Downstate Story

Welcome to Downstate Story

Welcome to
Downstate Story


  • We're a not-for-profit literary magazine daring to be different. (We're also a pioneer website! See the original design, above.)
  • We offer original, exciting, illustrated short stories for every taste.
  • We're reader-oriented and want your reactions... Email us at [email protected]
  • Check out the links below.

NEW: The 2021 edition is a web-only publication, available at The Facebook page is here.
It will be our last issue -- 30 years is enough.


And here's a link to a story in the Peoria Journal Star about the 2016 edition.

Here's a link to a comment by author Kent McDaniel which includes reviews of some of the Vol. 21 stories.

VOL. 20, the 2011 edition, and other back issues are still available. Order now, at the link below where you print out and mail an order, or at the site, where you can use our service, Democracy Engine.

Watch the 2012 video interview on Downstate Story, by The Peorian magazine. It's in there somewhere.

Listen to the March 13, 2011 podcast interview of publisher Elaine Hopkins done for the Illinois Central College radio station, WAZU-FM

Here's a well done Pekin Times story about Vol. 19.

The reviews are always good. Read a news story about Vol. 18 in the Peoria Journal Star.

Site Contents:

Entire site copyright ©1992-2022 by Downstate Story, Inc.
Original site design by Eldon Brown.
1998 Update by Ted Eselgroth, [email protected]

