The “S” Word

This life is definitely not for the faint at heart. This life is a whirlwind of luminosity and darkness, however when that darkness sneaks in it becomes all we can see. The light seems burnt out and we feel as though there’s nothing left, that we have nothing left in us. This life, in all of its beautiful chaos, is worth living. 💛

Never silence someone’s depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts. I understand that these topics may be uncomfortable for you to discuss, but please remember…your discomfort is our reality…your discomfort doesn’t outweigh our lives.

Talk…listen…support. 💛

I know who I truly am, I truly do have a chance…I’m fairly local, I’ve been around, I’ve seen the streets you’re walkin’ down… -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

Frozen Waves

We’re Broken People… -TOP

Photo box.. I have a photo box filled a few nick-nacks (i.e. i.d. bracelet worn as a kid, my 5th generation U2 ipod and a guardian angel necklace given to me by my great Aunt) and a grip of photos of my past. A true time capsule containing the best times and the worst times. These framed memories have me losing myself down memory lane. Reminiscing holidays, birthday parties, graduations, surgeries, school events and daily insanity. Every moment captured in these hand held capsules. A happy grin has slipped onto my face along with spouts of laughter. Between my siblings and I, we we’re all adorable chaos instigators. Truly never a dull moment at the Sabo house.

I heard that pictures don’t change, just the people inside of ’em do… -NF

Mixed into this beautiful stack of frozen photos, these frozen waves, are captured moments were my smile seems genuine, but is actually just a frustrated frown turned upside down. My teenage self was a bullied soul who was losing her way. Looking at my younger image I can see it now. I can see how fast I was slipping. I can now see the pain hidden behind that fake smile, the retracted tears hidden deep in those hazel eyes and the fresh bleeding wounds pre scarring stage within that beautiful mind. I can see every suicidal crack.

Looking at these frozen photos has rippled a few tears down my cheeks. These tears are no longer painful or regretful, but joyful in a sense. These few tears are tiny drops of inspiration. Looking back then and now looking at my present reflection in the mirror causes one single thought to swirl through my scarred cerebral… “Damn, I survived. I’m still here.”

I am passing along a Double Dare to all of you… No matter what you’ve gone through, take the simple fact that you’re still here as a huge accomplishment. No matter what you may currently be going through, know this, you will survive. You will push through the dark and find that light at the end of the tunnel. You have an unknown strength that will keep you going. Never give up. We all have a purpose and it’s never too late to find it and make it a reality. This thing we call life isn’t easy, by any means. But, it’s so worth living every minute of it, even those gnawing bad minutes. Our past makes us strong for our future.

One night and one more time, thanks for the memories even they weren’t so great… -FOB


Bullets and Scars

You stand there high upon your pedestal, peering down at those you have labeled beneath. With a judgmental smile painted on your face and your AK-47 lips locked & loaded, victim after victim becomes shot down by your verbal bullets. 

Hit and run without a care for after all of the targets you sought out are bleeding out on the ground, you simply move on. You never stick around to witness the damage you’ve done. Left alone, we are responsible for cleaning up your premeditated murder scene. 

Wounds cleaned and stitched up, we are left to bury our damaged pieces and say a silent prayer that we survive this created life of mental scars and invisible labels.

This new world is darker, monsters reside here, yet being the warriors that we are we will fight with every ounce of our hearts and souls to protect the beauty that lives within. 

Stop judging… Stop labeling… Stop assuming… Stop bullying… Stop shooting your verbal bullets. 

I’ve got issues just like you’ve got issues, I’ve been hurt, I seen scar tissue. If I showed you would you run away, do I gotta hide ’em for you to wanna stay?… -MGK

I’ve said this before and I’m saying this again… We are ALL dealing with something. Mental, physical, or emotional… We are ALL struggling with something. Perfection and Normal DO NOT exist. We are ALL human, so start spreading kindness, compassion and respect around. 

I don’t know about you, but I want to be seen for who I am, not what you’ve labeled me as. I want you to see my golden heart, not the stitches that hold it together. I want you to see my glowing mind, not the scars that are cemented deep down. I want you to see me just as I see you. 

What do you see when you look at me? Don’t cover my scars, let them bleed… -MGK