Hi! I’m Jonathan Lovelace, an aspiring author, occasional poet, game designer, software developer, and 2009 graduate of Calvin College. Welcome to the Shine Cycle Online!

From 2010 through mid-2014, this blog tried to feature a new post in each of four quite different “departments” every week, and thereafter the same four “departments” continued in a looser schedule. Since this organization appears to confuse some newcomers, I’ve written this “sticky” post to introduce myself, the blog, and its subjects—briefly here, and in more detail after the jump.

But first, I should mention the sharing policy (I encourage you to link to and otherwise share my work, and permit you to make personal archival copies, but other than that please don’t copy my work) and the comment policy (aside from the usual common-sense items you’d expect, please comment on the post you’re commenting about, rather than wherever you happen to be!); I encourage you to read them.

From childhood, I’ve had a story in my head that I feel called to write. That “big work,” tentatively titled “the Shine Cycle,” is the original nominal topic of this blog, but now is only one of the four “departments.” This part of the blog, which originally ran on Mondays, includes background essays about the story and its world (and “writing status updates” about monthly).

I’ve also had poetry “come to me” on occasion since high school. For a while—from late 2009 on—I posted a new poem here on the blog each Friday, and I continue to post them when I have new ones to post. This is the most popular “department” of the blog.

Because I hoped to pubish a collection of my poetry (which is now available on Kindle), I’m a notoriously bad critic of my own work, and most of my subscribers started reading this blog long after I began poems weekly, each Thursday from mid-2011 to January 2013 I asked for feedback on a few poems from my archive.

I’m also developing an innovative turn-based strategy/simulation game called Strategic Primer; in the third “department,” which originally ran on Wednesdays, I write about the game—its design, implementation, development, history, and so on.

The last “department,” which originally ran mostly on Saturdays, is “miscellaneous”—usually essays on a variety of topics.

I’ll describe each of these “departments” (and that term itself) after the jump

The Contents of the Strategic Primer World Map: A Statistical Summary

As players of Strategic Primer wait for the results of their thirteenth turn strategies, I thought they, and perhaps any other interested readers, might find some statistics about the current campaign’s game-world map interesting—and perhaps might have some ideas about anything significant that it’s missing or comments as to how some proportions seem off. Continue reading

Shine Cycle Character Profile: Adolphus

Adolphus – Knight, bard, and Visiting Scholar. Aide-de-camp to Argentmentes, holder of the record for the longest string of yearly appearances on the Honors List, and in peacetime a minor but accomplished professional musician. Continue reading

Year-End Summary, Poetry Book Update, and Post-Hiatus Plans

Today is the last day of the year on the Christian liturgical calendar; tomorrow is the First Sunday of Advent. So, as in past years, I have marked the end of the old year by looking back over it, summarizing where this blog—and my life in the subjects it covers—has been in the past year. This week has also marked the end of my hiatus, so my year-end retrospective posts this week have also served as “monthly” status reports and described my plans for blogging going forward.

On Monday and Wednesday of this week I wrote about two of the four main departments of this blog, looking back and forward regarding the Shine Cycle and Strategic Primer. Today, a look through the “essays” that appeared in this space on Saturdays (and occasionally on other days; and a few of the poems, which ran on Fridays) in the past year—since last year’s retrospective—and what you’re likely to see here from now on. Continue reading

“But Thanks Be to God”: A Sixth Reflection

Today is the day designated to publicly give thanks to our Creator for the gracious gifts which he in his divine Providence has lavished upon us. And so it is fitting to reflect on the manifold blessings God has poured out over the course of my life, and in particular in the past year. It is also fitting to consider whether my response to his beneficence has been suitable—and the inevitable conclusion is that I have utterly failed to act in appropriate gratitude.

Five years ago, I wrote an extended reflection, publicly giving thanks for the blessings I felt God had given me over the course of my life, and explaining them in some detail. And in each subsequent year, I have written a briefer addendum, of causes for gratitude I had forgotten and of those new in the past year.

So too today. Continue reading

Strategic Primer year-end summary, post-hiatus plans, and assistive programs development report

This is the last week of the liturgical year, and the first week back from the blog hiatus, so this week we’re looking back over the past year on this blog and the subjects it covers and forward to what the schedule will be like in the future. Monday covered the Shine Cycle; today we’ll look at posts related to Strategic Primer, my plans for this department post-hiatus, and a report on development since the last status update. Continue reading

Shine Cycle year-end summary, post-hiatus plans, and writing status update

As has become traditional on this blog, this last week of the Christian liturgical year will be given over to posts looking back over the past year on the blog. Today, a look back over the Shine Cycle worldbuilding and other background material that has appeared on Mondays throughout the year since last year’s year-end summary, and also an update on my plans now that the hiatus has come to an end and a report on my progress on the Shine cycle since my last status update. Continue reading


It’s now been over a month since I’ve made a post on this blog other than a status update. This was not by design; I had an (in retrospect over-ambitious) schedule of posts I wanted to write, but that schedule constantly slipped. And the demands on my time are if anything increasing.

So today I’m making that hiatus formal. The next post on this blog, other than perhaps writing status updates and development reports, won’t be until the end of the year—by which I mean, of course, the liturgical year, the week, octave, or a little longer before Advent.

In that time, besides trying to get ahead on all my other time-sinks, I hope to write at least a short queue of “pre-made” posts (such as I had when I first started posting regularly) that I can just paste in and set to run. I will also consider how ambitious a blogging routine I’m likely to be able to keep up with, and will announce changes to the “posting schedule” when the hiatus ends.