Valentino: Worldwide Sex Symbol by @JoanReeves #mgtab

Photo of Rudolph ValentinoAllow me to introduce you to the world’s first worldwide sex symbol, Rudoph Valentino.

He was the silent movie hero who made women all over the world pant and swoon.

Today is Valentino Day which commemorates his death on August 23, 1926. That should give you an idea of the influence this man’s life and death had on the world.

If you don’t know of this dark-haired Italian with the piercing gaze, ask your grandmother or great-grandmother.

Paved the Way for Today’s Alpha Hero

It’s not such a reach to say he was the model for all of the alpha male heroes that appeared on the cover of those early romance novels. You know, the heaving bosoms and thrusting loin covers that made romance authors cringe.

Actually, looking at the most popular romance covers today, the shirtless, muscled chest (far more spectacular than Valentino’s) still rules the cover wars.

I didn’t know Rudolph Valentino had a day commemorating his death until I was looking at one of those “Today in History” websites. The fact that he does have a day dedicated to his memory is testament of his influence on popular culture in his era.

The Brooding Hero Sex Symbol

The silent film era hero was born in Italy as Rudolfo Alfonzo Raffaelo Piero Filibert Guglielmi De Valentina D’Antonguolla. That’s a mouthful.

He starred in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Sheik, Blood and Sand, The Eagle, and Son of the Sheik. Women cinema-goers fell in love with Valentino’s portrayal of the alpha male hero. In today’s world, we would consider him a misogynist at best.

The Sheik book cover

Still available on Amazon & other booksellers, ebook & print.

The Sheik, a 1919 novel by E. M. Hull (Edith Maude Henderson Hull), was a huge worldwide bestseller so women were ready for a visual representation of the man. Cast as the Sheik of the international bestseller, Valentino breathed life into the the brooding alpha hero.

If you’ve ever read the book, then you know that the sheik rapes the heroine repeatedly. She broods on how much she hates him and eventually manages to escape. She is recaptured by him. As they ride back to camp, she comes to the sudden realization that she is in love with him!

Gag me with a spoon! Although the language from that era is restrained and the rapes happen “off screen,” the idea is abhorrent to me. The book is not my idea of a romance, but it’s certainly a picture of gender roles and attitudes about sexuality of that era.

Valentino’s portrayal firmly entrenched the desert romance or sheik romance, as a popular trope in romance fiction that is still mined today. Fortunately, most contemporary books using this trope in various guises eliminate the rape part of the scenario.

Who Was Edith Hull?

Anonymous drawing of Edith Hull, courtesy of Wikipedia

Edith Hull

Ms. Hull wrote several more novels with desert settings. They were some of the most popular commercial fiction of that era. I’ve heard several popular romance authors of today cite The Sheik as the most romantic book they ever read. The book is still being reprinted and sold. You can find it on Amazon if you’re interested.

Mrs. Hull began writing when her husband, a civil engineer and later a prize-winning pig farmer, was serving in World War I. The Sheik was actually her first book and was published in England in 1919. It quickly became an international bestseller. Publishers Weekly listed it as a top ten best seller in America for 1921 and 1922.

Gasp! How Many Books Sold?

Photo of pile of books

CC0 License:, Pile of covered books #159751

The book sold over 1.2 million copies worldwide. Just think about that. This was an era without television, internet, social media, etc. Those sales came mostly from word of mouth–woman reader to woman reader.

Sales increased even more when Paramount released the movie version in 1921. That sent Rudolph Valentino into immortality–the Latin Lover, the greatest “lover” of the silent screen as he was proclaimed.

By 1923, the novel had published well over 100 editions. Sales surpassed all other best-sellers combined! Her novel wasn’t the first desert romance. Robert Smythe Hichens and Kathlyn Rhodes had broken ground with the desert romance genre, but Hull’s book proved to be the most popular and influenced romance writers who hadn’t even been born yet.

Stacks of gold coins

Public Domain Pictures

Ms. Hull continued to write into the 1930s, and her 1925 novel The Sons of the Sheik was also a tremendous success.

Ditto for the film version Son of the Sheik, which again starred Valentino.

Later in life, Ms. Hull said her only regret was that she had sold the film rights for her novels for too little money. (Sounds like a familiar complaint.)

Back to Valentino aka Mr. Sexy

Grayscale photo of multi-storied building

Photo (CC0) by Eneida Nieves from Pexels

Valentino had applied for American citizenship shortly before his death. On August 15, 1926, he collapsed at a Park Avenue hotel in Manhattan and was hospitalized.

Doctors determined he had appendicitis and gastric ulcers and operated immediately. After that, perforated ulcers mimicking appendicitis were referred to as Valentino’s Syndrome. Then he developed peritonitis.