Tables of Contents

“The Dreamer,” by Douglass G. Norvell.
“Frog,” by Steve Meiss.
“The Smartest Man in the World,” by Forrest Robinson.
“Face to Face” by Cinda Thompson.
“The Gift of Love,” by Yvonne M. Grapes.
“The Quilt,” by Ginger H. Wheeler
“Sixty-Eight and Single,” by Gayle Arrowood.
“Murder Most Fowl,” by Jessica J. Frasca, illustrated by the author.
“Tougher Than Most,” by Jim Courter.
“Maxwell Forest and the Wanna Bee,” by Don Axt.
Original art by Loretta Hoback and S. LaMont Waithe.
“Mayor Ben,” by Cinda Thompson.
“One Quality Hour,” by Don Axt.
“The Killing,” by James R. Heuer.
“The Bad Antique Dealer,” by W. G. Bliss.
“The Paterkiller,” by Jessica J. Frasca, illustrated by the author.
“Rings,” by Irene Sedeora.
“Kate at Work,” by Orville Starnes.
“The Last Word,” by Kristel Taylor.
“The Ideal Spouse,” by David Quinn.
“In Stitches,” by Jim Courter.
Original art by Gary Schwartz, photos by Keith Berry.
“Value City,” by Bernadette Bartlett.
“The Yellow Brick Road,” by Brian Cooper.
“The Electric Chair,” by C. L. Shurtleff.
“The Caller,” by Kristel Taylor.
“Fidelis,” by Thomas Laird.
“The Love Seat,” by Steve Meiss.
“Growing Up Slowly,” by Claire Hutchison.
“Baby Eyes,” by Jessica Frasca, illustrated by the author.
“Girl from Pandora, Iowa,” by Don Axt.
“Deus Ex Machina,” by Burt Raabe.
Original art by Penny Wang and S. LaMonte Waithe, photos by Keith Berry.
“LuEllen on Oprah” by Pamela M. Patton
“Addiction” by Claire N. Hutchison
“Baby, Tonight” by Lori Westermeier
“1968” by Cinda Thompson
“Mallards” by C. L. Shurtleff
“Rock River Paradise” by Kristel Taylor
“The Perfect Man” by Kathy O'Hara
“The Window of Opportunity” by Constance Stepe
“That Miserable, Sadass Shaman” by Don Axt
“Stop Me If I Make A Mistake” by Robert Grindy
Original art by Jacki Willis and Anthony Hirner.
“Ambitions" by Jessica J. Frasca
"Twine God Story" by Daniel Gerdes
"The Open Window" by Louise Muehe
"Scat" by James Plath
"Not the Virgin Mary" by Cinda Thompson
"Breakfast with Jesus" by Don Axt
"Places" by Kristel Taylor
"Ghosts by Thomas Laird
"Green Hands of God" by Jerry Kilbride
"Hot and Gritty" by Tom Brand
Original art by Wayne Forbes, Christy Goodman and Julie Wyckoff
"The Shirt" by Pepper Bauer
"The Man With the Rusty Mustache by Don Axt
"Children We Have Something to Tell You" by Marie Micheletti
"Taking Care" by Jessica Frasca
"One Last Time" by Jeffrey D. Sandrone
"Red Light, Green Light" by Debra R. Borys
"The Hitchhiker" by Ray Pierce
"A Matter of Suicide" by Gary King
"The Business of Dying " by Amy L. Davis
"Short on Top" by Carolyn Owen
Original art by Preston Jackson, Eric Bell and Brenda Hanshaw
"Birds of a Feather" by Kate Burgauer
"Mime" by Barry Schwartz
"Romance" by Laura Winton
"Space Shoot" by Ray Pierce
"Libby and the Deer" by O. Starnes
"Women of Robert" by Karen Lagerbloom
"Rattlesnake Stare" by Michael Berry
"Where Have You Gone Maxwell Perkins" by Tom Laird
"The Cow" by Tom Snee
"Dirty Laundry" by Charles Rammelkamp
Original art by Bob Emser, Brenda Hanshaw and Sheilagh Foster
_______________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY VOL. VIII, 1999
"Walking Back" by Catherine Lawless
"Sixties or Bust" by Arnold Edwards
"In Memoriam" by Pepper Bauer
"Bread and Circuses" by Kate Burgauer
"Dante's Dilemma" by Tom Laird
"Gardening" by Leslie Farnsworth
"I Don't Want to Go to Heaven" by Mike Standaert
"City News" by Lydia Webster
"Lucid Moments" by Cinda Thompson
"Transactions" by Tom Snee
Original art by Daniel Botkin, Rose Haynes and Sheilagh Foster Hill
__________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY Vol. IX, 2000
"My Paper Angel," by Gwen Dina
"Discussing Politics with My One True Love," by Michael Downs
"Spitting Image," by Thomas Laird
"Death's Apprentice," by Bryan A. Bushemi
"You Bet Your Life," by Jessica Frasca
"Screaming Eagle," by Kate Burgauer
"Zinnias," by Steve Fay
"Mates," by Carol Howell
"Adoption," by Daniel Botkin
"Hoops," by Raymond Pierce
Original art by Vin Luong, Daniel Botkin and Jessica Frasca
_______________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY, Vol. X, 2001
"Wake Me When It's Over," by Raymond Pierce
"It's Not the Money," by Jim Courter
"Willie the Wisp," by Norman V. Kelly
"Tobacco Juice," by K. G. Kalb
"Incorporation," by Pepper Lambie Bauer
"Fallout," by Deborah Correnti
"Black Ribbon," by Barbara Johnson-Haddad
"The Lake Story," by Nicholas Antosca
"If Life Were Music," by Arnold L. Miller
"The Phone Call," by Dina Rabadi
Original art by Brenda Hanshaw and Rose Haynes
_______________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY, Vol. XI, 2002
"Quilt Pieces," by Kate Varness
"Train of Thought," by Josiah McClellan
"Midwinter Lightning," by Jean Z. Slonneger
"Will Work for Food," by O. Starnes
"Hot Tub Romance," by Gary King
"On the Occasion of Hemmingway's 100th," by Patrick Riley
"An Early Winter," by Patrick Archer
