Summary and First Chapter


Life for Shay Johnson was a party. She was doing her thing- young, black, gifted, working part-time, going to college and making do in a small apartment in Buffalo, NY. She was on top of her game, and there was nothing you could tell her, she was it! Shay had everything under control until she met Chico, a suave, handsome Spanish gentleman that swept her off her feet and took her heart. It wasn’t too long before Shay was completely under his spell.

Everything was going great until Chico’s past comes to disrupt their paradise. As quick as Shay rose to love, she fell hard and fast leaving her at her lowest. Finding herself in the street with no way to feed her son and a baby on a way, Shay now has some hard decisions to make.

Good friends are hard to come by, and Huey is her prince charming in disguise ready to take her away from life's harsh reality. What happens when Shay finds love in an unexpected place? Will she continue to deny herself a chance to love again because of the drama she went through with Chico, or will she open up to a chance at starting over? The struggle of a young girl finding her way to womanhood, and the sacrifices you take to get there are all on the pages of Making It On My Own...because at the end of the day you can only truly depend on yourself.


 *Winner of theWriter’s Inn Top Ten Books of 2007 for Best Plot/Storyline

 Marlene is an author that is going somewhere! She has an exceptional flair for molding together characters that are so realistic in their dialect as well as actions. From the very first page, you are drawn into the plot and won’t be able to stop reading until the last line is read. You will literally get papercuts flipping through the pages of Making It On My Own.

Marlene did an honorary job in depicting the way a fairytale romance with your Prince Charming can go wrong. When Shay Johnson’s boyfriend, Chico, leaves her pregnant and with a small child, she has no choice but to make it on her own. Through many trials and tribulations and even having to set aside pride and move into a shelter…

In this compelling novel, Marlene is sure to take you on an unforgettable journey as you follow the life of Shay, grasping a real feel for what it’s really like when you have no one to depend on but yourself.

 ***To find out more about Marlene, please visit her personal page @



Hey. What’s up? My name is Shay Lenora Johnson, but you can just call me Shay. No need for any formalities, since I’m about to let you all up in my business. Anyway I am a single mother of a beautiful little boy, with another on the way and right now I feel like life is intent on literally trying to kick my butt. I’m down right now. Down and almost out, and if it weren’t for my kids I would be the woman on the ledge getting ready to end it all, saying my farewells and plummeting to the concrete sidewalk below. Once you have kids though, suicide is no longer an option. People are always saying, ‘Life’s a Bitch and then you die’. For all those concerned, I’m a bigger Bitch and so I refuse to die.

For the time being I am an unwilling resident of New York City. Actually, to be considered a resident aren’t you supposed to have an actual address? That I definitely do not have. That’s why at this very moment I am standing in line at an assessment center for the homeless. Yep, I said I’m homeless, like a mofo. Not a pot to piss in, nor a window to throw it out of. Not a kitchen to cook in or a bedroom to fuck in. Nada!

How did I get here you might be asking? Well I’ve been asking myself that very question. Friends and stupidity are my two culprits. Friends… What a frigging joke that is. There ain’t no such thing. And if there is such a thing as true friendship, I haven’t come across it yet. I’m feeling so stupid right now, that I probably spelled the word wrong. But let me start from the beginning, and maybe we will all learn something in the end. Including my stupid ass.

You know this entire situation all began with a man, right? Well how could it not? But don’t worry; I’m not going off on a man-hating tangent. There will be no calling together the meeting of the man-hating club. Okay, okay, but that’s how I’m feeling so it is what it is.

In their defense, a man can only do to you as much as you let him. Point blank. Like if he’s fucking your best friend and you’re with him, that shit is on you! If he ain’t got no job and you’re willing to support his broke ass, that’s on you. If he ain’t waxing that ass the right way and your lips are squeezed shut like you accidentally applied some super glue instead of lip-gloss, that’s on you. If he’s been promising to marrying your ass soon, and you have been together since Debarge was actually a hit group, that fucking shit is on you. If you don’t like the shit, then stop taking it lying down, get your ass up and get to stepping.

Now that I have gotten so far off the subject, I say we call this meeting adjourned and let me get back to the story about me.

So anyway, this shit all began when… You know what, let’s start this on a clean sheet of paper. Turn the page. Stop talking back and turn the damn page. Okay, please turn the damn page.

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