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

Strategic Primer assistive programs development report and roadmap (#33)

It’s been almost two months since my last report on the development of the suite of assistive programs for players and Judges of Strategic Primer, so even though there’s very little to report it’s past time for an update. And it’s about time for a quarterly look at where I stand on my goals for the year, and for a NEWS update, but each of those is a subject for another day.

A new (snapshot) release, 0.4.3060, accompanies this post; you can download it, as usual, from BitBucket, and if you want to see the development history in detail you can browse the Mercurial repository online. Continue reading

Writing Status Update (#30)

It’s been well over a month, if not quite two months yet, since my last update. And while these weeks have not been a total loss for Shine Cycle development, my progress was slow and intermittent. Still, I did manage to accomplish a little worth mentioning, and it’s about time to make a quarterly report on my goals for the year. Continue reading


Carl Spitzweg 003Ashes.

For dust I am, and to dust I shall return … and so too shall all my works pass away, save only what was not my work at all.

Time slips away—has slipped away—with little or nothing to show for it. But a time has come again to re-center, to begin again with what only can be comfort in life and death:

That I am not my own, but belong, body and soul, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven: in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

Because, to live in the joy of this comfort (the catechism teaches me) I must know

first, how great my sin and misery are; second, how I am set free from all my sins and misery; [and] third, how I am to thank God for such deliverance.

So it is long past time to begin again as I had meant but have failed to go on.


It seems the world could end in ice
(Though we are promised fire),
As though the frost reached through the wall
To tweak my twitching nose.
But still, amid the sleet and storm,
“God is our refuge, strength.”
Though holy wrath rage bitterly,
With Jesus as its warmth
My quivering spirit need fear naught,
For he can never fail.

'The Blizzard' by Cornelius Krieghoff

I wrote this poem about a year ago, in the wake of the “polar vortex” and to experiment with what is for me an unusual meter. At that time I thought of it as a fragment, but by May I considered it essentially complete.

As always, I earnestly welcome your (further) comments, suggestions, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. If you liked this, you can follow this blog, which includes one of my poems nearly every Friday, or read other poems I’ve written (perhaps starting with those linked from one of the “archive” installments, since the full archive is by now, at over two hundred poems, somewhat daunting). You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.

This poem is also mirrored on my wiki.

Strategic Primer assistive programs development report and roadmap (#32)

It’s approaching a month since I last reported on the development of the suite of assistive programs for players and Judges of Strategic Primer, as part of my civil-year-end summary, so it’s time to make a new release and describe recent changes. As usual, you can download the new version from Bitbucket, and if you want to know more details than I list below, you can see the full history in the Mercurial repository. Continue reading