Astrid Maxxim and the Mystery of Dolphin Island – Chapter 1 Excerpt

The space plane lurched violently. At first, flames were the only things that could be seen through the thick windows. Minutes later though, the flames dissipated, revealing blue skies.

“Transferring control to manual,” said Astrid. “How does it feel?”

“Pretty sluggish,” replied Toby. “Is it always like this?”

“At this point, yes. It’s a lot like flying a brick until we’re ready to throttle up.”

Astrid Maxxim was a startlingly cute girl of fifteen. Her shoulder-length strawberry blond hair set off her very large blue eyes. She sat in the copilot seat of the Constellation, the newest of her hypersonic space planes, as it blasted its way back into the Earth’s atmosphere. Toby Bundersmith occupied the pilot’s seat. Though it was difficult to tell in his spacesuit, he was tall and muscular. His brown hair hung down in bangs just above his hazel eyes. He turned and gave Astrid a nervous smile. While he was a skilled pilot, this shakedown flight was his first trip to space. Astrid, in addition to being a world-famous inventor, was already a veteran of three previous orbital flights.

“Descending to ten miles altitude,” she said. “Prepare to throttle up.”

“Ready.”

“Throttle up to sixty percent power.”

“Roger,” replied Toby, pushing the thrust control forward.

“Houston, this is Constellation,” said Astrid into her microphone.

There were a few seconds of static before a reply came through her headphones.

“Constellation, Houston. Welcome home.”

“Thank you. Now that we’re safely back in the atmosphere, we’ll bid you farewell and switch over to Maxxim Tower.”

“Roger, Constellation. Happy landing.”

“We’re passing over Southern California,” said Toby. “It’ll be a few minutes before we’re ready to ask for a landing clearance.”

“That’s a fact,” said Astrid, as she unfastened and then removed her helmet. “Do you want some help with your helmet?”

“No, I’m going to leave it on,” he said. And then a few seconds later, “No, I want to take it off. As soon as you said something, my nose started itching like no tomorrow.”

Astrid helped him remove it, stowing it, along with hers, in the appropriate compartment. Toby immediately scratched his nose with a gloved hand, before returning all his attention to the controls.

“I pointed out that we had a few minutes,” said Toby, “to highlight the fact that we have a bit of time to talk.”

“What did you want to talk about?”

“My cousins are coming to town next week and I thought maybe you could help me plan some activities for them.”

“Event planning is not really my field of expertise,” said Astrid, with an arched brow. “Are you just asking me because I’m a girl?”

“No!” Toby exclaimed. “Absolutely not. I was asking… What I really should have asked… It would really be cool if they could take a flight into space.”

“I’m sure it would be cool for them,” said Astrid. “They’d probably think you were the best cousin ever. I’m afraid it can’t happen though. You remember all the training you’ve gone through, and even our passengers have six weeks of rigorous training before they fly on one of the space planes.”

“Yeah,” said Toby. “I guess I already knew the answer to that. I’m just getting worried that they’ll be bored. They live in Berlin and I live in a little town in the Southwestern U.S.”

“Maybe Jürgen and Sabine aren’t looking for a wild time. It seems to me that most Europeans visiting the states enjoy the great natural wonders we have here. Take a trip up to the Grand Canyon. Fly over to Mesa Verde and show them the Ancient Pueblo ruins.”

“I’m sure that would be great for Jürgen,” he said. “I’m worried about Sabine. She is really into the German nightlife. Maxxim City is going to seem really tame.”

“Well, if you have to, you can always fly them to L.A. You can take them to a disco and visit Disneyland on the same trip.”

“Well, that sounds pretty good. Does that mean I have free access to a Maxxim Industries plane?”

“A Starcraft 170 and all the fuel you can use.”

“I guess it pays to have a girlfriend who is the CEO of a major multinational corporation.”

“I’m just the co-CEO, said Astrid, “and are we saying the B and G words?”

“What? Boyfriend and girlfriend? I’m saying it. I say it all the time. My girlfriend Astrid. Astrid, my girlfriend.”

Just then the space plane lurched.

“Pay attention to the controls, boyfriend,” said Astrid, climbing back into her seat.”

“I am. It was just a pocket of turbulence.”

“Maxxim Tower, Constellation,” said Astrid into her microphone. “Requesting a landing vector.”

“If I crashed us,” said Toby, “I’d be grounded for a month.”

“Only a month?” asked Astrid with a grin.

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Astrid Maxxim and the Mystery of Dolphin Island – Available Now

Genius girl inventor Astrid Maxxim is back! Called to the aid of her friend Océane Feuillée, Astrid leaves her friends and family to journey to an uncharted tropical paradise. Here she must use every ounce of her ingenuity to solve the mystery of Dolphin Island.

Astrid Maxxim and the Mystery of Dolphin Island is available in ebook format for just 99 cents wherever fine ebooks are sold, and as a paperback edition from Amazon for $4.99 with free prime shipping.

Updated Astrid Maxxim Books

Astrid Maxxim and her Amazing Hoverbike and Astrid Maxxim and her Undersea Dome have been updated with minor format fixes and proofreading.  Find either of these books wherever fine ebooks are sold.  If you previously purchased either of these books, you should be able to re-download the newer version.

Astrid Maxxim and the Electric Racecar Challenge – 99 cents for nook!

Astrid Maxxim and the Electric Racecar ChallengeAstrid Maxxim, brilliant teenage inventor returns. Astrid is looking forward to racing against a professional driving team to prove her electric racecar can take on the gas-guzzlers. Then without warning, she wakes up in the hospital with partial amnesia. What could have happened to her? Now everyone treats her like she’s brain-damaged! What if her IQ really did drop to 184? What a nightmare!