His condition continued to deteriorate until he developed pleurisy. His doctors knew he wasn’t going to make it. Back then, it was common practice not to tell the patient or family or anyone that news. It’s said on the day he died, he briefly became conscious and talked with the doctors about his future. Then he lapsed into a coma and died a few hours later at the age of 31.

Women Committed Suicide!!!

Black and white photo of griefstricken woman

CC0 Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

Upon notice of his death, mass hysteria ensued, greater than happens today upon the untimely passing of an iconic celebrity.

A crowd of over 100,000 people lined the streets of Manhattan to pay their respects at his funeral. Suicides of despondent fans were reported. The next day a riot broke out that required most of the NYPD to control it, and police had to line the streets for the remaining days of the viewing.

After a funeral mass in Manhattan on August 30, his body was transported by train to California where another funeral was held in Beverly Hills. Want to know more about Valentino and his effect on popular culture? Read this.

Today’s Alpha Hero

In our time, the most popular alpha hero is a man who can walk on the wild side yet be a polite gentleman to women.Infographic of Dead Heat cover art and text from reviews

To the woman he loves, he’s tender and protective. If the woman he loves is threatened, then look out. All bets are off. That’s the kind of alpha hero I love to read about and write about.

John Galloway, the hero in my romantic thriller Dead Heat is that kind of alpha male–a Navy SEAL who will do whatever it takes to protect those he loves.

Post Script

As you swoon over the latest hero in a romance novel, just think–he wouldn’t be there if Edith Hull hadn’t written The Sheik, and Rudolph Valentino hadn’t breathed life into the character with his performance and made the world of women readers and cinema-goers sit up and take notice.

Joan’s Next Book

You’ll find my her next book in the Love, Christmas 2: Movies You Love Holiday Collection.
Infographic of Love Christmas 2 cover artSprinkle a little Christmas magic into your life with 26 ALL-NEW, never before released romances. This collection is available for pre-order now. It’s going to be HUGE so order your copy today!

Fountain Pen


Amazon Author Page * BookBub Author Page * Facebook Fan Page * Twitter * YouTube * Joan’s Website * Be the first to know about New Books & Giveaways, Bargains, New Books, sign up for Joan’s Mailing List.

Joan Reeves

Joan Reeves—Keeping Romance Alive…One Sexy Book at a Time—is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. From Romantic Comedy to Romantic Thriller, all of her books have the same premise: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.” Joan lives her happily-ever-after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. They divide their time between the hustle and bustle of Houston and a quiet house at the foot of the Texas Hill Country where they grow fruit trees and grapes and make wine. Sign up for Joan’s Mailing List and be the first to know about new books and giveaways.

Visit Joan Reeves Website

A Number’s Game #mgtab @NatalieAnn1212

I’m a bit OCD when it comes to numbers. Maybe because I’ve spent the last 25 years of my life working in finance.

When I do something and a number is attached, it almost always has to end with a 0 or a 5. If not my eyes start to twitch and my fingers want to grab a red pen like a teacher and start adding or subtracting until I get the desired total.

With that thought in mind, I’m going to focus on the number 5.

Today, on August 15th, it’s my 45th birthday. Last week, I published my 25th book which happened to belong to my Fierce Five Series. Did you notice how I made five comments with the number 5 in it in this post?

All those 5’s and I’m just one happy girl.

Here’s a peak at Fierce-Mason. By the way, Mason is a bit of a geek too, and though he doesn’t talk about numbers like his sister Ella does, I bet he has a fascination with them just like me.


Natalie Ann lives in Upstate NY with her husband, son, and French Bulldog.  She has always had a love for books, especially happily ever after. She writes contemporary romance with a dash of humor focusing on real life (but fictional) situations and storylines. She’s inspired by the crazy, ridiculous, touching, and emotional family dynamics that most people go through. Her series are based right in her home state or cities she has visited.

A Different Vacation–in Japan by Mona Risk

I had the unique opportunity to visit Japan a month ago. After a twenty-four hour flight from Florida to Illinois, a four-hour layover in Chicago, and an endless flight to Tokyo we finally arrived TWO days later–because of a thirteen-hour time difference–under a pouring rain.

Tokyo is a perfect example of modern capital, with more highrises than Manhattan and as many Toyotas and Hondas! Our organized tour around the huge city revealed a few surprises. Did you know that Tokyo has a Statue of Liberty offered by the US? And an Eiffel Tower taller than the original French Eiffel Tower?

The imperial palace is not open to the public, but we visited a reproduction newly inaugurated in April. Painted in bright colors on a golden background, all the walls slide open in such a way that you can have several small rooms converted into a large one. No furnitures encumber the rooms. People spread their futton mat at night and remove them in closets during the day .

