Astrid Maxxim and the Antarctic Expedition – for nook

Astrid Maxxim and the Antarctic ExpeditionTeen inventor Astrid Maxxim is back in her third adventure as she makes a journey to the bottom of the planet to uncover the secrets of a mysterious lost expedition. Meanwhile, troubles plague her friends and family as a hostile takeover threatens Maxxim Industries. Join Astrid and her friends as she faces the frozen dangers of the Antarctic, wild animals, mad bombers, and corporate high finance.

Astrid Maxxim and the Antarctic Expedition is available for nook for just 99 cents.  Find it on your nook reading device or follow this link.

Astrid Maxxim and the Antarctic Expedition – Just 99 cents for Kindle.

Astrid Maxxim and the Antarctic ExpeditionTeen inventor Astrid Maxxim is back in her third adventure as she makes a journey to the bottom of the planet to uncover the secrets of a mysterious lost expedition. Meanwhile, troubles plague her friends and family as a hostile takeover threatens Maxxim Industries. Join Astrid and her friends as she faces the frozen dangers of the Antarctic, wild animals, mad bombers, and corporate high finance.

Astrid Maxxim and her Amazing Hoverbike is just 99 cents for the Amazon Kindle.  Purchase your copy today by following this link.

Enjoy the whole series of Astrid Maxxim books for yourself, or gift them to your favorite 8-14 year old genius.

Astrid Maxxim and her Undersea Dome – 99 cents at Apple Books

Astrid Maxxim 2Girl inventor Astrid Maxxim and her friends are back. This time Astrid is building an observation dome beneath the sea. Will she complete her amazing construction project, or will she be sidetracked by underwater monsters, the evil organization known as the Black Hand, or her snotty cousin Gloria?

Astrid Maxxim and her Undersea Dome at Apple Books

Astrid Maxxim and her Undersea Dome – Chapter 19 Excerpt

Astrid Maxxim 2A little more than an hour later, Astrid and Denise were standing near the driveway as Dr. Feuillée arrived in a long black car. She rushed to shake the oceanographer’s hand as he stepped out.

“Welcome to Hawaii.”

“Thank you, Astrid. It is absolutely lovely here. May I introduce you to my daughter Océane?”

A girl about Astrid’s age stepped out behind him. She was about an inch taller than Astrid and almost as thin as Denise. Her pleasant face was framed in short black hair, cut in a cute little wedge. She stuck her hand toward Astrid, who shook it.

“Bonjour.”

“Oh-say-AHN.” Astrid rolled the unfamiliar name on her tongue. “I’m very glad to meet you. I didn’t know you had a daughter, Dr. Feuillée, but I’m not surprised you named her after the ocean.”

“It is a fairly common name in France,” he replied.

“J’aimerais prendre si un hoverbike,” said Océane.

“L’anglais, s’il vous plait,” Dr. Feuillée told his daughter. “She so wants to ride a hoverbike,” he said.

“I wish I had brought mine,” said Astrid. “Maybe you could swing by Maxxim City on the way home and try one out.”

“This is wonderful idea,” said Océane.

“Let me help you with your bags,” said the girl inventor. “You’re staying in Gardenia House with us.”

Astrid took one bag and Denise took the other, leading the way to the house where Mrs. Maxxim met them. After helping to get the Feuillées settled in their rooms, Astrid was able to spend an hour getting to know the daughter of the famous oceanographer. She found Océane to be a sweet and very smart girl, who enjoyed listening to popular music and playing soccer, or as she called it, football. She was also fascinated by hoverbikes, and asked Astrid and Denise dozens of questions about them. She was in fact, still asking questions when a familiar person stepped into the room.

“I’m home,” called Toby from the doorway.

Astrid was so excited that she was across the room and wrapping Toby in a fierce embrace before anyone could blink.

“Hey, I’ve only been gone since yesterday.” He laughed, but his face flushed with embarrassment.

“We were just worried about you,” said Denise, hugging him from the other side. Astrid was grateful for her friend’s words, because at that moment she didn’t think that she could speak.

Astrid’s mother served lunch to everyone, including Toby’s father who had arrived almost unnoticed with him. Then they all piled into one of the vans and were driven over the hill and across the bridge to dock, where they climbed into a large motorboat and headed out into Kaneohe Bay.

It wasn’t long before they could see the Toronto, and standing high up on its deck, Austin and Christopher. Next to the ship was a large floating platform with a square building right in the center of it.

