Night Buddies - Adventures After Lights Out

Exclusive Interview with Crenwinkle!

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How was it growing up with Crosley as a brother?

Brother Crosley and I were always different.  I’m not referring to our colors.  His redness happened later as a side effect of the Black Bottom pills. Our personalities are what really differentiate us.  Crosley is zany and free-wheeling and I’m not, and I’m a dignified genius and Crosley definitely is not.  But we did manage to value each other’s strengths and to work together.  (Wuk!)  Night Buddies Amalgamated would never have come into being without this.  On the other hand, I do think Crosley can be a bit jealous that I’m the brains of the operation.

What whatchamacallit are you most proud of inventing?

I think the time-spreader dingus is one of the most useful whatchamacallits I’ve made (it’s the one that slows down time so that John doesn’t lose any sleep for being out so long on Programs). It’s a fact that whenever you manipulate time, you never know (Hik!) how things are going to go, so I’m pleased that the device has worked well so far.

Do you ever worry about the Night Buddies Headquarters being broken into?

Constantly.  It’s a major concern.  Just think what would happen if the wrong crowd got into my whatchamacallits!  This is why I’m always moving Headquarters: to make it more difficult to find.  It’s at the zoo now, but just two days ago, it was in the back of Nardiello’s Pizza Palace.  The I-D Gimcracks add another layer of security.

John, Crosley, and the amazing get-anything-free card.

Who taught you how to juggle so well?

It’s an innate talent.  I do it at the zoo so no one will suspect who I really am.

Last, but not least, what do you love most about your job with the Night Buddies?

I love that it’s fast-paced, and that you never know what each Program is going to be dealing with. Who could have guessed (Ook!) that a gang of Crosley impersonators would figure in the last Program?  It keeps me on my toes, and I get to use my imagination making whatchamacallits.  It’s a dream job, we’re working for the greater good, and best of all, I get to do it with Brother Crosley and (Hup!) our other splendid operatives.



Happy Holidays from the Night Buddies!

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We over here at the Night Buddies Headquarters are absolutely crazy about the holiday season! Holiday treats, time with family, and of course, gift exchanges are some of the things we love the most. So we wanted to sit down with the stars of the series and ask what item is on the top of their Christmas wish lists this year. Here’s what they said:


John: It was hard for me t’ figure out just what t’ ask for this year. Ever since Crolsey and the Night Buddies became part of my life there’s not much that would make me happier! But I guess the one thing would be if I could bring my dad along on one of our Programs. I think he’d be really into it!

Crosley: Ya know what I want this year? I want another handy whatchamacallit for my tool belt. (Yerk!) Got t’ be prepared for all the new Programs we have ahead of us!

Big Foot Mae: I don’t want anything fancy, but I do think I could use a new pair of coveralls to wear at the factory. (It’s hard to find good ones my size.) But I hope they still got pictures of pineapples on ‘em!

Crenwinkle: All I ever want is some more steamed root beer. I go through ‘em kind of quick!

Fast Fanny Farnsworth: As much as I love working at the All-Night Emporium and helping John and Crosley with their Programs, I think all I want for Christmas this year is a day off. Crosley sure can drive me nuts, and sometimes I think I need a vacation!

Doesn’t seem like they’re asking for too much this year! Whatever is on your Christmas list, we hope you have a very happy holiday and remember to enjoy the time you have with your loved ones. And if you’re still looking to find the perfect gift for someone on your list, we’d recommend giving them a Night Buddies book!


Crosley’s Very Own, One-of-a-Kind Cheese Wulger Recipe!

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Hey Night Buddies! Crosley here!

An’ have I ever got somethin’ for YOU! Namely, the genuine warranted recipe
for Crosley’s Super Fantastical Cheese Wulgers. (Wulgers bein’ a crocodile
word for somethin’ that’s been wulged, okay?) They’re nothin’ next t’
pineapple cheesecakes in my personal estimation, but it appears a whole lot
o’ people think they’re BETTER! That’s crazy, but there’s no accountin’ for
taste, I guess. I will admit they’re awful good.

