McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

February 15, 2013

MHS grad writes children’s books

By MJ Brickey
Staff Writer

McALESTER — McAlester native Brenda Duncan and her husband James have finished writing two children’s books.

After Brenda retired from being a music teacher and school counselor, and James retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Marine Corps, the couple settled in middle Tennessee on their family farm.

Inspired by their grandson Domenic, Brenda wrote the book “Reese the Dog Who Almost Ruined Christmas” as a memory book.

“The main character, Reese, is a rambunctious dog who at first frightens Domenic,” Brenda said.  “Together they explore Grandma and Grandpa’s farm, creating enough memories to last a lifetime.”

Brenda’s book is illustrated with pictures from the Christmas family gathering that

inspired her book.

Brenda said James wrote “Lucy the Colt that Went to the Belmont Stakes.”

James drew the illustrations for his book and found his inspiration from watching Domenic play with two toy horses he was given for Christmas.

Brenda is a McAlester High School graduate and attributes her successes to the support she gained as a child and teen from her hometown of McAlester.

Brenda said her father, Leon Langham, was a well known meat market manager and her mother is a dedicated homemaker who taught Sunday school for more than 40 years.

She said she also learned from her piano teacher, Gladys Bell, choir director Dr. Lucy Smith and the Briggs family, with whom she went to church,  and Rodney Briggs, a life-long friend.

“It was all about music for me back then,” she said of her school days.

Brenda said her fondest memories are those of when her mother read to her as a child.

“In our family, reading is so important,” she said and added that reading causes people to learn more words that in turn help you to better express themselves.

“Reading is not only good for the educational benefits,” she said, but, for the bonding experience.

“My earliest memories are mom reading children’s books like ‘Poky Puppy,’” she said. “I read to both of my children. ... I read a bedtime story to my daughter every night until she was in the fourth grade.”

Both books are published by Author House.  The books are available online at Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com.

Signed copies may also be purchased from the authors by calling 931-279-4623.

Contact MJ Brickey by email at mjbrickey@journalist.com.