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Eat This While you Read That: Kacey Ezell

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I’m not sure where to start with Kacey Ezell. For one thing, I want to fangirl here, but I don’t want to embarrass her, either. It’s not for her writing – although that’s very good, and you’ll enjoy it – it’s for what she’s done. I knew about her for years before I got to read her work, through John Ringo who wrote about her and immortalized her in a way with his stories. There have been many writers who lived larger lives than in their stories, and Kacey is one of them.

But I’ll stop. Otherwise I’m likely to get a Gibbs-slap next time we’re at the same con. Instead I’ll urge you to pick up one of her stories, either in Citizens, or Black Tide Rising. See that cheerleader in zombie-hunting mode? That’s from Kacey’s story. If you want it now, pick it up from Baen, in the June monthly bundle along with several other great reads. Then you’ll join me in urging her to write more, we want more!

I’m going to break from tradition and offer you a snippet to whet your appetite.

Once upon a time a very good friend had described a cheerleading competition as the seventh circle of hell. It was probably sacrilege for a cheerleading coach to feel that way, but Mia Swanson had to admit that her her old flying buddy had a point. After eight hours of squealing, chanting, hyper high-schoolers throwing each other up in the air, tumbling down open hallways and quite literally bouncing off the walls…Mia had a headache. And there was still most of an hour left on their seven hour drive back to Albuquerque from Colorado Springs.

Two hours, Mia promised herself. Two hours and I’ll be home, in a bathtub, waiting for Max and the girls to get home. We’ll have dinner. It will be great.

One of the most irritating things about this particular competition was that it had fallen on a Shooting Weekend. Once every other month or so, Mia and some friends and their families got together and went shooting out on White Mesa, just outside of Albuquerque. It was all BLM land out there, and as long as they took precautions not to hit anyone or any animals, there were no restrictions. It had started before she retired from the Air Force a year ago, and it had rapidly become one of her favorite traditions.

Alas, retirement meant a new career, and a new career meant new commitments. Mia glanced over her shoulder at the teenagers sprawled in various seats in the fifteen-pax van and smiled. Seventh circle of hell aside, this really was her dream job. These were good kids, and Mia was proud to coach them.

“What’s that?” Jessa asked, sitting up and pulling her iPhone earbuds out of her ears, as if that would help her see better. Mia looked up and cursed lightly under her breath. Blue and red flashing lights stained the sky up over the next slight hill, and she’d been doing closer to eighty than seventy mph. She eased off the gas and began to break, just as they crested the hill.

“A roadblock?” Mia could hear the incredulity in her own voice as she continued to slow the van. “Jessa, have you got signal? See if you can pull up the news.” The senior immediately set to work as Mia pulled to a stop, rolling down her window as a uniformed officer approached her window.

“Officer. Good Evening,” Mia started. “What’s going on? I…” She’d been about to disclose that she was armed, even though she hadn’t exactly told the team that, and she was certain that she’d hear from some irate parents. It might even cost her the job, new as she was, but there had been no way Mia was going to be taking a three day competition trip, with a fourteen hour total drive time with twelve teenagers and no weapon. No fucking thank you.

When I asked Kacey for a recipe for this series, she sent me this one, and commented that it was something her character would make, but she hadn’t put it into the story in Black Tide Rising. This is what sequels are for!

Cinnamon Roll
Big Beautiful Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite things to make – they have been a traditional Christmas-Eve recipe since my babies were babies – and I was looking forward to making this recipe. I knew just from looking at it that it would make a lot of rolls. Kacey commented that she doesn’t bother with the frosting, which I was delighted to hear. Less-sweet is better for the First Reader, and my hips.

Dough Sponge
This is where I ran out of flour. This rose rather a lot in the time it took me to run around the corner to the store. Making a sponge isn’t a bad technique, it’s just that I usually like to plan it.
Yeast Dough
The Dough that took over Cincinnati. I kneaded in the last two cups of flour.

Making this in the stand mixer, my original plan, lasted until I had about 8 cups of flour in the dough. Frankly, I was surprised I was able to fit in that much before needing to turn it out into a pile of flour and work the rest in. I don’t need a baby Hobart. Doesn’t mean I don’t want one!

Yeast dough
Divide the dough in half. This is not optional. Do it.
Rolling dough
Roll out half the dough until it is 1/2 inch thick. Try to keep it roughly rectangular.
Spread half the filling on the dough, not too thickly. Roll loosely, lifting up and giving the filling some space or you will squish it out.
cinnamon rolls
Once you have the ‘log’ cut it into half, half again, then each quarter into thirds, so you have a dozen rolls.
cinnamon rolls
Place the slices into your pan – a whole sheet pan, if you’re making them all at once, and you have an oven big enough.

After allowing the rolls to rise for twenty minutes, put them in the oven at 400 deg F for twenty minutes.

Allow to cool, at least a little! The sticky filling is like lava right out of the oven.

These came out beautifully, fluffy, huge, lucious… and not too sweet without the frosting. We split one for dessert and that was plenty! I’ll be giving my classmates largesse today. The First Reader’s comment is that they were just right. Iced they would be too sweet, he says. He wants me to make them again, but only a half batch. Or maybe a quarter.

cinnamon rolls
Fluffy cinnamon rolls

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2 thoughts on “Eat This While you Read That: Kacey Ezell

  1. I’d whomp one down with a big glass of milk, because my mouth would get dry thinking this was a Kacey Ezell recipe. She shoots people with a helicopter!
    I’ve never done it with from-scratch cinnamon rolls, just the tube kind, but if I DO make this, I’m going to try putting bacon slices in when I roll them up. With the tube rolls, that’s a treat. This might not need anything.

    1. Keep in mind that if you bake the bacon *inside* something it won’t be crispy. On the other hand, if you went back to the whisky bacon scones I did for LB Johnson, that glaze and bacon crumble topping would probably be amazing on these.

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