New York

I’ll never forget that moment…the day, the time, what I was doing, this is a memory deeply embedded in my mind.

That Tuesday morning was a typical morning…getting up, dressed, breakfast was eaten then I began my school work. See, I was 16 and just began homeschooling due to losing my sight and being a full semester behind. In order to catch up and graduate on time my parents enrolled me in a charter high school. This allowed me to not only get caught up, but to finish school a full semester ahead of my class. This also ensured that technically no school was missed when needing to be at doctors appointments or while in surgeries.

Trigonometry, this was the subject that was educating my brain. The time was 9:17am, my thought process was interrupted by the phone. Three rings in and I answer it to hear my Dad’s voice on the receiving end.

Dad…”Hey kiddo, how’s your day so far?”

Me…”Pretty good, just doing some trig. What’s up?”

Dad…”Turn on the news kiddo, and prepare yourself.”


While the big screen picture was a blur, the voices of newscasters were crystal clear. Every channel, one breaking news headline…

A hijacked plane just crashed into one of the Twin Towers in New York.

My heart sunk into the pit of my stomach, tears welled up in my eyes, my voice brokenly asking my Dad, “Who did this?” Him replying with that word made me shake.


As he told me to not worry about my schoolwork, to just take the day, I was in another state of mind. My young mind was trying to fathom how anyone could perform this horrible act, why anyone would perform this horrible act. Then my mind shifted to lives that were in danger, the lives lost. While I have always been told that I was the 16 year old going on 30, my mind just couldn’t handle the immensity of this tragic crime that my ears were absorbing. My heart was already in a fragile state, this just broke it right down the center.

My heart holds a special place for New York, the diverse culture, the people, the New York atmosphere is just beautiful. Back in 2006, my Mom and I spent a few days in NY, we signed up for a tour of Manhattan. Walking the city with a group, our guide sharing facts from historical to pop culture and everything in between. From seeing the infamous bull statue on Wall Street to Trinity Church. Along the way we made our way to Ground Zero. Standing there, I just froze. The emotional state I entered was unfamiliar territory, I was trying to soak it all in. The tour guide was speaking, however, all I heard was a buzzing in my ears. To also see the plaques, the faces and names of the brave humans who rushed in to help, to rescue. To see the names of those lost souls.

I have witnessed so many life changing moments in my 33 years of existence, However, none have ever compared to Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

Never Forget. ❤

In New York, concrete jungles where dreams are made of, there’s nothin’ you can’t do…These streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you. Let’s hear it for New York… -Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys

Four Years Ago

Four years ago…

Sitting here on the cooling sands, watching the sun kiss the moon goodnight, a fleet of memories and realities slam my mind. As the breeze calls for my hoodie to cover my chilled bones, these tears begin to trickle down my freckled cheeks. The thought of my demise never bothered me, this type of life that was cursed upon me includes death as a forefront thought that never takes a break. Yet here I am, shivering at the thought that death has finally kissed my forehead.

My past flashing by, the memories of birthdays and holidays spiral by. Watergun fights, family Bbq’s, endless beach trips, graduations, family game nights, concerts and hockey games.

Past scars temporarily unstitching themselves causing flashes of surgeries, bullies and dark times that tried to break me and damn near did.

I survived. Everything the world hurled at me and here I am still dancing.

Then my mind shifted to all the future beautiful moments I’m never going to witness.

Sharing my story with others, being their jumpsuits. Turning up the volume in ending the stigma that continues to stifle the suicidal hearts. I had plans…

Is the toxicity of my last relationship going to be what I have to try and consider love?

I’m never going to find true love, to have that day of saying “I do” to my “Jack” in front of our family and close friends…I’ll never have kids, to see them grow up, smile as they wake Christmas morning, to make pancakes with them on weekends, to watch them fall in love with the beach while enjoying an gooey s’more and bonfires. I’ll never get to cheer them on at their sports games, school plays, graduations. I’ll never get to spoil them on their birthdays or hand over those keys when they get their license.

The thought of watching my kids find their soulmates, having families of their own and being the Grandma who gets to spoil her grandkids is fading with every tear. The wish of sitting on the front porch with my partner when we’re 80 years old, sipping tea and remenicsing down memory lane was vastly slipping into the land of the forgotten.

