Terry Towery wrote about me in the PJ Star when I folded POP magazine and moved to New York back in 1993. We never met and didn’t speak again for about 15 years. Then he emailed me in New York and asked if I knew of any literary agents in New York as he was going to start submitting query letters to agents in hopes of getting a book published. I told him that it was next to impossible to get a decent agent without being a “known” writer. Well, I’m happy to say that Terry proved me wrong. He recently got signed with a well-respected literary agent in New York. You can read about that and some more factoids about Terry Towery below.
Terry’s dream since childhood has been to write books. He’s completed two novels since 2007, the first of which shall never see the light of day. His second novel, a suspense/thriller titled, The Final Victim, is currently undergoing final revisions before being placed on submission by his literary agent, Laney Katz Becker of Lippincott, Massie, McQuilkin Inc., in New York City. (Submission means she will shop it to acquisition editors at the main publishing houses in New York.)
Terry grew up in northwestern Illinois. Following a four-year stint as a military police officer in the Air Force, he studied journalism at Spoon River College, Illinois Central College and Bradley University. He became a journalist primarily to hone his writing skills, which he intended to use to fulfill his dream of becoming an author. But he fell in love with the newspaper business and ended up spending 26 years at the Peoria Journal Star. He started as a sports reporter in 1982 and moved to the news copy desk the following year. He became a city desk reporter in 1984 and was named assistant Sunday editor in 1992. He wrote the TV and Radio column for four years. In 1996, he was named the paper’s assistant city editor/assignment editor. He won several journalism awards during his career.
Upon leaving the Journal Star in January 2007, he became a free-lance journalist, mostly covering sports for the Associated Press in Chicago and New York. He also dabbles in politics, another longtime love. He was named campaign manager for Colleen Callahan’s congressional bid in 2008, and was media consultant for Cheri Bustos for Congress in 2012. For the past eight years, he’s spent a week each February in a tiny Mayan village in the Yucatan, helping to build a school and churches.
But mostly, he spends several hours a day (and several more at night) working on his novels. It took nearly two years to write The Final Victim and another two years (enduring more than 40 rejections and two massive rewrites) to get his agent. During that time, he attended writing conferences in Cincinnati and New York City to learn the craft of fiction writing. He is currently writing his next suspense/thriller novel. Its working title is Baby Blue.
If and when his debut novel is published, and he cashes that first author paycheck, he plans on taking his lovely wife, Jennifer, on the best vacation ever. She deserves it, because without her, his dream would still be just that—a dream.
I think it’s time we meet Terry and it’s just about lunch time, so the timing is perfect! See how this works? Let’s go have lunch with Terry Towery!
And we're off on yet another blustery winter day. As many of you know, I'm not a fan of winter, but I do appreciate the fact that the season allows me to use the word, "blustery" which I am a big fan of, so its got that going for it.
Here we are, hey, check out the sign! How did they know we were coming? Nice!
I haven't been here for over twenty years, I remember I had lunch here right before I moved to New York and it hasn't changed a bit. Nice to see some things remain the same.
Lots of information on the door, kind of like a collage in formation. Check out the PJ Star article in the middle, kind of funny since Terry worked for them for years. Okay, let's go in and see what's happening.
We're greeted at the door by Nghia, the pretty and friendly hostess on duty. She told me that business has been a bit slow, so I'm glad we chose to stop by, maybe we can help pick their business up a bit.
Here's the buffet area, as you can see, there's a lot of food to be sampled here, glad I brought an appetite today!
Let's go take a look at the dining room, it's bigger in here than I remember.
I think we'll sit at this table right here.
Ha, here's that PJ Star article again plastered on the table. There's no escape from this thing!
And then suddenly, Terry Towery appears! It was great to meet him and we had a nice pre-lunch conversation about his book, the publishing world, Peoria, New York and of course, the PJ Star. And yes, I shared my, "You just don't walk in off the street and write for the Peoria Journal Star," story. Those in the know are laughing and maybe cringing right now.
Okay, it's off to the buffet we go...
Lots of choices and it all looks great.
And it's just eight bucks for all you can eat! Such a deal!
As inviting as the buffet was, I found myself mesmerized by all the sauces offered up here on this table. It's a mini-buffet of saucedom and I couldn't be more thrilled by the sight of it. I could've stood there all day, but I did have a guest to dine with, so I tore myself away from this gorgeous sight. But, just like Long John Baldry knows, it wasn't easy!
Here's my plate, I got a chicken wing, a crab rangoon and some other stuff of which I had no idea what it was, but it was certainly delicious.
This is Terry's plate, he chose some great selections as well, and I was jealous of that meat skewer which I didn't see. I felt a little gypped after seeing that, but hey, lunch must go on!
Cheers! (I really need to stop leaning in on photos, I look like some kind of goofy hunchback here.)
Now for the fortune cookie part of this Chinese lunch. I love fortune cookies!
The tension and excitement is building as the cookie is cracked and the impending fortune is about to be unfolded from the crackling Chinese cookie. Put another log on the fire, because it sure feels like grandpa's about to let his socks down!
I just had lunch with Terry Towery, you stupid fortune cookie! Sheesh! Pull your socks back up grandpa, this fortune cookie has been quite a sad and bitter disappointment. I hate fortune cookies!
We decided to let the painful bitterness of that fortune cookie pass and focus instead on the PJ star article plastered on our luncheon table.
Both Terry and I were somewhat disturbed by the fact that there wasn't a byline attached to the article. But after much concern, Nghia, solved this post-lunch dilemma.
The byline was down there, at the bottom of the page and it was written by Pam Adams. Mystery solved and it was a great lunch and wonderful to meet Terry, always nice to meet kindred spirits! We'll see you all tomorrow.
Thoughts For Food
Favorite pizza in Peoria (or nearby, this applies to all questions): Monical’s.
Favorite local restaurant: One World.
Best local ice cream and favorite flavor: Emack and Bolio’s. Vanilla (preferably smothered with chocolate syrup).
If you could take a trip back in time, where would you eat a meal in Peoria? The original Davis Bros. Pizza.
Even though you should try to eat local, the one chain restaurant in Peoria I would recommend is: Johnny’s Italian Steak House.
Favorite local sandwich: Gondola at Avanti’s.
Best little out of the way joint I know is: El Mexicana (tiny joint on NE Jefferson just north of downtown.)
Someplace that has really good pub grub is: Never eat in pubs. Sorry.
My favorite spot for breakfast is: One World.
Favorite place for lunch: Tie. One World and Kobe Japanese steakhouse.
If you had to choose a last meal in Peoria, what would it be (feel free to use items from different restaurants): Monical’s thin-crust cheese, mushroom, onion, and Italian hot peppers pizza, and/or filet mignon hibachi fried rice at Kobe.
430 W. Main