My Sensei Has Left the Building

As reported on and posted on kradical‘s LJ, Marco Palmieri, a senior editor at Pocket Books who was responsible for acquiring, developing, and/or editing nearly two-thirds of the Star Trek books published from 2005 through the end of next year, has been laid off from his job as part of a corporate-ordered general layoff of 35 workers at his company.

The bulk of my work as an author has been for Marco; he took chances on me as a new, untested writer that few (if any) other editors would have. He rolled the dice and acquired my first original novel when no one else in town would.

He has been not only my editor, but my teacher, my coach, my cheering section, my counselor, my brother, and my friend. I have for years called him my sensei; this is an honor I have afforded to no other editor.

The selfish part of me worries over how his departure might hinder my own future prospects as an author, but the more serious matter is that Marco was the sole provider for his family — for his wife and two children. And now, three weeks before Christmas, he has been deprived of employment.

So far, he remains upbeat and optimistic. It has always been his nature to look on the bright side. I recall vividly a quote that I will always associate with him: “Pessimism is a misuse of imagination.” Good advice. I wish that I were wise enough to heed it.

None of us knows what will come next. All I can do is hope that Marco will find gainful employment in his field, so that his wonderful talents and energy do not go to waste. I hope he finds something better than what has been taken from him. And I hope that he and I will have the pleasure and privilege of working together again, crafting books and stories, very, very soon.

Writing Star Trek books will not be the same without him there to guide my imagination. The annual Shore Leave convention will not feel right without him. But I know that he will find a way to go forward and roll with this change, so I will, too.

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