By New York Times and USA Today bestselling author
‘Tis the season for a sexy holiday!
When Darius Bravo wants something—he usually gets it. And the powerhouse CEO has wanted Ava Malloy since he was a Justice Creek High senior. Darius is already adored by one Malloy: Ava’s spirited daughter. Helping Sylvie and her local Blueberry troop build dollhouses for needy kids is a worthy cause that’s bringing him closer to the widowed single mom. Imagine his surprise when the usually unapproachable Ava starts flirting and making her romantic intentions crystal clear!
With one condition. A holiday fling with the man Ava has always found irresistibly attractive is a thrilling way to ring in the New Year. She can’t promise Darius the future—one devastating heartbreak in a lifetime is enough. But Ava underestimates his staying power. And what about her own secret heart’s desire? A Bravo under the mistletoe and in her arms forever!
CHRISTINE RIMMER is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has written more than 100 contemporary romances for Harlequin Books. A reader favorite, Rimmer has won Romantic Times Book Review’s Reviewer’s Choice Award for best Silhouette Special Edition. She has been nominated seven times for the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award and five times for Romantic Times Series Storyteller of the Year.
A BRAVO FOR CHRISTMAS
by Christine Rimmer
Harlequin Special Edition; November 22, 2016
$5.50 U.S.; 224 Pages
A BRAVO FOR CHRISTMAS
by Christine Rimmer
Bon Appétit and a Book: A delicious recipe to enjoy alongside the book with an
image. CHICKEN SOUP FOR CHRISTMAS
( Bon Appétit and a Book )
There’s nothing like a bowl of chicken soup on a cold winter’s day. Enjoy it in front of the tree, or by a
cozy fire. Add a great Christmas romance—I recommend my December release, A BRAVO FOR
CHRISTMAS–and there’s nothing better. I love this chicken soup recipe. It essentially takes two days
because you have to make the broth first and then cool it to skim off the fat. But it really is a simple
process. And it is soooo good. — Christine Rimmer , www.ChristineRimmer.com
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 medium carrots sliced into quarter-inch rounds
3 celery stalks, CUT into quarter-inch slices
1 (5 ½ to 7-pound) chicken
2 quarts chicken broth
Up to 1 quart cold water
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme
5 sprigs fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups egg noodles
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Cut the chicken into 8 pieces. (Yes, you can buy an already cut-up chicken. Just be sure it still has bones
and skin and don’t cut off any extra fat. The fat adds flavor and then you skim it away later.) And of
course, always be careful to wash hands, cutting tools and surfaces thoroughly after handling poultry.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a stockpot. Add onions, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring often, until
soft, approximately 10 minutes.
Add the chicken pieces to the sautéed veggies and pour in the broth. Add enough cold water to cover
veggies and chicken by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat and skim off the foam that rises to
the surface. Add the parsley, thyme and bay leaf (You will remove these later, so if you tie them together
or bag them in culinary cheesecloth, removal is easier).
Reduce heat to low and simmer until the chicken is very tender, about 2 hours. (I put the lid on for this.
My mother always simmered the soup uncovered. Your choice).
Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove and discard parsley,
bay leaf and thyme. Degrease the soup. (If you don’t mind skimming it hot, that’s fine—or if you have
one of those fat-separating cups, even better. I like to chill the broth and the chicken overnight and then
put the broth in the freezer for a few hours the next morning. The fat is thick and floating by then and
easy to spoon off.)
Discard the chicken skin and bones and cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. Add the noodles and cook
according to instructions on the noodle package (3-10 minutes). Stir the chicken back into the soup, add
salt and pepper to taste, serve hot.
The soup will be good refrigerated for four days or so. You can freeze it for up to three months. Makes
Song Playlist: A prepared playlist of songs that embodies the book’s characters and
their love story.
PLAY LIST, A BRAVO FOR CHRISTMAS
Songs that embody the love story of Darius and Ava
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS (Mariah Carey) At the Blueberry troop meeting, Ava fantasizes about
a Christmas love affair.
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY (Katy Perry) Ava remembers what happened in High School.
LET IT SNOW (Michael Bublé) Ava goes to Darius’s house for the first time.
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS INSTEAD OF SHEEP (Diana Krall) Ava tucks Sylvie in bed.
HOLES IN THE FLOOR OF HEAVEN (Steve Wariner) Mourning the loss and celebrating the life of
THE CHRISTMAS SONG (Ray Charles) Darius and Ava snowed in at Darius’s house.
NOTHING COMPARES TO YOU (Stereophonics) Darius faces his deepest secret, the one he’s even
managed to keep from himself.
THE CHRISTMAS WALTZ (Frank Sinatra) After the Christmas Ball, Darius and Ava dance together in
her front hall.
FROSTY THE SNOWMAN (Burl Ives) Sylvie and her Blueberry troop build a snowman with
COLD (Annie Lennox) Ava has to face that she’s thrown away what matters most.
THIS GIFT (98 Degrees) Ava and Dare on Christmas Eve.
