Live Action Writing by Stacy Hoff

My new release is coming up, and this book is one of my favorites. That’s because the real life research I conducted exactly one year ago (August, 2015) was as enjoyable for me as the writing process itself. What’s even better is that I’ll be heading back to Saratoga, where a lot of this research took place.

I expected to learn lots of important information in 2015 while visiting the National Museum of Racing & Hall of Fame, as well as the Oklahoma Training Track. And I did. These fine organizations helped me construct the framework for my story. I would never have understood the mechanics of the horse racing world nearly so well without seeing these facilities, taking their tours, and speaking to their wonderful staff in person.

saratoga downtowan

What I didn’t expect was all the “soft” learning I would experience from several other locations in Saratoga Springs. These ancillary facts would weave their way in to my story. These opportunities happened by kismet, such as:

  • Wandering into derby hat shops to find out why these hats are so popular in the horse racing world, and why they are so ornate.
  • Taking a water tour hike (and drinking the fabled waters of) New York’s Saratoga Spa State Park.

Saratoga Springs

  • Taking a mineral bath at the historic Roosevelt Baths & Spa (I REALLY enjoyed this one. Soaking in a beautiful private bath, filled with waters purported to heal, was a true treat. Ahhhhhhh!)
  • Having cocktails at one of the hippest spots in downtown Saratoga Springs, a restaurant known by its address, 15 Church.
  • Strolling along sidewalks to see town-sponsored artwork that makes this Victorian-era town modern, fun and utterly unique.


I drove to Saratoga Springs in August, 2015, with a checklist of research goals to be accomplished. I drove out with an armload of knowledge, and several fabulous real life experiences I will never forget. And I’m driving back this summer because there’s no place like Saratoga.

Have you ever done any real life writing research? Or gone some place so wonderful you wanted to write about it?

Below is the Book blurb for JOCKEYING FOR YOU (to be released 9/28/16)  Cover reveal next Friday, August 19th!












SOL cartoon Sol cover new



Jake Carter is on a mission—to prove his family wrong. He may have bought a troubled horse, but he’s hired Ryder Hannon, a “horse whisperer,” to get his horse back on track.  She’s more than just a trainer to him, she’s the woman he’s been looking for.

Ryder Hannon, a thoroughbred horse trainer, has a big problem—fighting her fear of racing again. Her emotional scars run deeper than her physical ones. But her romantic feelings towards handsome, uber-rich, stable owner Jake Carter is a bigger problem.  Is Jake truly in love with her or is he using her to get back at his smug family? ­

When Jake’s jockey gets injured, he wants Ryder to race. He knows deep down she wants to live up to her family’s legacy. So why does she keep fighting him—and her destiny—so hard?

Pictures above taken of Saratoga Springs and Saratoga Spa State Park by Stacy Hoff. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted in romance, Stacy Hoff, writing research and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Live Action Writing by Stacy Hoff

  1. C.D. Hersh says:

    Don’t you just love this kind of research? We certainly do. Excellent post.

  2. Stacy, I think research is one of the funnest parts about planning a new story. I’ve gone “on location” to research not only Hearts Unloched at Loch Sheldrake, NY, but also to Lake George, NY (not far from Saratoga!) where my latest release is set. In fact, I had to make a special trip to Lake G–in the winter! I’d only ever been there in the summer, but the end of my novel, A Taming Season, takes place in the dead of winter. So we spent a snowy, February weekend in Lake George, during which I wrote the ending of my book.
    Talk about muse magic! I love horses and racing. Can’t wait to read Jockeying For You!

    • stacyhoff says:

      I love Lake George, Claire. I go as often as I can.

      Funny we work the same way – I was able to write the end of my book by visiting Saratoga in person.

  3. gailingis says:

    Stacy, fantastic post. I too love research, for me, it’s the most fun part of writing. I love Lake George as well. Been there lots, boated, shopped. And I love horses. Can’t wait to read your book.

  4. I love horses and can’t wait to read this book as well. My favorite place for research is Cape Cod (it’s really research-ghosts, pirates, sea captains, really). The best place I ever went for research is to England. The easiest place was my living room to watch Downton Abbey. The most dangerous was the Bronx to research my urban fantasy.

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