According to Sheryl Dee, her book Rhythm and the Body Electric is contemporary romantic fiction that is as turns dark, funny and quite erotic. It follows a woman’s journey to life that fulfills her both emotionally and creatively even though she has to deal with several personal obstacles along the way. Interspersed throughout Rhythm and the Body Electric is Dee’s provocative and sensual poetry.
Speak in Short Words
Speak in short words, each breath stolen from the divine.
Slip the grip of time.
Slay beastly doubts with dazzling strokes.
Open your throat. Eat your foe.
Burn, build or braid a way.
Heal with hands, hymns and heat.
Give more than you get.
Sing a unified theory in ten lines or less.
Each day, chase genius. Find grace.
The following is a brief synopsis of Rhythm and the Body Electric provided by the author:
“Virginia’s got her sexy, silly groove back and is ready to rock the world, but will love, lust and dangerous desire kill the music?
Environmental engineer Virginia “V.” Will, the youngest in a protective, Southern family, has played it safe for years. The death of her adventurous mother is a wake-up call. At age 39, V. leaves her job and joins the D.C. band Love Bunny as a drummer, but she wants more than just a drum throne and a voyeur’s view of the wild parties of her twenty-something bandmates. Just when she thinks her family was wrong about the dangers of the nightlife, she starts feeling very out of sorts at a band party. And did she just hallucinate her favorite actor Jack Leeds? Not good.
Jack Leeds knows how to blend into the background to enjoy a beautiful talent. He sees V. at a Love Bunny show. He must have her. He plans to approach V. at a listening party, where her odd behavior interrupts his kinky preoccupations. Can he keep her safe and protect his TV career and his heart?
Hot sex, soulful art, empowerment, obsession and violent secrets give the lust and love story of Jack and V. its own seductive rhythm, now accentuated with layered, provocative and lyrical pieces from the author (me), an award-winning poet.
Fans of BWWM romance, leading ladies with a sense of humor, power exchange, poetry, erotica and nerds getting love will have a blast dancing to the beat of Jack and V.”
Ms. Dee was also kind enough to provide a glimpse of Rhythm and the Body Electric through the first chapter:
Chapter 1 Bold Bunny Beat
Rumble and caress cohere. As the beat fades, sorrow and hope wash over me in waves.
Gavin tips his pork pie hat and says, “And that, my friends, is yet another reason we’re so lucky to have our V. Show some love for her.”
Scattered across the crowd, my friends clap and hoot. The love on their faces lifts me.
Gavin introduces the fans’ favorite Love Bunny song. The energy elevates. I scan the den for my college pal until Zander the DJ blocks my view.
“Yo, great remix, V.,” Zander says. “Let’s toast to drummers getting some love tonight.”
This drummer already has. And she doesn’t plan to share it with a disconcerting DJ.
No, no. Let me be gracious. This night’s been amazing. I can at least be civil.
I smile at Zander. His goatee’s darker and his blonde hair’s lighter than I recall. He hands me an open bottle of ale from my favorite local brewer. I take in a big mouthful and am surprised at its sweetness. I check the label. Summer blend at a fall soiree, no biggee. I swallow.
“Hey girl, about that song,” Zander says in his incongruously deep voice.
I talk with Zander for minutes. He drones on about his approach to production.
“I wish this rapper I heard would get that.”
“He probably does,” he says.
“She has cool flow. Her empowerment message is amazing. Her tracks are just too thin.”
“Maybe I should holler at her, professionally,” he says.
“You should try. She’s D.C. born and raised.”
“Local. Cool. We could get that chedda,” he says.
“OK, but she’s about something. She won a grant for social entrepreneurship.”
“Does she keep it real?” he says. “I can’t stand fake shit.”
“She’s as real as gentrification.”
Gavin announces the last two songs before I can tell Zander the rapper’s name. Maybe that’s a good break for her.
The choice of the manager plays. The crowd claps. The new song unfurls. It ends to loud applause. My heartbeat thumps like a scared rabbit. I wonder if the excitement’s gotten to me.
I see my friends out, trying not to let on at my dizziness. I wait in line for the bathroom. I wash my face with cool water to little lasting effect.
I spot Pei. I doubt I can cross the dining room without stumbling.
“Pei, I better head out.”
“Girl, ya had a few too many. Ya better sit down before ya fall down,” Pei says.
“I didn’t finish a drink, not one.”
“I gotta schmooze,” Pei says as she tucks a lock of blue hair behind her ear. “I’ll get Zander to set ya up with some chips and a quiet spot upstairs ‘til we drive ya home.”
I fight to control my bottom lip. It feels stretchy.
I hate being drunk. I’d only had half the ale. Is low tolerance another vagary of aging?
The dining room’s tilting. I may’ve been drugged. I should be incensed. Am I floating?
Zander guides me up tricky stairs. I wobble by a guy who looks like my favorite fantasy lover, Jackson Leeds. Same strong jaw and soul-stirring eyes.
I must be hallucinating. I’m definitely unwinding. Here’s hoping all my trips are as lovely as Jackson.
Author: Sheryl Dee
Page Count: 200 (more with the poems)
Word Count: 50,000
Sheryl Dee is a writer, drummer, researcher, voice over artist and more. She studied creative writing at UNC Chapel Hill and took Poetry for the People at UC Berkeley. She won the first Pearl Street Publishing author fellowship and a Gemini Magazine poetry contest. 513 206 0278