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  • Writer's pictureDanni Petrilak

January Update

Is it just me, or did January come and go like the wind that swept through my backyard and knocked all the pillows from our patio furniture? It came hot and heavy, chalk-full of freelance work and little to no time for personal projects….but that didn’t stop me! 


I thought I'd start with the largest section...which is always going to be music. Top 10 songs of the month, and a list of around 5 artists/ genres discovered. Simple enough, right? Let's get into it.

Top 10 Songs:

  1. SPECIALZ by King Gnu

  2. Seven Nation Army by Stevie Howie

  3. PAINT IT BLACK by Arankai

  4. Chokehold by Sleep Token

  5. Bad Side by Jake Daniels

  6. Old Money by Jonathan Young, Caleb Hyles, and Magic: The Gathering

  7. Loser, Baby by Keith David, Blake Roman, Sam Haft, and Andrew Underberg

  8. Ruthlessness by Jorge Rivera-Herrans and Stephen Rodriguez

  9. Punching Bag by Set It Off

  10. ...honorable mention: More Than Anything by Jeremy Jordan, Erika Henningsen, Andrew Underberg and Sam Haft

I discovered two amazing Musicals this month with the release of Hazbin Hotel and Epic: The Ocean Saga. Hazbin Hotel has been a show I’ve been following since its pilot aired on YouTube around four years ago, and I couldn't be more obsessed. The story paired with the music has gotten nearly all of the songs stuck in my head, but Loser, Baby has a special place. I can’t get it out. Just this morning when I woke up for work, the first thought was "You're. A. Losserrr, baby, a loser god damn baby." Aside from Hazbin, if you’re a fan of musicals, be sure to check out Epic. This album was their third installment in the story of Odysseus. I’ve listened to many of the songs before, and yet I was SHOCKED to hear Stephen Rodriguez playing Poseidon in the newest song, Ruthlessness. Blew my mind, it SLAPS.

As for genres and artists, I have been enjoying Jake Daniels, Citizen Soldier, Arankai, TX2, and Smash Into Pieces. These songs have made their way to my book-writing playlist, "villainous revenge" as well as the “high school angst” playlist that still exists and is updated more frequently than I thought it would be after graduation. A few standouts have even populated my liked songs…which is up to 776 at the time of writing this. 

According to the app, my top genres for this month include Otacore, Alternative Metal, Post-Grunge, Rock, and Nu Metal.


Books: 2 of 20.... 10% complete!

I actually finished two books this month, which is saying a lot with how much time I’ve spent on other tasks. Book one was actually the second book in the Shadow and Bone series by Leigh Bardugo, and I read it because I recently discovered the tv series published on Netflix. I really enjoyed Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, but I didn’t want to spoil anything in the other books while I was watching it. I told myself I could watch the show after finishing the series, so I dug in my heels and committed! It took me 15 days to finish Siege and Storm due to its incredibly slow, hard to push through scenes, but Ruin and Rising was a much faster 6 day turn around.

I enjoyed the new characters introduced in Siege and Storm and instantly fell in love with Nikolai, but I found myself getting frustrated with the slow pacing and the main character's choices to keep things to herself. I know, I know, it's what the character would have done, but GOD it could have saved so much heartbreak and "surprise" twists. I enjoyed the second book, but I know I liked Ruin and Rising better. The pacing felt much faster and the action was constant; it felt like there was never a good time to put the book down and take a break, which I think is what helped me to finish it so quickly. I'm overall satisfied with the arch of the whole series in its entirety, but I won't spoil anything here. You'll just have to read the three and find out for yourself, or take a look at my GoodReads reviews of both books (marked with spoiler warnings).

I’ve got quite a few books on my TBR list, so finding the next obsession shouldn’t be too difficult (I’ve already started reading 2 new books!) but if you have any recommendations, please send them my way, or leave a comment on this post.



I wrote some poetry here and there. It's easier for me to write emotional pieces when I'm lost in my own emotions and memories, so the fact that I don't have much this month is actually a good thing. Here's one of my favorite WIPs thus far:

"All at once, I know.

I know to absorb each of your toxic characteristics

and mull over every inch of acidic memory as they

identify your precedent of love.

I know now what it means to want.

To want it all to end as abruptly as it started

for silence and peace to blanket my body in a numbing cool embrace

as I fall into your eyes as quickly as tumbling face first into a grave

--freshly dug and waiting,

with velvet sheets and the smell of fresh apple cider." - Danni Petrilak


Next up, an update on Darkfire Chronicles.

Now, I know there was supposed to be an episode released this month, but I have a reason there wasn't! This next episode is going to be bigger and better than the prior few, and I want to take the time to make it as perfect as it possibly can be under my standards, which are unfortunately very, very high. It’s developed and evolved so much from my original vision that it has the potential to turn into something of a novella-length piece. CRAZY. Writing about pirates is always so much fun, and I get so carried away with all the descriptions and the scenes that I forget it’s going to be an audio drama. This episode is going to be a bit different than the others, including both narration of things happening in real-time, but also journal entries to help move the story along through the time spent sailing the waters. Here’s a short paragraph preview! 

