USA Today bestselling author Mindy Klasky learned to read when her parents shoved a book in her hands and told her she could travel anywhere through stories. As a writer, Mindy has traveled through various genres, including romantic comedy, hot contemporary romance, and traditional fantasy. In her spare time, Mindy knits, quilts, and tries to tame her to-be-read shelf.

Single Witch's Survival Guide by Mindy Klasky

Mindy Klasky is a USA Today bestselling author. She has won the Washington Romance Writers' Outstanding Achievement Award and that organization's Nancy Richards-Akers Mentoring Award.


Jane Madison's life is perfect. She's left her unsatisfying librarian job, moved to the country with her boyfriend David Montrose (who is her sworn astral protector), and opened a school for witches.

Alas, Jane never thought teaching a couple of students would be so challenging. And she didn't expect Hecate's Court to mandate a Major Working by Halloween. She never imagined her feline familiar would grow disenchanted with all things magical.

Worst of all, though, she never dreamed that she and David would fight about every single aspect of living and teaching together.

Can Jane find a survival guide in time to rescue the Jane Madison Academy—and her relationship with David?


Mindy Klasky specializes in cats and romance and magic. And witches. If The Single Witch's Survival Guide is your introduction to her work, you have a lot of great reading ahead of you. And, bonus! Much of it features cats. – Kristine Kathryn Rusch



  • "[W]hy the book worked so well for me: There is the wonderfully described magic, the quest to master it, but interweaved are problems that resonate with real life, like dealing with one's difficult mother, how to teach when there is no real guide, working with difficult personalities, and how to find boundaries when one's work and love lives intersect."

    – Sherwood Smith
  • "Klasky blends magic, humour, awesome plot and loveable characters into a terrific read. I especially loved her afterword explaining how the book and all its various elements came to be."

    – Goodreads Reader R.J.
  • "Three witches, three familiars, three warders, one house, one spiteful and mean clerk of Hecate's Court and a Major Working required within a couple of months.....does the Jane Madison Academy stand any chance of getting and keeping it's charter?"

    – Goodreads Reader B.A.



This is a story about what follows "happily ever after." After the girl gets the guy, after she outgrows a job she loved, after she figures out who she is and who she wants to be.

Because, really? It doesn't take long for things to go sideways. Sometimes, you don't even realize the entire world is fracturing around you, because on the surface everything seems happy and easy and perfect. Spoiler alert: those are the times you really need to open your eyes. Otherwise, it just might be too late.

"Earth to Jane! Paging Jane Madison!"

I shook my head as I looked up from the smooth orb of rose quartz I balanced on my palm. The stone was supposed to represent love and peace and happiness, but I wasn't getting a hint of spiritual warmth. I was just trying to find a good place to store a rock in the message-carrying that surrounded me. "I'm sorry, Neko," I said. "I wasn't listening."

"Obviously." My familiar clicked his tongue in disapproval. "What I said was, 'What are you doing with this garbage?'" He sighed in theatrical disgust as he pinched a slender paperback book between his dainty thumb and forefinger. His disdain harkened back to his feline roots—Neko might present as a human male now, but he'd begun life as a giant onyx statue of a cat. Many days, I was tempted to send him back to that form.

I cringed as I glanced at the book he was holding. Better Spellcasting in Seven Days. The title was picked out in a lurid swirl of purple and pink. Neko started to read from the back cover. "Are your spells low energy? Is your astral focus flagging? Looking for a lift in your magical life?" My familiar raised one leering eyebrow. "I didn't realize you spent good money on magic porn."

"I didn't buy that! They just sent it to me. I've been on some mailing list ever since I registered the magicarium with Hecate's Court."

The magicarium. It had sounded so glamorous when I first came up with the idea: A school for witches. An exclusive institution of higher learning devoted to teaching the extraordinary witch how to access her inner powers. The Jane Madison Academy.

I'd actually shivered the first time I said the name to myself. Problem was, it was a lot easier to complete the Court's registration paperwork than it was to get the academic ball actually rolling. Eight months had gone by, and I was still settling into my new home, the farmhouse owned by my warder and boyfriend, David Montrose.

(Boyfriend! That sounded like I was fifteen years old. But "beau" belonged in a historical romance, and "lover" left too little to the imagination. "Significant other" might appear on some government form. "Steady," "sugar," "flame"… Yeah. Right. My mother called David her sin-in-law, but that didn't exactly help me. I'd grit my teeth and live with "boyfriend.")

In any case, the magicarium had been slow getting out of the gate. Here in the Maryland countryside, an hour from Washington DC, I was still unpacking boxes. Still organizing books and crystals and herbs. Still trying to figure out what I'd do if I ever enrolled an actual student. Or hired an actual teacher. Or, really, did anything substantive to make the magicarium more than a figment of my overactive imagination.