These dreams of mine hung in the balance right beside these decisions I need to sign, seal and deliver.

Do I pull myself back into the world I swore I’d never reenter?

Do I do morph, fight and conquer once again? Do I have enough energy, enough will to do so?

What if this battle isn’t victorious…all the research I’ve done (from dietary changes to vitamins, supplements) what if it fails. Do I cave to professionals or do I punch out (PAS) while I’m still myself?

Every memory played in my mind like the most beautifully intense movie I’ve ever seen.

Every broken dream flickered in my eyes.


Four years later…turns out this world and I aren’t finished with one another yet…

Perhaps that kiss from death was for good luck in the future…

Everytime I think I’m done, something pulls me back in…

I just wish I knew what that something is because I’d like to say thank you…

I’ll be right there, but you’ll have to grab my throat and lift me in the air…if you need anyone… -Twenty One Pilots

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!

Death by Silence

These thoughts feed off of our minds, poisoning our outlook on ourselves and our lives. This attached stigma, this ignorant mindset in others, it leads to our lips remaining sealed. This toxic secrecy leads down one path, suicide. Silence kills.

Last July, Chester Bennington took his own life. Now, those of you who are Linkin Park fans now that Chester took his personal battles and morphed them into inspired lyrics. While you could feel the the pain that he felt, you could also feel the underlying hope as well. Chester’s death sparked a movement like no other. It’s a shame though that society’s eyes only open, that their attention and concern with mental health is only grasped when a celebrity takes their life.

I am a fan of Linkin Park, as a teen and into adulthood, I would listen to certain bands/ artists whose music numed my own pain. Linkin Park is one of those bands. Chester Bennington is still one of those artists. He lives on within his lyrics.

In this farewell
There’s no blood, there’s no alibi
‘Cause I’ve drawn regret
From the truth of a thousand lies
So let mercy come and wash away
What I’ve done…” -Linkin Park

Now you all know that I love music, I also have a love for food and fashion. As a kid I would draw outfits on the side of my class assignments as I was waiting for the other students to finish their work. I also loved watching the Food Network, I’ve been a foodie since I was a youngster.

Two legends that inspired me are now gone, both by suicide. Just last week fashion icon Kate Spade took her life. Kate had been struggling with depression for years, she even tried to seek help, but was quickly silenced. Kate was told that if it were to get out that she was depressed and getting treatment for it that it may cause a whirlwind of bad PR. Kate being an iconic figure in the fashion industry lead to her staying silent about her mental illness. Silence Kills!

A few days later and Kate’s heartbreaking death still fresh, news of another legend gone hits social media. Anthony Bourdain too took his own life. Anthony was a global chef who changed the food industry in ways no one else could. He too struggled with depression and he too stayed quiet about it. Just like the family members and friends of Chester and Kate, no one saw any of what happened coming. Each of these amazing souls seemed happy and full of life, even right up until their deaths.

See, some of you out there blindly believe that depression, anxiety or suicide are “attention getters” or “fashion statements”.

Depression, anxiety and suicide ideation are not simply states of mind that we can control. Telling us to stop thinking or feeling those ways Doesn’t Work. These mental states are not switches that we can flip on and off. Assuming that we “act” depressed, anxious or suicidal to get attention is false as well.

Depression, anxiety and suicide ideation are serious mental illnesses. The main reason so many of us continue to keep our lips sealed is due to the fears of being judged by others who don’t understand, being made to feel ashamed by others ignorance. Your status in the public eye doesn’t matter, we are all human, we all matter. The stigma leads to secrecy that leads to suicide.


Can you hear me now?

