The programs outlined below are offered free of charge to any schools, public libraries, and educational/community groups. The author requests only that the program be well publicized in local news media and that an opportunity for purchase and signing of his books be offered at the conclusion of the program. Any travel and/or mileage expense may be offered by the sponsoring group but is not a necessary part of an agreement to present the programs.


The author may be contacted by phone at 603 520-9695 or e-mail at for further information on available dates. For planning purposes of the author and the sponsoring group, it is recommended that arrangements be made well in advance for any presentations.

Programs – References Available Upon Request

The following programs may be adapted for a particular audience and the descriptions are meant to be general rather than definitive. Other programs may be offered. Contact the author if you should have specific requests.

Program #1

A Tale of Two Books-Professional/General Audiences

The novel, A Favor Returned, is used as a basis for this presentation which examines the growth of the author and his writing over the fourteen years between the initial publication of the novel in hard cover and the subsequent release of a completely revised edition in 2013. Specific references will be made to the editing and revision process. Comparisons of brief passages in each version will demonstrate the subtle but definite changes in dialogue, “show, don’t tell,” and writing flow.

Program #2

I Can’t Believe You Wrote This Book – General Audiences

A light, humorous program based on reactions of a wide variety of family, friends, acquaintances and strangers to the books written by Duke Southard. The issues of separation of the author from the characters and content in his novels will be discussed.

Program #3

The First Novel- The Process, The Pain and The Pride-General Audiences

This program begins with the original idea for A Favor Returned and follows the process of getting the book into print from beginning to end. The presentation includes but is not limited to discussions of such things as plot, character and setting development, editing and copyediting, first through fourth drafts, the pain of rejection and the pride of finally seeing the book in its final version.

Program #4

The What Ifs and The Whys – General Audiences

For anyone interested in how stories such as A Favor Returned and Agent for Justice evolve during the writing process, this program is for you. The storyteller’s staple questions of “what if?” and “why?” will be examined in detail. Personal experiences of the author during the editing and revision process will help explain the methods of weaving believable characters into relationships that span several decades in the books.

Program #5

The First Novel: A Blockbuster or A Bust – Professional/General Audiences

Three key ingredients will be the focus of this wide-ranging discussion of beginning and, more importantly, completing that first novel. From whence come those DARK characters? Do people really talk like this?” Can you supply believable vicarious experiences? These three elements will combine with the most common mistakes of a first time novelist such as overuse of the deadly “ly” words to provide attendees with valuable advice for the daunting task of writing a first novel.

Program #6

Where In The World Is The Author In His Novels? – General Audiences

Through generous helpings of short readings from A Favor Returned and Agent for Justice and other sources, the question of how the life experiences of an author migrate into his fiction is addresses. The “write what you know” mantra preached by most writing experts will occupy a portion of this program as well. It is said that everyone has one novel in him, a truism that draws its power from the question posed in the title of this presentation.

Program #7

Latching On To Something Universal – Professional/General Audience

How important is the connection between the story and the characters peopling the story with the “quiet desperation” of every day human beings living “normal” lives? EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! This program will address the issues of the willing suspension of disbelief and the importance of relevance. Incidents and events from A Favor Returned and Agent for Justice will serve as examples of attempting to connect with the reader through commonalities.

Program #8

Adventures of a True Crime Neophyte – Professional Audiences

As work continues on Murder in a Small Town: The Tragic Death of Stacey Burns, this program will highlight the difficulty for a writer used to depending on imagination as a primary writing tool to transition to the role of investigative reporter. Pertinent aspects of writing in the true crime genre will be examined from a “neophyte’s” point of view. Such areas as the interview process, the recalcitrant witness problem, the police reluctance and arrogance, and the fear generated by the murder will be discussed in some detail. Technical differences between writing fiction and true crime will also be addressed.

Program #9

The Perils of Parker- Sustaining a Series

The four novels in the Detective Parker Havenot series form the basis for this program which examines the process of keeping a series dynamic, interesting, and powerful. The use of believable plot twists, the addition of subplots, the growth and change in characters, and a consistent use of setting and timeline will be discussed.

All programs are 45 minutes to one hour with Q & A sessions following.

References available upon request

Additional Programs (Not Literary Programs):

“The Week from Heaven and Hell”

This one hour program originally was designed for grief management after the loss of a loved one, especially the loss of a child. However, after several presentations, it became clear that there is a relevance to any kind of loss, such a blindness, deafness and other debilitating illnesses or life-changing events. The presentation examines rational and irrational anger, misdirected blame, concentric circles of personal relationships, and even seemingly paranormal events after the sudden death of our son. Despite all of the sadness, there is the positive aspect of enfolding love from our family, our church and our community.

(A Fifty-Minute Program)

Life After Librarianship – A Personal Retrospective Conversion

From 1978 through 1998, I experienced life in the dramatically changing world of professional librarianship. For twenty years, I watched the skills of analysis and synthesis evolve from the basics of exhaustive research of print material to a stroke on a keyboard opening a world of information, misinformation and disinformation on the internet. My profession became more critical, more important than ever. The comfortable library skills of the past suddenly became much more of a challenge as a universe of poorly organized and unwieldy information begged to be analyzed and synthesized but with variables I had never experienced before. The first part of this presentation will address those challenges and how one librarian/media-technology generalist/ information-resource specialist attempted to meet them. This section is the personal retrospective conversion.

The second part of the presentation will present an overview of the process involved in publishing a first novel with a subsidy publisher then publishing a second novel with a small publishing house in Cohasset, Massachusetts. In both the instances, the focus will be on the importance my library experience played in the writing, the editing, the revisions and the research for these two novels. This section obviously is my life after librarianship.


Previous Programs and Presentations

“Library Advocacy and NHEMA/NHLA Membership- The Twain MUST Meet”- NH State Libraries Conference

“From Transitional Trauma to Transformational Triumph”-NHEMA Spring Conference

“Making 21st Century Aspirations From 20th Century Expectations”- NH School Administrators Conference

***Numerous presentations of the above programs throughout New Hampshire, New Jersey and Arizona including school and public libraries, classrooms from grades 3-12 grades, book clubs and community organizations. References for these programs are available unpon request.

Published Articles

“Library Automation – First Steps, Next Steps” – Media and Methods, January 1997

“Putting Your Library Automation System To Work”- Media and Methods, September 1995

Quarterly Newsletter – Online – Trade Journal of the New Hampshire Educational Media Association

Quarterly Newsletter – Tuftonboro Times – Feature Profile Writer, 1998-2009