June 30, 2011

Upstairs on 7th meets (Re)Making Love

Girl walks into a dress shop feeling frumpy and comes out with a hot black dress and a book party. The store is Upstairs on 7th and the owner and CEO is Ricki Peltzman. Here she is: gorgeous and fashionable. Don't you love that necklace? You could buy it from her!

Photo from Upstairs on 7th
And here's what happened: I live in the Penn Quarter (downtown D.C.) where Forever 21 makes me feel forever 61—and I've been searching for a store where a woman my age might find clothes that are both funky and elegant. So, somehow I wander into her store that is inside the building where the fab Tosca Restaurant resides (Barack took Michelle there recently!) and Ricki, while I'm trying on clothes, reasonably priced and gorgeous, asks me what I do. I say, "Oh, I'm a writer." She says, "Books?" I say, "Well . . ." Not so good here at self-promotion. She wheedles it out of me; I try to get her to buy the Kindle version but she wants my book in her hand, and as I live barely three blocks from her, I go home to get a pair of shoes to try on with the slinky black number and bring her one that she promptly buys.

See this image to the left from her website and you'll know why I wanted to buy everything in her elegant shop that is truly a salon in the way literary folk used to know of such great places.

So Ricki reads the book, starts while I am still in the store (read the ending!) and then that night stayed up late with what she calls a-can't-put-down memoir. The next day she gets to the store early and before her educated and elegant clients begin to wander in, she finishes the book. And while she's reading, she e-mails me (Of course, I wanted to be on her e-mail list for sales and news! You should too; she sends her stuff all over the U.S.). As I like to say in the memoir, I am not making this up: Virtually all the e-mails had this subject line "OMG This Book":

Ricki (e-mail #1): Every ROM-COM you mention I LOVE although so far you have not mentioned The American President, one of my all time movies ever and one I think I have seen at least 100 times. Just too adorable and funny. And also Sleepless in Seattle which I am a total sucker for. I think when I was very young and newly married A Man and A Woman was my favorite movie for the longest time. The music at the end when he is driving to see her was masterful. I love the mentions of all the restaurants that are around here and which we eat at all the time. The bread alone at Zaytinya makes me swoon. I could eat just that and be thrilled!

I love your La Perla story. Hilarious. Especially that you spent all of that for so little pieces. Only Jewish women could understand this I think.

I read in bed and when I got up at 6 I got my coffee from the trusty Miele machine and sat on the porch and read until 8:30.

We will have to do a book party. This is way toooo good.

Ricki (e-mail #2); they were coming every 15 minutes; I guess the book is a fast read!): So I have the book on my desk and this customer tells me that she is just retired from being a happy housewife since her husband left her and I tell her she HAS to come to the book party! And then all her friends signed up on my email so they can hear when it is so they can attend also. So when shall we do it? I will have everyone over for drinks and a light supper and you can talk about it and then sell lots of books.

Ricki (e-mail #6); she arranged the book party in the other three; I think there were eight e-mails in all; I was afraid to leave my computer on a Saturday afternoon for fear of missing one of these!): I LOVE LOVE LOVE YOUR BOOK. I have customers here but I am just at the part where you are in Paris with your tiny appliances.

And then she blogged about the book and the party. She then caters the party in her shop: food from Tosca and champagne. Here are a few photos and then some thoughts about all this.
Don't you love that bracelet????

Ah the women, the books, the shop!

The slinky black dress that will go from summer to winter. You gotta get this one!
I sold 18 books at the party and Ricki has since sold five more! Can you believe this amazing woman?

At the party, I read Chapter 8, Deceptive Cadence that I wrote while listening endlessly to the Schubert in G Flat Major and one woman told me she wants to give me a book party at her home in Dupont Circle, have me read this chapter and have a pianist play the Schubert in G. I'm having lunch with her in a couple of weeks (gorgeous, sophisticated, successful woman!). Whether or not that happens, I think I've made a friend.

And get this: I'm telling this story to a banker-guy I know and he sends an e-mail to his wife and a bunch of her friends and copies me. Here it is: The subject line is "Literature, Wine, Writing and Italian Clothes":


How well do I know the women in my life?  I have begun the planning of an event for all of you which will feature Mary Tabor, an author friend of mine who also teaches at GW. You will all read her recent book, discuss it with her and discuss writing. Add some Roy Family wine to honor my favorite female winer proprietor and the beautiful clothes from Italy and Europe with Chris.

Stay tuned for more detail.


Should I be singing that song from The Sound of Music again?

So somewhere in my youth or childhood/ 
I must have done something good . . .


  1. Good things are meant to be, Mary. Have a lovely 4th and keep the good book news flowing. It's always in demand! -Daisy

  2. Ah, Daisy,

    You are lovely and the first person I virtually met on Twitter who taught me not only how to self-promote, but that, done with generosity toward others, this is a good thing to do.

    Have I told you that a second edition of the book is coming out??? A new publisher picked it up. He is fantastic and, though the story is the same, the cover will be more beautiful though much the same, there will be a brief new prologue that I wrote, and I got to correct some minor errors that you probably never even noticed, but I sure did!

    I will keep you informed, as you have been such an incredible help to me!

    Your soul and being enrich the world of all who are lucky enough to be discovered by you--and I am one of those folks,


  3. This is so great--two vital areas of life coming together with gorgeous synergy. Literature and fashion. Who could ask for more?

  4. Thank you, Helen. Lovely to see you here. Off to your blog.


All comments are moderated and welcomed. Please do not post links to sell stuff from your site or another site, however.