Two Little Horns & A California Soul

These warm sand grains trickle down in my minds hourglass as the melody of these foamed capped waves crashing in and out calm my anxious ears…

This vibrantly painted sunset recharges the dim glow flickering within the center of my soul. The neon pinks and oranges capture the distracted attention of my broken Christmas light eyes…

This cooling SoCal summer breeze intertwining with the silhouette of these palm trees washes over my freckled frame, leaving a sense of home that is rarely felt by these German/ Irish bones…

These tiny black marks imprinted in each left corner of this mind, heart and soul slowly pulsates reminding me of the past, these scars, this ink and the O.G. version of who I was…

This warrior heart stitched in gold reminds me of the contentment I’ve earned, of the unknown beauty in every future dream and possibility…

In her heart there’s a hole, there’s a black mark on her soul… -Bryce Fox

Dear You | Storyteller Alley

Dear You is a collection of letters written to the people and events that have made the most impactful influences in my life. This book started out as a personal series of letters to the people I love. Letters filled with memories and life lessons. I began writing these letters after finding out that I was very sick. As each letter was written, certain events and memories began popping into my mind which inspired more letters. Dear You is my way of sharing an underdog story about a girl who was never meant to live, but did. I’ve survived surgeries, bullies, depression and being suicidal. I’ve seen this world at its brightest and at its darkest. Living with a rare disorder has allowed me to see this crazy thing we call life in a whole different perspective. The main message embedded within Dear You is my message to those out there who feel like giving up, who feel alone or forgotten, those who feel lost…you are worth everything this life has to offer, never ever give up. The book opens and closes with a letter i have addressed to the reader…hence, Dear You.

Author Bio

My name is Derra Sabo, I am a Cali native who stumbled into writing as a way to escape the daily life as the freak born with a rare disorder. That disorder being Epidermolysis Bullosa, or EB for a non tongue twisted pronunciation. I was the kid who was never meant to live past the age of 14 and here I am 33 years young. The best way to describe my life is nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. My family and friends are my everything. My scars and past demons are my inspiration to never give up. While most of my insomnia nights are filled with writing and tunes vibrating through my beats headphones, my days are my time to spend with my squad, cooking, movies, reading, blogging and spending as much time as possible at the beach. I’m the extroverted introvert who loves a good sunset and a caramel macchiato.

Connect with Derra on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon

  • Critic Score:92/100

    Our Review Ranking:

    A Great Read

Our Review

Our Review


This cover design does not do this great story the justice it deserves.

Cover design problems:

The background is blurry and is actually a problem for the eye to view easily.

The objects super-imposed in the foreground: a laptop, a tablet and pen, a vase with feathers in it, and a cup of coffee, all look like they were drag and dropped onto the cover from a collection of emojis or computer icons. The size ratio and distance between any and all of them in relation to each other is badly out of proportion. The computer itself actually looks like it’s floating instead of sitting on the desk, that’s made worse by the shadows on the edges of all the items not matching one another.

None of the cover elements reflect any part of the story or the struggle within the pages of this book.

Cover typography is not bad. Size of font for the book title as well as name of author are fine.

Book Blurb:

The blurb for this book is a good introduction to the story inside. It draws interest by speaking of particular events included in the book as well as the promise of helpful advice gained through the experiences of the author.

There is a typo in the last sentence of the book blurb. The “I” should be capitalized.

Formatting :

There are some problems with formatting.

Most of the front matter is in correct order , but the introduction is the first thing the reader sees in the book and it’s not labeled as an ‘Introduction‘.

The “Dear Beach” letter is written as though it is one of the Chapters or “letters” and it is placed before the title page of the book.

There is no Table of Contents included . Since the Chapters or “letters” are each very distinctly labeled sections of the book, it would be good to list them in a table of contents.

Pages are numbered well, beginning with page 11 where chapter one(the first letter entitled “Dear You”) begins.

Some paragraphs are indented, some are not.

Paragraphs and sentences all run together in block form, making the book difficult to read.

There are paragraphs with double space between them when they should be touching.

