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

“Erde Daybreak”

I wake in total darkness, seeing naught.
My breath and heartbeat are the only sounds.
I feel hard ground, soft grass beneath my head,
And bitter cold that seeps into my bones.
I close my eyes.

        Then, suddenly, day breaks:
Light bursts into existence all around,
From all the sky at once, and warmth returns.
And with this grand rebirth of glory, too,
The world begins to wake. The light’s first rays
Stir life around me into glorious motion:
A palomino pegasus takes flight,
And silver-winged insects swarm below.
Do I but dream? Or is this waking-real?
I see no way to tell, so I shall live
Until I sleep and dream, or till I wake.

This poem takes Aubrey Hansen‘s as-yet-unpublished setting “Erde” as its inspiration. (Unfortunately, all the publicly-linkable information about it vanished from the Web when she rebooted her blog …) This setting, even more than her worthy science fiction and alternate history, I am convinced has the potential to be one of the most significant literary contributions of our generation … but maybe she just caught my imagination. Write, Aubrey, write!

Pegasus by Odilon Redon

As always, I earnestly welcome your (further) comments, suggestions, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. (In other words, if you liked this poem, or you didn’t like it, or it made you think of something, or … please leave a comment to let me know.) 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 (#34)

It’s been about a month and a half since my last update, and while I’ve had a couple of productive weeks in that time, the vast majority of my creative effort and attention has been demanded by classwork, even more than I’d expected. I had hoped to … but I should go through the goals I set in mid-August point by point, instead of repeating myself first Continue reading

Strategic Primer assistive programs development report and roadmap (#36)

The month since my last report on the development of the suite of assistive programs for players and Judges of Strategic Primer has seen some major changes, starting with a move from BitBucket to GitHub.

While the history prior to the move, and the previously-released binaries, are still available at BitBucket, the source code now lives at GitHub, and snapshots—regenerated for each versioned ‘release’ I made on BitBucket—are available for download there. On the repository’s main page you can also see a link to a continuous-integration server for the project.

This snapshot is version 0.4.9000; I plan to bump the version number to 0.5 and go to 0.5.1, 0.5.2, etc., from there when I get to the point in the development that warrants such a shift.

I also added a license to the code; it is now released under the GNU General Public License version 3. Continue reading

Writing status update (#33)

It’s been a little over a month since my last update. The first couple of weeks weren’t very productive at all for the sort of writing I mean when I just say “writing,” as I sort of expected, but the last three have been increasingly but inconsistently productive. I could describe what I did in detail and chronological order, but it’s probably better to primarily compare my progress to the goals I set for myself last month. Continue reading

Strategic Primer assistive programs development report and roadmap (#35)

It’s been a little over a month since my last report on the development of the suite of assistive programs for players and Judges of Strategic Primer, and there have been a fair number of bug fixes and new features.

You can download the new (snapshot) release, 0.4.3250, as usual, from BitBucket, and if you want to see the development history in detail you can browse the Mercurial repository online. Continue reading

Alternate History Ideas Up For Grabs

As I’ve mentioned before, my plans for one of the subseries I hope to eventually include in the Shine Cycle, the “Alternate Universes” sub-series, are mostly drawn from “alternate histories” of our world. However, between high school and college history courses and extracurricular reading about history, I’ve managed to come up with more alternate-history ideas than I can or even want to actually write about. On the other hand, just because I can’t write about them all, doesn’t mean I think they aren’t possible-worlds that are worth exploring, that I might like to read about someday.

So today I’m sharing my current list of alternate-history ideas that I’m not planning to write about. If you see an idea on this list that sparks your imagination, feel free to take the idea and run with it. Continue reading