“That’s the elevator down to the undersea dome,” explained Astrid.

“How do you account for high and low tide?” asked Dr. Feuillée.

“The elevator is in a single fixed position, but the platform floats. The two are connected by a set of constantly adjusting steps. At any time, you may have to go up or down the stairs to get into the elevator, depending upon whether it is high or low tide.”

“Very ingenious,” said Feuillée.

“That’s our Astrid,” said Toby.

Astrid Maxxim and her Undersea Dome – Chapter 18 Excerpt

Astrid Maxxim 2The Hawaiian waters were crystal clear and even at a hundred feet below the surface visibility was excellent. Astrid looked down at the undersea dome, suspended on massive cables from the ship above, as she dove her mini-sub in a sweeping downward spiral. She noticed a shadow passing her just as the radio popped to life.

“Astrid!” called Toby. “Look up.”

The girl inventor leaned forward and looked up through the Plexiglas canopy of the mini-sub, to see the massive form of a humpback whale swimming above her. The great beast paused for a moment and rolled over onto its side as though giving the strange man-made devices a good once-over, and then with a kick of its great tale, it swam away.

“That makes you feel tiny, doesn’t it?” said Toby.

“It sure does. I didn’t expect to see any humpbacks. Their season is just about done.”

They continued descending until both mini-subs reached the bottom edges of the dome, which thanks to preplaced guide wires, now rested snuggly in place on its foundation. Astrid flipped on the external spotlight, even though at this depth it was still just light enough to see. Using the manipulator arms, she withdrew a large nut from a container on the foundation and threaded it onto a massive bolt sticking up from the concrete through a hole in the dome’s titanium frame. She did this twice more and then maneuvered to the next attachment point. Toby did the same thing, starting on the far side of the dome, and between them they connected all twelve points.

“This thing is huge,” said Toby over the radio.

“It does look pretty giant down here, at least from the outside. I’m wondering how big it’s going to seem from the inside.”

“All right. Shall we go on up?”

“Let’s.”

They began spiraling upward, their propellers leaving a double helix of bubbles in their wake. Halfway to the surface, a shadow passed overhead, and Astrid looked up expecting to see their humpback whale once again. It wasn’t the whale though. It was another submarine. This craft was not a huge vessel like a US Navy sub, but it wasn’t a small one man sub like Astrid’s either. It was about fifty feet long, longer than the humpback, but not quite as big around. It was painted flat black, making it difficult for anyone on the surface to see it. Suddenly as she watched, the unknown submarine tilted its bow down.

“What is that guy doing?” she said aloud.

“What was that, Astrid?” called Toby.

“Toby! Look out!”

She realized what the strange submarine was doing, but it was too late to do anything about it. The dark vessel’s turn had sent it on a collision course with Toby’s mini-sub. Astrid could hear the loud crunch as the nose of the black undersea boat smashed into the little yellow vehicle. The mini-sub flipped over as a huge cloud of bubbles burst from it and shot toward the surface.

Astrid Maxxim and her Undersea Dome – Chapter 17 Excerpt

Astrid Maxxim 2On a massive dockside platform just outside of the Marine Air Station, several large trucks were being unloaded. Cranes lifted heavily wrapped pallets out over the water. Here the great base portion of the undersea dome floated with the aid of giant inflatable pods. Dozens of workmen on the floating base, unpacked triangular panes of transparent Astridium, fitting them together like a huge jigsaw puzzle. Others constructed an internal frame that would hold the three floors in place. Paige Liebowitz carefully oversaw the operation.

“Is everything going okay?” asked Astrid, running up to her.

“Everything is on schedule,” the wavy-haired woman replied. “We should have the floors constructed this morning and the dome assembled by this afternoon. Then tomorrow we can float it out to the site. The foundation has already been laid using hydraulic cement just north of the reef at a depth of 175 feet. So we just sink it down and bolt it in place. While that’s going on, the workmen here can assemble the Astridium elevator.”

“It’s going to have an elevator?” asked Mr. Diaz, from behind Astrid.

“Sure,” she said, turning around. “That way people can go back and forth from the surface without having to scuba dive. It also serves as an airlock, since the dome will be kept at a pressure of one atmosphere inside.”

“I thought it was going to be down deeper,” said Mr. Brown.

“The Astridium can withstand the pressure up to a depth of 300 feet,” explained Astrid. “I chose 175 feet for two reasons, one being safely. This is a test after all. Plus, I want the people in the dome to be able to see without a lot of external lighting. At 300 feet, it gets pretty dark.”

