Birthday Cake

She was ninety-three and had nineteen nine-inch diameter chocolate birthday cakes from Bill Knapp’s restaurant in her basement freezer. How could she say no? They were a free gift, no coupon necessary. Each cake came with a sixteen-year-old waitress smiling straight rows of braces; with a balding manager clapping chapped hands to that tune everyone loved. (Except her, the ditty going round and round her brain and into her dreams, waking her at 3:00 am. Alone.)…

Marjorie Maddox is a Sage Graduate Fellow of Cornell University (MFA) and Director of Creative Writing and Professor of English at Lock Haven University. Her short story collection, What She Was Saying, was published by Fomite Press 2017). She has had five chapbooks and over 450 poems, stories, and essays in journals and anthologies.  In addition, Marjorie is the co-editor of Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (PSU Press 2005) and an author of two children’s books from Boyds Mills Press. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Marjorie lives with her husband and two children in Williamsport, PA. Read more at

The Dream Catcher

Gray, of Gray’s Agency, sat at his desk, the neon sign outside flashing, rain dripping against the window. It was dusk.

He heard the door down the hallway open, and looked up to see a man in a mackinaw on his threshold. His face was sharp with shadows.

“My name is Rogers,” the man said, approaching Gray. He stopped and took a deep breath. “And you’re a dream thief.” It wasn’t a question.

“I am.”

“I have a job for you.” His mouth twisted to the side. He had made up his mind, Gray decided, but it had been a struggle.

“There was a woman…,” Gray prompted him…..

Karen Heuler’s stories have appeared in over 100 literary and speculative magazines and anthologies, from Conjunctions to Clarkesworld to Weird Tales, as well as a number of Best Of anthologies. She has received an O. Henry award, been a finalist for the Iowa short fiction award, the Bellwether award, the Shirley Jackson award for short fiction (twice), and a bunch of other near-misses. She has published four novels and three story collections, and in July Aqueduct Press released her novella, In Search of Lost Time, about a woman who can steal time.

I Am Not Damian Lewis

Stealing the piece of Evander Holyfield’s dismembered ear that was bitten off by Mike Tyson from a rich man’s safe was my best friend Aaron’s idea. He wanted Real Deal’s ear back. He’d lost it in a poker game….

Michael Nye is the author of the story collection Strategies Against Extinction (Queen’s Ferry Press, 2012) and the novel All the Castles Burned forthcoming from Turner Publishing in February 2018. He was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He attended the Ohio State University, where he graduated with a BA in English Literature, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he earned his MFA in creative writing. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in American Literary Review, Boulevard, Cincinnati Review, Crab Orchard Review, EpochKenyon ReviewNew South, Normal SchoolSou’wester, and South Dakota Review, among many others. His work has been a finalist for the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in fiction and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He and his wife live in Washington D.C.

The Mother and the Rock Star

Jesse shuts his eyes to the hotel room’s stark white décor. Imagines he is in a French bordello. Thick velvet drapes framing the window. A soft canopy above the bed. Brass table lamps with beaded shades. He leans back on his elbows, kicks off his sneakers. He likes a good firm mattress….

Deborah Batterman is the author of Shoes Hair Nails (short stories) and Because My Name Is Mother (essays). A native New Yorker, she is a Pushcart nominee and took 3rd place in the Women’s National Book Association 2012 Short Fiction Contest. Her stories and essays have appeared in anthologies as well as various print and online journals, including Akashic Books Terrible TwosdaysEvery Mother Has a Story, Vol. 2 (Shebooks/Good Housekeeping), Open to Interpretation: Fading Light (Taylor & O’Neill), and Mom Egg Review, Vol. 14.

The Lost Boy

The red velvet curtain rises. Music plays, a piece heavy with woodwinds, flittering flutes set off by the depth of oboes and clarinets. The lights above the aquarium shoot rays of violet and neon pink through the water. The smell of chlorine is strong, but it doesn’t bother the boy; it smells like sanitation, like germs burning away into the ether….

Brittany Kerfoot is a writer, dancer, and lover of animals. She watches way too much reality television, and, by a normal person’s standards, listens to an alarming amount of true crime podcasts. An obsession with the strange led her to research and write about everything from sex dolls to mermaids to trolls in Iceland. When she’s not Netflix-bingeing, adopting yet another pet, or teaching English at her alma mater, Brittany fantasizes about a life as an interior decorator to the rich and famous, island-hopping, and owning a goat farm.

The Dolphin

When the dolphin appears in Ava Long’s swimming pool, she thinks at first it is a shadow, the gray outline of a zeppelin circling above her house. Then, the gray sliver flicks its tail and dives to the bottom of the amoeba-shaped pool, and Ava thinks the neighborhood kids are playing some sick joke on her….

Jaclyn’s fiction and poetry have been published in a number of literary magazines, including Ploughshares, Blackbird, Columbia Poetry Review, The Journal, Rattle, Prairie Schooner, New Ohio Review, and Witness. She earned an MFA from the University of Notre Dame and a PhD in Creative Writing from Florida State University. She is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Malone University.


The kickback at the Carmichaels’ was not Riley’s idea. It was Liz’s, of course, part of her obsession with losing her virginity to Frank Marshall. A little over a year ago, Frank had been a skinny drama nerd in ill-fitting polo shirts with an unrequited crush on Liz. AIDS, Liz would call him to her friends behind his back….