“May the 5th, 1720,

"The reduced mariner hasn’t spoken a coherent word other than his cryptic ramblings that remind me more of a scratched record than a man at sea. As night descends, I find myself on deck, observing the celestial painting that has guided us along our journey thus far. The North Star, Polaris, my steadfast companion, serves as the lone beacon of hope amidst the darkness of the undiscovered. Whispers among the crew suggest the man might have been touched by the supernatural, but I have my skepticism. 

"It is a trying task to focus on the navigational craft of my duties when one’s thoughts are consumed by the shadows that dance upon the edges of my mind with questions. The ink may flow upon the parchment, but the tendrils of curiosity regarding the rescued soul and his cryptic journal wind their way into the recesses of my mind. The air now carries the weight of intrigue, a burden I feel upon my shoulders like this dreadful humidity before a coming storm. The Captain’s decision to lock away the pages leaves me with an itch of curiosity that I cannot ignore. What secrets lie dormant within that notebook? My task, it seems, is now not only to chart the physical realms, but also to navigate my own mind. My quill hesitates, the compass wavers, and if I cannot get my head straight, we will travel further into the unknown than any of us have prepared for.”

I will not give a publish date, as I don't want to constrain how this piece is going to evolve, but I have a few more ideas and plan on publishing a shorter episode to make up for the lost time. Thank you for your patience!


Those Between the Shadows Novel Progress:

I didn’t find the time to write anything regarding the story itself, but I know a lot more about how I want to characters to be portrayed and the emotions and drives behind all of their actions throughout the book's outline. I’ve also discovered that I’ve been planning this novel to be a stand-alone, but now I have so much stuff to cram into one book that I’m going to have to make it a series. Will it be 2? 3? Unknown. Most likely 2. Is the world getting a lot larger and a lot more involved than it was just a mere month ago? 100%. Am I excited to make the thoughts swimming around my head and my notion board a reality on paper? Yes, but I am afraid of how I can get all of the ideas written out in a way that makes it understandable to someone who has no idea what or where Onari is. Oh boy. 

Listen to the playlist I've had on repeat! A lot of these songs are directly connected to the characters of my story, and the main character himself has a lot of the songs under his profile on my notion board.


Steam Games:

I didn’t play too many games this month. I’ve been so focused on reading and writing and crocheting. The four standouts of the month were: Hogwarts Legacy, Cult of the Lamb, Fran Bow, and Palworld. Cult of the Lamb received an update, so and friend and I played around 12 hours of that. I was convinced to try Palworld after how much controversy there was regarding the models looking too much like Pokémon with guns. It plays a lot like Ark Survival, which I really enjoyed, but I can feel myself hitting a wall already. Once you’ve got the “pals” you were excited to have in your party, it doesn’t seem like there's a real reason to continue playing. I’ll give it a few more chances, but those are the initial thoughts on that game.

I worked on my Ravenclaw completionist run of Hogwarts Legacy, but I heard a DLC was coming and with the PS4 exclusive mission unlocking for everyone else soon, I’ll most likely wait for a few updates before I return to it. Still love that game so so much. Finally, I played Fran Bow. I’ve had this game in my account for years now it seems, and I watched a playthrough of it way back when it came out. I remembered liking it, but I didn’t know the story beats. Narrative heavy point and click puzzle game with horror elements: right up my alley. Super fun, to play once, however, but I’ve still got one chapter left before I complete it. 

Next time, I'll most likely turn this section into a game review and what I liked or didn't like about the games I played instead of just a general list and such. Let me know if you'd rather that format or this quick summary format.


Crochet Projects:

I've been doing a lot of crocheting this month, mainly on a project I thought I had abandoned nearly four years ago, but leave it to my ADHD brain to decide on a random Tuesday while binging Blue Exorcist to start it completely over. So why not try and tackle the nordic stripes blanket again?? Progress is from left to right.

In the end, it's supposed to reach between 4.5 feet in width and nearly 6 feet in length. The image below is what the final project is supposed to look like, and I feel very confident in my ability to complete this. It's so cool to see the pattern coming together, and by the end of February I hope to have at least one of the two mosaics finished. I'll most likely need to get more yarn, however.

A woman holding a finished nordic blanket crochet project showcase in front of the ocean

The second project was a gift for a friend that is long overdue that I cannot post because I haven’t given it to her yet! (I promise it will get to you soon, Kim, I love you) This project was super fun and easy to work on, and I will link the pattern here as long as I receive the promise from Kim to not click on it until she receives the gift. (I will update this in the future to include the name and images of the project completed) 

Follow my Pinterest board of over 400 different crochet and knitting ideas!


Finally, Anime:

I haven’t watched too much this month, but I picked up Blue Exorcist and started to watch the first season again. In high school I only made it to episode 3 or 4, and now well into the second act of the first season I can't believe I've slept on this show for as long as I have. It's so emotionally charged and heartbreaking. I’ve also been plugging away at B: The Beginning. I’ve added a few to my list as well, including Demon Slayer, Expelled from Paradise, and Angels of Death to name a few. I actually have caught up on the Jujutsu Kaisen manga, and am patiently awaiting the next chapter (4 days, baby!)


Thanks for checking in and reading to the end! I will try and be more organized with my presentation of this information moving forward! Here's to a fun and productive February.

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