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New Downstate Story available on web

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The latest edition of Downstate Story, the yearly magazine that showcases writers from Illinois and the Midwest, is now available.

But for the first time in its 21-year history, Downstate Story — billed as Peoria's only literary magazine — has been published only electronically. It is available on the web at

Also, the magazine has a new Facebook page and can be accessed at

Elaine Hopkins of Peoria, publisher of Downstate Story, said the decision to publish this edition only on the web was not strictly a financial one.

"It is so hard to find outlets that will even carry the printed edition of the magazine. And it is really kind of a hard sell to get people to buy the printed edition," she said. The magazine had sold for $10 a copy.

"So, I thought, heck let's be modern and just put it online and see if that works," she added.

Since it no longer charges for the magazine, Downstate Story now asks readers to make donations to help with the costs of the publication. There are two ways to donate and both have links on the Downstate Story website. They include PayPal as well as a site called Democracy Engine that will collect donations for not for profit entities, such as Downstate Story.


Hopkins said she will wait and see how the online-only experiment works before deciding which way to go in the future.

"I will say it has been a real interesting project trying it this way. For one thing the authors were able to participate in the whole enterprise in ways they really couldn't with the print edition. They've enjoyed it, I think," Hopkins said.

Published by Downstate Story Inc., an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, the annual publication aims to present original fiction by Illinois writers and writers with ties to Illinois and the Midwest as a quality alternative to today's mass-market publishing.

There are 10 news short stories in the 2012 edition of Downstate Story. The authors are The writers in this issue are Pepper Bauer of Mapleton; Don Axt of Peoria; Susan Duke of East Peoria; Elaine Fowler Palencia of Champaign; Jim Courter of Macomb; Kent McDaniel of Chicago; Terry Cobb of Harris, Missouri; Gary Hoffman of Okeehobee, Fla.; Bonnie McCune of Denver, Colo.; and Stefani Christova of Longmont, Colo.

Some facts about Downstate Story include:

1.  It is politically correct. Contributors are paid for their work and no government funds are used. 

2.  There is something for everyone. Stories reflect diversity of authors, and include romance, horror, fantasy, mainstream fiction.

3.  Promotes quality reading. The content is realistic but not X-rated.

4.  It promotes Illinois and Midwestern writers and artists.

5.  It represents an unusual concept for the arts. It provides an outlet for local writers and artists to reach local audiences for free.

6.  All the stories are original work. None have been published before.

7.  The stories and art are quality work, comparable to work in Harpers, Atlantic, and The New Yorker.

8.  There is no poetry.

9.  There is no advertising.

10. It is a unique experiment in publishing, asking for donations instead of fee.


Paul Gordon is editor of The Peorian. He can be reached at 692-7880 or

About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).