"The Visit," by W. C. Scheurer
"I Feel Your Pain," by Pepper L. Bauer
"Paying Attention," by Rita Haag
Original art by Connie Andrews and Ed Levene
_______________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY,Vol. XII, 2003
"July 4, 2002," by Allen Hartter
"P.O.W." by Marion Spillman
"Mabel and Ivy," by Erin Pringle
"WWW.GETHSEMANE.COM," by Mary Gannon
"How I Got Saved," by Carol Manley
"Midwest Adventures," by Gloria M. Hedberg
"Owl," by Ray Pierce
"Half the Man," by Marqus P. Bobesich
"Catatonic," by Pepper L. Bauer
"Vindictive," by Jeff Poolev
Original art by Ed Levene
_______________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY, Vol. XIII, 2004
"Chicago Eve," by M. W. King
"Lunch Date," by Eva Schultz
"A Prayer for Rain," by Norm Kelly
"A Door of Her Own," by Eric Johnson
"A Cry from the Edge of the World," by Chad Wys
"The Twelve Roses of Christmas," by Shirley Splittstoesser
"Riding With Otis," by Stephen M. Dare
"In Bloom," by Bill Oberg
"No Strings Attached," by Susan Duke
"Snake in the Stairwell," by W. Aaron Wilson
Original art by Ed Levene and Connie Andrews
_______________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY, Vol. XIV, 2005
"Witch's Wand" by C. E. Jones
"The Safety Zone," by Keir Graff
" A Spring Day," by Jean Shrier
"Absolutely Zeke's Blues," by Kent McDaniel
"Living Pressure," by Bob Liter
"Tomorrow is a Brand New Day," by Pepper L. Bauer
"Squall in Plain Quiet," by Amy Ealy
"Children of the Light," by Nancy Swanborn
"Present," by Kimberley Donald
"Say 'Cheese,'" by Gordon Petry
Original art by Ed Levene and Emily Davis
_______________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY, Vol. XV, 2006
"Two Falls," by Jim Courter
"Madam Maria, Seer of All," by M.W. King
"The Sink Hole," by Stephanie Freele (now in book form, see
"Just Like Her Father," by Joyce Frohn
"The Assignation," by Pepper L. Bauer
"Once Inside," by Ruth Cox Anderson
"Even Steven," by Tracey Baldwin
"Liverwurst," by Ray Pierce
"Jason and the Tit Lady," by Dan Seiters
"Buddy's Magic," by Gordon Petry
Original art by Ed Levene, Amy Frasca, Gabriele Dabasinkaite and Connie Andrews
_______________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY, Vol. XVI, 2007
"The Joining," by Pepper L. Bauer
"Killing Time," by Eric Strand
"Top Down Day," by Bud Bartlett
"Mile Markers," by Lorie Kolak
"Lady Justice," by Kimberley Donald
"From the Bowl of the Spoon," by Dick Quinn
"Crayola," by Connie Steppe
"My Arrival in Horseshoe, Nevada," by Susan Srikant
"Soil Searching," by Robert E. McKown
"Anna's Eyes," by Robert McEvilia
Original art by Amy Fraska, Ed Levene and Bill Whitney
_______________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY, Vol. XVII, 2008
"Escape Velocity," by Jean Shrier
"Next Move," by David C. Metz
"A Trick," by Jim O'Loughlin
"Ward Off Crosses," by Bridget Fallen
"The Case of the Greedy Oil Barons," by Pepper L. Bauer
"Romance" by Jim Courter
"The Assignment," by Marie Anderson
"Pizza Night," by Kelli Landon
"Uncle Joe, the Hero," by M.W. King
"A Tall Man," by John Harvey
Original art by Ed Levene, Jessica Frasca and Bonnie Gahris
_______________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY, Vol. XVIII, 2009
"The Box Under the Bed," by Marie Anderson
"Among Equals," by Maria King Carroll
"Accomplice" by Dick Bentley
"Smiling Through the Tears" by Pepper L. Bauer
"Get a Job," by Elaine Tuman
"Freaks," by A. R. Braun
"Premature Death" by John Pollard
"This and That," by Kent McDaniel
"A Puzzling Solution," by Connie Stepe
"The Drowning Hour" by Arlynn Presser
Original art by Ed Levene, Amy Frasca and A. R. Braun
______________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY, Vol. XIX, 2010
"No More, No Less," by Robert Herzog
"Al Capone Slept Here," by Dennis Shannon
"What Ever Happened to Gloria?" by Connie Stepe
"Ida Schupp Does Attitude Adjustment" by Don Axt
"River Rats," by Kelly Robinson
"The Call of the Mild," by Norman Kelly
"Arnie Goes With the Flow," by Jessica Frasca
"Four Brothers Foregrounded," by Richard Holinger
"Of Flies and Men," by Pepper L. Bauer
"Bad Things," by Marie Anderson
Original art by Ed Levene and Amy Frasca
_______________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY, Vol. XX, 2011
"Oscar's Animated Shorts," by T. R. McKay
"Jesus Loves Me,This I Know," by Pepper Lambie Bauer
"Catharsis-Cox,," by A. Tacuma Roeback
"Bear Hunter," by Ray Pierce
"Self-Regard," by James Linn
"Chalk Lines," by Derek Kohlhagen
"Odd Man Out," by Jim Courter
"Twenty-five Years is Silver," by Janice Croom
"The Blood That Binds," by C.D. Baker
"In This Small Town," by Dan Hankner
Original art by Amy Frasca and Ed Levene
_______________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY, Vol. XXI, 2012 (on the Web, free.)
"Compulsion," by Pepper L. Bauer
"Variance," by Jim Courter
"That's the Way with Mens," by Don Axt
