Search this blog

Tuesday 17 May 2016

☀ Forestium: The mirror never lies: Portallas [1] - Christopher D Morgan

Thank you for joining us on the Virtual Book Tour for Forestium: The mirror never lies, a Young Adult Fantasy Action Adventure by (, Christopher Morgan, 211 pages).

This is the first book in the Portallas series.

PREVIEW: Check out the book's synopsis and excerpt below.  Read the first two chapters with Amazon Look Inside.

Author Christopher D Morgan will be awarding a signed copy of Forestium to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

Synopsis | Teasers | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops


Joshua’s life is on the line, as he attempts to navigate through the magical world of Forestium to find the truth about his father. He and his companions will need to use all their cunning to stay alive and avoid the dark forces of the Goat. Will he find the magical orbs and open the Portallas, a magical gateway to other worlds, before he’s killed?

Joshua sets out to learn the truth about his father. Along the way, he finds friends, enemies, adventure, romance and himself.


Excerpt | Guest Post: Meet the Characters | Guest Post: The Making of a Book Cover |



Melachor and Veloria stopped just long enough to catch their breath.
     Melachor felt Sandor’s forehead with his palm. The skin was still damp and hot to the touch. The infant’s breathing had become increasingly laboured and he was now gasping for breath. Melachor stared at the tattered map, his hand shaking.
     “Please, Melachor, we must rest.” Veloria leaned against a grungy building, barely able to stand, with the infant limp in her arms, barely able to stand. Her fatigued toddler whined as he clung to her.
     Sandor continued whimpering. Time was running out. Melachor shook his head and heaved a sigh as he caught his wife’s eye. She clutched a protective arm around Jared’s shoulders. Both of them feared their toddler might also catch this plague.
     They peeked up and down the filthy alleyway. Screams rang out from all directions. Pandemonium in the distance wrenched at their attention but Sandor’s wellbeing was all they could focus on right now.
     “This way, Vel” he said, leading his exhausted family further into the maze of backstreets.
     People had been running for cover, and the winding alleys were now all but empty. The sun’s rays didn’t penetrate into these narrow passages and a foul stench hung in the air. Shady figures lingered in the shadows, and he felt eyes staring at them from hidden corners.
     The rickety, wooden buildings gave no outward sign of what lay behind each door. Melachor knew it was unsafe to bring his family here, but if Sandor were to stand any chance of surviving the illness, he needed to find a Metamorph, and quickly. The pox had claimed so many lives already and time was running out for Sandor.
     Although no longer a Trader, Melachor had spent many years travelling from village to village and was a good listener. It was by no means clear whether the legends were true or just tales told by drunks and con artists. But these were desperate times. The map was the only clue they had to help them find the mythical creature, and it had led them to these backstreets. Melachor had risked his life to get his hands on the map and he hoped it was not in vain.
     Veloria clutched Sandor in one hand and clung to Jared with the other. She shuffled closely behind her husband as he led them through the muddy alleys.
     The family reached an intersection. Melachor looked in all directions, trying to find a familiar landmark, but his search was in vain.It had been too long since he was last here in the Southern Tip.Already one of Forestium’s largest settlements, it had grown considerably in recent years.
     “Melachor, are you sure we’re doing the right thing? It isn’t safe.We’re never going to find one here. The trader that gave you the feather could have been lying.”
     More screams from terrified Imps rang out in the distance.Melachor, too, feared for his family’s safety. A storm was brewing and they could hear thunder rumbling in the distance. They looked up at the dark clouds stealing what little daylight they could still see.
     “Look,” he said, “it makes sense that there would be a Metamorph here. If there are any left, this is where they’ll be and this is exactly where the map says we’ll find one. It’s easy to hide here. I’ve been a trader for a long time and I know when to spot a lie. Just don’t lose that Raetheon feather.”
     Veloria pulled out the white tail feather and showed it to her husband. Before she could tuck it away, a short, plump Imp wearing a pointed hat and scruffy, brown waistcoat emerged from the mist in one of the dark alleyways.
     “Looking for something are we? Dangerous place to be wandering around with children, if you don’t mind me saying. Not safe for anyone to be outside right now.”
     Melachor looked down at the Imp and narrowed his eyes.Clutching at his wife’s hand, he opened his mouth to speak, but hesitated. The man stared at him, but remained silent.
     Melachor felt he was out of options. He had reached the point that he needed to take the risk.
     “I’m looking,” he whispered, “I’m looking for a Metamorph.”
     The man squinted up at Melachor and glanced at the sickly child its mother clutched to her chest.
     “I don’t know what you mean,” the Imp said dismissively, turning and walking away.