Grammar & Spelling:

Grammar and spelling in this book runs just passably fair. I found a several errors for grammar and spelling as well as quite a few problems regarding sentence structure, missing words, and missing and/or incorrect puntuation.

Character Development:

To say that character development is a big part of this book would be an understatement! In fact, I would say that this book is predominantly aboutcharacter development.
All of the ‘letters’ in this book from the author to each individual list in great detail the ups and downs of the things they’ve gone through together which have developed their characters in one way or another over time.
It outlines this development of each character including that of the author in a very clear, and detailed way. As the story develops so do it’s characters.

The underlying theme that threads it’s way through this book is one of the main characters’ caring and unswerving devotion to others as well as to herself. It demonstrates a continued growth and change of inner self.

Plot & Structure:

The structure of the book is decent. Throughout most of the book the author is narrating each letter to family members and friends and you read them as an outsider looking in. Further into the book the letters change and actually feel as though they’re written in the presence of the reader, as though this was the final point of the work as a whole.

The plot of the book ,one of struggle and recovery , moves well all the way through without becoming monotonous or repetitive.


Story is paced well all the way through . Each letter shows a new aspect of the family and friends that surround the author. The more you read ,the better understanding you have of where the author is coming from with different comments and outlooks over time. The reasons why certain things are said or done become clear as it progresses.

Use of Language:

The use of language is fair. The book uses the language of the day and is easy to understand . Even the brief and infrequent use of the word “ain’t” is acceptable given the conceptual layout of this book. It speaks the lanugauge of the common man in today’s times.


I find no problems with the originality of this book. It reads as a story unique to it’s author while reaching out to those in similar circumstances.
This book provides an interesting look into the mind of a children growing up in the digital age. Conversations between siblings via digital means such as I-pods and music shared via digital devices etc, all reveal an inside look of how kids see the world in the time they’ve been born into.
It also provides a look at someone dealing with many troubles at a very young age and overcoming them to live a good life.

Overall Readability:

Overall , I can say I enjoyed reading this book. In spite of the writing problems it had, my interest in the storyline kept me turning pages to see what was next.

A Note From the Critic:

I enjoyed reading this book and I wasn’t sure I would when I started it. It turned out to be a well written story related in a very personable way that is friendly to the reader. I believe it will do what the author intended and be a help to others that are going through similar difficulties in life and I can recommend it as good in that regard.
Toward the end of the book, in the letter entitled “Dear World” the authors remembrance of Nine-Eleven is a touching tribute to the strength of our nation and it’s people on a very dark day that forever changed the way we see the world.
There are quite a few problems inside as far as errors in grammar and formatting, as well as the occasional typo,bad sentence structure or spelling mistake . This surprises me as I see on the title page that it has been published with a traditional publishing house and I expected they would have a round of proofreading for each book they put out. It could use just a little polishing, but it is overall a great read and I am happy to have read it!

The Perfect Amount of Doomed

I, since a young girl, have dreamt of one day finding my “Jack”. The missing piece of my heart, the guy whom would accept me, challenge me, make me want to be a better version of myself, someone to create a family with, to create a beautiful life with…that “ride or die” kinda love.

The other half of my soul that would make my heart feel nervous, safe and whole. The one who would cause goosebumps to ripple across my skin, make my breath momentarily seize, make the thunder in my cerebral calm and make my knees weaken with every kiss.

The man that would crack jokes to make my sides hurt from laughter, cause a grin to appear from just the mere sight of him as I think to myself, “Yeah, that’s my guy.”.

The one that would always be by my side, have my back, sit with me in the silence of sadness or grief should those ever hit. The one that will ride through every storm that may hit us.

A dream of finding the one person that I could be all of these for him.

Yet, I have not yet found him, I find myself continually questioning if our paths would ever cross and I think I know why. I am subconsciously dooming myself. See, I was using the excuse that no guy would want a girl who was broken, the girl with the rare disorder, but in actuality I am scared shitless of history repeating itself. While it is difficult to meet someone who is able to look past my disorder and see me for who I truly am, the thought of once again falling for someone who finds pleasure in misleading and hurting my heart makes me shake. I know that not all humans are into playing the villain, but once bitten – twice shy. How do I know the truly good guys from the bad? How do I push past the nerves, fears and angst?

