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Independent Press Award 

2024 winner

Petals from Mars: A Memoir of Resilience and Triumph over Adversity

Judie Dziezak

A Poignant Memoir of Inspiration and Wisdom

Judie Dziezak is no stranger to adversity. Those who know her as an attorney, technology writer, or scientist see a soft-spoken, pleasant, competent professional who courageously stands up for what’s right even when she is the only one standing. What they don’t know is that growing up, she wrestled with a tumultuous crescendo of abuse from her mentally ill mother. No one knew.

As an adult, that secret came back to haunt her. A soul-shattering experience wrought by an exquisitely orchestrated, premeditated lie threatened to devour her alive and pull her back into a toxic stew of drama. That situation forced a choice: accept the lie or embrace the truth and cut family ties. Which would she choose?

In Dziezak’s work in male-dominated fields where she was among the first few women, and sometimes the only woman, struggles were not commonplace. But when they occurred, they were a doozy.

Adversarial ghosts reminiscent of those from her youth surfaced: jealousy, sabotage, and disempowerment—only now primarily from a patriarchal leadership. She turned to the treasures gleaned from her early years of abuse: self-reliance, resilience, and inner strength. And after encountering a stream of dilemmas, she learned the ultimate lesson—the key to moving forward.

Petals from Mars is a brave, intimate chronicle of a fiery battle for holding one’s power and standing firm. With keen insight, Dziezak unfolds a look into the strength of the human spirit and how difficulty can blossom into self-discovery, compassion, understanding, and self-love.

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Petals from Mars: A Memoir of Resilience and Triumph over Adversity
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