About My Book

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A Hard Kept Secret

R. Stephen Bloch

Ross Brandon’s heroes have always been cowboys. From the time he learned to read, Ross has been an avid fan of Louis L’ Amour, the world’s best-selling frontier novelist. Ross is captivated by L’ Amour’s unique writing voice, the honesty and rugged individualism of the characters, and the way the stories are woven around real events and places in the Old West. Louis L’ Amour wrote about what he knew: he had lived an exciting, and sometimes hard, life, he knew the West, and his stories were all the more captivating because of the historical accuracy.

Even after years as a successful Washington, D.C. attorney, Ross has never lost a deep-seated longing to be in the ‘great outdoors,’ riding his trusty steed across the frontier. When a friend suggests they spend their vacation following the trail of one of L’ Amour’s better-known characters, Sackett, Ross agrees immediately. Their plan is to find and visit as many of the places mentioned in the novel, although they would do it astride motorcycles, (modern day steeds) and not horses.

Traveling through the magnificent and breathtaking Sangre de Cristo and San Juan Mountains of Northern New Mexico and Southwestern Colorado, Ross and his friends learn the fascinating, exciting, wild history of the area–vigilantes, fierce Indians, Texas Rangers, a mountain man turned king, skilled knife-fighters, and even about the demise of Bob Ford, the dirty little coward who shot Mister Howard and laid poor Jesse [James] in the grave.

Their pilgrimage starts out deceptively simple, but they soon encounter far more than they bargained for, and end up in a deadly struggle for their lives against vicious modern-day outlaws. This then is a story of discovery, drama, danger, and adventure, all the while paying homage to one of the greatest Western story-tellers of all time: Louis L’ Amour.


Aspiring Writer and Itinerant Attorney
A biography

As a young man, Steve spent nine years in the US Navy, serving on both diesel and nuclear submarines. He traveled throughout the world, saw duty in Vietnam, and left the Navy as a Petty Officer First Class. While traveling throughout the West on a Triumph motorcycle, he fell in love with Colorado, and moved to beautiful Boulder.

He graduated from the University of Colorado with a BA in English Literature, and an emphasis in Organic Chemistry, and then commenced studies at University of Denver College of Law. He subsequently was a Deputy District Attorney in Colorado's San Luis Valley.

During the Iranian Hostage Crisis, Steve, then a Naval Reserve Lieutenant, was recalled to active duty in Naval Intelligence. Some of his favorite jobs over the next seven years include Legal Advisor on Terrorism, Operations Officer for an International Naval Conference, and Special Assistant for Latin American Affairs to the Commander in Chief, US Atlantic Fleet.

In 1987 Steve, as a Lieutenant Commander, went to US Southern Command, Panama where he was Chief of Intelligence Operations. He traveled extensively in South and Central America. During the Invasion of Panama he was in charge of the SOUTHCOM Intelligence Center, and played a key role in the surrender of several senior officers of the Panamanian Defense Forces.

In 1990 Lieutenant Commander Bloch was assigned to Naval Investigative Service Headquarters in Washington, DC, as Deputy Director of the Antiterrorism Center. He retired from the Navy in 1992. Since then he has lived in Sasebo, Japan, and traveled to China, Ireland, Belgium, and Italy.

He has published articles on law and sailing in Cruising World magazine, and on computers, in Family Computing. He has also been a free-lance investigative reporter for the Carmel Pine Cone newspaper. He has completed two novels, The Panama Papers, a story of espionage and betrayal, and A Hard-Kept Secret, a contemporary Western/adventure story. He is currently working on his third novel, Nordeen's Revenge, the terrifying tale of a terrorist attack on an American city, using biological weapons.

Steve moved to Carmel Valley, California in July 1994. He and his wife, Dawn, share their home with a beautiful German Shepherd, a loving Golden Retriever, and three nocturnal cats. To support this beloved menagerie, along with four elderly, retired horses, he works as a Security Consultant and Private Investigator (when he's not out horseback riding or playing golf).