The real old Japanese flavor survives in the temples boasting the vivid red colors favorite to the Japanese culture and the shrines hidden in caves overlooking the ocean or on top of mountains. To reach that particular shrine, Nichinan, we climbed down 400 steps. The problem was to climb them back up!!!

We visited gorgeous parks with incredible displays of colorful flowers. We walked around for hours, others navigated by train. Weddings are often held in these parks.

The blend of old and new is present everywhere. Every mall, airport or public place offers two types of stalls in the rest rooms, the very old style–a whole in the floor surrounded by ceramic. You don’t sit. You crouch low or stand and aim right! The other type is the expensive Toto type with a set of push buttons to spray water when you are sitting. A detailed set of instructions is affixed on the restroom door. 



In addition to all sort of suchi, we tasted new food, even new ice creams flavors: Green tea ice cream, gold or platinum ice creams: vanilla covered with a gold leaf or a platinum leaf. You pay double price for these.–$8.





Our tour guide explained that school children of all ages have one month of vacation in summer and one in winter. In addition to clearing their desks, the children must clean the class, the class restroom and the hallway in front of their classes. 






We visited the geisha area, fought the samurai, but didn’t ride in a pulled rickshaw.

It would take too long to relate all the highlights of this incredible journey to the other side of the world. Maybe one day I will use it as a setting for a new book.

Meanwhile let me offer you my newest book:  FOR SARAH’S SAKE


A broken marriage.

Second chance at love.

And a precious little girl trying to escape danger and hatred, to get herself a loving family.

Mona Risk

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk, received an Outstanding Achiever Award from Affaire de Coeur Magazine. She’s a two time winner of Best Contemporary Romance of the Year from Readers Favorite; a winner of Best Romance Novel of the Year from Preditors & Editors Readers Poll; and an EPIC Award finalist.
Mona Risk’s name has often been posted on the 100 Most Popular Authors in Romance list, and her books have garnered: Top Pick, Outstanding Read, Sweetheart of the Week, and Best Book of the Week from various reviewers, and received two mentions in Publisher’s Weekly.
Mona lives in South Florida and has traveled to more than eighty countries on business or vacation. She writes contemporary romances, medical romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal fantasy. Sprinkled with a good dose of humor, her stories are set in the fascinating places she visited or more simply at home.
If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy her international romances. Meet the spirited heroines and special heroes who share irresistible chemistry in stories that simmer with emotion.
 View website

Girls just want to have fun!

A couple weeks ago, my three best friends, more commonly known as my sisters by other mothers, and I got a chance to hang out. We do this once a year in Cape Cod and from the time we leave each other until the next July, we look forward to doing it all again! One of Melissa Foster’s (Melissa is the one up front on the right) assistants created this for us the first day we arrived and it was all over social media. What a blast! The other two featured in the photo are Amy Manemann in the back, and Natasha Brown to the left side. #Besties

Now we don’t do anything super special while we are there, except hug each other, laugh until we cry, sometimes we just cry, we talk, we plot, we shop, we watch movies into after midnight, we eat yummy food, and then we plot some more! We all are writers after all! It’s a time for us to rejuvinate, really catch up with each other and unwind. It’s a time to just be. Its one of my favorite times of the year.


One of the things that Amy and I worked on this year was our co-authored series called The Twisted Love Series. It’s romantic suspense/police procedural. Currently, the first two books in the series are available (right now exclusively on Amazon and in KU). These two books are single authored, and back stories about our female detectives centered in Philadelphia.

Amy’s book, Love Lorn, is about her character Detective Evie Harper. She’s new to being a detective, and paired with a man who get’s under her skin.

My book, Love Torn, is about Detective Kali Mann. She’s been a detective for a while but she has major issues, including a total love-them-and-leave-them attitude that keeps her from getting close to anyone.

The third book in the series, Love Inked, will be released this fall (that’s what Amy and I were working up at the Cape) will bring these two detectives together as partners – and then all hell breaks loose.

Amy and I are having a blast writing this books. We even have a fan group on Facebook called Twisted Love Addicts where we give insight into the books, characters, plots, and Amy and I read chapters live. In fact when we were at the Cape, we read chapters 1 and 2 of Love Inked together. It was so much fun! If you want to join the group, we’d love to have you! Just click here to join and make sure to download Love Lorn and Love Torn so you know what we are talking about in the group!

To purchase a copy of Love Lorn or read for Free on Kindle Unlimited Click HERE

To purchase a copy of Love Torn or read for Free on Kindle Unlimited Click HERE

Stacy Eaton is a USA Today Best Selling author and began her writing career in October of 2010. Stacy took an early retirement from law enforcement after over fifteen years of service in 2016, with her last three years in investigations and crime scene investigation to write full time.

Stacy is very involved in Domestic Violence Awareness and served on the Board of Directors for her local Domestic Violence Center for three years.