     “No, please, help us!” Veloria cried. Her eyes reddened and tears welled. She held out the tail feather, her eyes imploring. The short man paused and looked over his shoulder.
     To Melachor and Veloria’s surprise, the feather began changing colour. Within moments, it had turned from white to green.
     The Imp looked at the feather and then at Veloria. “Quickly! Put that away!”
     Veloria recoiled and tucked the feather back into her shawl, glancing over her shoulder. The Imp flicked his head to beckon them and led them down the alley he had come from.
     They followed him silently as he made several turns before stopping at a nondescript door.
     After glancing up and down the alley, he pushed it open and led them all in. A single candle cast eerie shadows in the dimly lit room, and a musty odour hung in the air.
     A bolt of lightning lit up the alley. It was soon followed by thunder and rain as the little man pushed the door closed and whispered. “We must be quick. He has eyes everywhere. We can’t be too careful.Here, show me the child. Quickly!”
     Melachor and Veloria looked at each other with puzzled expressions, but Veloria did as she was asked and laid Sandor on a table. The small man looked the sickly infant up and down and smiled.
     The desperate parents watched as this stranger held his hand over their baby and slowly moved it side to side. As he did, a green glow engulfed him. The mysterious light seemed to be coming from Sandor himself.
     Within seconds, the child fell quiet and stopped whimpering. His breathing improved. Melachor looked on with wide eyes and open mouth. The man stopped moving his hand from side to side and held it directly above Sandor. The green glow subsided before disappearing altogether.
     “You’re a Metamorph?” Melachor said, looking at the Imp.
     The man raised his finger to his lips and lowered his brow. He took a step back from the table and, to their amazement, began growing taller. His face stretched and his hair grew longer and changed colour.Jared, still clutching at his mother’s hand, shuffled behind her.
     After a few seconds, the transformation was complete. In place of an Imp, a fully grown Woodsman now looked down at the toddler and smiled.
     “Don’t be afraid, my young friend. You’re all safe here,” he said softly. He turned to Melachor and said, “But you must go, now. It’s not safe for me to remain here for too long. I must leave you.”
     “Our son?” Melachor asked quickly, motioning to the cooing child on the table.
     “The child is well now. Please, I must go before I am found. If He learns one of my kind is here, it will not be safe for any of the Imps that live here and I cannot put them in harm’s way.”
     The man took another step back and began shrinking again. He carried on shrinking, and within seconds he morphed into a Chirvel.The furry forest animal stood on its hind legs, no taller than a chair. It squealed and sniffed the air before scurrying off into the dark.
     Melachor and Veloria took Sandor and Jared and left. Melachor held his cloak over his family to shield them from the downpour. They went down the alley and tried to find their way out of the maze of backstreets. Melachor led his family through the ghetto and into the main square.
     Before them was a scene of total devastation. Bodies littered the ground everywhere.
     An Imp came running towards them screaming. “Quickly. Hide!He’ll kill you. He’ll kill us all!”
     Melachor grabbed the man by the shoulders and tried to speak sense to him but he tore himself free and ran off screaming again.
     Suddenly, a blinding ball of light came flying through the air and struck the fleeing Imp in the back. As it hit him, he and the ball of light both disappeared into thin air. Melachor squinted in disbelief. Several more Imps emerged from various alleyways. They, too, were screaming in panic. More blinding balls of light emerged and struck them each in quick succession. Just as before, they vanished as each ball of light struck.
     Melachor hurried his family out of the square and towards the edge of the town. Every few seconds, they heard the sound of screaming followed by silence. Each time this happened, a streak of light illuminated the stormy sky. One by one, all the Imps of the Southern Tip were being wiped out.
     The family rounded a corner and found their path blocked by a Trader huddled in a dark cloak. He was kneeling on the ground, holding a crystal orb in one hand. The man was muttering an incantation. As he did so, the orb began pulsating with flashes of light and a swirling vortex formed above it. Through the vortex, Melachor could see a field of green bathed in sunlight. The man stood up, glanced over his shoulder and jumped into the vortex.
     Melachor turned to Veloria. Over her shoulder, he could see a blinding ball of light coming towards them. Veloria turned and screamed. Before any of them could react, the ball of light struck her.She and the two children vanished.
     “NOOOO!” Melachor yelled. Tears streamed down his face and he stood there with his arm held out to where his wife and children had been standing.
     Then another ball of light came flying around the corner. It hovered for a second before rushing towards Melachor at high speed. He turned and looked at the vortex over the orb, which was now dissipating. Without thinking, he lunged to grab the orb just moments before the ball of light was upon him. There was a flash, and everything went black.

