Monday, June 18, 2018

Interview with Publishers of Smoking Pen Press

Smoking Pen Press is an independent publishing company started four years ago by Catherine Valenti and Laurie Gienapp.  For now, they mostly publish short story anthologies. Two of my short stories are published in their anthologies and they are a pleasure to work with—highly professional.  For more information, check out their website at:

Question: How did you come up with the name Smoking Pen Press?  Is there some meaning behind that?

Answer:  We met online in the Nanowrimo forums, and the chatroom we met in was called The Smoking Pen. We liked the name, as well as the image it evokes of an author writing at such a pace that their pen smokes.

Question: You mostly publish anthologies, how did that come about?

Answer: It wasn’t always the plan to publish anthologies… in fact we’ve published one novel, and have several others in the works. Where we both have full-time jobs in addition to running Smoking Pen Press, time is at a premium, and we thought a short story anthology would be a good use of our time. Then we discovered that we really enjoyed the process of culling through the submissions, and working with the different authors throughout the editing process. 

Question:  Can you tell us about some of your published books?

Answer:  We have four titles in our Read on the Run series. The idea is that each story in the Read on the Run series of anthologies is short, “to suit your busy lifestyle”.  We started with A Step Outside of Normal, followed by A Bit of a Twist, Uncommon Pet Tales, and we’ve just put out the first romance—A Wink and a Smile.

We also have an anthology of longer short stories, The Ancient, which has variations on the Aladdin’s lamp theme. And we’ve published a novel—The Weatherman.

Question:   What are you working on now?

Answer:  We’re working on a few titles at the moment.  We’ve got a longer short story anthology of romances in the works, as well as three novels – a romance, a suspense and a sequel to The Weatherman.

Question:   What made you start publishing?

Answer: We knew there were a lot of good authors out there looking for a legitimate small publisher who would provide good editing and cover design services. We thought we could provide that, and compensate the authors, and still have a viable business.

Question:   What advice would you offer to those who are currently writing?

Answer: Don’t stop.  Or perhaps more importantly – Start!  In order to be published, you need a well-edited piece of work. And you can’t edit what you haven’t written.

Question:  Where and when will readers be able to obtain your book(s)?

Answer:  All titles are currently available at Amazon and other retailers, in both digital and paperback format. 
Links to Amazon: 
A Step Outside of Normal -
For links to other retailers, see our website -

Catherine and Laurie, thanks so much for coming here. 

For those who are interested, they are available to respond to comments and questions. But the best way to learn about what they publish is by buying one of their books and reading it.


  1. Jacqueline - Thank you so much for inviting us to be on your blog today!

  2. As an author I find this an interesting view from the publisher's position. I love my own small, independent publisher but fervently wish for a larger distribution and national exposure. Thanks for haring.

    1. Normally we're all about our authors and the titles we carry. Thanks again to Jacqueline for giving us the opportunity to share a little bit about us.

    2. Smoking Pen PressJune 18, 2018 at 9:25 AM

      Hi Susan, thanks for your comment. One of the challenges in publishing is how to improve exposure of books to the public, and we continue to work on that. It's good to hear you love your publisher, that is so important! In our experience being a small publisher gives us more flexibility and better communication with our authors.

  3. Interesting view of a start-up. I'm all for individuals setting up a publishing house and offering their skills and enthusiasm. You never know what will come of these efforts.

  4. Glad you found this interesting, Susan. With our backgrounds of professional editor and attorney, and sharing a common interest in writing, we felt we were uniquely positioned to start up a small publishing house. Feedback from our authors is positive, as is that from our readers.

  5. Great interview! Sounds like a wonderful opportunity to have stories published!

    Good luck and God's blessings to you ALL!

  6. There are some excellent small presses out there. I'm glad I could give this one some exposure. Thanks for coming by and commenting, Pam.

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