“We have a construction ship coming on site tomorrow. It has cables to guide the dome down, and a crane to lower the elevator shaft,” explained Paige. “We’ll attach it to the dome and then pump out the water.”

“What’s in all those crates?” Mr. Diaz asked, pointing to a truck just pulling up.

“Equipment for inside and furniture,” replied Astrid.

“And that is my cue,” said Mr. Brown. “I’ve got to make sure that my chairs and lounges are set up properly.”

“Martin and I are going to roll up our sleeves and do some manual labor,” said Mr. Harris, as he and Toby’s father joined the workmen assembling the dome.

“Sound like fun,” said Dr. Maxxim.

Over the next several hours, Astrid watched as her dome slowly took shape, rising first to form a ring and then growing up until it became a geodesic dome—a half sphere fifty feet tall and one hundred feet in diameter. She moved from spot to spot around the dome, checking the Astridium panes and double-checking the fastenings. The three scientist/engineers who had taken on jobs as workmen had a great time, but Astrid was sure that they had actually increased the construction time by at least an hour. Mr. Brown however had successfully loaded all the furniture and equipment on board, and had overseen the installation of all the vital mechanisms.

“I’m starving,” said Dr. Maxxim, exiting out of the open emergency airlock along with Mr. Harris and Mr. Bundersmith, all three of them looking exhausted and happy.

Mr. Diaz, who had been working with a liaison from the Marine Corps all morning, guided them toward the van.

“I’m told there’s a pizza shop right around the corner,” he said.

“Pizza doesn’t sound very Hawaiian,” said Mr. Harris.

“Hawaiian Pizza,” replied Mr. Diaz.

Astrid Maxxim and her Undersea Dome – Chapter 15 Excerpt

Astrid Maxxim 2The music thumped so loudly as they walked into Epicenter, that Astrid thought she could feel her internal organs bouncing around. The vast nightclub was filled with hundreds of teen-aged boys and girls, bouncing up and down to the throbbing beat. Strobe lights inside mimicked the spotlights outside. A few small tables and chairs sat around the perimeter of the dancers and a vast bar stretched across the back of the room, right below a metal catwalk which was just as full of twisting teens as was the dance floor.

“Come on!” shouted Penelope over the din. “Let’s dance.”

She grabbed Astrid’s hand and pulled her along through the gyrating crowd to the center of the club. Turning to face her niece, she threw her arms over her head and tossed her black hair, dancing in perfect time with the now louder-than-ever music. Astrid copied her as best she could.

“I don’t usually dance with girls!” Astrid shouted to make herself heard.

“What?” shouted back Penelope.

“You’re a great dancer!”

“What?”

Astrid gave up trying to communicate and waited until the space between songs to talk. There was no space between songs though. The throbbing beat continued on right into a different track—this one the girl inventor recognized from her own MX-360 favorites list. She kept dancing and by the end of the second song, began to feel well-exercised. Though the thumping baseline continued, the next song was slightly less loud.

“I don’t usually dance with girls!” Astrid repeated.

She was loud enough this time that several other dancers around her laughed.

“I’m just chumming the waters,” said Penelope. “Look around. You have plenty of boys waiting to dance with you.”

The young inventor glanced around and sure enough, there were half a dozen boys forming a circle around her.

“How do I pick one to dance with?” she asked, but Penelope was already moving away through the crowd. A tall, dark-haired boy took her place as another song thrummed into existence. Without a word, he started dancing. Astrid followed along.

She couldn’t have said how long she had been dancing, but after seven or eight dance partners, Astrid was exhausted and dripping with perspiration. She waved off a disappointed-looking and rather short boy with blond hair and started through the crowd toward the bar. The counter was two or three patrons thick all along its extent. Apparently a lot of others had the same idea that she did. Reaching forward, she waved for one of the servers.

“Here, have a drink,” said a voice right beside her.

Astrid turned and found herself nose to nose with one of the boys she had danced with. He was handsome and about sixteen years old, with brown hair and green eyes. He pushed a tall glass with a red straw toward her.

“No thanks.”

“They don’t serve alcohol here,” he said. “All the drinks are just soda.”

“I don’t know you though,” said Astrid. “I don’t take drinks from anyone I don’t know.”

“Sorry,” she called to him, as he turned with a frown and melted into the crowd.

