You Can Make a Difference–Brenda Novak’s Diabetes Auction


More Than Words check.jpg

Six years ago Harlequin Books had a wonderful idea.  After considering ways to promote authors and make a difference in the world, Harlequin began their More Than Words program.  I was asked to be one of the launch authors, along with Diana Palmer, Carla Neggers, Brenda Novak and Susan Mallery.  After evaluating hundreds of submissions, Harlequin chose five small charities run by women and gave each one a check for $10,000.  Each of the authors was asked to write a novella for the More Than Words anthology, mentioning or featuring in some way “their” charity.  The money from the sale of the books was to go back into the program for the following year’s donations.

When I agreed to be part of the launch, I knew if a quilting charity was chosen, I wanted to be the author assigned to it.  That’s exactly what happened.  Quilts from Caring Hands of Corvallis, Oregon became one of the inaugural charities.  Not only did I have the fun of writing “Hanging by a Thread” (which has since been reprinted), I traveled to Oregon to meet the quilters and help present the check.  I also presented these amazing women with a handmade quilt exactly like the one in my story for a real Oregon child in need.  A wonderful event, an awesome charity, a terrific experience.

Brenda Novak, whose novella “Small Packages” was part of the anthology, went home after her event and began to think about ways that she could make even more of a difference.  When she emailed soon after to say that she was going to begin an online auction to raise money for diabetes research, I agreed it sounded like a good idea.  But where on earth was she going to find the time?  Brenda is a bestselling author and an active mom of five children.  How was she going to manage?

Brenda’s auction is now in its 5th year.  Last year she raised $252,000.  This year she’s planning to raise more.  If you go to her auction site, you’ll see exactly how she’s planning to do it.  I defy you to leave without bidding on something.  Gift baskets, lunch with Janet Evanovich or Debbie Macomber, computers, jewelry, first editions, trips to Tuscany and African safaris.  I can’t begin to list everything that’s been donated or all the people who are participating.  Visit the site and bid.  This is the first year Brenda has hired anyone to help, but even so, at least 90% of everything she earns from this auction goes to diabetes research

Each of us knows someone who’s life has been touched by this disease. This auction is a truly inspired attempt to make a difference.  One woman, motivated by other women who reached out to help, is changing our world.  The next time somebody tells you that can’t be done, tell them about Brenda.   


  1. Brenda Novak on May 11, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Thanks so much for mentioning my diabetes auction, Emilie. I’m thrilled with our progress. In the first ten days we’ve raised $124,000. Our goal for the year is $300,000. (The auction runs May 1 – May 31st.)
    I’ve actually added something new this year. I’m calling them Easter Eggs. They’re prizes I hide among the over 2,000 items I have up for auction. If you find one of these, you can buy it for only a buck (or very close to a buck). So far, my Easter Eggs have contained everything from a $420 diamond ring to a strand of pearls and matching earrings for Mother’s Day to a six-month membership to Dorchester’s book club. There’s also a fabulous grand prize for the person who places the most bids, even if that person doesn’t win a single item.
    Here’s to making a difference!
    Brenda Novak

  2. Emilie Richards on May 11, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful update, Brenda. This is one of the most exciting fundraisers I’ve ever seen. I strongly encourage everyone to visit the site. There truly is something for everybody.

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