I’ve doomed myself into staying away from love because I may need him more than he needs me one day…

I’ve doomed myself into staying away from love because of the thought that one day he may cheat on me or become deceitful.

I’ve doomed myself into staying away from love because I have labeled myself as “not beautiful”, “not good enough”, “too broken”.

I have perfectly doomed myself the way only my mind can.

They say that you shouldn’t fear the unknown, yet here I am caught in a game of chicken with it.

If she had the proper words to say she would tell him, but she’d have nothing left to sell him… -Panic! @ The Disco

Ride or Die kinda Love

Yes, the title of this curated thought is Fast & Furious inspired (I love those movies) however this is also inspired by a comment I recently read in a blog. The topic, love. The question at hand: what kind of love are you looking for? The response that I read to this infamous question was simple and one that had been dreamt of by every little girl, and possibly little boys. A fairytale kind of love, the whole sweep me of my feet and live happy ever after.

Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to be swept up by a sweet guy and have a happy ever after, who wouldn’t. Everyone wants to be swept up at least once in their life. But, in reality every relationship has its storms. Love isn’t all rainbows and unicorn sparkles, there’s going to be times when thunder storms move in… possible lightening once in a while.

Personally, I want that ride or die kinda love. That kinda love that is made up of trust and loyalty molecules. The kinda love where you’re there for each other, in any and every type of situation. The kinda love where you battle the storms together, coming out mutually stronger. The kinda love that picks up one another’s slack in moments of stress or sadness. The kinda love that can withstand times of disagreements or shouting in frustration, where these moments are vented, settled and apologised over rather than sweeping issues under the rug while faking a Stepford Wives type of life.

That ride or die kinda love where you’re so in love with your partner that you allow yourself to be vulnerable, walls burnt to the ground, don’t feel the need to hide your true self. The kinda love where you learn everything about one another, where you go watch him shoot hoops with his friends and he goes with you to see that new chick flick that just came out. That kinda love where you sleep in on a Sunday morning, cuddling in bed, just spending the day together or having a picnic at the beach, soaking in the sun. That kinda love where you have family Bbq’s on Saturday afternoons and battle it out with family game night, guys vs girls, lol.

That kinda love where you don’t feel the need to be dishonest, where you never feel judged or belittled. That kinda love where even a shitty day ends in a silver lining because the second you walked through the door your love comes at you with a giant “wrap their arms around your neck” hug, instantly melting the day away.

That kinda love where time and distance are not factors, no matter where we reside, we find each other.

It feels like the moon is spinnin’ off into outer space without you, this world is such a lonely place without you… -Blink 182

Shit happens in life and in love, the true test is whether you ride the shit storms together or bail. I believe that with every conquered storm love drives its roots down deeper becoming stronger, even indestructible.

Too many nights during the 3am hour I’ve questioned why I haven’t found my forever love yet. Will I ever find him? Countless hours of sleep have been stolen by these questions, then a few months back a friend sent me a link to an article with a message attached, “I thought of you when I read this. Check it out!” via snapchat. The article was entitled, Why Old Souls Have a Hard Time Finding Love. Needless to say I have an old soul according to that article and it did bring my mind a piece of resolved comfort. No longer do I believe that I am not worthy of a honest, respectful true love. My mind was brainwashed into believing that the broken girl doesn’t deserve a happy ending, that I should feel lucky with whomever looked my way, whether he was a good guy or not, just be thankful. Well, that “just be thankful” bullshit had landed me tumbling down the jerk rabbit hole one too many times. I’m so done with being a human doormat.

I know the kind of human being I am… Yes, I was born into the “freak” life, but I’ve got a scarred golden heart, a sweet and caring personality, loyalty infused bones, a glowing immortal soul and an adorable face. I am perfectly imperfectly. I screw up sometimes, it happens, but I always take responsibility and apologize. I learn from my mistakes.