So here’s what ya start out with:




One pound o’ sharp cheddar cheese
Half a pound o’ butter
Two an’ a quarter cups o’ white flour
A heapin’ tablespoon o’ dill seeds
A not-heapin’ teaspoon o’ salt
A quarter teaspoon o’ red pepper

Right. So let the cheese an’ butter warm up t’ room temperature. Dump the
flour in a big bowl an’ sprinkle all o’ that little stuff on top. Chop up
the cheese into about 15 pieces an’ dump this in, along with the butter.
Then, what ya do, ya wulge it all up into a dough ball with your greasy ol’
hands. Cut the ball up into three or four pieces an’ roll each piece out
into a rod about one an’ a half inches thick. Wrap each rod up in aluminum
foil an’ stick in the freezer about thirty minutes t’ get the dough hard
enough t’ slice with a big knife. Take the foil off an’ slice into cookies
about five t’ the inch. Preheat oven t’ 300 degrees (F), put wulgers on
cookie sheets an’ bake 45 minutes. It’s good t’ switch ends o’ the sheets
halfway through. Take out o’ oven an’ scrape wulgers off the sheets pretty
quick. Then let them suckers sit an’ suck air for one or two days. Ya’ll
be mighty pleased!



Our First Night Buddies Go Sky High Review!

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For those of you who have been following this blog regularly, you know that we over here at the Night Buddies Headquarters are gearing up for the release of Night Buddies Go Sky High, the third book in the Night Buddies series! If you haven’t seen the cover yet, here it is again.


Well, we have some pretty big news to share with you. Grady Harp, the prominent Amazon Hall of Fame reviewer, posted an amazing review for Night Buddies Go Sky High! For those of you unfamiliar with Harp, he is a 66-year-old gallerist, retired surgeon, and poet who has reviewed over 3,500 books, CDs, and movies for Amazon, as well as a reviewer for Literary Aficionado. In turn, he has attained a kind of celebrity, a number 7 ranking, a prominent profile on Amazon, and a pretty hefty following.

Some snippets of the review include:

“Hetherington’s manner of dialogue writing is unique and at all times a delight.”

“Where Night Buddies Go Sky High excels is in the pacing of the story – lots of lingering time to laugh, but equal momentum time to make the adventure exciting for children.”

“Hetherington is so adept at writing for children that his books become instant classics – and that means that after lights out, parents will tiptoe in and grab some of this confection for themselves! Highly recommended.”

We couldn’t be happier with the review, and we hope you all go out and give it a read! Thanks so much for continuing on the Night Buddies journey—we will continue releasing more information about the release in the coming weeks!



What are the Night Buddies Thankful For?

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This holiday season we sat down with the characters of the Night Buddies series and figured out what they were thankful for this year. Here’s what they said:


Crosley: I’m thankful that me an’ John get to go out on more and more Programs together an’ that we can make each other laugh. An’ I’m thankful for pineapple cheesecakes of course! By the way, have ya got any with you?


John: I’m thankful that I had trouble sleeping at night, because that’s what got me started as a Night Buddy! And I’m thankful for all the friends I made because of it, even if they do all make fun of my curly hair an’ big, round brown eyes.







Big Foot Mae: I’m thankful that I’m the biggest woman you ever seen, because it sure makes me unique. And I’m thankful for Crosley keeping me in business. That crocodile sure does love my pineapple cheesecakes!

Crenwinkle: I’m sure thankful (Wuk!) for my brother, and for John making sure that he stays focused on the Programs I give ‘em! I’m glad that my whatchamacallits get some use, too, because I put a lot of effort (Wuk!) into making those.






Fast Fanny Farnsworth: I’m thankful for my All-Night Emporium staying in business, and for the Night Buddies taking my far-out flying machines for a spin during their second Program. And I’m thankful that I’ve somehow managed not to kill Crosley yet! (He sure does drive me crazy sometimes!)


Sounds like the Night Buddies have a lot to be thankful for! What are you thankful for this holiday season? Be sure to let us know in the comments!


