Auction This! Guest Author Brenda Novak

Please help us welcome Brenda Novak to The Ball. In addition to a very successful career as a novelist, Brenda has made a name for herself by planning and organizing an on-line auction to benefit diabetes research. This is her fourth year and she’s shooting to raise over $150,000! Brenda’s auction brings in a range of amazing items and goes for a great cause. Be sure to check out her books- and her auction here.

What inspired you to do the auction?

When my son was diagnosed with diabetes six years ago, I expected the constant care he would require, but I was shocked to learn of the terrible side effects. Hearing that this disease is the fifth deadliest killer and that it destroys the heart, the kidneys, the eyes, the nerves, etc. was devastating to me. I didn’t want to see that happen to my son–or anyone else’s child. I decided I wasn’t going to simply accept it; I was going to fight back. But I didn’t know. It took me almost two years to figure out how I could make the biggest impact. I was at a silent auction for our elementary school when I realized that I could utilize the traffic I’d already established at my Web site to do essentially the same thing. That was when Brenda Novak’s On-line Auction for Diabetes Research was born. 🙂

How long have you been doing it?

This is my fourth year. In year one, I wasn’t sure how well it would work. I did my best to gather items and encourage shoppers, and raise nearly $35,000. That was enough to tell me I was on to something, so I continued my efforts into the next year. In Year 2, we raised nearly $63,000–almost double. At this point, I began to see the potential. In Year 3, we more than doubled, coming in at $153,700. This year, I’m hoping to break $300,000.

How have you gotten so many famous authors to participate?

Writers must be the most generous individuals alive. I’ve been so touched by the response I’ve received. Most the authors I’ve approached have been more than willing to lend a hand. This is really a coming together of so many people. I could never do it alone.

What are the wildest auction items you’ve received?

This year I’d have to say the wildest item is the drum head and drum sticks signed by a whole slew of today’s most famous musicians–Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, Shakira, Madonna, George Strait, Fergie, Tim McGraw, Stevie Nicks, Alan Jackson, Alicia Keys, Dianna Ross, Smokey Robinson, Barry Manilow, Aretha Franklin, Brian Wilson, Carlos
Santana, Ringo Starr, Justin Timberlake, Faith Hill, Celine Dionn, Andy Williams, Bono, Paul McCartnery, BB King, Billy Joel, Glenn Fry, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Burt Bacharact, Keith Urban, Sting, Prince, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Joe Walsh, and Don Henley. Another very cool item is the Pirates of the Caribbean Autographed 8×10 photo autographed by Johnny Depp, Keira Knightly, and Geoffrey Rush.

What are some of the more interesting items this year?

I think the most interesting items are the opportunities. We have the opportunity to meet and have lunch with some of your favorite authors, one-on-one–authors like Jayne Ann Krentz, Catherine Coulter, Ridley Pearson, Debbie Macomber, MaryJanice Davidson, Christine Feehan, Diana Gabaldon and JR Ward. Also, for those who are aspiring to break into publishing, many of the most powerful agents and editors in the business have donated evaluations, some with the promise of a 24-hour response (otherwise unheard of in the publishing industry). There’re also mentoring packages from NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Authors, media training, publicity packages and lunches with publishing professionals.

How long does it run, and how can we participate?

The auction runs May 1 – May 31st at, but there are items in the ONE DAY Auction category that go up for auction and end the same day so it’s best to visit that category periodically to make sure you’re not missing anything. Also, I’m offering a fabulous prize package to the person who places the most bids, even if that person doesn’t win a single item. It’s going to be a fun year–we’re off to a great start. You can get involved by visiting and registering to shop. From there, you bid just like you would on E-Bay. When the auction is over, you’ll receive a bill for your items, which you can pay via credit card, Paypal, personal check or money order. It’s that simple!

Also, I wanted to mention that Debbie Macomber, Susan Wiggs and Allison Brennan have joined me in offering a fabulous giveaway to promote the auction. It’s a trip to Bainbridge Island and Port Orchard, WA, including airfare, accommodations, tea with Debbie, massages, and more. You can enter at The winner will be drawn May 31st.

