The Beautiful Dead: A Tale of K-Pop, Ghosts,
and Nine-Tailed Fox Women
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
Publisher: Apollo and Nyx Publishing
Date of Publication: September 22, 2017
Number of pages: 346 (Print)
Word Count: 97k Words
Cover Artist: Damonza
A lonely Korean pop star learns her high school classmate died five years ago. So why are they still texting?
Yubin knows sheâs different than the other girls in the pop group SIITY. Yes, they all got sucked into the same machine, giving up schooling and signing ridiculously long contracts before anyone knew if they'd be successful, but that's how pop stars are made in Korea. Yubin is supposed to be thankful for that, but she isn't. She doesn't even like the girls she performs with.
Sheâs more connected to her former schoolmate Jieun, even though all they ever do is text. Over the last two months, Jieun has become her confidant and best friend, connecting Yubin to the real world in a way she desperately needs. Now that SIITY is going to appear on the reality show The Incredible Race: Asia, Yubin will need that connection more than ever, which is why sheâs devastated to discover Jieun has been dead five years and is actually haunting her.
If that werenât enough, Yubinâs not the only SIITY member with issues. Renaâs father is emotionally abusive. Somi has a learning disability, and after a near death experience, Tae-eun becomes a nine-tailed fox woman. The only way theyâll survive the show, each other, and the supernatural currents buffeting them is to work together and win the hearts of their fans. Because if they donât, they have nothing to go back to even if they survive what's trying to kill them.
Excerpt 2 (729 words):
âHa Yubin! Whereâs Somi?â Yubin limped into the practice room and sat in a folding chair next to her gym bag, both their manager and the choreographer looked annoyed.
âI donât know. She wondered off.â
Manager said, âYubin! Youâre the leader right?â
âThen act like it! Itâs your responsibility to keep everyone together!â
Then Somi walked in with a bagel sandwich from Dunkinâ Donuts. Everyone looked at her, but her eyes widened in an expression of bewildered âWhat?â as if nothing happened. Their manager snatched the half eaten sandwich out of her hand and slammed it into the garbage causing both Yubin and Somi to recoil as if slapped.
âNo more junk food while we are promoting you fat cow! You want to go join the Piggy Dolls and sell music to fat kids?â Although the words were meant for Somi, the glare behind them was shot at Yubin. They both bowed their heads looking chastened. He mumbled âWhat a morningâ under his breath.
âNo, sir.â Somi murmured.
âThatâs rightâ¦â Yubin thought. The maknae had every right to be ashamed, and yet it was somehow also Yubinâs fault that Somi didnât know how to show up on time or stick to a diet. Yubin had never asked for the title of leader. There wasnât much benefit, and quite a lot of grief. Those other stupid girls couldnât take the job seriously. She was only the leader because she was the oldest, and sheâd never be an equal partner with her manager because he was more than a decade her senior. The combination of his age and title entitled him to speak to them however he wanted.
âNow everyoneâs here. Let's go. Take your positions.â
Yubin felt a sharp pain in her knee with each step and limped to her position in the practice room.
âI was hurt this morning. I fell down the stairs.â
âYou fell down the stairs? During promotions? Yubin! How could you be so stupid?â
It wasn't like she wanted to take a header down the stairwell, and couldnât help that she felt watched. It made her uneasy, but she also knew that voicing her protest wouldnât help.
âSit down! We donât need you stumbling around and falling even more. Weâll get you a brace, and have doctor Kang send you some Vicodin. Donât move until he gets here.â SIITY was pre-recording today, so they had to arrive at the studio early. She'd go to the hospital after they were done.
For the second time that day Yubin was struck by the things it was possible to get used to. Get hurt outside of promotions and everyone screamed âHospital! Hospital!â Injure yourself within the first three weeks of your comeback, and it was âEat some pills and get back to work! Weâll get you checked out when we have time.â
What did that make her within this chaotic world sheâd grown into? The waves of contempt flowing off everyone with the title of âManagerâ or above made her feel hollow inside. It was one thing to have the general impression that they only cared about profits, and another thing all together that her psychic whatever-you-call-it made it so she really knew.
She sampled the outside emotions simmering in that ghostly second heart of hers in the opposite side of her chest that was responsible for her psychic abilities, and she knew that to him her physical pain was nothing more than expensive broken merchandise. A man might be willing to crash his hundred billion won sports car if he thought he could make three hundred billion won in the process. They only cared when it might hurt profits, and while all the executives had private penthouses to call their own, she was trapped living in a dorm with three morons that she hated. What was the point? She'd expected to find more purpose in stardom. As it was, the only point she could see was to build more popularity.
She sighed. The show must go on. A few hours of rehearsals and then sheâd be at SBS awash in a few minutes of cheers from her adoring fans. Then sheâd remember why this was all okay, and why having some other reason to exist didnât really matter. Until then and after, it was going to be a long day.
About the Author:
Jun has lived in Asia for the better part of the last decade. During his years in Korea, he made a point of learning about and getting as close to the Korean entertainment industry as possible while writing his first novel "The Beautiful Dead." He enjoys telling stories about monstrous humans and humanized monsters.
He has a MFA from the University of California - Riverside, graduated with a BA in English Cum Laude from the University of Washington - Seattle, and attended Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea as an exchange student.