John and Crosley: The Makings of a Dynamic Literary Friendship

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Crosley picked out John to be his Night Buddy, for starters.  There must have been a lot of reasons, but the only one Crosley mentions is middle names.  Crosley doesn’t have one, and neither does John, so they have this in common.  Crosley thinks it makes you a little sharper, too.  And hey, we know that John is really sharp, and Crosley is definitely no slouch, so maybe there’s something in it.

The two characters couldn’t help but hit it off with each other.  John doesn’t want to go to bed, so Crosley rescues him and takes him out on adventures.  Crosley for his part gets a genial and very capable partner for his “Programs.”  Sharing these adventures, the good and the bad parts, bonds the two all the more.


John and Crosley are very different, obviously, and before I go any further, I have to confess something.  After I finished The Pineapple Cheesecake Scare, I realized I had used a device made famous by Cervantes and Mark Twain.  (When you steal, steal from the best.)  I don’t know whether Mark Twain had Sancho Panza and the Don in mind when he wrote Tom Sawyer (I promise I wasn’t thinking of any of them when writing my story), but Tom and Huck are very similar to Cervantes’ two protagonists.  There Tom is, the impractical romantic (Don Quixote), and there’s Huck, the no-nonsense, pragmatic sidekick that Tom needs in order to stay grounded (Sancho).  Two pairs of opposites who rely on and complement each other.

Exactly like John and Crosley.  John is the sensible, down-to-earth partner, and Crosley is goofy, full of wild ideas, and ready to fly off to Mars at a moment’s notice for a few pineapple cheesecakes.  And just like those other characters, they appreciate and honor each other’s differences.  They are a team that’s better than the sum of its parts.  This, and their mutual adventures (and maybe a little insomnia) are the essence of their friendship.

And having no middle names doesn’t hurt.


Crosley’s Black Bottom Dance

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I’ve heard that the Black Bottom started in Atlanta, in New Orleans, and in Jacksonville, Florida, in the first decade of the 20th century. It became well known by semi-rural blacks across the south then, and by the 1920s, it found its way up to Harlem where it was featured at the Apollo Theater in 1926 and 1927. From there it became a national sensation! Its rhythm was based on the Charleston, another popular dance at the time, but people loved the Black Bottom so much that it actually surpassed the Charleston in popularity.

Crosley didn’t know about any of this when the allergy first hit him. Somehow the moves had passed into his system, and now they take him over completely whenever he gets wet! He can’t understand why the dance was so popular. (It takes a lot of energy out of a crocodile!) He personally can’t wait until he gets dry and his body stops having a mind of its own.

You can see people doing the Black Bottom on Google if you want to, but we’ve also got a link to a video on YouTube here:

So far there are no such recordings of Crosley, and that’s just fine with him.


Exclusive Cover Reveal: Night Buddies Go Sky High!

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We over here at the Night Buddies Amalgamated have some exciting news for you!

The third Night Buddies book, Night Buddies Go Sky High, is going to be released early next year! We will provide you with an exact release date soon, but for now we are officially revealing the cover.


As you can see, John and Crosley are going to be in for some out-of-this-world adventures! Each Program the Night Buddies go on only gets bigger and more exciting.

In this new book, when young John Degraffenreidt and his red crocodile buddy, Crosley, show up at the Pineapple Cheesecake Factory and find Big Foot Mae lying on the floor, staring up at her Great Star Puzzle on the ceiling, they expect something’s afoot. Not surprisingly, Crosley is craving a new supply of pineapple cheesecakes, but what Mae points to on her ceiling will start the Night Buddies on a totally new fantasy adventure.

This is one book you’re not going to want to miss out on!

Before the book is launched, I’d like to get your thoughts about the book cover in the comments below. For example, what does the cover say to you? Does it grab you?

If this is the first time that you’re hearing about the Night Buddies series, be sure to check out the first two titles, available on Amazon and B&

Stay tuned to this blog for more exciting news to come!!


