Well, not actually on my nightstand, as Stinkyboy tends to shred anything paper that I leave unattended. Let's say that these are stacked atop a teetering stack of books and papers in a place so inaccessible that even Stinkyboy cannot reach it.
The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett (forthcoming, March 2009): How can you not love this story? A man, bored to tears with his day job and stuck with a hellish underground commute (I so feel your pain, Peter!) decides to write the great American fantasy novel...on his cellphone! (You think I'm making this up? I am not, sir!) Anyway, this is the first in what promises to be a crack-tastic three-book series. Also? Go read his blog, cos he's a funny guy. Anyone who can write an entire 423-page novel on a cell phone would have be blessed with a sense of humor. And, uh, calluses.
The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan (forthcoming January 2009):
Fantasy tropes will get their collective asses kicked and then handed back to them on a platter heaped full of steaming awesome in Morgan's first foray into what Nicola Griffith affectionately calls "sword-swangin' fantasy." I seriously heart Richard Morgan and have been begging his editor for a copy of this ARC since Hillary Clinton was still a contender. It was finally hand-delivered to me at lunch last week and I subsequently built a little altar to it in my living room.
Cyndere's Midnight by Jeffrey Overstreet (on shelves now; go buy one immediately!): Last year I had the great good fortune to become acquainted with Jeffrey Overstreet's first novel, Auralia's Colors. It went something like this: Michael Palgon, Associate Publisher of Doubleday, hands me a copy of Publishers Weekly with a review circled in red. "This might be up your alley," he says. "Our sister company publishes it." I read the review; it's amazing. I must read this book. Beg Michael to get me a copy of the book. He does. I read it in one sitting. Email Jeffrey to basically say "Holy shit on a shingle, you wrote a great book and what the heck are you doing being published at a Christian publishing house?" And he writes back, and we have a nice chat about books and faith and publicity and coffee and somehow we end up becoming pals. Turns out? Jeffrey is a prominent Christian film reviewer. Okay, now you're rolling your eyes and I'm about to lose my audience, I can see that but bear with me for moment because I need to say this: Jeffrey's Christianity bears no resemblance to what I tend to call "Jesus Chrispie Crazies" (or what John Scalzi politely refers to as "The Leviticans"). Jeffrey's kind of Christianity is the kind you might actually find the big JC practicing should he ever get around to putting in an appearance at the Second Coming (film at eleven). Ya know, the whole love your neighbor thing? Not all Christians are created equal so no judging. Just cause the haters get all the press doesn't mean everyone with faith supports Fred Phelps. (And, by the way? I'm going to keep waving these damned books at you until you run out to buy multiple copies of them just to shut me the hell up.)