The 6th Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research begins today May 1st. There are 2,000 fabulous items, many of which you can’t get anywhere else, it’s going to be a blast.

And we have something new this year for aspiring writers. It’s a writing contest that will be judged by New York Times Bestselling Authors. The winner will receive a 6-month mentoring package from me and guaranteed reads from my agent and editor. One other thing I should mention. To help promote the auction, I’m currently holding a drawing for a fabulous Trip for 2 to Curacao. This trip includes airfare and hotel stay at the Hyatt Regency. To enter, click on the Contest link.

Brenda Novak started this fundraiser in 2005 and have made it an annual event in an attempt to help her thirteen-year-old son (diagnosed at 5) and the many, many others who struggle with diabetes. The need is there. Anyone who lives with a diabetic will tell you about the constant fingertip pricks, the shots, the pump insertions, the danger that comes with blood sugars that are too high or too low or swinging wildly from one side to the other. It’s almost impossible to avoid the fluctuations, no matter how hard you try. But you rarely hear about that, or about the tragic side affects. Diabetes affects every part of the body—the heart, the liver, the kidneys, the skin, the nerves, the eyes, everything. But thanks to my many, many generous donors–and shoppers–we’re doing what we can to help!

Writing was the last profession she expected to undertake.  Brenda swears she didn’t have a creative bone in her body. In school, math and science were her best subjects, and when it came time to pick a major in college, she chose business. Abandoning her academic scholarship to Brigham Young University at the age of 20 in order to get married and start a family, Brenda dabbled in commercial real estate, then became a loan officer.

“When I first got the idea to become a novelist, it took me five years to teach myself the craft and finish my first book,” Brenda admits. “I learned how to write by reading what others have written. The best advice for any would-be author: read, read, read….”

Last year we managed to raise over $280,000, which brings us to over three-quarters of a million so far. In 2010, we should break the $1 million. For those of you who have never participated in an online auction, don’t worry–it’s easy. This auction runs just like E-Bay. You shop the entire month of May (there are also one-day auctions so be sure to check the schedule), bid on whatever you like and pay for what you win via credit card or Paypal when it’s all over, at which point it will be shipped to you (in most cases, the shipping is free).

The person who places the highest number of bids each week will be awarded a fabulous prize (the first week it’s an iPad as well as an Advanced Reading Copy of my new book, WHITE HEAT, due out July 27th). There will also be lots of other prizes given away via random drawings.