I now know my worth and no longer will my worth be diminished for a ‘just be thankful’ relationship. My ducks are in a row baby!! Well, most days 😉

You ride, I’ll ride… You die, I die… Love, Family, Loyalty.

Yeah, that’s the kinda love I want.

When everything’s made to be broken, I just want you to know who I am… -Goo Goo Dolls

Simon Says

Simon says… “I’ll love you no matter what, forever & always…”

Simon says… “No matter what, I promise to never hurt you, lie to you, disrespect you, cheat on you or tear your spirit down…”

Simon says… “My arms will always be your safe place, you’ll always feel protected in my embrace…”

Simon says… “We will reside on equal ground where you can convey your dreams and thoughts without the fear of judgement or apprehension. I promise to always listen to your ideas and nightmares with no intention of dismay…”

Simon says… “I am not one of those violent tempered assholes, I won’t ever name call or make decisions for you. I’ll never make you feel like an insignificant soul or make you feel like your trapped under a Stockholm thumb…”

Simon says… “You’ll never feel alone again. You’re home…”

Simon lied.

I found no cure for the loneliness, I found no cure for the sickness. Nothin’ here feels like home, crowded streets, but I’m all alone… -MGK

Graveyard Moon…Sand…Ocean

Today I am in desperate need of some serious beach therapy. Today’s session though is different, I need it to be different. Today is not the typical session scheduled with dimple revealing laughter, inside jokes with friends, stories from long ago with family or beach favs like a bonfire at sunset alongside toasty ooey-gooey s’mores.

Today doesn’t consist of building sand castles, jammin’ to some sunshine tunes, flippin’ through the salty waves or walking into the sunsetting sands while collecting sea shells.

Today I am singular in my company hoping that I will find myself sitting next to your ghost. I need to chat… I need to vent… I need your sage advice.

Shakin’ hands with the dark parts of my thoughts…-Twenty One Pilots

Upon the warm sand I sit with a coffee in hand and blue tunes soaking into my eardrums. Around my skinny freckled neck hangs your dog tag from your Navy days. This oval stamped piece of metal keeps me company during the chaotic sun.

Caught in a daze of the waves crashing in and out keep me lost in my thoughts. I’d like to tell you that I am ok and that everything is fine, however, I’d be lying. Lie to myself to deal with my life, sure. Lie to you, never.

While everything appears fabulous on the outside, I can’t escape from this gnawing sensation that a storm is on the horizon. And not just any storm, but rather the big bad wolf type of storm. This stitched ticker of mine fears no concern, for after everything it has endured, pain is truly a force that can be beat. However, this twisted mind of mine senses that this storm is an old familiar enemy, no good will come from this. My gut has no stabbing sensation, there for no sirens have blarred.

Domingo en fuego…I think I lost my halo, I don’t know where you are, you’ll have to come and find me… -Twenty One Pilots

In my gut I will trust because my mind and heart tend to go round after round with one another.

A ringing in my ear drones through, the tone of your calming voice seeps into my pulsating brain. If your ghostly lips could speak, they’d advise me to have patience. “Stay calm and breathe. If something wicked is coming this way, then you’ll feel it deep down in your gut. You’ll know, so stop fretting about what you have no control over. You’ll drive yourself crazy. Get out of your head and focus on the tasks at hand. Breathe.”

Love…I continue to struggle with what to do. Should I still keep my heart open or is this a mere dream that isn’t meant to be? The ink on my back continues to glow, however, my fear of lightening striking twice suffocates my mind, even though I keep reassuring myself that not every guy is wearing an evil mask in this world masquerade. But, how do I know?

October marks eleven years since you’ve been gone. My heart wishes that you still lived here on earth. Selfish, I know. So, until you and I meet again, I’ll make do with these beach therapy sessions. I’ll find comfort sitting here sippin’ on this coffee, listening to these blue tunes and enjoying your ghostly company as the sun sets into its twelve hour graveyard.

“You can’t catch a falling star, it would burn up the atmosphere…” – Spencer Reid