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Monday, February 24, 2014

Stay on the Path to Learning with Sidney Bristol

When I was in high school, my favorite teacher taught the one thing I couldn’t wrap my head around—economics. I tried very hard to understand it, but it’s just one of those things I never got the knack of. But there were a hundred other life lessons he imparted to me while I was still in school.

The most important lesson ever?

Stay on the path of learning for as long as you can.
I’ve had a love of learning for a long time. I never really enjoyed high school because it didn’t challenge me. College—that’s where I blossomed. I went to my first college because I got a big scholarship and was able to get a degree and two minors before the funds ran out. So what did I do then? Figured out where else I could get more money—and went to a technical college for some hands-on learning.

Eventually, I faced the music and realized…I had to get a job. I’m not a full time writer, but my day job has made me something of a Jack of all Trades. I have a hand in just about every line of business and process that goes on. Why? Because I wanted to learn why we did some things and I found a way to improve the process or a place where I could increase productivity.

As you can imagine, this love of learning has bled into my writing. Last year I went through a Citizen’s Police Academy class so I could write believable cops. What am I learning this year? Drag racing. Yup. I know zip about cars and all I’ve been reading lately are the best stock cars to purchase and upgrade for racing purposes. I can talk about a number of models, the impact of the Fast & Furious franchise on racing and details the differences between European and American styles. You’d almost think I know what I’m talking about—but I’m not kidding myself. I’m still pretty clueless. Which is why I’d really like to take a class in auto motives.

For me—the research isn’t a pain. It’s not something I begrudge doing. I thoroughly enjoy it. But I also get to chose what I want to learn about, which goes a long way in keeping it interesting. I’m not sure reading up on the chemical reaction taking place when you unleash a tank of NOS into the fuel system of a car is what my old teacher had in mind—but it’s kept me on the path of learning.

I often think back about that teacher. He was one of those unique people who are larger than life. Besides being a school teacher, he was an avid diver, a marathon runner, a veteran, he owned a construction company and after several tornado disasters organized relief efforts. Oh—and he only had one hand. He taught us as much about economics and government as he did about life lessons. He was inspiring, and some days I wish I could write him a letter and tell him what a difference he made on my life because I never forgot his urging to stay on the path of learning. It’s what led me to writing after all.

The list of things I’ve pushed myself to learn is a long one, and I don’t know if it would be even a quarter of the length if it weren’t for him, starting with enough to pass my economics class, to the latest tools the police use to diffuse bombs. I’ve picked up knitting, Asian cooking, roller derby and belly dancing—because why not?

What’s something you’ve learned in the last year?

It can never be said that Sidney Bristol has had a ‘normal’ life.  She is a recovering roller derby queen, former missionary, and tattoo addict. She grew up in a motor-home on the US highways (with an occasional jaunt into Canada and Mexico), traveling the rodeo circuit with her parents. Sidney has lived abroad in both Russia and Thailand, working with children and teenagers. She now lives in Texas where she splits her time between a job she loves, writing, reading and belly dancing.

Officer Odalia Foucheaux is a desperate woman. Incriminating photographs of her after-hours job as a fetish model have been stolen, and she’s willing to break rules to get them back. Standing in her way? The very dominant bounty hunter Jacques Savoy.

Jacques has been watching out for Officer Foucheaux. He wants her safe from harm as much as he desires her body, her soul—and her submission. Odalia’s in trouble and struggling to walk the line of the law. His solution? Work together to find out who stole her pictures, what the thief wants and how to stop him. And if they find a pleasure unlike any other along the way, well, laissez les bons temps rouler.
Let the good times roll.

B&N | AMZ | ARe | SMW 


  1. Hi, Sidney.
    It's great to have you with us today. I've had to learn a lot more about computer stuff than I expected over this past year. All I have to do is looking up how to do something and follow the steps. It has been fairly freeing, to be honest. I'm not having to rely on others as much. :)

  2. Hi Samantha!

    Google and YouTube is your friend. I finally got it through to my dad how useful that is. He was driving his truck across Texas and broke down on the side of the road. The mechanic he called out to fix it had no idea how to replace a belt, so he googled it, had the guy hold the phone, and fixed it himself!!!! The internet is an amazing tool.

    1. That's awesome! I hope the guy didn't charge him much for holding the phone. ;)

  3. "Stay on the path of learning for as long as you can."

    Oh, I love this post! This year saw changes in my household and I'm learning to do things like put up pictures and shelves. Seems very silly, but I've always had someone else around to do it.