Welcome!

Hi! I’m Jonathan Lovelace, an aspiring author, self-published poet, amateur game designer, technical writer, and software developer. Welcome to the Shine Cycle Online!

From 2010 through mid-2014, I tried to feature a new post in each of four quite different “departments” here every week, and thereafter the schedule loosened but the same principle continued. Since this organization appears to confuse some readers, I’ve “stuck” this post here to introduce myself, the blog, and its subjects—briefly here, and in more detail “below the fold.”

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. Many of these poems are collected in A Year in Verse, now available on Kindle and in print. Most of my poetry is blank verse.

In the process of developing that collection, as I’m a notoriously bad critic of my own work, and most subscribers started reading this blog long after I began posting 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

Shine Cycle Précis: Calming the Dragon

Calming the Dragon is the seventh planned novel in the “Alternate Universes” sub-series of the Shine Cycle, and the first to venture into “alternate history,” being set in a world where Alexander the Great lived longer and his empire didn’t split after his death. Today’s post is a brief introduction to this planned work. Continue reading

Shine Cycle Character Profile: Eliezer

This is the next in the series of profiles of characters who will appear in the Shine Cycle, my fantasy-series-in-preparation.

Eliezer is a native-born knight of the Shine and Wild Empire. As soon as he can get over his tendencies toward “textbook generalship,” he will perhaps be the best native-born general in the Empire—a military genius. However, that will probably take a while, since he usually achieves success even with textbook techniques. Continue reading

“Psalm 15”

Sovereign Lord, our Lord, who may live with you?
And who will you allow within your house,
To come into your holy presence there
And stand before your glory and your face?

A person who has lived a blameless life
And never wandered from the righteous path,
Whose heart is full of truth and overflows
To speak no lie against his neighbor’s good,
Who holds those who love God in high esteem
But scorns the vile, who disregard God’s law,
With grave contempt born from his highest love,
Who makes no promise he will fail to keep,
Who seeks no profit in his neighbor’s pain
But gives and lends his money without cost,
Who judges justly and impartially,
Finding in favor of the innocent
And never looking at an offered bribe—

If anyone is righteous, he shall stand
And enter in God’s presence in his house,
Where nothing shall disturb his trusting rest.

The Anchorite by Teodor Axentowicz

This poem is the fifteenth in my series of verse paraphrases of the Psalms. I began this project in 2012, starting with the first Psalm, and have worked on one Psalm at a time; I began this poem soon after finishing my setting of Psalm 13, in November of last year, but didn’t finish it until earlier this month.

As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. If you’d like to read more of my poetry, you can read my archive (also organized in more manageable installments), follow this blog for (now only occasional) new poetry (among other things), or get my book, which contains over sixty of my best poems, each paired with a public-domain illustration or drawing. The Kindle edition of my book is on sale this weekend. You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.

A Year In Verse Birthday Sale

A Year in Verse coverTomorrow, February 24, is my birthday. While I plan to post a poem, it is not (as it has been in some years) written or chosen specifically for this occasion, even though this is a “round-number birthday.” On the other hand, I am marking the occasion by offering the Kindle format of A Year in Verse, my (first and so far only) collection of my poetry, at a discount this weekend. Continue reading

Shine Cycle Précis: Lighting Camelot

Lighting Camelot is the tentative title of the sixth planned novel in the “Alternate Universes” sub-series of the Shine Cycle, set in and around King Arthur’s legendary court of Camelot. Today’s post is a brief introduction to this planned work. Continue reading

“Sublimation”

“Go, hang these just-washed sheets out on the line.
Though last night’s snowdrifts rise above your knees,
The creek out back is silent, frozen solid,
And underneath the morning’s brilliant blue
The lazy, bitter breeze will burn your cheek,
The sun shines bright, so ere the evening falls
These cloths, though sopping now, will be as dry
As Sinai’s sandy, scorching wilderness.”

In the same way, if God will smile on me
With the bright sunshine of his countenance,
Though I feel sin and failures weigh me down
Like leaden chains, or thick and soaking wool,
They’ll lift from me, and pass away like dew,
As light as down, and all shall work his praise.

March by Isaac Levitan
The opening phrases of this poem came to me last month when I suddenly found myself thinking about sublimation by which water and ice pass away on sunny days even in winter’s bitter cold, and also about the spiritual, psychological, or alchemical sense of the term. And I found the alternate voice I found for the first lines interesting, and was minded to continue. I finished the poem earlier this week.

As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. If you’d like to read more of my poetry, you can read my archive (also organized in more manageable installments), follow this blog for (now only occasional) new poetry (among other things), or get my book, which contains over sixty of my best poems, each paired with a public-domain illustration or drawing. You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.

Writing status update (#46)

For all that it feels in some ways more like a week has passed than a month, it’s been four weeks since my last report (on the second day of Christmas) on recent progress on the Shine Cycle, my fantasy series-in-preparation. In that time, despite the busyness that always makes Christmastide hectic, and despite being laid somewhat low by a cold last week, I did get some Shine Cycle development work done. Continue reading