Life, Love, Suicide and Ink

My body is my journal and my tattoos are my story… -Johnny Depp

my first tattoo

The first tattoo I got done was the fairy that resides on my neck behind my right ear. This mischievous pixie silhouette is a reminder (or more of a life lesson), that life gets caught in a chaotic spin from merely one’s career and personal life. It is important to pause this insanity and go off of the grid every now and again. Create memories with your loved ones, your friends and even have some “me” time. When I’m 80 years old decorating the Christmas tree with my grandkids, I want to have endless stories to share with them. We only get one shot at living our life and I want to make sure it was one hell of a road trip when my time comes. I don’t want to regret anything or have a huge emptiness with only the memories of my career. My Popee was the wise person who taught me this valuable lesson. He owned his own business and was always crazy busy, however, he also always made time for family. He had so many stories he shared and I have so many memories with him, I want to make sure I do the same. So, anytime I feel overwhelmed with my writing or by my personal life, I see that fairy tattoo and am reminded to go have some fun. Plus, Disneyland was mine and my Popee’s favorite place to go have adventures at, besides the beach.

and the second

The second tattoo I got is that all too iconic scene of Jack and Sally standing hand-in-hand on the curved hill from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Yes, this was my favorite movie as a kid and it still is, but that is not the reason I chose this scene for my tattoo. See, my past relationships haven’t been the best, especially the last one. Long story short (possibly a whole other blog) I have yet to know what real love feels like, but I definitely know what love isn’t. I found myself at the point where my faith in love, that I’d someday find love, quickly slipping through my grip.

Love was the one form of magic that I always believed in and the thought of no longer believing broke my heart even further. So, as a promise to myself, as a promise to love…to never give up on believing, I got Jack and Sally on my back. A friend asked why I didn’t do a Romeo and Juliet inspired tattoo, my reply to him, “because we all know how that romance ends “. Jack and Sally are eternal, plus like I said, it’s one of my favorite movies.

the last tattoo

The tattoo that inspired this blog, is on my right arm. The saying “Carpe Vestri Somnia” is on top of a lifeline and underneath both of those is a number sequence: 11, 17, 22, 2064. No those aren’t lottery numbers. I have been through hell and back a few times in my life, the darkness and I are no strangers. This tattoo is a promise I made to myself and to my Mom that I would never try and commit suicide again. The saying translates to “Seize your nightmares”, even though life has this cunning way of knocking you down, you have to keep getting back up. It’s like the song Champion by Fall Out Boy, “If I can live through this, I can do anything…”. The numbers each represent a dark time growing up. I was 11 years old when I began having night terrors, still have them every now and again. I was 17 years old when I tried to commit suicide. I just wanted the pain I felt from being bullied in school and the pain from never feeling like I belonged to go away. I could no longer bare being the freak. Pete Wentz once said in an interview with Rocksound that there was a point in his life where he felt toxic, that he wasn’t good enough for anyone and that that was a tough feeling to feel. You have no idea how much I resonate with every word he said. I felt toxic, that I wasn’t good enough for anyone, that I didn’t belong and that really is a tough feeling to feel. I was 22 years old when my Popee passed away from cancer. His passing landed my mind filled with internal anger causing me to slip back into my darkness. It took me quite some time to turn my anger filled tears into joyful reminiscent tears. 2064, this number I have a bit of an addiction to. See, I wasn’t supposed to live past the age of 14 due to the disability I was born with and here I am, 33 years young. I will be 80 years old in the year 2064, this is my shining light within the dark. No matter how many times life will knock me down, no matter how dark my mind may get…I’ll always get back up and I’ll always focus on that light. I will always seize my nightmares and morph them into dreams. I will Never give up because I am addicted to 2064.

i am addicted to life.

My tattoos are my embedded promises, what are yours?

Dear You: Digital Book Girl Blog Post

Original post from Digital Book Girl

Dear YouDear You is a lovely invitation into Derra Nicole Sabo’s world.

A wonderful opportunity borne out of a complex and challenging experience, to recall the good times with loved ones, the chance to express the rarely spoken profound specifics of what binds friends and family together.

This is a heart-warming collection of letters to loved ones that explores the wonder, frailty and extraordinary qualities of friendship, family, love and life.

Amazon Review: This is a beautifully written, honest, and encouraging book! One of the things that I love most about this book is the style in which it was written. Each chapter is written in the form of a letter to the author’s friends and family and that makes the experience more personal and realistic. It sucked me in from the first page and I felt every emotion imaginable while reading it! It’s underlying message is full of empathy and hope and I’d recommend this to anyone! – Brandi Myers

Available now at these fine retailers:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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