It has been a tumultuous year.

My wife and I have moved to Australia to care full time for her aging mother. It was a decision that, although sudden, has been in the back of our minds for a long time. My wife arrived in Australia late last year and I joined her for 3 months then returned to the US. During one of our daily video Skype sessions, we realized her mother could no longer live alone and in the blink of an eye we had decided to make the move.

Then all hell broke loose.

How do you pack up fifteen years of your life in six weeks, and move halfway around the world while still writing? There was our storage unit with a lifetime of ‘stuff’ to sort through and pack. Documents to shred, the boat to sell (even though I had just begun a major refit), the car to sell. No easy task with the slow economy, when most boats were taking 18 months to sell. Then boxes to pack and an airline ticket to book.

My youngest daughter flew from Chicago to help go through storage, pack superfluous clothes and take them to the Goodwill. The same with books, extra household items not worth carting halfway around the world, and the documents. One hundred and twenty pounds in weight of old papers and manuscripts to shred, after scanning them into the computer.

We had made our decision at the end of March and I arrived in Australia on the 11th May. That’s got to be some kind of record! In the meantime we published my seventh book “THE ORANGE MOON AFFAIR”, made a book video trailer using a green screen and uploaded it to You Tube. Then I started the next novel – guess what?  I’m still in shock. The only thing that suffered, apart from my mind and body, was the blog. So now in a sense I’m re-launching it from a ‘down under’ perspective. In fact the latestbook is the second in a new thriller series I am launching, so it is a change in almost every aspect. Sometimes you just have to shake up the status quo in your life and enjoy living.

For me, new locations always help when writing a book. Not only the sense of mental rejuvenation but also the impact of a different culture, geography and lifestyle. It is food and drink to an author and another rich set of experiences that provide texture to any book.

My eighth book will be ready in August and perhaps then we’ll take a break for a week or two and explore our beautiful new surroundings in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. Hence the new title of this blog: AFN CLARKE – Blue Mountains Book Blog.

Writing is such a perfect profession, especially in this age of modern communications because no matter where you are your book is always with you. My laptop, smartphone and iPad mini are my office, so that even on the train traveling to Sydney for a few days to visit the Opera House or see friends, I can continue to write.

So here we are. I left one Federal election and arrive to another as Australia gets ready to vote. Being new to this country and not a citizen, don’t expect the degree of political outpourings from me in this blog that accompanied the US elections of last November. I simply do not know enough about the nuances of Australian politics, but perhaps I can share my thoughts and observations as an outsider. Certainly there are similarities, but also vast differences.

For twenty-five years I lived in the USA, the latter fifteen on a boat in Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles, and now I’m in the mountains in Australia.

One thing is for certain Life isn’t dull.