Upcoming Plays

February 2, 3, and 4 in Lewisburg, WV.  My play Down on Sandusky Road is featured.




February 16, 17, and 18 in Huntington, WV




February 24 and 25 in Los Angeles, CA.  My new play Almost Heaven, about the plight of a West Virginia coal mining family, will debut as a part of this festival.

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Touring the Tri-State in March/April




March 31 on campus at Marshall University.  My monologue Daisy Wants to Be a Wrestler will be performed.

pillow talk


My playwriting students will present a showcase of their work April 7, 8, and 9 on campus at ACTC.



My short comedy, Black Friday Farce, will play at this festival in Orlando, FL May 4-7.




Snowman Diamante


With snow in the forecast, I thought I’d try my hand at a snowman shaped poem.  Why not?

Happy New Year

Cold wind blusters in

Snow cannot be far behind

And you know what that means

It is time for Winter fun

Happy Snow Day

Snowballs will fly

January brings its best as

Kids fall backward into snow angels

Wildly flapping arms and legs through drifts

soft, icy, white precipitation that fills yards, roads

And, what’s that, a 2 hour delay tomorrow

After sledding, the best part of all

Time to build a snowman

We’ll need sticky snow and a small ball

That gets bigger as it is rolled slowly through the yard

Repeat with a second and third, and stack them high as you can

Find a hat and scarf, carrot for the nose, black buttons for the eyes

Like Frosty he’ll come to life to dance and swing all worries away

And make this a most incredible and memorable day

But, alas, it is cold and darkness draws near

Not to mention, hot cocoa awaits

A Bitsy and Boots Murder Mystery is COMING SOON


“Like the Tri-State’s own country-soaked version of Tyler Perry, Jonathan Joy is becoming quite known for his quirky reoccurring characters who are making a habit of popping up…and raising a ruckus.”

-Dave Lavender (Herald-Dispatch)

“It was a wonderful play!  The people said they had never laughed so much in their lives.”

-David Dumas (Director of the Lindale, TX production)

“We love it when somebody asks us in July what Bitsy and Boots will be doing next Valentine’s Day. We love the fact that your silliness has raised around $10,000 for Mission-feeding the hungry, funding work teams, helping folks near and far.  These plays are truly the answer to “church” theater projects and beyond.”

-Jane Morse (The original Bitsy)


A decade ago Jane and Jerry Morse asked me if I would be interested in writing something for their church dinner theatre.  Jane expressed that the play should probably not have any profanity or excessive drinking.  Up to that point, most of my plays had plenty of both, so this was a challenge.

The first Bitsy and Boots play revolved around the title characters’ nephew Tommy, hesitantly bringing his fiancé home to meet the two oddball aunts that raised him.  Various complications resulted.  Audiences laughed and, before you knew it, there was a sequel…and then another…and, eventually, six plays total.  Now SEVEN.  And they’ve been tested not just in front of the awesome audiences that pack the house in Huntington year after year, but with community theatres from Michigan to Texas, too.

Our title characters have ventured into politics, traveled to the Tropics, shopped on Black Friday, and hosted a wedding, all with funny and unexpected results.

What’s in store for Bitsy and Boots now?  You can find out soon when A Bitsy and Boots Murder Mystery hits the First United Methodist Stage in Huntington, WV, February 16, 17, and 18.  Make your reservations early before they sell out.  Call (740) 867-8576 for more information or to reserve your spot.


2016 Literacy Review


A literacy review is intended to be a year end activity that focuses on what one has written, presented, published, shared, etc. in the past year as a way of reflecting, evaluating, and setting new goals for a new year.

Below is a review of the many opportunities to write and present/share my work (and sometimes the works of others), in a year where I wrote and shared more than ever.

The bar is set high for 2017, but I plan to make this year’s list even bigger and better.

(List is chronological, mostly.)


18. A Concordia College student shared my work from American Standard in competition at the KCACTF Region V theatre fest in Minneapolis.

17. For the sixth time in nine years I penned a comedy for the First Church Dinner Theatre’s annual fundraiser at First United Methodist Church.  Bitsy and Boots on the Move played in February.

16. In March I debuted my Bedtime Stories column of children’s tales in the Ashland Beacon newspaper.  By year’s end 22 of these would be published.

15. Was a featured author at March’s Writers Can Read Event at Empire Books in Pullman Square where I got to share a piece of my Kid Superheroes series (with a little help from my son) and my Porchsittin’ poem.

14. Was published in Kentucky Poet Laureate George Ella Lyon’s database of Where I’m From poems.

13. My new ten minute play Down on Sandusky Road was named both an official Inge Fest Selection in Kansas and was a Semi-Finalist for the annual Minnesota Shorts Festival.

12. Led a workshop/reading on narrative poetry and essay writing for the Spring Semester Seminar Series at Ashland Community and Technical College.

11. The 3rd Annual New Play Fest at Ashland Community and Technical College highlighted the awesome comedies and dramas of my Playwriting students.

10. My full length comedy Pilfering Rome opened the West Virginia Playwrights Festival in Clarksburg.

9. My short play, Tammy and Tom, was included in a ten minute play fest in Marlinton, WV.

8. Earned some prizes in the 2016 WV Writers Writing Contest, including three awards in the Stage Play category:  1st place for Pilfering Rome, 2nd place for Down on Sandusky Road, and an Honorable Mention for Buck Vs. The Great Chili Monster.

7. Published a collection of poetry in a poetry workbook titled What is a _____ Poem?,now available on Amazon.

6. My ten minute comedy Little Donkeys and Elephants was selected as a semi-finalist, shared at a staged reading in July, and eventually named one of 8 Finalists (out of 130 submissions) at a Political Comedy Play Festival at the Chappaqua Library in New York.

5. Read some of my favorite children’s books to first graders at Central City Elementary as a part of their annual Read to Me Day celebration.

4. My collection of seven short works, Short Plays and Monologues, was a mainstay on Amazon’s Top 100 Comedy Plays chart and topped it at #1 three times.

3. Four of my new short works debuted alongside six other plays on the second night of the ARTS New Works Fest at the Renaissance Center in Huntington.

2. Helped publish essays of a dozen of my students work in both national databases and in our local newspaper.

1. Four thousand people found their way to this The Joy of…blog to read about things to do in Huntington, happenings on campus at ACTC, my poetry, plays, and much more.