How-to Tips for Aspiring Writers: Tips for those looking to get their work
published/break into the industry.
Building Your Writing Habit and Increasing Productivity
People always ask me what’s the secret to my writing success? How have I managed to make a living as
a writer for more years than I ever care to count?
First and foremost, to be a writer, you have to write. It sounds self-evident, but sometimes it’s not.
In Outliers, a book about people who accomplish extraordinary things, Malcolm Gladwell tells us that it
requires 10,000 hours of practice to reach mastery in any field, that the greatest athletes, entrepreneurs,
musicians, writers and scientists emerge only after spending at least three hours a day for a decade
mastering their chosen field.
Truly, the more you write, the better you’re going to get at it. It’s certainly been that way for me. And I
do feel it’s only fair to admit that writing doesn’t get easier, necessarily. That it really shouldn’t get
easier. Because you’re always going to be striving to improve. Not easier, but better. I may have moved
past things I needed in the earlier days of my writing career. I no longer require fat files with detailed
pictures of clothing in them to describe what my characters are wearing. I’m long done with having to do
extensive biographies and goal/motivation worksheets of each character. But now I’m focusing on other
areas of my writing that are still hard for me. Things like mastering point of view, like constantly pushing
to tighten my pacing.
But first and foremost, I needed to put in my 10,000 hours.
And my best advice for making sure you reach your own 10,000 hours of practice and move beyond
them? Create strong writing habits.
Humans are creatures of habit. Bad habits can take hold and not let go and ruin our lives.
Good habits can help us achieve our goals. It’s paramount that you create your writing habit, starting
with giving yourself writing time.
So, if you haven’t made regular writing time already, do it now. Set a comfortable time to write and set a
daily word or page goal. You should be writing at least five days a week. Get up early if you have to in
order to “find the time.” Waiting for inspiration is not going to make you a writer. Writing makes you a
And now that we’re on the subject of inspiration? Get rid of the romantic, mistaken idea that writing is
about inspiration. Frankly, that’s crap. If you wait for inspiration, maybe you’ll get lucky. You might
write something you’re proud of one time. Or even two. But you’re not going to improve as a writer—
which may be perfectly fine with you. Totally okay.
But if you want more than just to write when you feel like it, more than to write for yourself and a few
trusted friends, I’m here to talk to you about how to make your writing better, how to have enough
writing product to move on to making a living with the words that you write.
And once you’ve made time and space for your writing, once you’ve created your writing habit, you can
start discovering ways to write more. You can slowly begin to increase your productivity.
I mentioned page goals a few paragraphs back. Use them. Even if you start with just a goal of a
paragraph a day, slowly up the goal, reach higher, write more. Yes, eventually, you will hit the right
rhythm and daily output ceiling for you, but don’t limit yourself too early on. Keep slowly trying to
increase your page goals. Productivity is usually increased in increments and there are tools to keep you
from getting stuck in a rewriting loop.
If you keep fixing things instead of moving forward, turn off your monitor. Write the words in in your
head, don’t rewrite the ones on the screen. Make yourself keep moving forward. It doesn’t matter if you
have to write semi-gibberish to get out of the rewriting loop; the goal is to keep typing, not to edit.
If you’re really not getting anywhere, make firm rules for yourself and keep them. When you sit down to
write, do nothing else. Make your writing time just for writing. Don’t do any social media, don’t even
check email until you’ve hit your specific goal of pages or time with your work in progress. It’s always
going to be tempting to go for the instant gratification of Facebook or twitter. But you’re in it for the long
haul. You want to be a professional writer and nothing about that is “instant.”
If you don’t have deadlines, create your own. Use contests or join a group writing project. Form a
critique or plot group where you meet regularly and you have to have material ready when you meet.
Here’s a trick. Write a check to a group you hate; have a friend keep it—and mail it if you don’t finish
your book by the goal date.
And this is paramount, don’t be afraid to be bad. Give yourself permission to be stinko. Because, truly,
sometimes you will be. As Nora Roberts says, you can’t fix a blank page. Get those words down on that
Sometimes the words just don’t come. Sometimes it feels like every sentence is garbage. You know
what? As long as you’re writing, moving forward, that’s fine. Often you’ll find you’ll feel blocked when
you start a session, but if you work through, keep going, let that bad stuff be written, eventually in the
session, you’ll start connecting and your writing will soar.
Remember the 10,000 hour rule I mentioned earlier? It takes a lot of bad writing to become a good
writer. Just don’t worry about it. Being bad is part of the process, part of your journey toward better and
better writing—and toward a life of writing for a living.
Writer’s Space: Photos and a brief description of the place where they do their
Writing Space Tour
Many of my writer friends love nothing so much as to curl up on the couch and write on their laptops.
Not me. I like an office, a home office. When I work, I want to be surrounded by all my writing stuff. I
want to look to my left and see a bunch of calendars….