Thank you so much for having me!


17 Replies to “Auction This! Guest Author Brenda Novak”

  1. I am humbled by how much support you are getting not only from bidders, but from industry professionals who are donating their time and expertise for this most worthy cause. Kudos to you!

    (And um, I wish I had some more disposable income to bid on some of those truly KICK ASS auctions!!!) Here’s to meeting and EXCEEDING your goals!

  2. Hi Joanne–

    I feel the same way. The gal who helped me load all the pictures for this year’s auction was a volunteer. Her name is Lauren Hawkeye, and she devoted countless hours to the task. That was amazing to me, too. And the attitude with which most people respond is truly admirable. WOW! I’m touched by their generosity.

    For those who might not have a lot of disposable income (with five kids and the two oldest in college, that’s me! LOL), the auction might be a good place to buy some unusual birthday and Christmas gifts, which means you’d only be spending money you’d spend elsewhere, anyway. Just a thought…

    Brenda Novak

  3. Hi Eileen–

    I never dreamed the auction would grow as much as it has. I just wanted to fight back, you know? In the first year or two after my son was diagnosed, I was hoping and praying to find *something* I could do. I remember going to a casino night in which the host raised $12,000 for diabetes research. On the way home, I told my husband how much I’d love to do something similar.

    And, six years later, here I am! LOL


  4. I really appreciate all of the hard work you must put in to running an auction like yours…how many hours do you put in a week?! And how to have time to write all of the books you do at the same time?

    Also, I check out photos of Bainbridge Island…amazing! I hope I win!

  5. Brenda–I have watched this auction progress over the past couple of years and am blown away by how it’s grown into this amazing venture. We’re all so impressed with your hard work and efforts and are happy to do our very small part to contribute toward it.
    Thanks so much for coming over today!

  6. Brenda, you are amazing!!! My cousin was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at age two, so I am aware of how frightening the disease is. He’s in junior high now, just started the insulin pump and doing pretty well. Way to go for raising so much for research! (And some of those auction items are AWESOME!!!)

  7. Hi Ashley–Usually most of the work goes in up front (in the months preceeding the auction), but this year the administration of it is taking more time than ever before–probably because it’s grown so much. It’s a juggling act, I’ll tell you that. LOL I’m looking forward to taking a break once it’s all over (although I’ll still be on deadline for my books, of course).

    Bainbridge Island is amazing. Susan Wiggs is a doll to offer such a great prize–and Debbie Macomber and Allison Brennan are equally generous. I have wonderful friends.


  8. Hi Jenny–

    I’ve been amazed by the growth, too–and certainly can’t take all the credit. This is a result of so many people coming together. It’s a grass-roots effort, an example of what can be accomplish when everyone pitches in.


  9. Hi Jess–

    Some of the auction items ARE amazing! I’m impressed with the creativity of many of my donors.

    Sorry to hear your little cousin is fighting the same battle we are, but I truly believe we will find a cure in the next 10-20 years.

    That’s my prayer, anyway…


  10. Brenda this is truly inspiring. It’s amazing to see what can be accomplished when people come together…and when one person has an idea!

    Can you tell us anything about the different areas of research for diabetes?

  11. Hi Danielle–

    They have lots of exciting research programs going. The artificial pancreas is one thing that would make the life of a diabetic SO much better. What would be great about this system is that the pump would be worn internally (so that those with diabetes won’t have to have an external device attached to them at all times, which is awkward, especially for a woman trying to wear an evening gown or a boy trying to play sports). This system would also monitor blood sugar, so the diabetic wouldn’t have to prick a finger 5 to 8 times per day. (Hooray for that!)

    Another exciting development is the transplantation of islet cells. They’ve cured diabetes in mice by transplanting islet cells into the eyes. Oddly enough, the immune system doesn’t reject them there (which is the problem when trying to transplant them elsewhere).

    There are also people trying to come up with better (less intrusive) testing systems than the finger prick method. I heard of one where the diabetic would merely need to wave a hand in front of a monitor of some sort. That would make life easier, too.


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