Three local authors pool efforts to write books


Three local women have worked together to write and publish one book and will soon complete their second. Rachel Lundberg has the story.

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Cathy Seckman (left) of Calcutta and Darlene Torday of Berlin Center joined with fellow author, Debbie Schukert of western Pennsylvania on the mystery novel, “Bad Moon Rising.” The trio are working on a second mystery, “H2O Mysteries,” which will deal with disappearances and happenings around water. (Rachel Lundberg/

Darlene Torday, Cathy Seckman and Debbie Schukert hope to soon self-publish their second collaborative book, “H2O Mysteries.”

There’re 17 stories. They all have to do with water, mysterious disappearances or happenings around water.

That’s Darlene Torday of Berlin Center. She, Seckman and Schukert, who is from western Pennsylvania, spent half a decade working on this and their first collaborative work, “Bad Moon Rising.

Seckman says “Bad Moon Rising” inserts local flavor as its characters spend much of their time in the area, whether at Kent State University or getting lost in East Liverpool.

We tried to put them in places we had seen.

As they did with “Bad Moon Rising,” they plan to self-publish “H2O Mysteries” this spring through Amazon Create Space, which provides a print-on-demand version, and Kindle Direct Publishing for an e-reader version.

Seckman, who is from Calcutta, OH, says publishing a book yourself on two platforms takes effort.

You go through their process to format the book, and it’s a long, complicated maze. But when you get to the end of it, you can put your book on Kindle, and that’s all free.

Both books began as homework assignments for their writer’s group, which meets monthly at Barnes & Noble. Seckman says they didn’t originally intend to publish “Bad Moon Rising” or even turn it into a complete novel.

Debbie wrote the first chapter. And Darlene wrote the second chapter and killed off one of Debbie’s characters. So when I got to the third chapter, we decided it should be a murder mystery and it just evolved from there.

After deciding to publish, they sent the story to traditional publishing agencies, but were turned down and decided to publish on their own instead.

As the publishing world changes, using print-on-demand and Kindle, which are low-cost or free options, is another way to get books published.

However, Torday says without an advertiser, they’ve had a difficult time getting a widespread reception of “Bad Moon Rising.” When they offered it for free for a day they had more than 600 downloads, but when they began charging again, sales slowed down considerably.

Reporting for, I’m Rachel Lundberg.