Updated: May 24
Hello! For ages and ages I wanted to write this blog about Tristan, his pals and some of the newcomers. I had also wanted to do a "If this character were 'real' what would they look like" sort of thing. I'm going to kind of mix the two a little. Throughout the day, I get various images sent to me of who readers picture when they think about the characters. I love that. Feel free to send them any time.
TRISTAN Arcade Kanes (Kathir Cyredanthem)
What more is there to say about this guy? Probably not much. He's talked a lot. I think the first photo is how I see him, with with a darker skin tone like like the last. I usually describe Markaytians in general with an olive skin tone.
Like, this picture. It's everything. It's EXACTLY Tristan to me. The softness but also hard. He's masculine ... but I could see him embracing his feminine side.
Maybe he gives this look when Corrik has said something he thinks is outlandish. "Really, Cyredathem?"
Hmmm. Here is a toss up. It could be lust. But it could also be that quiet calm he gets when he's dismembering someone alive in his mind (usually Corrik). I still most picture real life Tristan as a fashion designer even though I don't focus on much fashion-related stuff in the books. Either that or he'd be like a Scott Barnes, make up artist to J-Lo. I dunno why. Maybe I'm crazy! It's a far cry from Warlord, Hahaha! Either that or he would be a teacher. Tristan loves to teach and he loves books.
The response to Corrik is so intriguing. This is what I think people think (though I could be wrong).
"Mock, you're not really going to write an arrogant guy who just ... stays arrogant, are you?"
Corrik is Corrik and I can't change him. I said to many, I HOPE he grows some by the last book, but I doubt he's going to do a 180. But did he grow or didn't he? That will be up to the reader to decide. I do think he became what Tristan needed from him. Plus, I love an arrogant Corrik. I found it totally hilarious. I had so much fun writing from his POV this time.
I was first introduced to this man (Xilmordas on IG) by @emmaloureads. Emma said the first was Corrik in the biker AU I wrote for the AU contest. I can totally see that. Also, the look on his face reminds me of the cool young adults I remember seeing in the 80's. I can see him falling in love with Tris thinking, "That mine is as beautiful as I am. He must be mine."
This persona is what I imagine when I write him. We know Corrik is arrogant and largely self-centred. But he loves Tristan to death and while it took him some time to get there, he's at a place where he tries to parse out the pieces that make up his fiery Markaytian. So I see this look for many reasons:
Trying to puzzle Tristan out.
Does he need a spanking now?
How much rope am I supposed to give him before I go over there?
Gods, his arse is the best thing Ylor has given me.
He's less likely to cross his arms AT Tristan. (Only less likely, not ZERO) So yeah, this is a pretty good visual of him. YOURS might be different and I am always open to seeing what yours is! I love seeing how people see these characters.
In this picture, Corrik is late for a business meeting, but of course he stops to take a selfie for his millions of instagram followers. The meeting can wait for him.
@rainbowromanticreader sent this to me one day. She has sussed out her perfect Corrik muse.
Then she said, "I love that he's beautiful but very masculine, that's how I picture Corrik. Like, he's absolutely stunning, but he will kill you."
@sparkleartz coined the term Pretty Boy Prince for him a the blog on him found HERE (with her art) has the most views ever on my site. Almost 1000 views!
It was hard to find Alrik. In fact I didn't really find him. The first is the inspo image I've used of him since forever. We're talking YEARS. And yes, that second picture is the Witcher. "Mock, you can't think we're going to count him as 'real people'. You said real people versions!"
Look, the Witcher is real to me, okay?
I struggled to find anyone that was even close. In my mind, Alrik a massive entity. I hope I've made him come across that way. He's so big in my head. In the upcoming book. we get to see some range from him, but his largeness remains.
Alrik is always hard to me, but he softens for Tristan. It's both difficult and easy for him to do because softness goes against his nature, but he has to for Tristan because he can't bear otherwise.
In his hardness, he's unearthly-level beautiful. It's a raw and gritty sort of beauty down to his marrow. In real life, Alrik would probably be a marine or something. Or a mercenary for hire. He buys all his clothes at the army surplus. He wears shirts more often. He's quiet and in the background a lot but sees everything. He'd still give his life for Tristan (and their children) as his ultimate protector. But he's willing to spend extra for the good scotch. He has a training course in their backyard so he can keep in fighting form! Like, we're talking the big tires and trenches and crawling under barbed wire and stuff. He'd build tree forts for the kids.
BAYADEN Tar Jian
When I saw these images, immediately Bayaden came to mind. Like, just look at those shoulder flexing out of the tank. Baya would definitely ride a bike. But he also likes a good scarf. Of everyone, he crosses his arms at Tristan the most. Paired with that look, he's definitely staring at Tristan who is up to something.