Astrid Maxxim and her Undersea Dome – Chapter 13 Excerpt

Astrid Maxxim 2“Astrid,” said Valerie, shyly. “Have you thought about what you can do to take care of Valerie’s problem?”

“I thought you were Valerie,” said Penelope. “I’ve been calling you Valerie for years now.”

“I am Valerie. I meant Robot Valerie.”

“Oh yes,” said Penelope. “I still can’t believe your robot, Astrid. It looks so realistic.”

“She’s not exactly my robot,” said Astrid.

“And I’m not an ‘it’,” said Robot Valerie.

“Sorry,” said Penelope. “What is the problem that Valerie… I mean the other Valerie was talking about?”

“Let’s go back to my room, and I’ll show you,” said Astrid.

Penelope and the two Valeries followed the girl inventor inside and down the hallway to her bedroom. Denise trailed them, carrying her plate of crepes. Once in her room, Astrid pulled out a dome-shaped shiny steel object.

“Here is your scalp,” she told Robot Valerie. “We’ll attach it after we remove your hair unit.”

“I’ll be bald!” gasped Valerie.

“That’s not what Valerie wanted at all, Astrid,” said Regular Valerie.

“No, don’t worry,” said Astrid. “We’ll put hair on it once we have it installed. I just haven’t decided what to make the hair out of yet. We could use wire or fiber-optic cable, I suppose.”

“Why don’t you just wear a wig?” Penelope asked the robot girl.

“We tried a few wigs,” replied Valerie’s flesh and blood twin. “They just didn’t look right with her metallic skin.”

“Wait right here,” said the young woman, stepping out of the room.

Astrid, the two Valeries, and Denise looked back and forth at one another. A moment later Astrid’s aunt was back, carrying a metallic blue wig.

“Here you go.”

“How come you have a blue wig?” wondered Astrid, cocking an eyebrow.

“I like to wear it when I go out dancing. It’s a good one—real synthetic hair.”

“Can you fix it for me now, Astrid?” asked Valerie.

The young inventor retrieved her pocket toolkit from her suitcase and removed a dozen tiny screws that held the solid hair-shaped molded scalp to Valerie’s head, replacing them once she had fitted on the new scalp piece. Then she used Maxxim Wonder Glue to fasten the wig to the metal. Penelope and Valerie carefully styled the new wig once it was in place, and minutes later, Robot Valerie was smiling at her image in the mirror.

“I look like Katy Perry!” she exclaimed happily.

“At least you look like you stole Katy Perry’s hair,” said Denise.

Astrid Maxxim and her Undersea Dome – Chapter 12 Excerpt

Astrid Maxxim 2Denise was lying face down on a chaise lounge, her long blonde hair draped from her head all the way through the slats in the chair down onto the ground. As Astrid approached, she saw that a bottle of sun block was lying on the pavement beside her.

“Did you use that sun block?” asked Astrid.

“I couldn’t reach my own back, could I?” asked Denise, without looking up.

The girl inventor sat down beside her friend and began applying the lotion to Denise’s back. Looking around, she saw that the tiny cloud had moved on and the sun was shining warmly. A gentle breeze was just enough to ruffle the many flowers without moving the trees. When Astrid was done, Denise sat up and returned the favor by applying sun block to Astrid’s fair skin.

“Where are they going?” asked Denise, nodding her head toward the path that led down to the beach.

Astrid turned to see Toby, Christopher, and Austin heading toward the ocean, carrying snorkels and fins. Austin already had his facemask on.

“They’re taking Austin snorkeling.”

“You don’t suppose he’ll drown, do you?”

“Not as long as Toby and Christopher are there,” replied Astrid. She didn’t need to ask Denise who she thought might be the drowning victim. Disaster had a way of seeking out Austin. “Speaking of Christopher, what’s going on with you two?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, the two of you went to the Spring Fling together. Has he asked you to the Junior Prom?”

“Not yet,” replied Denise. “I don’t know if he’s going to ask and I don’t know if I want him to.”

“I thought you liked him.”

“Well of course I like him. But we’re such good friends that when we think about being anything more than friends, it just gets weird.”

“Come on,” said Astrid. “Let’s try out this pool.”

The pool was roughly oval in shape, with a table and umbrella built into one end. A person could swim right up to the table and have a seat without even getting out of the water. Astrid entered the water, doing a perfect jack knife off the diving board at the other end. Denise followed with a one and a half forward flip. They swam laps for a while and then pretended they were synchronized swimmers, before getting back out and drying off in the sun.