David was losing patience with me. I was losing patience with me. And that was why I'd vowed on the first day of June that I would have the entire basement organized by the end of the month. Two hours a day. That should have been more than enough to bring order to my magical life.

I didn't need to look at a calendar to know there was only a single weekend left between me and defeat. No problem. I could pull an all-nighter tonight, and Saturday, too. I could stay down here, working without interruption. Without distraction. Without—

"Come and get it!" David's voice rang down the stairs.

Fine. I'd start my marathon after dinner. I needed sustenance to work through the night. Neko followed me up the stairs to the kitchen, and I swore I could hear him smirking with every step.

David was honing a butcher knife against a steel, all of his attention focused on the precise angle of the blade. The overhead light danced off the silver at his temples, mellowing his black hair. His dark brown eyes glinted as he concentrated, relaxed but alert.

A pottery serving platter rested on the center island, cradling a massive grilled steak. Ears of corn nestled in a pottery bowl, their husks perfectly charred, hinting at the roasted kernels inside. Another bowl held thick rings of sweet onion and strips of Anaheim pepper, all speckled with black, testifying to the time they'd spent kissed by fire. A bottle of pinot noir was breathing nearby.

The food was perfect, as much a symphony for my eyes as my nose. Neko clearly thought so as well; a small whine escaped the back of his throat. The sound was matched perfectly by Spot, the oversized black Lab who watched longingly from his plaid bed in the corner of the kitchen.

David laughed. "You," he said to the dog, "have already had your dinner. And you," he nodded toward Neko, "can take down a plate and join us."

Neko sighed dramatically. "I can't. Jacques and I are going to a party." Nevertheless, he leaned in as David made the first cut into the porterhouse, and he stole the end slice with nimble fingers. Moaning in culinary ecstasy, he began to angle for another piece.

"Back, thief!" David said, angling the knife in a mock threat.

Neko pouted, but he edged away. "You could always save us a bite or two…" he bargained.

"You could always grill your own steak," David countered evenly. "One that you purchased, using your own money, during your own trip to the grocery store."

The grandfather clock in the hallway began to toll, and Neko looked shocked at the time. He gulped, "Jacques is waiting for me in the city. We have a birthday party to go to, and our costumes aren't even close to finished."

I felt a little guilty; he'd kept me company all afternoon, and I didn't have any significant magicarium progress to show. I tried to make up for the wasted time by issuing a witchy command: "Go!" I pushed a little power into the word, astral energy that Neko immediately caught up and spun to his best advantage. Without so much as a shimmer, he disappeared from the kitchen. I could give him a magical command to return him to the apartment the guys kept in town, but on the costume front, he was on his own.

I sighed as I retrieved a couple of wine glasses from the cupboard. I really had started the day with the best of intentions. I'd imagined I would make it through half the boxes down there, organizing the books, finding appropriate shelves for all the crystals, my runes, and a handful of rowan wands.

Discouraged, I poured the pinot with a generous hand and began to serve up our feast. While I alternated slices of ruby steak with onions and peppers, David shucked the roasted corn. He made short work of it, slicing off the stem end with his sharp blade, then slipping the ear free from silk and husk at the same time.

"Don't burn yourself!" I said.

He grinned. "We're a good month into corn season. I'm an expert by now."

Conceding David's point with a smile, I carried our plates to our cozy kitchen table. Our plates. Our table. I could hardly believe how easily those words came to me. A lot had changed in the three years since David first appeared as my warder. The first night I met him, I'd thought he was as headstrong and obnoxiously proud as Jane Eyre's Mr. Rochester. To this day, I'd never quite summoned the courage to ask what he'd thought of me on that literally dark and stormy night.

In the intervening years, we'd had a few bumps in the road—failed romances (mine), misapplied witchcraft (mine), dysfunctional family follies (mine). Okay. I'd had a few bumps in the road. But David had always been there for me, patient and understanding. And when he'd invited me to move in, I hadn't hesitated a heartbeat.

"What?" he asked, settling his napkin in his lap.

"What what?"

"You were smiling."

I glanced down at my plate, suddenly shy. I had been smiling. But that didn't mean I was going to tell him precisely what I'd been thinking. There was no reason to inflate his self-esteem that much. I cut a bite of steak, taking care to add the perfect accent of charred onion. Before I could figure out a reply I was willing to share, the phone rang.

"Saved by the bell," David said wryly.

I glanced over my shoulder and squinted at the Caller ID. CLARA SMYTHE. My mother was the last person I wanted to interrupt our dinner. I'd prefer a million relationship conversations with David over five minutes of Clara's craziness. "Let it go," I said.

"She'll just call you on your cell."

"And I'll let that one go to voicemail too! Stop! Your dinner will get cold!"

"Steak's good at any temperature," David said as he snatched the phone from its receiver on the last ring. I knew he'd grab it. He had to. David was my mother's warder, as much as he was mine.

"Clara!" His voice was soft with a smile. "What a pleasure to hear from you. No, no, we aren't doing anything at all."

I gesticulated toward our plates of food. We were doing something. David only shrugged, obviously amused by my mother's so-called offbeat charm. I grimaced.

"Of course," he said. "She's right here. Just a moment."

After he passed the phone to me, I covered the receiver. "You could have told her we were eating dinner!"

"And then she would have called back later. When you didn't have an excuse to get off the phone so quickly."

Well, when he put it like that… I made a quick vow to follow his lead, to be more accommodating, more accepting of the woman who had given birth to me. "Mother!" I said, forcing myself to smile as I spoke.


So much for smiling. I reminded her tersely: "Jane." My mother was the only person in the world who called me Jeanette—the name she'd bestowed on me right before she handed me off to my grandmother and walked out of my life for over two decades. Yielding to Gran's fierce determination over the past few years, Clara and I had reached a sort of detente, a necessary compromise because all three of us held witchy powers. Those powers, though, apparently did not extend to my own mother remembering my preferred name for longer than twenty-seven seconds.

"I hope it's not too late to call, Jeanette." Clara had a casual relationship with time zones. On one call, she was likely to think our Maryland home was six hours ahead of her Arizona retreat. The next time, she'd count in the wrong direction, calculating that we were three hours behind.

"Of course not," I said. "In fact, we were just eating dinner." I shot David a dirty look as he took an enthusiastic bite of steak. He didn't even bother to look abashed while he chewed and swallowed.

"Ah…" Clara sighed with obvious distress, as if I'd just told her about some wicked man who spent his days kicking kittens. I could picture her as she exhaled—flyaway hair more red than my own, bright hazel eyes glinting beneath an oil slick of dramatic gold eyeshadow. She certainly wore one of her caftans, its long silk panels carefully chosen to complement her current aura. Or to counter the energy of the Vortex being out of balance. Or whatever crazy idea she was playing with in Sedona that day. "I thought you might be doing a working. Something for the Academy."

"Not tonight," I said, squelching another flicker of annoyance at the unsubtle prod. If she truly believed I might be in the middle of a magical project, then why was she interrupting?

"Hmmm," Clara said. "I take it my present hasn't arrived yet."

"Present?" I had no idea what she was talking about. I raised an eyebrow toward David, but he only shrugged.

"Your birthday present," Clara said, as if that made perfect sense.

"Birthday?" I was starting to feel pretty stupid here.

"Your natal anniversary, Jeanette. The one you use as the basis for all of your astrological readings."

I wanted to remind my mother that I didn't do astrological readings. Spells, yes. Runes, sure. Drawing on the powers of plants and crystals, of the entire natural world, those were all parts of my magic. But I'd never given credence to the supposed magic of the stars, even though—maybe because—astrology was high on Clara's personal list of witchy pursuits.

"Jane," I corrected her again. "And, um, my birthday was in January."

David was obviously following enough of our conversation to be amused. He reached for the wine bottle and added a bit to his glass. He filled mine as well—I wasn't aware that I'd emptied it. I flashed him a grateful smile as Clara tsked. "Well, of course your birthday was in January. What kind of mother would I be if I didn't know that?" What kind, indeed? "I've sent you a gift for this coming January. Two gifts, actually. To make up for missing this past year."

I used my free hand to snag a few curls at my nape, tugging hard as a reminder to keep my temper. "You didn't need to do that."

"I know, Jeanette. But sometimes you find the perfect thing, and you just can't help but send it along."

I could hardly imagine what would count as "perfect" in Clara's book, but the doorbell rang before I could select the words for an appropriate lie. Its chime was deep and sonorous, and I leaped to my feet as if I were late for church. "Whoops!" I said into the phone. "There's someone at the door. I have to run."

"Happy, happy birthday, Jeanette." Clara sounded so satisfied, I actually forgot to correct her about my name. Instead, I hung up the phone and looked across at David.

"Expecting anyone?" I asked.

He scowled, all of his good humor about Clara evaporating. "Absolutely not." He pushed himself back from the table with a muttered curse.

"Steak's good at any temperature," I reminded helpfully as I followed him down the hall. Spot padded beside me, a casual watchdog.

David peered out the window in the top half of the door. Through the rippled glass, I could just distinguish a vague shape in the darkness. Two vague shapes, I corrected after David palmed on the porch light. He opened the door with a tight smile. "May I help you?"

A blast of humid summer air rolled over the threshold. The two women on our porch looked rather the worse for wear.