Bayaden is a casual guy even though he's a Warlord. He's as strict as he needs to be on the field of course, but when he's off field, he likes to kick back for a couple of pints of mead with the guys and gals. He's especially close with his sister Deglan, which I know is only briefly brought up in the series, but it would be nice to write some sort of outtake with her there. He's totally a mechanic of some kind and is always found in "the shop" working on something. Teaching his son Denny. Refurbishing old cars.
He's got the cool sort of confidence this guy exudes. He's willing to stand back and watch Tristan and unlike Corrik, he doesn't have to wonder how much rope Tristan needs to hang himself. He knows and enjoys standing back to watch. It would stress Corrik out too much to simply watch Tristan and not go back and forth over "the right time" to intervene. Corrik knows when it's a situation that lands somewhere on the map of his more submissive wiring. He has a harder time with the brat side. Sometimes he gets it right and other times it's like stumbling through the darkness.
But Bayden is the ultimate brat's top. He has a feel for the brat in Tristan unlike his other men. Their love is raw and powerful. It's guided by instinct. He needs Bayaden in a unique way and now that he understands his brat self, he's not the same without him.
This is TOTAL Baya with his arms crossed AT Tristan. It's a different kind of arms crossed than Corrik. We know what this means. Tristan is caught. He has two choices: Confess, or run away.
DENNY Tar Jian (Bayaden Jr.)
This is Bayaden's son. "But Mock, he would only be about a year or so old. How?" I will leave that to the story to tell you. And yes, I do envision him as smaller and younger looking that this, but this has Denny's essence. Also, he's green. It was difficult to find green elf children. He also has black hair like Baya.
I can't say too much or I'll spoil. But let's just say, I could write a whole book about this boy.
Our sunshine brat. He's married to the lovely War Elf, Princess Ditira Cyredanthem.
The first picture is the inspo I've used, though, I would give him more muscles.
There was something very "Diekin" about the second man's face. Some sparkle to him for me. The final has his long hair!
Diekin's that "brat with brat experience" kind of brat I like to write who shows the other brats the way to navigate their brattness ... or who shows brat the way toward trouble. He and Tristan were instant friends. They understand each other and with how much Tristan missed Lucca, Diekin was a lovely way to soften the loss of seeing him every day.
He is a more responsible brat. He has to be with a mate like Ditira who he's hopelessly in love with.
There is something in this man's eyes that SCREAMS Diekin to me. Sunshine with a hint of mischief. In the audiobook, Curtis nails his voice perfectly.
This man has a little more of the Diekin look, though, I pictured Diekin as clean-shaven most of the time. Diekin is another side character that bloomed his way into the lime light. He has a fan club of his own and so I will be writing some fiery outtakes staring Diekin and Tris! In real life, Diekin would probably be a stay at home husband/dad. He's very devoted to Ditira and would be there to support all of her endeavours. Perhaps even working for her. He just ... wants to be where she is. Serving her in whatever way he can in and out of the bedroom. He does a mean taco night every Tuesday when Ditira is most tired (it's her longest day!) and wants something healthy yet comforting.
Sparkle did this Ditira for me. I don't focus on the women so much in my ... anything. If my muse would allow it, I would focus on her and Diekin. Most women in my stories have rippling muscles. But, like, massive muscles. I've always been into large muscles for women. I was devastated when Wonder Woman was so small. They could have totally CGI'd some muscles on Gal Gadot. That would have been so cool.
One of the outtakes I will write will feature Ditira.
Do you recognize her art? Sparkle fell in love with this couple (Ditira + Diekin) and is single-handedly responsible for bringing them more life. I love what she captured here with Ditira. She's got feminine grace but is clearly a warrior and not just because she's holding her sword. She's got the inner peace a warrior needs to keep with her in battle.
Ditira is blond like Corrik---they are twins (though she is MUCH more mature)--so not white like this image, but that sure-hearted gaze in her eyes was what attracted me to this image.
I need more massively muscle-y women in fiction. I NEED them. So I write them. Ditira can't just have muscles. She needs to have arms the size of cannons. This was the closest "blond" woman I could find to what I envision. Real life Dee does Cross Fit and competes in the Cross Fit games every year. Diekin shows with signs to cheer her on and all the supplements/ergogentic aids she'll need to keep her going through the day. Tristan joins them. She gives stern warmings for them not to goof off or spend too much time at the mead garden.
This is more like it. A muscle-packed beauty except she would be like 8 ft tall in Elf world. In "real world" she's a personal trainer with her own line of natural supplements. She totally spoils Diekin and loves to take him on vacation with the kids and separately on romantic getaways.