I’m big into calendars. I like to keep careful track of what’s happening, and when. I also want to look up
and see first editions of every romance I’ve written lined up and waiting on the bookcase above my
I like an inspiration bulletin board and another board for maps and, yep, another calendar that shows me
what’s going on at any given day in my work in progress.
And another desk under a window just in case I want to sit down and write something by hand.
Am I totally spoiled? Oh, you bet. I write four books a years in this office, so I have it just the way I like
it. I love coming in here to work every day.
Love Lessons Learned: Real life romance lessons learned from the book.
Sometimes the most important gifts we get are the ones we have the hardest time accepting.
In A BRAVO FOR CHRISTMAS, widowed single mom Ava Malloy is finally recovering from the death
of her husband almost seven years ago. Ava is smart, ambitious and determined that her seven-year-old
daughter will have the things Ava missed out on while growing up. Ava and Sylvie are prosperous and
Too bad Ava’s mom, Kate, won’t stop matchmaking. Kate believes in happily-ever-afters and she isn’t
giving up until Ava learns to love again.
Ava just doesn’t want to go there. She’s had the love of her life and she lost him. The grief was
unbearable. Ava’s perfectly happy raising her daughter, building her business and enjoying the love of
and support of family and friends.
A love affair ? She could so get into that. A holiday love affair? Perfect. Passion and pleasure with no
strings attached. And an agreed-upon end date of January 1. That’s her Christmas fantasy.
And it’s just possible that Darius Bravo is the man to help her fulfill it. Ava’s known Darius since high
school. He’s hot and smart and charming. And he’s never settled down. Clearly, he doesn’t want forever
with a woman any more than she wants it with a new man.
What’s that old saying, be careful what you wish for? In wishing for Darius as her personal fantasy
Christmas present, Ava’s about to learn that there’s more to Dare than she ever suspected. With him, she
just might find the greatest gift of all. Whether she’s ready for that or not…
Movie Star Cast: The author picks movie stars to play the characters in a movie.
MOVIE STAR CAST: A BRAVO FOR CHRISTMAS
I always “cast” my stories. I choose images of real people to represent the main characters as I’m writing
the book. I like to know exactly how my characters look. As a rule, I choose from pictures of actors or
And I love Pinterest. I use it for each book, creating a Pinterest board exclusive to that story, with images
that speak of the setting, characters and plot for me.
The hero of my December release, A BRAVO FOR CHRISTMAS, is Darius Bravo. Dare is the oldest of
nine siblings. He’s big, strong and clean-cut. An all-American guy who left home at eighteen to see the
world and eventually returned to his hometown of Justice Creek, Colorado, to take over his father’s
business. He’s something of a heartbreaker, with a rep as a guy who’ll never settle down with one special
woman. Until right now, this Christmas, when he finally gets his chance with widowed single mom, Ava
Malloy. For Dare, I cast the Cap himself, Chris Evans:
And for Ava, who’s known great heartbreak, but who is tough and determined to make her way in the
world, I wanted someone both sweet and strong, someone at home in comedy and a more serious role.
And for more great shots of Chris and Kristen and some cool clothing and setting details, feel free to check out my Pinterest board here: https://www.pinterest.com/christinerimmer/a–bravo–for–christmas/
A Grateful Holiday: The authors describes what they are grateful for this holiday
What I’m Grateful for This Christmas
As I’m sure is true of most writers, I learned to read at an early age. And oh, how I loved it! Books to me
were—and are—the very best place to go to experience all that life has to offer. In a book, I get all the
thrills and chills and challenges of fighting monsters, living through the French Revolution, surviving
World War II, falling in love for all time…anything. Everything. All of life’s variety and wonder were
and are right there, between the pages of my favorite books. And I can go there instantly from the
comfort of my coziest chair.
I have a younger sister. Early on I drew her into my love of the written word. Starting when I was five
and she was two, I would read to her. With lots of vocal and facial expression. I expected a great deal of
her, as my audience. And she always rose to the occasion, sitting there rapt as I swept us both away to
worlds we would never know in real life. I was a taxing big sister. Now and then I would stop out of
nowhere and demand of her, “What did I just read?” Inevitably, she would repeat my last sentence back
to me verbatim, brown eyes wide with wonder at the thrill of the tale.
When I was seven and she four, we started reading A Christmas Carol every year. Ten pages a day
starting the first of December. Our grandmother had given me a lovely copy of the Dickens treat,
illustrated so beautifully by an artist called Maraja.
Oh, how we looked forward, my sister and I, to our yearly adventures with Scrooge and Marley and the
three wise spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet-to-Come. We would cry together in joy, every year,
when Tiny Tim crowed “God bless us, Every One!”
Later, as I grew to adulthood, a book was always the best, most exciting and uplifting place to go to get
away from all my everyday troubles. That’s still true, to this day.
And now I not only love to read a good Christmas story, I write one every year for Harlequin Special
Edition. I’m so grateful for the Christmas memories of reading to my sister. To this day, those
memories inspire me as a writer to strive to write the kind of stories that keep readers turning pages and
believing that no matter how tough things get, everything will work out right in the end.