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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 work.

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 explains.

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

Bronze Thrills
Nathasha Brooks-Harris, Editor
Dorchester Media, LLC
33 Seventh Avenue, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10001

WFD: How do we submit stories for your three magazines?

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 words?

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 Bronze Thrills?

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 Confessions, also?

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. Mail.

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 four months.

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 de Mayo?

Brooks -Harris: We love them right now. I’m 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 those places.

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, also.

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 us!

WFD: Are there specific articles written for Bronze Thrills?

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 fanatic.

WFD: Do authors have input as to cover art or illustrations for stories?

NBH: No.

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 neighborhoods.

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 month?

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 intentions.

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 True Confessions.

WFD: Anything else writers need to know?

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 writing.

© Copyright 2005, Peggy Fielding

Peggy Fielding has published jillions of confession stories. She frequently lectures on writing confession stories. Visit Peggy’s website at: PeggyFielding.com

Other articles by Peggy Fielding :

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