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True Confessions editor, Nathasha Brooks-Harris Interview
by Peggy Fielding
Brooks-Harris is editor for Bronze
Thrills, Black Romance, and now, True Confessions. She
has taken over that magazine from Pat Byrdsong who has moved onto other
After receiving a journalism degree from Hunter
College, Brooks-Harris worked on newspapers and music and beauty magazines. She
spent sometime as a gossip columnist but she hated that. She would never want to
be gossip columnist again because of our litigious society. "Every gossip
columnist lays him or herself open to being sued these days," she
Happily divorced, with no children, she lives in
Brooklyn. She is not totally immersed in her job as editor because she also
loves to write her own stories and has had two books published, one,
PANACHE, from Domhan, received an Emma Award. The second, in which she
appears in an anthology called CAN I GET AN AMEN published by BET
Books, appeared on Four Best-Seller lists, so she understands our business from
the writer's side of the desk as well as from the editor's side.
Readers who want to write for the confessions
magazines should ask for guidelines for the particular magazine via U. S. Mail.
Enclose a self-addressed #10 sized envelope for each set of guidelines which
interest you. Your requests will be addressed in the following way
Dorchester Media, LLC
33 Seventh Avenue, 11th Floor
New York, NY
WFD: How do we submit stories for your three
Brooks-Harris: That's easy. Write it and mail
the double-spaced hard copy (typed) story with a disc containing the material.
SASE should be enclosed as well.
WFD: Can we submit stories to any of the black
confessions group via e-mail?
NBH: Marcia Mahan will take e-mail materials if
you make a special arrangement with her. All of us prefer hard copy, actually.
Sometimes I telephone the writers if we need to discuss something in the story.
I don't always do that but I do like to call sometimes since that is a quicker
way to straighten out problems.
WFD: Should writers submit stories to all the
confessions editors simultaneously? Multiple submissions in other
NBH: Oh, no. It's best to send each story to one
editor at a time, although we do sometimes hand on a story to the magazine we
think to be more in line with that type of story. It's best to submit a story to
each editor, one at a time. No multiple submissions, please.
WFD: Does Dorchester Media LLD offer a website
we may access?
NBH: Yes, Go to DorchesterMedia.com. It has just been updated.
WFD: You've talked a bit about themed issues.
How can we learn what themes you have in mind for Black Romance and
NBH: Just write and ask.
WFD: I loved the theme you used for Bronze
Thrills and Black Romance recently, "Working girls connecting with
Blue collar guys." Will you be doing themed issues for True
NBH: I'm not sure.
WFD: I love the idea.
NBH: Writers can contact me for information
about that. I do know it will be different for writers, sending hard copies to
True Confessions, enclosing discs and learning the ways of the U.S.
WFD: How do you pay at Bronze Thrills
and Black Romance.
NBH: We pay $100 per story and $100 for feature
articles. If the story or article is a bit shorter, say four manuscript pages,
we pay $50 for that size article or story. For poetry that we like we pay $2.00
a line. Payment is sent one month after the magazine hits the newsstand. We are
a bit slow, in other words.
WFD: What length and what type of stories do you
prefer for Bronze Thrills or Black Romance?
NBH: We like contemporary, entertaining and
informative material. We're not looking for dreary stories or sadness. We want
our characters to triumph in the end, although bittersweet (hope for the future)
endings are okay. We'd like to see 14 to 16 pages.
WFD: Tell us what kinds of stories in particular
that you are looking for in Bronze Thrills right now.
NBH: I like a story that holds my interest,
perhaps the Chik-Lit type of story, where our narrator struggles with her job,
her man, and life-in-the-city. Universally, these are usually stories for women.
We do look for romance. Remember Dynasty? We like stories of that type which
could be used in an ongoing serialized story which might cover two or three or
WFD: And for Black Romance?
NBH: In that magazine we like to go through a
bit of drama, particularly the "making-up-scenes."
WFD: As for sex?
NBH: We use erotic, tasteful erotica. We don't
use "the shocking words." We like the sex scene done with style and romance.
Both Bronze Thrills and Black Romance stories must include one
sex scene which is an integral part of the story.
WFD: How about seasonal stories? How far ahead
should we submit to Bronze Thrills and Black Romance for
Christmas, Kwanzaa? Chanukah? New Years Eve? New Years Day? Three Kings? Cinco
Brooks -Harris: We love them right now. Im
seriously interested in stories of Black Jews for Chanukah and for Hispanic
stories using Three Kings or Cinco de Mayo. By the way, settings are important.
Take the stories out of New York City and California. We get way too much of
WFD: Do we need to label the outside envelope to
let you know this story is for a specific holiday?
NBH: Oh, yes. Please label and sent at least six
months ahead of the holiday. This goes for True Confessions,
WFD: How about special interest months such as
school openings, graduation, June Brides, Groundhog Day, etc., do you want those
labeled as well?
NBH: Yes, for all three magazines. Please label
and send six months before the month or time of that event. For instance a story
set in National Rodeo Month (November) would really tempt
WFD: Are there specific articles written for
NBH: Yes. Bronze Thrills likes
nonfiction that is inspirational for our "Keep the Faith" section. We recently
ran a piece called "How to Recommit To Your Spouse." Then there is "Seductively
Speaking," and "Sexual Health," columns.
We like love, marriage, dating, romance, dealing
with partners, dropping partners, any nonfiction advice in those fields. Men
into the "down low" topic is especially hot for stories right now.
WFD: Must we be black to write for Bronze
Thrills or Black Romance?
NBH: No. You only need to be a romantic
WFD: Do authors have input as to cover art or
illustrations for stories?
WFD: Do we receive bylines?
NBH: Not for stories. We give bylines for
articles and poetry only.
WFD: Where can we find Bronze Thrills
and Black Romance magazine for study?
NBH: Wal-Mart, Rite Aid, Books-A-Million,
Grocery Stores/convenience stores/gas stations in black
WFD: Can we subscribe?
NBH: You can subscribe by calling
1-800-666-8783, which is an outside subscription service, and of course, each
magazine has subscription cards enclosed.
WFD: How many pieces do you acquire for each
NBH: Between two and four Nonfiction features,
eleven confession stories and one mini erotic story for Bronze Thrills.
If you want to do a long serialization please query by mail as to your
WFD: How about the male POV for Bronze
Thrills or Black Romance?
NBH: Yes. I will be accepting a few Males POV
confessions and feature articles. It's great to hear from the men and we're
interested in what they have to say. We've always had a few male POV stories in
WFD: Anything else writers need to
NBH: Keep writing. Never give up. Every real
writer should send out one or two pieces every week. Even writers who are
successful will write for us. Alex Haley was a regular writer for True
Confessions. His wife left him because of his confessions
© Copyright 2005, Peggy Fielding
Peggy Fielding has published jillions of confession stories. She frequently lectures on writing confession stories. Visit Peggys website at: PeggyFielding.com
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