This is my favorite new character by far. I have to be a little vague when speaking about him or I will spoil something too big to spoil, but basically, it was important for him to look otherworldly. This model is Jordon Barret. He's one of the most beautiful men alive ISTFG and his husband is just as gorgeous.
The way his eyes angle was what struck me. Because of what this character is, he needed a creature-like kind of "exotic" to him (that's a hint).
I fell in love with this character so much, my neurotypical brain latched onto him in a BIG way. When that happens, it's off to the races with total obsession. He's important to the story and to Tristan. I loved being part of what evolved here. AND, it's going to lead to a lot more Tristan (if you're not sick of him by the end of this book).
I want to say a lot about him ... but I can't. The pictures capture him so well. He's strong. Fierce. A warrior. He's ... patient. Even when dealing with stubborn Warlords (also hint). He's the epitome of vulnerable on the inside, but he's one of the most powerful characters (physically) in the story. A new sort of character for me altogether, tbh. I want to keep writing him.
Real life River just IS Jordan Barrett. An exquisite model who doesn't look like he's from this world.
THE DRAGON LORD
If someone out there can PLEASE write Tristan x Dragon Lord Fanfiction, I will die a happy woman. Otherwise I'm going to have to and I think that's a bad look. Maybe?
Again, if I say too much now, it will spoil. But I will say we don't his true motives. We remain unsure. He's done some questionable things. Will people agree with his reasons? Hard to say. He's a very grey character and hence I want him and Tristan to get it on, lol. (Grey characters are my jam).
"Well, Mock. You're the writer, just write them doing it or something."
I'm not sure that's going to happen in cannon. But well ... I'll explain another time! But you'll see. I had SUCH a fun time writing him.
I couldn't find a "real life" Dragon Lord. He needed to appear young but have ancient eyes that are always judging you. Kind of calculating. If anyone comes across anything send it my way! I'm not sure what the Dragon Lord does in real life. Mafia boss? Crime Lord? It's something sketchy that's for sure. Hahahah.
The redemption arc with Tristan and his father is brought to a nice place in this book. At least I think so. Others may feel differently. I loved writing all the scenes with his father in book 3 the most. I think (just my opinion but would love to hear others) Arcade finally accepts that his son is grown up. He's still devastated he doesn't have Tristan with him but he's learning to deal with these things called "feelings".
Arcade isn't a crowd favourite atm (I am well aware, lol) but he's one of my favourites. I love writing the "Strict Dad Trope" (that's an actual troupe, right?) and I got to really go for it here with him being a war-hardened Warlord. I came at it from the perspective that he was getting Tristan ready to go to war and that because he didn't want Tristan to die, he did whatever he could to get him ready for that kind of life--which was something Tristan wanted more than anything.
I was a VERY green writer 8 years ago when I wrote the first book (it was my first "real" novel period). I've learned a lot since then and I would have fleshed the stuff out with his dad more than I did so this would come across. I DID want it to be left on a note where Tristan was in turmoil about his father ... so they could have their big moment, but I did not plan on it traumatizing ... everyone! lol
We'll see what the reaction is after this book. I'd still love to write an Arcade X Eagar prequel some day.
Jason Momoa was the only real life person that even came close to Arcade. Can you imagine disobeying this face??? Why, Tristan? Just why?
This picture because it's giving very "Family Vacation to Hawaii" vibes. In the "real world" Arcade, Eagar and his brother take the family on vacation every year. Tristan and Lucca want to do things like surfing and Arcade wants to let them, but he knows they're gonna do all the dangerous shit so he has his two eyes on them from the shoreline in case he has to dive in after one of them and drag their ass out of the ocean.
Eagar is described as a "pretty" man, but it was also important that he was super muscled and strong because he's Arcade's second. In Markaytia, they don't practice polyamory so much even though we're going to see what a huge contradiction that is in book 3 ;) so for Eagar and Arcade to have a child, they had to have a woman to do this for them.
Because Markaytian culture is a little different than Elven they maintain the relationship with who is essentially their surrogate and she is treated with upmost respect and love. Having the Warlord's child (or children as the case can be, it just wasn't with Tristan) is viewed as an honour. Plus, it's a good gig. The palace takes care of you for life and you get to be a mother to that child rather than giving them up when the surrogacy is over. But for 18 years, there are expectations of the mother in terms of care of the child.
The reason I'm going into all this is because Tristan is Aracade and Eagar's son "officially" as in there is a little more weight for Eagar legally. Of course, when it's decided by matters of the heart that's different (Tristan would just view his mother as his mother, the end). But in the writing, I tried to show this with the way Eagar nurtured Tristan. I hope I'm making sense.
