Cover Madness! by David Naughton-Shires

Here is another guest blog leading up to the release of Devouring Milo on July 14th. 

Something is eating away at Milo. Perhaps it’s the stress from dealing with his oppressive older brother. Maybe it’s his low blood sugar. It could be his remorse over the twenty three dead women buried in his backyard. Or possibly it’s the beast inside of him, trying to fight its way to the surface, with or without the help of the full moon.
Something is devouring Milo, and this time it isn’t just his guilty conscience. 

 Today's post comes from the cover artist for the novella, David Naughton-Shires. Here's what David had to say about the cover and werewolves. 

Cover Madness!
by David Naughton-Shires

I had been working with Tonia for some time on her Railroad series, producing some fun covers and illustrations when she dropped me a message asking if I’d be interested in creating the cover for her upcoming Novella. She also contacted me a few days ago to see if I would write a brief post for her blog and this is it, I struggled to know what to write about I mean how interesting is it to hear what I did in creating the cover! How I mixed the images and changed levels etc but I said yeah and also said I’d give a few words on my views of werewolves.
Along with the original message was a file of the novella. I was gripped from the start, I first watched ‘Am American Werewolf in London’ back in about 1983 when one day a friend of mine at school told me his Dad had got a copy on VHS. We mitched (ditched school) that afternoon visited the local shop for crisps (potato chips) and pop then headed to his house for an afternoon of viewing pleasure.
I fell in love with werewolves that day and they have been a genre monster I have enjoyed watching and reading about since, I have been lucky enough to have a few short stories published myself and my favourite is US20 (which the lovely Tonia read for me for an audio version) so I now had a chance to create a cover for her Werewolf story.
Like I said I have been a werewolf fan for many years, and can say I have seen most if not all the classic such as Gingersnaps, The Howling, The Wolf man (1914), The Curse of the Werewolf and of course the more modern one like Red Riding Hood and The Wolf man (2010). But I did draw the line at the Twilight Movies and that is enough said about that. So I was excited to design a cover for a werewolf story.
What I will usually do when starting on my design is ask the author a few questions about what they had envisaged when they pictured a cover and Tonia had quite an idea in her head. She pointed me in the direction of the poster art for the Netflix series ‘Hemlock Grove’, I had not seen the series so immediately went about looking up the poster which of course lead to me watching the first series and now I wait not so patiently for the second.
Without giving too much away about the story there are the usual main characters one being a young man who has to struggle with his change, it is also quite a bloody tale so I wanted to convey this on the cover. Like with the Hemlock Grove poster I wanted to incorporate both the human and wolf aspects of the character so went about combining the mussel of a wolf onto the face of a man, I worked away and create a smooth transition image, after adding blood and a moon I presented the image to Tonia but we agreed something was missing, one of the things we both agreed on was that the change scene in hemlock Grove and American Werewolf where the character burst out of the human skin and their whole bodies contorted were amazing and I took another look at the cover, going back in I added torn flesh where the wolf was bursting out of the human and we agreed that was what was missing before and the cover was born.
With the cover completed I happy with the direction we had taken as I see the werewolf genre as a perfect vehicle to explore the animalistic side of human nature, to discover the beast inside all of us. If we were not held back by social ‘barriers’ would we be more wolf-like in our everyday interactions with other?
I knew Tonia is tempted to do a print run as she loves the cover so much (he says modestly) and I’d like to see her expand on this small universe and do just that with maybe a short story collection.


Born in England, David now lives in Ireland where he tries his best to sustain a certain standard of living as an artist, writer and security officer. His main interest lies in Horror but often tries his art and writing skill in other areas. Recently he ran a small press and continues to work designing many book covers including the volume covers for Railroad!
You can see more of his work at 
and on his Facebook Pages