“Astrid! Denise!”

Neither girl needed to look to recognize the owner of the voice, but they did look up just in time to see Valerie and her robot twin bouncing toward them. Following behind them were Valerie’s parents and Astrid’s mom and dad, and behind them—Astrid’s aunt Penelope.

“Look who we picked up in Denver,” said Mrs. Maxxim.

Penelope Maxxim could have been Astrid’s sister rather than her aunt, since only eight years and two inches separated the two of them. They shared a great family resemblance, with similar large, expressive eyes and cute button noses, but Penelope’s jet-black hair was a contrast to Astrid’s strawberry blond.

“Surprise!” said Penelope, as Astrid hopped up to give her a wet hug.

Astrid Maxxim and her Undersea Dome – Chapter 11 Excerpt

Astrid Maxxim 2Before she could make any further protests, Christopher and Denise pulled Astrid quickly onto the bus. The vehicle made a single stop at a gate guarded by military police and then it was out onto the Queen Liliuokalani Freeway. From there it was a remarkably short trip across the island to Kailua. Less than an hour after arriving in Hawaii, Astrid and the others stepped off the bus in front of the palatial beachfront property owned by Maxxim Industries.

The estate had been created years before when Mrs. Maxxim had purchased seven properties and combined them. The original houses, which had been in bad repair, had been removed and five lovely multi-level modern homes had been built, interspersed with gardens and common areas.

“Where’s the swimming pool?” asked Denise as soon as she stepped out of the bus.

“We’re a hundred yards away from the most beautiful beach in the world,” said her brother, “and you want a swimming pool?”

“I don’t swim in the ocean with Astrid anymore.”

“There are three swimming pools,” said Astrid. “You can swim in all three of them.”

“After we get settled,” interjected Mr. Brown. “Do you know where we’re staying, Astrid?”

“Hold on,” replied the girl inventor, pulling out her tablet and flipping her fingers across the screen. “My mom gave me the arrangements. You and Denise are staying at Orchid House, and Dennis too of course. The Harrises are at Plumeria House. The Diazes are at Antherium House. And Toby and Mr. Bundersmith are at Chrysanthemum House.”

“What about me?” asked Austin.

“Oh, um… you’re with Toby and his dad. And I’ll be at Gardenia House.”

Carrying their luggage with them, the travelers from Maxxim City split up and headed in small groups toward each of the assigned houses. Astrid all alone, walked down the sidewalk and up the steps to the front door of Gardenia House, pulling her suitcase along on its wheels. It was a medium-sized home, far smaller than the Maxxim Mansion, but quite striking. A central portion rose up into two stories plus a loft, while wings on either side were a single level. The gently sloping roof and the coral façade fit perfectly with the tropical plants that filled carefully arranged flowerbeds all around the perimeter. The front door accepted Astrid’s thumbprint and she stepped inside.

Walking through the foyer and into the kitchen, Astrid opened the refrigerator to find an apple, which she washed in the sink before taking a bite. The interior of the house was beautifully furnished and spotlessly kept; not surprising since it was used only a few weeks a year. Opening the patio door, the fourteen year-old breathed in the floral scent that floated on the gentle breeze. She could hear the ocean waves crashing against the nearby beach with an irregular rhythm.

Astrid sat down in one of the heavy wooden patio chairs as the breeze whipped up slightly around her. It was pleasantly warm and neither the small cloud that moved over her head, nor the scattered drops that fell from it detracted the feeling that the entire island was giving her one big hug. She finished her apple and walked back inside, dropping the core in the recycle bin before taking her suitcase to the bedroom she had used when she had stayed in the house the previous summer. She had just started unpacking when she received a text.

“Already at the pool,” said Denise’s text, pointing at her name.

How’s the water?” typed Astrid.

Not in water. Laying out… duh.

Astrid texted back. “I’ll be there in a few minutes.

She had barely finished typing when another text arrived, this one from Valerie.

We’re here! See you in an hour.

Wonderful.

Astrid sat her phone, her tablet, and her MX-360 on the nightstand and then quickly unpacked her suitcase, placing her clothes in the dresser drawers. The exception was her pink and yellow swimsuit. It wasn’t so much that she wanted to lay out by the pool, she told herself, so much as she needed to keep an eye on Denise to see that she properly protected her skin. Decked out in her bikini and her matching flip-flops, she skipped out the bedroom door and into the hallway to come face to face with two strange men.