Meet the Characters

Writing Forestium: The Mirror Never Lies has been a fascinating and fun journey for me. Particularly rewarding has been seeing how my characters have developed over the course of the writing process.  In the beginning, they were just names but with each new sentence, their character developed and I sought to explore them in more detail.  Come with me now and meet them all.

Me: So, Joshua, how does it feel to be the main protagonist in the Portallas book series.

Joshua: Well, It’s OK, I guess. I don’t really think about it much. In fact, all I’ve been able to think about for some time now have been the trials.

Me: Trials? Is that some sort of ritual rite of passage?

Joshua: I guess you could call it that. In Forestium, you have to pass the trials before you can call yourself a true Woodsman.

Click on the map to access the interactive version
Me: Sounds like it might be something difficult?

Joshua: It is. I have to know how to hunt, use weapons, make things, track animals and lots of other things. It’s a really big deal completing the trials. I was going to do it this year, but I had to leave Morelle to find my Dad.

Me: Find your Dad? What do you mean?

Joshua: Well, Mum doesn’t talk about it much but he left when I was very young and, well, he didn’t come back. They tell me he died in battle but…I don’t know. I’ve been having these dreams and…well, anyway, we’ll see what happens.

Me: Ok, well I hope you find him. Let’s have a chat with Andrew over here. So, tell me, Andrew, how long have you been friends with Joshua here?

Andrew: Since I can remember. We’ve grown up together so we’re practically brothers.

Me: I see. I bet you can tell me some funny stories about him then?

Andrew: More than a few. He can be quite stubborn when he wants to but his heart is always in the right place.

Me: I bet. Are you practicing for these trials as well?

Andrew: Sure am. We’ve been practicing at Lake Morelle for the past few months, Joshua and me, that is. Not that I need to practice, of course. It’s his aim that we need to work on.

Flarrets - click on the image to find out more about them Joshua: Hey, who’s the one that’s never caught a Flarret before?

Me: That’s great. Well, you keep helping him, Andrew, and I’m sure the two of you will pass through those trials with flying colours. So, who do we have here?

Sarah: Oh, well, I’m Sarah. This is kind of awkward. I mean, I’m not very good at this interview thing. I mean I could be, but I’ve never really tried it. I suppose it’s really easy. All I have to do is answer your questions really, isn’t that right? I mean, I can do that. I talk to the animals all the time so it can’t be that different. Of course, they don’t talk back or anything. Well, I suppose they do but not the way you and I talk. I mean, that would be silly, and…

Me: Ahem. So, OK, tell me, Sarah. What do you do? I mean, what sort of skills do you have? Joshua tells me you have lots of skills.

Sarah: Oh, gosh, well, I don’t know really. I mean I can cook, I suppose. Forestium has some wonderful shrooms and it’s easy enough to throw together some Liffle leaves or Bergle root or something. It’s amazing the number of ways you can cook boiled shrooms you know. Let’s see, oh, yes, well there’s hunting, which I guess I’m OK at. I mean, I’ve never caught a Wood-boar or anything but I did accidentally catch a Raetheon once. It sort of stumbled into my trap. You see, it had a broken wing and…

Shrooms - click on the image to find out more about them Wood-boar - click on the image to find out more about them Raetheon - click on the image to find out more about them
Me: Well, that’s terrific Sarah. I tell you what, since we don’t have a lot of time left, let’s have a chat to this young boy over here.

Galleon: I’m not a young boy! I’m an Imp. Don’t tell me! You’ve never heard of Imps either, right?

Me: Um, well, actually…no…I…

Galleon: No, I’m not surprised. Honestly, you’d think people would be a bit more sensitive to these things after all these years.

