Author and Tri-C Grad Highlighted in “Pretty Women Hustle”

Denise Monique majored in human services at Tri-C, has authored several books

As a child, Denise Monique loved to read just about anything. It began a lifelong interest in the written word.

"I loved the places a writer's imagination could take me," she said in a recent interview with Pretty Women Hustle magazine.

Monique is a licensed social worker who graduated in 2009 from Cuyahoga Community College, where she earned an associate degree in human services. She went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in social work from Cleveland State University and is in the process of completing a master’s degree in social administration from Case Western Reserve University.

But whenever she has spare time, the mother of five and grandmother of eight writes. She’s penned several children’s books as well as a book aimed at adults, Despite My Odds: A Memoir, which is available as an e-book on Amazon.

Monique — who also writes under her married name, Denise Caviness — encourages young writers to keep practicing and honing their skills as she did.

"Aspiring writers should write, write, write," Monique told Pretty Women Hustle. "Write something each day — it doesn’t have to make sense. A true writer also reads. Allow your mind to take you on journeys you’ve never seen."


September 10, 2020

Erik Cassano, 216-987-3577 or

Despite My Odds by Denise Monique


From the fearless fingertips of Denise Monique comes Despite My Odds, a powerful and painful memoir of an unconventional childhood, a traumatic youth, and a perseverant adulthood that is both compelling and heartbreaking.

Layla is an enigmatic focal point, one whom it seems the entire world is stacked against, but as her memories unfold, patterns emerge, systemic failures appear, and the long-term emotional weight of trauma becomes clear. From sexual assault and early encounters with police officers to dangerous relationships and chronically low self-esteem, this is not an easy book to swallow; it will choke you up and force you to take a breath and process. The ascendant arc of Layla’s life, fortunately, holds a plethora of hope, and the author writes of her own dynamic life with maturity, sensitivity, and grace.

Millions of people experience trauma and hardship when they’re young, but a small percentage of those people can recount their experience with such emotion and power. Monique benefits from a simplicity of storytelling that makes the content even more impactful – from police brutality and early revelations of evil to personal moments of trauma, shame, recovery, and grief.

There are some moments that feel less polished, or the recollections become tangential, but that is excused to some degree in the realm of memoir. As a whole, Despite My Odds is a revelatory and bold disclosure of one writer’s most vulnerable truths.


Self-Publishing Review

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