The Side Door

The Side Door began as a series of short stories from Melrose (Mel) Bird’s point of view. It grew into a novel as I realized Mel had an important journey ahead of her—-one that would open a door and expose a long-held secret.

Read more about The Side Door.




A flash fiction piece published in

Best New Writing 2015

“Mrs. Tucci's Tree”

My short story, “Mrs. Tucci’s Tree” appears in issue 8 of 34th Parallel, a wonderful small press. You can view past issues on line.

34th Parallel

“Four Shorts”

Four pieces of my flash fiction appear in Silk Road Literary Journal: “Lamp,” “Lightning,” “Shadow,” and “Reflection.”

Silk Road Issue 5.1


You can find my story “Salamader” in Milkweed Editions’ 

Stories from Where We Live: The Great North American Prairie



It’s Just the Wind

Impressionistic comedy

  • 10 minutes running time

  • Four roles: all women

  • Production:

    Boston Theatre Marathon
    Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts
    May 20, 2007

In the short play It’s Just the Wind, Pat and Gail go in search of a noise that has disturbed their sleep. Outside, on the street, they encounter two neighbors, each with their own impressions of the noise and the fickle wind.

It’s Just the Wind is meant to be non-realistic, a bit absurd, and, if acted well, poetic.

Give the Dog a Bone

give dog bone larger.jpg
  • Full length/comedy-drama

  • 90 minutes running time

  • Seven Roles: 5 women, 2 men

  • Production:
    American Cabaret Theatre Space
    Indianapolis, IN
    June 9-25, 2006

Give the Dog a Bone is a quirky, dreamlike comedy about a girl, her mother, and a bone collection.

Give the Dog a Bone needs strong actors who understand timing and dark humor. The play has a feminist edge and is told from the point of view of an adolescent struggling to discover her very own bones.


  • Monologue/drama

  • Approx. 10 minutes running time

  • One role: woman

  • Production:
    Bloomington Playwrights Project
    Bloomington, IN
    February 25-27, 1988
    Reprised June 17-18 2005 for Bloomington Playwrights Project 25 Year Anniversary Celebration

In this monologue, the audience becomes an Oklahoma Depression Era church congregation as Annie gets up to testify, blaming the dust bowl storms for destroying her faith, her land, and a close friend.


  • One-act/comedy-drama

  • 30 minutes running time

  • Three roles: all women

  • Two Productions:
    Indiana University T300 Black Box, Indiana University, 1986
    ACTF Regional Festival, South Bend, IN, January 1987


  • One-act/comedy-drama

  • 30 minutes running time

  • Three roles: all women

  • Production:
    Bloomington Playwrights Project
    Bloomington IN
    August-Sept 1987

A “prequel” to Whisper StoriesAunt Elinor’s Closet brings us back to the day when Milly and Grace meet, brought together by the unlikely matchmaking skills of Milly’s Great Aunt Elinor.


  • Full Length/drama-comedy

  • 90 minutes running time

  • Eight roles: 5 women, 3 men

  • Production:
    Green Candle Theatre Company
    Burlington, Vermont
    February 9-17, 1996

The Burlington Free Press, in its review (Feb 1996), states, “The play deals with two young women, Grace and Milly, meeting at Milly’s great aunt’s, their subsequent deepening love, and the reactions to their relationship from both families. That’s it in a nutshell, but the meat picked out of this particular nutshell by author Jan Donley does not depend overly much on established clichés, either in language or in plotting. It works because it is simple. It works because the side problems that develop contribute to the plot and do not leave us at the end with a handful of unresolved strands.”