A Single Dad’s Memoir

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It was a terrible shock when my ex-wife first told me that she was going to be moving away and taking our son John with her. I did everything I could to talk her out of leaving, especially since this was at a time when mothers were usually always granted custody by the courts, but when we ended up going through the long, bitter legal process I was the one who was granted full custody of our son.

So there I was.  And, as strange as it may sound, single parenthood ended up seeming perfectly normal to me.  Maybe it’s different if you have several kids, but I had just one boy and ample time to spend on him—on us, I should say, because we did everything together. It was the most fun time I’ve had as an adult.  Spending time with John took me back to feeling like a kid again, but with an adult’s powers and privileges. I was like a vicarious kid on steroids.

We drove through forty-nine states and five Canadian provinces.  Our main travel thing was collecting waterfalls.  I’m fairly sure we saw every notable waterfall in North Carolina, not to mention every great one in North America. We did all of the father-son activities: little-league football, basketball, baseball, boxing, boating, golf, and camping.  We got Henry, a Saint Bernard puppy.  I loved every minute of the whole business (except getting him to practice piano, which I must say was a grinding experience).  I had to show John a good life, of course, and it certainly redounded to a great experience for me.

I fell into my present vocation as a children’s book author from all of this parenting.  I always read to John at bedtime, until he was about fourteen.  Listen, parents, you’ve got to do this!  I read him everything there was for kids, from Grimm and Tolkien and Dahl, up into Dickens and Victor Hugo.  One night when I was done reading (he was about seven), I may have suggested he make up a companion to go off to sleep with—or maybe he did it on his own.  The next day, anyhow, he introduced me to Crosley, his imaginary red crocodile friend.  I was duly charmed, and after that we started throwing Crosley ideas around at bedtime and inventing episodes for him.  This went on for over a year, and eventually I decided to put Crosley and John into a story.  As soon as I figured out why Crosley was red, everything fell into place.  (He was allergic to water!) In fact, if you look into the books, you can meet my son John when he was about nine or ten.  He’s the narrator.

Sands and his now grown son, John.

Sands and his now grown son, John.

With two titles in the Night Buddies series now (a third title will launch in early 2015) and seven national awards won so far, I’m proud to look back on what my son and I created together. Raising John by myself turned out to be quite a journey, but I think we’re both pretty happy with where we’ve ended up because of it.


Understanding the Iguana Gang

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If you’ve read the Night Buddies books, you know that the iguana gang stirs up all sorts of trouble for John and Crosley. They are a greedy, manipulative, and evil gang—all the things that Night Buddies are not. But maybe we are just misunderstanding the iguanas because we don’t know enough about them! Here are five of the most interesting facts we know about iguanas that might help you to understand the gang a little bit better.


1.)  Iguanas are among the most popular exotic animals kept as pets around the world, and because of this they’ve become an endangered species. I know if I was part of an endangered species, I might be a little crabby too!

2.)  Iguanas can be found in Mexico, Central America, several islands in the Pacific and in the Caribbean. The iguanas in the Night Buddies books must be feeling a little out of place in the city. They might just be acting out because they aren’t familiar with the area.

3.)  Iguanas are herbivores, which means that they feed on leaves, flowers, fruit, and growing shoots of 100 different species of plant. There’s a reason they don’t like pineapple cheesecake. . .it doesn’t fit in with their very healthy diet.

4.)  An iguana’s tail can be broken off by predators, though it grows back without permanent damage. The iguana gang can feel pretty confident going out to fight knowing that a part of their bodies will grow back if they are somehow harmed by their enemies.

5.)  Iguanas can decide to end their own lives if they feel they are not being well taken care of by their owners. Our iguana gang really has to look out for one another and make sure each member is taken care of to make sure that doesn’t happen!

So there you have it. The iguana gang might have their reasons for being mean and greedy creatures, but it doesn’t make them any more likeable. Maybe one day they’ll learn that being mean to others won’t solve their problems, but thankfully for now we have John and Crosley to clean up their messes!



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What is Ol'Sands Up To?

Sands talks about the origin of the Night Buddies Adventures Series.