Me: Um, OK…well…

Galleon: Some interview this is. I mean really! I’ve had more interesting interviews with a Wood-boar that died of unnatural causes. I don’t suppose you have any Wood-wine around here either?

Me: Well, that’s really about all the time we have. I want to thank Joshua, Andrew, Sarah & Galleon for stopping by and telling us a little bit about themselves.  I’m sure we’ll catch up with them again in another Portallas book sometime soon.

Christopher Morgan

p.s. find out more about all of the characters on

The Making of a Book Cover

Many authors turn the creation of their book covers over to a book cover artist and, well, hope for the best. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll get something that’s not really good. Book cover artists are very good at…well, making book covers. Conversely, however, you could specify exactly what you want, get exactly what you want, and still end up with something that’s not particularly great. Authors are really good at writing but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be very good at other things, like book cover design. The key thing here is to see in your mind’s eye about how you want the book cover to turn out and to know ahead of time whether that’s going to be a good book cover or not – something that’s a bit trickier to get right.

Creating book covers is as much an art as it is a science and it’s usually one of those things that gets most authors in a bit of a twist. It’s no wonder either, since there are plenty of people that really will judge a book by its cover. Getting the cover right can really make or break a book as far as sales is concerned. You could have a terrific work of art but it still doesn’t woo people. Similarly, you could have something that’s really very basic but just springs off the page at you. In life, it’s often said that the only people you should never shy away from paying are the taxman and your doctor. In writing, your money needs to be in the editing and the book cover. If you have to choose where to spend your money, that’s where it needs to be spent.

For Forestium: The Mirror Never Lies, I had a very specific idea in my mind for exactly how I wanted the book cover to look – right down to the very last exquisite detail. Once I had that image formed, it was then a matter of translating that into the appropriate instructions for a good cover artist. Luckily, I found one and she was incredibly pleased that I had provided her with so many detailed instructions. In my brief, I had described what I wanted in 44 separate bulleted items, covering general details, technical details, description, text and more. It was a 3-page document with 1,700 words and included 17 example URLs that each illustrated the sort of thing I wanted for each of the separate elements needed for the design.

During the process of putting the book cover together, I worked very closely with Mihaela on getting the details right. She provided me with samples at various stages of construction and we had an open dialogue between us. We couldn’t find the right stock image for the character in the pose I wanted so she contacted a re-enactment club local to where she lives and arranged a photo shoot – again, based on my description of what I wanted. This added a few days to the overall process but it was worth it, as anything else would have been a compromise.

I’m extremely pleased with the results of the book cover for Forestium: The Mirror Never Lies and, fortunately, feedback has been universally positive. Is it a really good book cover? You be the judge!

Christopher Morgan

Forestium: The mirror never lies
Available NOW!

purchase from purchase from purchase from Sainsbury's Entertainment UK purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo UK purchase from iTunes UK find on Goodreads

About the Author

Christopher Morgan is an author, blogger, IT Manager, graphics artist, businessman, volunteer and family man living in Melbourne, Australia. Much of his time is spent volunteering for his local community. He creates visual learning resources for primary school children, which are marketed through his company Bounce Learning Kids. He is also involved in local civics and sits on various community & council committees.

Christopher was born in the UK and grew up in England’s South East. At age 20, he moved to The Netherlands, where he married Sandy, his wife of 28 years. Christopher quickly learned Dutch and the couple spent 8 years living in the far South of that country before they moved to Florida in 1996. After spending 7 years in Florida, Christopher and Sandy sold their home and spent the next 2 years backpacking around the world. Christopher has visited around 40 countries to date.

Whilst circumnavigating the globe, Christopher wrote extensively, churning out travel journals. He and Sandy settled back in the UK at the end of their world tour, where their two children were both born. In 2009, the family moved to Melbourne, Australia, where they now live.

FORESTIUM is Christopher’s debut novel and is the first in the PORTALLAS series.

Follow Christopher D Morgan:

Visit the author's blog Visit the author's website Visit the author on Facebook Visit the author on Twitter Visit the author on their Amazon page Visit the author on GoodReads Visit the author on Instagram


Enter to win a signed copy of Forestium by Christopher D. Morgan
a Rafflecopter giveaway

No comments: