Dear (Agent),

When a rival nation invades Tanchichek and slays the royal family, Aziah, a sixteen-year-old mage, must take the place of her dead twin brother and join an all-male competition to become the next King of her country. TRIBE OF LIGHT AND SHADOW, complete at 99,000 words, is a YA high fantasy Mulan retelling set in a Mesoamerican inspired world. It is a standalone with series potential and would be enjoyed by readers fond of immersive non-European lands like An Ember in the Ashes or Flame in the Mist.

In the patriarchal land of Tanchichek, women are executed for studying magic. But Aziah has learned how to shoot lightning from her hands and she’s good at it too. All she wants is to practice magic without the fear of death. When a rival nation invades her country and kills the entire royal family, Aziah sees a chance to rewrite that sexist law by joining a competition that results in the winner being crowned the next King of Tanchichek. To participate, she must take her dead brother’s identity and compete against the mighty Jaguar Knights. Though her skills as a mage are better than most, Aziah isn’t the best at disguising her womanhood. Her biggest competitor, Xenephi, has loathed Aziah’s family since they were children and he is getting closer to uncovering Aziah’s secret with every passing day. If she’s discovered, Aziah will lose more than her only chance at rewriting the laws of her nation.

My author platform largely consists of my Instagram account @BooksNBeaches where I cater to over 21K followers within the bookish community. I have a double minor in Technical/ Professional Writing and Creative Writing. From a young age, I have studied religious texts set in ancient Mesoamerica and am happily married to a man with Mesoamerican roots.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Stefany Valentine


Decree of King Himnah

40th Year Exceeding the First Great War


From this time forth, able-bodied boys age eight in years will train to become Jaguar Knights.

The magic of their Tribe shall be entrusted to him, as his fathers before him.

Until the age of eighteen will the youth remain students.

At the morning of manhood, he may choose to aspire to on a separate path or remain a warrior.

Documented in the Library Archives


Decree of King Himnah

46th Year Exceeding the First Great War


Never again shall women know magic.

A power so marvelous will lead to our destruction.

In addition to rearing and bearing children, this burden of power has no placement.

For this cause, a woman found with too great a potential, shall surely be put to death.


Documented in the Library Archives



Chapter 1



256th Year Exceeding the First Great War

30th Day of the 6th Moon


~ Aziah dipped her toes into the babbling river that cut through the jungles of Tanchichek. The cool water offered a millisecond of relief from the sweltering humidity. Beneath its glittering surface, scaly catfish flicked their tails along the rocky bottom, pluming clouds of mud with each stroke. They would make a tasty dinner.

“Ready your baskets!” her brother ordered to the servants along the riverbank. Then he lowered his voice and whispered to his sister. “And to you, Aziah, ready your magic.”

Aziah leaned against a boulder. Her response was quiet enough to be masked by the rustle of palm leaves. “Darling Zemaron, my magic is always ready.”

“Cocky, much?” he spoke from the corner of his lips.

Aziah smirked at the face identical to her own. Then she cupped her hands around her mouth and shouted to the servants. “On the count of three!”

“Hey, that’s my job!” squabbled Zemaron.

“Hurry up then, sloth.”

Zemaron ground his teeth. “May King Leum curse you a thousand years.” Then he rose his voice, “One!”

An insult sat at the tip of Aziah’s tongue. She could have shoved her brother into the water if she wanted to. But there was a task at hand. And if she wasn’t careful… well, Aziah would rather not think of the sting of a blade.


Water slid over her big toe. An inch of skin against the surface was all she needed.

“Three!” Zemaron cried then slapped his palm against the river.

The moment his hand touched the surface, a shockwave of electricity pulsated down the current. To the naked eye, one would assume Zemaron shot a bolt of lightning into the river. But on the contrary, it was Aziah who willed the electrical charge. With her toe skimming the transparent surface, it was enough to conduct lightning into the babbling brook.

Catfish turned belly-up on the surface. The servants waded in to retrieve their supper. That was when Aziah slid from her rock. She ensured no one was looking their way before examining Zemaron’s hand.