These were my original inspirational images for Eagar.
This is a great "real life" Eagar. He would totally dress fancy. He'd shop at Crocodile Baby and West Coast Kids (those are our swanky kid's stores in Vancouver, CAN). While he would opt to be the stay at home dad making sure there was dinner on the table for Arcade and fresh apple pie for dessert, he'd have a side gig going too, selling his art (yeah, he does art now, lol) to high profile buyers. Tristan gets his fashion sense from him. He gives the best cuddles!
I know this image is wildly different, but it's the oval shape of his face, the long nose and femininity of this man ... plus his amazing hair that makes him a good image for Eagar. There is undeniable strength there too. That jacket! My God. Top of the line fashion. And the large kissable lips. Which do you like better? Or did you have something else in mind?
Lucca (Lucalthizan) Amarail Kanes
This character is intriguing to me with how much presence he's maintained despite living all the way over in Markaytia and hardly having any scenes in the books. I think Tristan does this with his love and adoration for his wily cousin. Some day (she says like she might have time), it would be fun to write their young adventures or even see what Lucca's been up to while Tristan's been having all the sex with all the Elves. Lucca is so proud!
I have always loved the duality of Lucca having a lenient upbringing while Tristan had a strict one even with their fathers being brothers.
Clearly, this photo isn't mine as shown by the watermark. None of these photos are "mine". Deposit photos, don't come for me! But I am using it anyway because it's a good representation of Lucca. He's still got that edge of masculine to him and even though the's a fucking brat, there is no better person to have by your side in a battle. I imagine his POV to be similar to Tristan's in some ways. They both love swords equally, but Lucca knew early on to get used to the fact he would be king someday and so that's on his mind when he considers the future.
Look at this sultry bad boy. That's Lucca. He's wild and sexy and a fucking adventure and a half. Most people love him. He's charming and has a tongue more silver than Tristan's (Tristan learned what he does have--in the art of charm---from him).
*Sigh* Lucca growing into a man and wearing leather if it were "real world" Lucca. He might have a bike, but I'm not sure. He definitely has bad ass muscle cars. He's less "feminine" than Tristan can be, though, he'd embrace that side of him too. He's the epitome of "cool". I doubt he would have "job" though. He'd probably live off his rich dad's money going on adrenaline-inducing adventures. Though, for some reason I could see him working with kids. He has that sort of duality to his bad boy spirit.
All right. I know I didn't cover everyone. But this blog has taken me 3 days to write, LOL and I want it out before the release so you can read this chapter.
I haven't been posting excerpts as I usually do because there is almost nothing I can post that won't have a spoiler in it. I DID want to post something though. In a turn of events I won't go into ... this is a good chapter to post.
It does contain a spoiler BUT, it was hinted at so heavily in the last book, I think it's safe to say we knew it was going this way.
It's sweet and spicy!
Just one more day until the big release. I got so emotional writing this book. I didn't want it to end. It is the end of the trilogy but it's not the end of Tristan.
This trilogy was only their beginning. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end ;)
Tristan Three Dragon's Blood
I don’t know why things have changed between Alrik and I overnight, but they have. There is a big feeling surrounding every potential interaction with him. Before, I pranced around him, happy to tease him to his wit’s end (which is a risky game) but now I’m careful. Husband or wife is a big title in Elven culture. Crown Prince ’s Consort an even bigger one.
I’ve behaved myself, aside from what will now be known as The Tea Garden Affair. We didn’t dance on any tables, but we did dance on the cobblestone walkway on our way out after being “asked to leave”. Which isn’t entirely accurate either. Apparently, I can’t be kicked out, but when Diekin and I got rowdy, the host quietly suggested that we might want to go outside for a minute or two so that we could “get some fresh air”. We were assured that our table would be waiting for us, but even in our states of inebriation, we knew they didn’t want us to return. He was giving off major Mishka energy even though he wouldn’t dare tell me off like Mishka used to.
We both would have gotten away with our “crime” but Diekin—rotten traitor Diekin—led me to Corrik. I’d sobered significantly by that point but was tipsy and not paying attention to where we were going. I assumed more fun, but when he shoved me at Corrik saying, “Tristan and I were kicked out of the Tea Garden,” and then ran off, I figured out what he was up to.
We weren’t going to get caught so he made sure I did to complete the brat circle—creating trouble needs to end with getting caught for said trouble to complete the circle.
I was left to explain what we did and clarify what “getting kicked out” meant since Corrik knows as well as I that it couldn’t happen.