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Tank & Fizz’s slimy new cover (and how you can pre-order it, like, right now!)

Tank & Fizz’s slimy new cover (and how you can pre-order it, like, right now!)

I’m always a bit sad on the last long weekend in the summer. Soon, the warm nights and sunny days will give way to icy winds and endless snow shoveling.

But I’m not sad this weekend and I have a group of monsters to thank (and Mike Deas and the folks at Orca Book Publishers, of course.)

Why is that? You ask (you did ask. I heard you.)  It’s because, ZOMG, I can show you the awesome cover for Tank & Fizz 1: The Case of the Slime Stampede!

Here it is:

Tank & Fizz 1: The Case of the Slime Stampede

Check out this cover! I’m kinda thrilled with it.

Isn’t fantastic?

I love how Mike worked all that slimy goop everywhere. That’s what happens in the book. And who’s that ogre spying on our detectives from the shadows? You’ll have to read the book to find out! :)

The Case of the Slime Stampede comes out March 2015, but you can pre-order it today.

Check out the Tank & Fizz page to get all the details on this new series.

What do you think of the cover? Is it slimy enough for you? I’d love to hear what you think, so leave a reply in the comments below.

I’m an award-winning author who writes books for reluctant readers.

I’m also a teacher who likes sharing resources to get kids reading.

Each month, I send out project updates and resources for the reluctant readers in your life.

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How an old idea is kickstarting my new year


Meet Fizz! The goblin who lived in my notebook for a decade (drawn by Mike Deas)

I have a lot of story ideas.

It comes with the territory. Some are good. Some should be taken down to the lake and, y’know . . .

Others should be left to simmer in one of my many, many notebooks. While they simmer, they evolve. Sometimes they evolve into something usable.

I’m bouncing my way into 2014 because one of my oldest ideas has evolved into something kinda cool.

It involves a goblin. His name is Fizz and he’s knocked around my notebooks for many years, always evolving and never being satisfied to stay quiet for long.  You haven’t met him yet, but you will.

Fizz is one half of my newest detective duo in my latest series Tank & Fizzforthcoming from the amazing Orca Publishers.

He wasn’t always a detective and he taught me a valuable lesson that all writers, from kids in school to old-timers like me can benefit from.

Humble Goblin-y Beginnings

There’s no hiding that I’m a bit of a D&D geek, as readers of my last YA novel Ganked will attest to. As a kid, I poured over the Monster Manual any minute I could. I stared at the black and white pencil drawings. I memorized their stats from Armor Class to Hit Dice, I’ve always been fascinated by the monsters I faced in all those deep dark dungeons.

Back in 2000, I decided I wanted to write about one monster. A goblin living under a vast mountain. At first, I went for the low-hanging fruit ideas: the goblin is a wizard, the answer to the prophecies of legend, blah, blah. blah. Thankfully, those ideas got quickly shelved.

The Goblin Who Wouldn’t Go Away

But the idea of a goblin as a main character kept cropping up. Around 2006, I was thinking about becoming a teacher. So I volunteered in a local school. It was there I met a kid who insisted we call him Fizz. That was his nickname and the only thing he answered to.

Immediately, I liked the name Fizz. Somewhere in my writer’s brain, it latched onto that goblin wizard hiding out in a notebook from way back.  With a new name, Fizz the goblin was determined to have a story written about him.

Fizzin’ and Popping through Genres

So, now the goblin had a name. Now all he needed was a story to go with it. I tried him in space. I tried him in modern times. I tried him as a computer-hacking, junk-food-eating time traveller. But nothing stuck. The lake was calling for Fizz the Goblin, but I wasn’t ready to take him there yet.

Enter the Tank

There was still one story genre I didn’t try and it’s the one I write the most: mysteries. I put a pair of gumshoes on my goblin and sent him off to solve crimes.

And that’s when things took off.


Fizz with his detective partner Tank and their first client, Mr. Snag the school caretaker (drawn by Mike Deas).

Fizz suddenly got a partner called Tank (more on her very soon) and place to do the detecting: a normal, average, run of the mill, school. A school run my an eight-legged principal in the heart of a monster-filled city run by a crooked mayor and hooked on a goopy, stinky, substance sucked from the ground.

Around this very old character, I created the world of Rockfall Mountain and the metropolis of Slick City. Within that city, I buried mysteries as old as the rock itself, added in a touch of technology and created my new series for young readers: Tank & Fizz.

Letting Old Ideas Simmer and New

With this new year taking shape, I’m very excited to be returning to an old friend. That goblin from many years and many notebooks ago will finally have a chance to shine. Tank & Fizz is for younger readers (Grades 1 – 3) and it’s illustrated by the monstrously talented Mike Deas and published by the fantastic folks at Orca Book Publishers.

I guess the moral of this post to all writers, teachers and readers is: Don’t give up on an old idea. Let it simmer and see what becomes of it. You might be surprised.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be publishing more stuff about the characters and the series over at: tankandfizz.tumblr.com. Follow us on tumblr, subscribe to this blog or tag along in the twitter, where I’m @liamodonnell.

I’m hoping you’ll come along for the monster-filled journey.

Feeding Change Dings Ten. What the – !?

Yikes! I just realized that four days ago, this blogged turned 10 years old. Ten. Wow.

It all started with this post in 2003 where I railed against Flat Stanely cozying up to Karl Rove from Bush Inc.

And I haven’t stopped railing ever since.

That’s not true. I did stop in 2008, when I started teaching and was burned out by sharing my mind chunks with the interwebnets.

The rise of games in education and people getting it wrong changed all that. Watching educators, tired of being excited about wikis, suddenly get excited about video games got me blogging again.

And I’ve kinda meandered around talking about writing, technology in education, video games as learning tools, and a particular blocky game that folks just can’t stop playing.

I made friends through this blog, connected with people around the world and generally had a lot of fun speaking my mind.

It’s been a great decade. I’m looking forward to a few more decades down the line.

Ganked Ten Day Giveway

With the print edition of Ganked now available, it’s about time I ran a giveaway contest. So here you go!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Ganked by Liam O'Donnell


by Liam O’Donnell

Giveaway ends December 14, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


It all kicks off tonight at midnight and will run for 10 days. Hop into Goodreads and enter to win two autographed copies of Ganked (and other goodies, too!)


Why I’m Launching Ganked Quietly in a Noisy World

Ganked-drop-shadow2525-500WFriday was a bit of a quiet celebration day around here.

First, it was Friday and that always puts a spring in my step.

Second, my young adult gamer geek mystery, Ganked was officially released into the world as an ebook. The print edition will follow in mid-November.

I say it was a “quiet celebration” because Ganked was released without much fanfare or rafflecoptering giveaways, blog hops or well, much of anything really. It just kinda became “available”. And I couldn’t be happier.

After publishing 30-odd books and participating in my fair share of book launch parties and signings, I’ve decided a quiet book launch is the way to go in this very noisy world. And it’s not because I’m becoming a crusty old writer.