You can get Astrid Maxxim and the Electric Racecar Challenge for nook for just 99 cents.

Astrid Maxxim and the Electric Racecar Challenge – Chapter 14 Excerpt

Astrid Maxxim and the Electric Racecar Challenge“All systems nominal,” said Astrid, looking at Ariel’s instruments.

“We have a clean burn,” said copilot Carl Williams.

Ariel, propelled by her custom Maxxim liquid fuel blend, a combination of hydroxy-terminated polybutadiene, nitrous oxide, and several top secret ingredients, pushed the advanced spaceplane higher and higher into the atmosphere.

“Throttling up,” said Astrid.

She looked over her shoulder at her three passengers.

“Everything good back there?”

Laura Bell flashed a smile. Booker Larson’s eyes were glued to his instrument panel, but her threw Astrid a thumbs up. Sergei Bryce simply looked like he was going to throw up. The three of them, all of whom could be found on the list of the twenty richest Americans, had each paid $2 million for the chance to fly into space.

The force of acceleration pressed everyone back into their seats.

“Nosing up to forty degrees,” said Astrid. “Throttling up to seventy percent.”

“Mach six point three,” called Williams. “Altitude is four five miles.”

The gentle rumbling of the rocket engines through the fuselage of the space plane continued.

“Fuel is good,” said Williams. “Pressure is good. All navigation and secondary systems are good.”

“Flight controls are good,” said Astrid. “Plotting a geostationary transfer orbit.” She looked back at her three passengers. “This will take us flying out to 22,230 miles out, and then swing us back down to one hundred miles.”

“That’s fantastic!” Laura Bell’s shout was amplified by the microphone.

“Easy there, Miss,” said Williams. “I’d like to return with both my eardrums intact.”

“Sorry.”

“Who’d like to get out of their seats and float around?” asked Astrid, as she released her restraints.

The others followed suit and soon they were all floating around Ariel’s large cabin, spinning, doing summersaults, and peeling off their flight suits. Astrid had just finished stowing her suit and helmet, when she turned around to see Sergei Bryce throwing up.

“I’ve got it,” called Carl Williams, as he retrieved a vacuum hose from a ceiling compartment and began chasing down the spherical globules of vomit.

Several hours later, back in her seat, Astrid made an announcement.

“Congratulations lady and gentleman, you have just reached the farthest point away from the earth of anyone since the crew of Apollo 17.”

Astrid Maxxim and the Electric Racecar Challenge – Chapter 13 Excerpt

Astrid Maxxim and the Electric Racecar ChallengeAstrid spent the rest of the week close to home. Friday night, she had dinner with the Bundersmith family next door. Aunt Gerta baked a Schweinshaxe, a ham leg with a crunchy brown crust. It was moist and delicious on the inside. It was served with brown gravy and knödel, a type of boiled dumpling, that while delicious, Toby’s great-aunt seemed almost apologetic about serving.

“It’s not German, strictly speaking,” said Aunt Gerta, “but the boys like them.”

Both Toby and his father nodded.

“I’ve eaten your wonderful apple pies,” replied Astrid. “They may not be German, but they’re pretty fantastic.”

“Not tonight. We’re having Dampfnudel.”

Astrid turned her head to look at Toby.

“It’s like a cinnamon roll,” he said.

“There’s no cinnamon in it!” called Aunt Gerta over her shoulder, as she popped into the kitchen to bring out the dessert.

There might not have been any cinnamon, but it was quite like a sweet roll, filled with sugar and fruits, and topped with vanilla custard. As was usually the case when dining with the Bundersmiths, the girl inventor was very full when she returned home. Toby walked her to her front step and looked like he was going to bend over and kiss her, when Agent Toulson opened her front door.

Astrid Maxxim and the Electric Racecar Challenge – Chapter 11 Excerpt

Astrid Maxxim and the Electric Racecar ChallengeJust after dinner, Astrid called her cousin Gloria.

“Are you going to Detroit this week?”

“I have to,” said Gloria. “I wanted to go to Puerto Vallarta for Spring Break, but Mom says she misses me or something.”

“And you’re too young to go to Mexico for Spring Break.”

“She might have said something along that line too.”

“So, when are you going to Detroit?” asked Astrid.

“Tomorrow at 10:00 AM.”

“Do you mind if I catch a ride?”

“It’s a free country. I mean, I don’t mind.” Astrid could almost hear the strain of trying to be pleasant in her cousin’s voice.

“Great,” said Astrid. “See you then.”

“Plans?” asked Kate Maxxim.

“I’m shooting up to Detroit for a couple of days.”

Her mother raised an eyebrow, but didn’t say anything.

Astrid arrived just before ten at the Maxxim airfield, with Priyanka Sharma in tow, and stepped up into the cabin of the Starcraft 170 commuter plane. Gloria was already seated about mid-plane, and standing in the aisle was Maxxim Industries pilot Carl Williams. Agent Sharma took a seat by the door.

“You’re flying us, Carl?” asked Astrid.

“No, you are.”

“I don’t know,” said Astrid. “I haven’t flown anything bigger than my hoverbike since my brain surgery.”

“And you crashed that,” added Gloria.

“Time to get back onto the horse,” said Williams. “Don’t worry. I’ll be right there next to you the whole way. I’ll make sure everything’s fine.”

“Please do,” said Gloria. “If we crash with her, your name probably won’t even make the papers, and mine will be at least a half column down.”