror gem. It had been on my list for a long time, but I’d never gotten around to it, and I’m glad I did. Perfect for the spooky season. The film is about a Vietnam veteran who begins to see horrible things out of the corners of his eyes. Soon, he finds himself doubting his sanity and the fabric of reality itself, thrust into dimensions beyond his ken. It’s a great film, and fans of psychological horror, as well as fans of the Silent Hill franchise, will approve.

Recommendations for Halloween:

Apps: Discord

As we see huge problems emerge with Twitter now that Musk is in control, many people are wondering where they can turn to find community. As it happens, a lot of people are eschewing large and open social media services altogether in favor of a program called Discord. Originally developed for the geek and gaming crowd, it’s since become a powerful mix of Slack and Zoom, boasting everything from forums to video chat features. My dad’s side of the family has one for family chats, I run one for Www.RoundTableWriters.org, and I’m a part of many more that niche down around writing, or specific conferences, or video games. If you haven’t checked it out yet, why not go and join the Round Table Writers discord to see what it’s like for yourself! If you’re confused, reach out to me, and I’ll be happy to give you some pointers.

I’ll have more in-depth app reviews available in coming months on everything from note-taking solutions to web browsers.

Well, that’s it for week one! Next week, I’ll have a more detailed collection of my projects. I’ll also be working to curate what goes out to you so that I’m communicating what matters most! Please — leave a comment if you enjoy what I do, share this newsletter with friends and family, and subscribe (if you haven’t already) to help me continue doing what I do best.

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