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

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Hymn: “O God, our Help in ages past”

Continuing my series on great old hymns, today I’d like to focus our attention on another familiar (and so much-neglected nowadays in my experience) favorite. Continue reading

Numbered Sonnet Opus 2 #3

Alas, my lady, what is happiness?
For music, dancing, wit, and jesting fade,
And even beauty pales as time grows less,
As do all mortal joys that God has made.
But weighty conversation with dear friends,
And peaceful silence, swaddling with its hush,
Because they seem to serve eternal ends,
Do not so quickly dim beneath Time’s brush.
Still, as the starlight fades as dawn draws nigh,
And tongues find subtler scents as hunger wanes,
Our souls were made to taste the joys on high,
For all that sense is dulled by sin’s black stains.
But even so, I cannot but protest:
Alas, my lady, what is happiness?

Back in high school, I began an (execrable) sonnet beginning with the line “Alas, my lady, what is happiness?” And apparently I finished it, but when I reorganized my (digital) poetry-related files sometime in college I thought, from my brief glance at it, that I hadn’t finished it, and so decided to thoroughly revise it, just so I could get one more piece out of my “unfinished projects” collection without completely discarding it.

About two years ago, I thought of a concept for a “reimagining” of the sonnet, completely changing everything about it except the form and the first line, and started into writing it. But my thoughts ran dry, and the poem lay essentially untouched (except for a slight revision that also added one line, that fall) until earlier this month, when browsing through my unfinished poems I happened on it and thought of how I could continue it. Getting that thought down turned fairly easily into finishing the poem.

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.

Shine Cycle Character Profile: Thalia of High Reach

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

Thalia – Baroness of High Reach, headmistress of the Imperial Academy, Visiting Scholar, and knight. Known to her friends for her biting wit but across the Empire for her ability to bring out the best in anyone willing to learn. She also coaches several teams on the Academy debate circuit. Continue reading

“Gardens”

The gospel begins in a glorious garden.
For love they daily labored, the lightest of loads,
Their efforts governed by one solitary rule.
But teased and tempted, they transgressed, and failed the test,
Dooming all their descendants to so disobey,
Binding every baby born to share the bitter blame.

Another garden, of a moonlight evening,
Saw the Second Adam’s anguished sorrow, sighing, speak
And heard his humble, heartfelt prayer as hours grew short
Till the ill-bought betrayer brought his brutal band
To bind and drag him down to meet the dreadful doom
Which he, our righteous Champion, now chose to face.

Later, after he died our death, his dust was laid
In grief within a borrowed garden rock-cut grave,
But when Mary, still mourning, came to embalm him,
An angel, glorious, announced the awesome truth:
The Christ had risen in utter triumph from the tomb.

When all his plans at last are fully accomplished,
This wretched, weary world made new, we are assured,
The temple where our Lord will always dwell with us
Will sit within the splendor of a garden city.

I began this poem in the middle of last month when I thought of the concept for the first two stanzas, intending it to be for Good Friday. Then I ran into difficulty, and when I returned to it I had forgotten what meter I was in, so I had to adjust what I wrote in that sitting to match the rest; I also found that I had written a poem as suited to Eastertide as to Holy Week. So I dithered as to when to post it, and settled on today.

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.

Hymn: “All glory, laud, and honor”

Continuing my series on great old hymns, since tomorrow is Palm Sunday, I decided to focus our attention today on a hymn about the Triumphal Entry. I covered my favorite Palm Sunday hymn four years ago, and another particularly suitable text the previous Advent, but this is also a favorite hymn, and unlike “Hosanna, loud hosanna” (which only dates to 1873) this is actually an old hymn (the Latin more than a thousand years older than that). Continue reading

Strategic Primer assistive programs release, development report, and roadmap (0.4.9015)

It’s been about a month since the last release candidate of the suite of assistive programs for players and Judges of Strategic Primer, and despite the “code churn” in the last month I’m confident enough to declare the current state of the code as “0.4.9015 final.” So today I’ve released version 0.4.9014.4, the last “point release” including all bug fixes since 0.4.9014 but none of the new features, and version 0.4.9015, including all the features and fixes of 0.4.9015-rc3 and described below. You can download either version on GitHub, at those links, as usual. Continue reading

Shine Cycle Character Profile: Veronica of Kingsfold

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

Veronica – Princess-duchess of Kingsfold, bard, nominally in the King’s service in the Imperial Service. An old friend of the King, she is blessed with a gentle personality that makes her nearly unmatched in diplomacy among her peers in the Service. Continue reading