"No Comparison," by Susan F. Duke
"Or Someplace Shining," by Kent McDaniel
"Field Station 134," by Elaine Fowler Palencia
"A Story Never Heard," by Terry Cobb
"Greed Takes Over the Human Soul," by Gary R. Hoffman
"A Solo in Two-Part Harmony," by B.F. McCune
"Anna's Hair," by Stefani Christova
_______________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY, Vol. XXII, 2013 (on the Web, free)
"For Reasoms Unknown) A Sudden Madness)" by Adam Middleton-Watts
" No Picnic" by Greg Jenkins
" Love Me Tender," by Melanie Doweiko
" Selected Excerpts from the Detwiler Journal," by Ralph Hayes
"Dry Run," by Margaret Lisle
"Cows Don't Know," by Rebecca L. Monroe
"But Not For Me," by Gordon Petry
"Eugene," by David Seaman
"Edward Opulence - Magician Extraordinaire," by Michael McGlade
"The Perfect Plan," by Deborah Schubbe
_______________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY, VOL. XXIII, 2014 (on the Web, free.)
"The Heart of Deception," by Grazina Smith
"Three Reasons for Working Out," by Matt LeShay
"Divorced Twice, Two Kids, No Pool," by Mary Rodriguez
"Easy's," by Tom Graham
"Good Men," by David Alan Goldstein
"Blood Sausage," by Mardelle L. Fortier
"My Soul To Take," by Gordon Petry
"Killing Kathy," by Cathryn Goodman
"My Yoga Journal," by Pepper L. Bauer
"Private Woods," by Barbara Schmidt
_______________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY, VOL. XXIV, 2015 (on the Web, free.)
"Urgency," by Margaret Brinton
"Myrtle," by Pepper L. Bauer
"The Distance, by Susan Duke
"Heartbeats," by Paul Cioe
"Change of Color," by Marie Anderson
"A Double Whammy," by Margaret Lisle
"Her Viewpoint," by Rebeca Lane/T.F. Farnsworth
"Xmas Gift," by Thomas S. Lane
"Words and Music," by Steve Slavin
"Blueprints," by Harris Leonard
_______________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY VOL. XXV, 2016 (on the Web, free.)
"Scaredy Cat," by Marie Anderson
"Cliche Caper," by Pepper L. Bauer
"Something Outrageous," by Daniel Botkin
"Military Maneuvers," by James Chmura
"Charles Wants to Know Why," by Jim Courter
"In Due Season," by Susan Duke
"Myra," by Matt LeShay
"Counting Flowers on the Wall," by Kent McDaniel
"Ancient Days," by Connie Cook Smith
"Bucko," by Grazina Smith
_______________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY VOL. XXVI, 2017 (On the Web, free.)
"Free to a Good Home," by Grace Kuikman
"Life is but a Dream," by Loren Logsdon
"The Map of Florence," by Jim Courter
"The Great Party Barge Battle," by Dennis Shannon
"Meme Magic," by Pepper Bauer
"It's a Great Life if You Don't Weaken," by Don Maurer
"You Slow it Down," byAlysssa Murphy
"A Morning Shave," by Paul Bowman
"Mystery Gifts," by Marie Anderson
"Cash Lemont," by Margaret Lisle
_______________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY VOL. XXVII, 2018 (On the Web, free.)
"It's What You Do," by Marie Anderson
"Campo del Alfareo," by David Seaman
"Symmetry," by Jim Courter
"The President's New Suit," by Harry Lowther
"Riders on the Storm," by Kent McDaniel
"The City Boy and the Village Chicken," by Connie Cook Smith
"Everything is OK," by Paul Bowman
"Fool's Gold," by Susan Duke
"A Dream," by Jim Haase
"Behind Closed Doors," by Loren Logsdon
_______________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNSTATE STORY VOL. XXVIII, 2019 (On the Web, free.)
"Home," by Pepper L. Bauer
"Retrograde" by Ralph Hayes
"The New Girl," by Connie Cook Smith
"Till Time and Times Are Done," by Loren Logsdon
"Under Wraps," by Susan Duke
"Homecoming," by Jessica Gorogianis
"Keep the Tree Lights Burning," by Audrey Carli
"Men's Work," by Arlene Shovald
"Pink Palace," by Marie Anderson
"Devotion and Deception," by Grazina Smith
_______________________________________________________________________________________ Downstate Story, Vol. XXIX (29), 2020 (On the Web, free.)
"A First Date," by Margaret Shafer
"The Haunted Cell Phone," by Jason Siber
t "Senior Prom," by Arlene Shovald
"Four Second Response," by James Chmura
"Wrong Way," by Marie Anderson
"Inspiration in a Family Tragedy," by Audrey Carli
"Help Wanted," by Grace Kuikman
"The Connoisseur," by Jim Courter
"The Interview," by Brett Warnke
_______________________________________________________________________________________ Downstate Story, Vol. XXX (30) 2021 (On the Web, free)
"A Serpent in the Garden,"by Jim Courter
"If I Loved You," by James Wilhelm
"Roger," by Laura McPherson
"Eve," by Jason Sibert
"Hex," by Jackson Courter
"The Crone," by Elise Warner
"Love is Blind," by Arlene Shovald
"Graduation Ended Our Love," by Audrey Carli
"Love Divided," by Natalie Dale
"Conversation With a Deer Mouse," by Pepper L. Bauer
________________________________________________________________________________________ Entire site copyright ©1992-2022 by Downstate Story, Inc. Original site by Eldon Brown 1998 Update by Ted Eselgroth, [email protected]

