The title might be difficult to make out in a thumbnail image.
You're right that flames behind this would look too busy.
However, the the first thing that came to mind when I saw the image was Brad Pitt and Cruise duking it out in Interview with the Vampire, only with swords
Clever, if that's what you're aiming for. Not so much if this book isn't heading that way.
Eh, they are father and son. Perhaps I should have added the description for this one:
Children of The Dragon book 9. The sequel to Written In Blood, this book continues the saga of Alexander Corvina and Lucien Arkanon as they travel through Germania to France. The year is 1648. Alex and his father save the French ambassador to Bohemia from an ambush on the road. Worse, the ambassador is being pursued by a mysterious cadre of men who cannot speak, suggesting that there is a plot afoot against the crown. When they reach Paris they seek the protection of the crown only to find themselves mired in conspiracy and intrigue. The young king Louis XIV, besieged by the ambitions of his uncle the Duc d'Orleans, enlists Alexander's help and gives him a position as an instructor in the art of the sword. Lucien is given the command of the racing stables at Rouen, where he finally finds a measure of peace. Over time, they become invaluable to Louis in their own way, and serve the kings of France honorably for almost a century. But there is growing discontent in the countryside, and by 1789 it is dangerous to be mistaken for aristo. Alexander and Lucien must find a way to escape the sharp taste of Madame la Guillotine before it is too late.
The original design was suggestive of fools fighting in a burning house, which France was. Also, they're not fighting each other, but unseen enemies.
I thought the top was too bare. Also of eliminating feet. Also, that's my style, I can't change it, and I will not use stock photos. They are not animations. Besides, they're my characters and costume designs. What you see is also backlit, so anything you see of bright colors are likely to be darker in print.
Okay. I came up with another one, which is composed like all my others. I was bored and wanted to change something around, but still did not like it. On discussion, the background was too dark to print so I went bright.
So what if it is capped?[i] The[/i] Dragon's Blood is part of the title. There is no room for anything else. It is tight as can be because it is going to print, too. Otherwise I should maybe chuck the guys and just make it one big title.
Generally in titles, the content words are capped--nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs. Function words are not--articles, prepositions, etc. It's just convention. A lower-case t should take up less room than an upper case one. But it's entirely your call.
Well, as it happens I'm not happy again, so I'm scrapping it altogether and starting over. There is no point in trying to use what I've got. This is the problem with working in Photoshop instead of taking a painting and just doing it over. I have more control with acrylics and pencil than I have with Photoshop, which does the minimum in terms of cleanup.
I liked the red background, too, but I think I will take that to canvas.
About the swords. Sorry, but the historical context is that the sword on the left was bestowed to Alexander by Musashi, who trained him; and the sword on the right was forged by Lucien himself. Alexander had been to Japan when the Tokugawa Shogunate expelled all Europeans. You have to read[b] Written In Blood[/b] about that.