Welcome to the Cabin (Episode 0)

An introductory tour of the podcast, about the origin of the Cabin Tales stories, creative writing themes on fall episodes, upcoming guest authors; and a submission call for the Halloween Special Episode. 20 minutes. All ages.

Show Notes

[0:00} Intro

[1:15] What is Cabin Tales?

Cabin Tales is a podcast with an unusual format—a mix of fiction, education, and interviews. It’s really like having an author visit every week – only it’s absolutely free. And I bring talented friends with me. You don’t have to like spooky stories to enjoy this podcast. If you like books and author talks and encouragement to write your own tales, then this podcast is for you.


[1:50] The Origin of Cabin Tales

Catherine Austen developed the Cabin Tales Podcast during COVID-19 to take the place of author visits in 2020. The stories in the podcast are from her draft novel, Cabin Tales, in which four young teens tell scary stories around a campfire (while their mothers disappear one by one).


[4:00] The Podcast Format

Each episode of Cabin Tales focuses on one aspect of creative writing. Episode formats alternate thus: First is a full episode that opens with an original story, followed by excerpts from three books that exemplify the week’s theme—one for adults, one for young adults, and one for children—and a final prompt, told as a story, that listeners are invited to finish. In between readings, you get writing tips, commentary, suggested exercises, and 3 author interviews. Then the next episode features interviews with five more guest authors talking about the same creative-writing subject. So you get two weeks on each creative writing theme. We’ll alternate between these formats, “Telling Tales” and “Talking Tales,” all season.


[7:20] The Audience

The Cabin Tales Podcast is for readers and writers of all levels of experience, but especially teen writers. The kids whose schools I won’t be visiting this year. Stories told on the podcast are the sort that young people might tell around a campfire to spook their friends. Some are serious; some are silly; and some are a little scary. Consider them PG-13. For younger listeners, “fright-free” versions of episodes are available on the website at CabinTales.ca – all the good educational stuff with no scary bits.


[9:00] Where to Listen

The Cabin Tales Podcast is available through iTunes, Google Podcast, Spotify, SoundCloud, Stitcher, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, Learning out Loud, and through its host, Podbean. (Those platforms stream the original episodes only. For the fright-free versions, go to CabinTales.ca.) To be notified by email of every new episode when it comes out, follow the CabinTales.ca blog or follow Catherine on Facebook. Or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or from any other streaming platform.


[10:20] The Interviews

All episodes of Cabin Tales feature excerpts from interviews with great Canadian authors for young people. Guest authors featured in August were Caroline Pignat, Lori Weber, Tim Wynne-Jones, Karen Krossing, Jan Coates, Rachel Eugster, Amanda West Lewis, and Monique Polak. Guests featured in September include Philippa Dowding, Ishta Mercurio, Wendy MacKnight, Amelinda Berube, Robin Stevenson, Raquel Rivera, and Kari-Lynn Winters. Guests coming up in the fall include Cary Fagan, Don Cummer, Sarah Raughley, Kate Inglis, Farida Zaman, Katherine Battersby, Christine Tripp, Peggy Collins, and many more.

You’ll hear little bits and pieces from all of these interviews this fall, and you can hear complete, edited interviews with each featured author in the winter, starting January 2021.


[11:35] The Excerpts

The podcast follows guidelines of Fair Dealing with the brief excerpts of copyrighted material used to illustrate fine writing. Episode shownotes link to the sources for all of these books.


[12:30] Write your own Tale

The Cabin Tales Podcast encourages listeners to write their own tales. Episodes include suggested writing activities, and each full episode ends with a story prompt that listeners are invited to finish. Some episodes also link to creative writing mini-lessons and templates that teachers can use straight out of the box.


[14:25] The Halloween Episode

Submissions are being accepted for a special Halloween episode of Cabin Tales, which will feature just student stories. Original spooky stories of up to 2000 words. Send your story, along with a few words about yourself and when and why you wrote this story, in the body of an email to cabin(at)catherineausten(dot)com or use the form on the contact page at CabinTales.ca. Sadly, we pay you nothing but respect.


[16:45] The Cabin Tales Host, Catherine Austen

I’m an author of short stories for adults, novels for children, and reports for corporate clients. I’ve won some awards. I’ve had stories published in great literary journals. I’ve given writing workshops at schools and libraries across Canada. I live in Gatineau, Quebec.


[17:25] The Music

Music on the podcast is from “Stories of the Old Mansion” by Akashic Records, provided by Jamendo under Standard license for online use.


[17:50] What’s coming up this season

September 11: Episode 3, “Spooky Stories are all Around Us,” about getting ideas for stories. September 18th: Episode 3.5, “Author Interviews about Ideas.”

Episodes 4 and 4.5 are about Plotting.

Episodes 5 and 5.5 are about creating tension.

October 23rd: “There’s More than One Way to Tell a Story,” interviews with Canadian illustrators.

October 30th, “Spooky Stories by Student Writers.”

November and December episodes about Beginnings and Endings; Narrative Voice; and Revision

A final December episode about the creative process and how to develop a writing practice.

In January we’ll begin a season of author interviews.

(Monster-movie line: “I got a goddamned plan!”)


[19:35] Thanks for listening

If you like the show, please link to it on your social media, and share it with your writer-friends and reader-friends and teacher-friends, and together we’ll get it into the ears of young writers and say to them: Write your own tale. Here’s how.


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