How to Order Print Issues of Downstate Story

Downstate Story
How to Order

To Order the Print Editions of Downstate Story:

Print out and mail this page, with check or money order enclosed.
(Yes, we know that's low-tech, but we're old fashioned about some things! At least we pay the postage!)

OR -- to buy using Democracy Engine, click here.

Yes! Send me ______ copies of Vol. I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV.XV.XVI. XVII, XVIII, XIX.XX. Circle choice(s).

I enclose (US Dollars):

  • $10 for 1 copy. Second copy of same issue is $6. (Website discount!)
  • $17 for 2 different issues
  • $25 for 3 different issues
  • $55 for all 19 issues, Vol. 1-20. (The artwork alone makes Downstate Story a collector's item!) And the stories are timeless.)
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Downstate Story makes a terrific gift! Great for libraries and waiting rooms, too! Add additional names, addresses, etc. as appropriate.  Good fiction is never dated.
Mail to:
Downstate Story
1825 E. Maple Ridge Dr.
Peoria, IL 61614

If the name and address you entered above is not yours (a gift recipient, for example), please also include your return address on your order. And include your email address.

Questions? Email [email protected]

Thank you!

Entire site copyright ©1992-2022 Downstate Story, Inc.
Original site by Eldon Brown.
1998 Update by Ted Eselgroth, [email protected]
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