Lena Valencia is the managing editor at One Story and a host of the HiFi Reading Series in Manhattan. Her work has appeared in BOMB MagazineThe Masters Review, Storychord, and elsewhere. She received her MFA in Fiction from The New School.

The Purist’s Rain

Before the locals knew Isaiah to be a man of good faith, he first became popular for being the man who collected the rainwater in large tin tubs which he placed all over his property. These tin basins were shiny silver, favoring summer solstice cauldrons. It would look like the little do-gooder was conjuring something up….

Melodie J. Rodgers is a Black southern writer who lives in Stone Mountain, Ga with her two-year old warrior child, IndigoPearl. She is presently an MFA student of Fiction at Queens University of Charlotte. Melodie is presently working on a short story collection which highlights the ongoings of under-represented characters and characters living in rural Georgia. In her daily life, she works as a Vocational Program Director for an international refugee resettlement agency.

The Woman Who

Tonight, Sarah didn’t want to get drunk with her parents. There had been too many nights of the same thing, and instead of finding comfort in the routine, it only made her feel increasingly worse about what had happened. Her parents had started drinking early and were too lost in the baseball game between the Pirates and the Marlins to cook dinner. It was a perfect opportunity, Sarah thought. She had been waiting for the perfect opportunity….

Elizabeth Green’s work has appeared in Hobart, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Wigleaf, Necessary Fiction, Cactus Heart, Fwriction: Review, Punchnels and others. She is on the editorial board for Philadelphia Stories and is a PEN Prison Writing mentor.


He’s written about this too. He’s almost sure of it. Or at least thought seriously of writing about it a number of times and jotted the incident down in his notebook as an idea for a story. That every time he sits down at his typewriter for the first time that day, or almost every time — six times out of seven, he’d say — he thinks about his wife. But not just thinks of her but of the same scene of her shouting to him from their bedroom window on the second floor of the cottage they rented in Maine that summer that she has great news for him — sometimes “the most wonderful news.” That someone from Time magazine called and said they’re going to run a review of his new book next week and are sending up a photographer from Portland to take pictures of him to go with the review….

Stephen Dixon has been nominated for the National Book Award twice, in 1991 for Frog and in 1995 for Interstate, and has earned a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Academy Institute of Arts and Letters prize for fiction, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. He graduated from the City College of New York in 1958 and is a former faculty member of Johns Hopkins University.

Eckleburg Workshops in Fiction

Short Story Workshop

Short Short Story Workshop

Novel: From Start to Finish Workshop

Magic Realism Workshop

Writing Sex in Literary Fiction: Are Your Sex Scenes Essential or Gratuitous?

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About Eckleburg Fiction

Eckleburg runs online, daily content of original fiction and hybrid including work from Richard Peabody, Cris Mazza, Eurydice, Rick Moody, Steve Almond and more…. Read hard. Write hard. “Being a good lit citizen means supporting lit pubs. Donate. Buy. I’m going to show some #AWP17 mags that you need to support…”


We accept previously unpublished and polished prose up to 8,000 words year round, unless announced otherwise.  We are always looking for tightly woven short works under 2,000 words and short-shorts around 500 words. No multiple submissions but simultaneous is fine as long as you withdraw the submission asap through the submissions system. During the summer and winter months, we run our Writers Are Readers, Too, fundraiser when submissions are open only to subscribers. During the fall and spring, we open submissions for regular unsolicited submissions.

Note: We consider fiction, poetry and essays that have appeared in print, online magazines, public forums, and public access blogs as already being published. Rarely do we accept anything already published and then only by solicitation. We ask that work published at Eckleburg not appear elsewhere online, and if republished in print, original publication credit is given to The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review. One rare exception is our annual Gertrude Stein Award, which allows for submissions of previously published work, both online and print.



1st Prize $1000 and publication. Accepting entries year round. Eligibility: All stories in English no more than 8,000 words are eligible. No minimum word count. Stories published previously in print or online venues are eligible if published after January 1, 2011. Stories can be submitted by authors, editors, publishers, and agents. Simultaneous and multiple submissions allowed. Each individual story must be submitted separately, with separate payment regardless of word count. Eckleburg editors, staff, interns and current students of The Johns Hopkins University are not eligible for entry.



1st prize $1000 and publication. Accepting entries year round. Eligibility: All stories in English and magic realism no more than 8,000 words are eligible. No minimum word count. Stories published previously in print or online venues are eligible if published after January 1, 2011. Stories can be submitted by authors, editors, publishers, and agents. Simultaneous and multiple submissions allowed. Each individual story must be submitted separately, with separate payment regardless of word count. Eckleburg editors, staff and interns are not eligible for entry. Submissions for the Franz Kafka Award are currently closed.



We publish short works at Eckleburg. At this time, we do not publish novel, long memoir, essay collections, story collections or poetry collections. We do offer manuscript workshops at The Eckleburg Workshops. If you are looking to place a manuscript, we can suggest several excellent small and large presses whose excellent books are promoted through our Eckleburg Book Club — i.e., Random House, Graywolf Press, Coffeehouse, Tinhouse, St. Martins Press and more. 

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Supporter of VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts