Francesca Biller


Award Winning Writer, Journalist, Humorist & Poet

Japanese Jewish Samurai

About

 

As an award-winning investigative journalist, author, commentator and speaker, I have a deep and unyielding passion for writing stories about culture, art, humor and the human experience in a way that inspires and lifts the creative spirit on all fronts, and for people and communities who are diverse and interesting, without limiting beliefs or boundaries.

 

While I excitedly spent nearly 20 years as a reporter in the fast-paced world of breaking and investigative news for respected news organizations including The Wall Street Journal, CNN, CBS, The Huffington Post, The Los Angeles Times, KCSN News, and many others, I now enjoy my career as the author of fiction, humor, prose and inspirational-themed essays.

 

Currently, I am beyond grateful to be writing two books that will be published by Zorba Press, a publishing house located in Ithaca, New York with esteemed Publisher and Writer Michael Pastore. I will include a link to my bio on the Author Page under: Links.

 

My first book will be a collection of short stories and essays that will be be based upon my "more than interesting" childhood and adult life as a member of a mixed-race and artistic family and creative mother, based in both Los Angeles and Hawaii. My father is a well known L.A. artist and former professor with a cultural background of Russian-Jewish, English and Irish, and my mother is a fashion designer who is Japanese, and was raised on the farmlands of Kona, Hawaii during and after the Second World War.

 

While much of my writing is influenced by the meeting and near-fusion of two distinct and colorful cultures, a lot of my work is a search, if you will, not for common ground, but rather for a celebration of the differences that I have allowed to flourish on a creative and personal level, culturally and figuratively. Such work has been published for The Japanese American National Museum, and featured in their exhibit "Hapa-Japan, Visible & Invisible", a historic exhibition that chronicled the story of people from mixed-race Japanese ancestry.

 

My second book will be a shorter collection of poetry that will reflect my philosophy for the beauty and wonderment of the human spirit, as well as inspirational-themed prose meant to feed all of the senses that are in need of spiritual nourishment and revival. Much of my prose, again, will be based upon autobiographical experiences, some of them suffering and difficult, but all with a necessary lesson at its heart.

 

While I enjoy writing serious and reflective work about the creative and artistic cultural self through the lens of cultural diversity, I am perhaps most well known and followed for my humorous essays and stories about my funny and strange experiences as a Japanese Jewish girl who never felt understood, and now claims this as my shtick and saving grace as a writer and individual.

 

Satire and comedic pieces have been published for the The Huffington Post, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, Open Salon, Jewish Learning.com, Be'chol Lashon, Jewish News Weekly of San Francisco, Elephant Journal.com, Interfaithfamily.com, and for my own blogs, including "Samurai Yenta" and "I've Got Issues."  

 

I recently also began my career as a creative and inspirational speaker, with a successful engagement as a Speaker at The Mixed-Remixed Festival, an annual festival held at The Japanese American National Museum that celebrated the multifaceted mixed-race experience with emerging and well known artists, filmmakers, inspirational thinkers and speakers. My panel was Global v. Universal: Otherness & The Female Writer of Color'. Several new speaking engagements are on the calendar.

 

Journalism awards for investigative reporting, live news coverage, documentary series and magazine reporting includes The Edward R. Murrow award, two Golden Mike awards, four First Place 'Mark of Excellence' awards from The Society of Professional Journalists, and The Los Angeles Press Club award.

 

Please keep in mind that it is nearly an impossible assignment to write about one's own career or breadth of work in a way that would accurately reflect what one wants to evenly portray, but that is what my writing hopefully conveys as one chooses to read it. My aim is never to suggest any opinions or artistic realm that is finite, rather, my work is always in progress and therefore always in a state of creative continuum and discovery.

 

And this is my most honorary job in life, in addition to raising lively and interesting children . . .  that as soon as I have written a poem, a story, an essay, or even a book, that I will inevitably be inspired to write something else that is more moving and more profound, because that is the most authentic expression of creativity, passion and humility.

 

Below you find more information about published work, as well as links to my Social Media profiles, if so interested. I have attempted and will continue to add more of my work to this site, but this often takes a back seat to the act of writing itself, so forgive me if my most recent work is not updated as new writing is published almost weekly. 

 

 

Blogs

Elephant Journal.com  http://www.elephantjournal.com/author/francesca-biller/ 

Open Salon.com  Samurai Yenta  http://open.salon.com/blog/checka

I've Got Issues Much Ado About Something, From a Japanese Jew  http://www.francescabiller.org

 

Interest & Special Coverage

Jewish &  Japanese Culture  -  Politics  -   Parenting & Relationships  - Political Satire   Inspiration & Philosophy  Art & Music  -   Spirituality  -   Self  Discovery  -  Poetry & Verse  - Cultural Irony  Humor   -  Female Empowerment  -  Youth  -  Food & Travel  -  Modern Mythology

 

Appearances 

The Mixed-Remixed Festival, Speaker:

'Global v. Universal: Otherness & The Female Writer of Color' 

Featured Panel Speaker at Festival celebrating the multifaceted mixed-race experience with emerging and well known artists, writers, filmmakers, inspirational thinkers and speakers along many cultural fronts with unique & individual perspectives & philosophies about identity, race and culture. 

Festival created & produced by New York Times Bestselling Author Heidi Durrow, writer of "The Girl Who Fell From The Sky."

*  Held at the Japanese American National Museum, June 2014 in Los Angeles. 

The Japanese American National Museum, Exhibition  

'Hapa-Japan, Visible & Invisible'

My Essays, Articles and Photos appeared in historic Museum Exhibit that chronicled the stories, history and reflections of people of mixed-race Japanese ancestry & heritage in never-before seen documentation, photography and personal revelations. 

*   Held at the Japanese American National Museum, August 2013 in Los Angeles 

 

Published:

The Huffington Post ---  The Chicago Sun Times ---  The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles

The Japanese American National Museum ---   USA on Race.com  --  Interfaith Family.com

My Jewish Learning.com ---  Shalom Life.com ---  Be-schol Lashon.com  ---  Elephant Journal.com

Empowering Parents.com ---  Open Salon.com ---  Colors Magazine --- Senses Magazine 

Discover Nikkei --- Lakeview House International Journal ---  The Syndicated News 

BabyZone.com --  The Jewish News Weekly of San Francisco ---  KCSN Radio ---   CBS Radio

Syrius Radio --- The Daily Buzz --  Artist Direct.com  -- Living Healthy.com  -- Op Ed News --  

BlogHer  -- World Issues 360.com -- Parenthood360.com   --- Black Christian News ---  Beyond Prose - 

Times Herald --  The Printed Blog --  AntiSemetisim.net  -- Japanese Jew for The Soul.com


Titles of Work under Subject Headings:

 

Japanese & Jewish American Culture

Matzah Sushi  *    Japanese Jew Doesn't Oy Veh So Much Since Obama   *   The Dream of a Beautiful Bat Mitzvah   *  Honoring Japanese American World War II Veterans   *      Pearl Harbor: A Personal History of Triumph and Success    *    A Japanese Jewish Family Remains Bonded through Shared Recipes    *      Out of the Confluence of Race & Ethnic Heritage, Artistic Masterpieces Emerge    *    Family Meals that Integrate Rather than Segregate    *    The Joys of a Buddhist Jewish Christmas    *    How "Not" to Fear Everything, From a Japanese-Jew   *  Comfortable, Finally With Being a 'Half Shiksa' Beauty

Cultural Humor 

Samurai Yenta      Menorah Musubi    *   Chicken Soup & Sushi for the Japanese-Jewish Soul  *   My Japanese-Jewish Girl Fears        How "Not" to Fear Everything, From a Japanese-Jew    *    Stop Naming Flus After Us Jews  *     My Japanese-Jewish Girl Fears   *   Menorah Musubi  *    The Joys of a Buddhist Jewish Christmas

 

Parenting  

For Happier Children: Be Happy First   *   The Suffering of Boys and Men  *  When Children Played Outside & Were Happier For It    When The Teenagers Mowed Lawns  *     The Beauty of Fathers & Why We Need Them     *   What Our Grandparents Knew     *    A Growing Trend: Kids & Self Harm     *   People Without Children are Worthy Humans Too   *   Why Kids Don't Care about the Election   *   Why You Need to Listen to Your Teen  *   When Fathers Were Allowed To be Men

Music & Art  Jazz, Rock and Roll, Art Philosophy, Memoirs

How Maya Angelou Inspired Us All to Sing   *    My Life's Soundtrack, According to Dave Brubeck  *  Shirley Temple & Why I Became a Good Girl     *     The Exotic & Erotic Truth about Female Writers     Neal Armstrong's Passing, The Death of an American Dream   *    Phyllis Diller Inspired Me to be a Female Comedian   *   Dick Clark, a Pioneer for Black Musicians & American Culture  *    Out of the Confluence of Race & Ethnic Heritage, Artistic Masterpieces Emerge 

Female Empowerment   Female Empowerment for all Ages

Ten Things Every Young & Older Girl Should Know       10 "Kick-Ass" Qualities of Women You Want to Be Around   96-year-old Grandma         How to Stay Young & Hot Forever: Advice from a 96-year-old Grandma       The Erotic & Exotic Truth about Female Writers   

Humor

The Most Interesting Woman in the World     *    My Fear of Naked Yoga People    *    25 Ways to Get a Man to Break Up With You  *     The Pros & Cons of Dating a Senior Citizen     *    Young     Why It's Good to Be Really Weird    *   95 Year-Old Grandma Drops Boyfriend For Not Voting

Inspiration Inspirational Ideologies, Buddhism, Spiritual Articles and Advice

How Laughter Can Save Your Life     *     Five Ways to be Happier & Less Depressed through Buddhism   *  For Happier Children: Be Happy First     *      The Gift of Now & How to be Happy in the Present    *  Crying & Grief: The Meditation that Works     *     Broken Was What Made Me Free   *    How to Get Anything You Want by Giving it All Away     *    Here's to the Forgotten this Holiday Season     *    What Our Grandparents Knew   *     The Gift of Now & How to Be Happy in the Present      *    The Best Spiritual & Inspirational Quotes  for the Coming Year & Beyond 

Politics

Why Our Kids Don't Care About the Election  *    On LockDown for the Death of Journalism   *   Obama and The Fear of the Capable Black Male     *    Beatles' Songs that Define this Election and Don't *  Women, Self-Hatred, & Romney's Appeal     *   Understanding Obama and his Hawaiian Political Roots  *   The Kennedy's Optimism, Camelot, & Today     *     Blacks Die at Highest Rates in U.S.   *    No Apologies for Being a Mother, Thanks to Michelle Obama     *     Mother's Little Helper is Killing Her 

Political Satire  

Not "Voting" made my Grandma Drop Her "Boy Toy"    *     Post Traumatic Convention Disorder   *    Should the Undecided Be Allowed to Vote     *      Palin to Marry Moose & Other Intellectual Pursuits   *  Get Ready to Rumble, The Biden-Ryan Debate     *     The Future of My Body under Biden & Ryan  *    The Undecided's Just Want Attention, and They're Insane

Food  

Samurai Yenta


Social Media Contacts:

Twitter:   de.twitter.com/FrancescaBiller  

Facebook:    www.facebook.com/francescabiller

Author Site/ Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/FrancescaAokiBiller


 

Bio on Zorba Press Website: 

The first time Francesca Biller wrote a poem, she remembers exactly where she was and whom she read it to. About seven years-old and nesting in a Spanish-style home by the sea, she ran with a crumpled piece of paper in hand towards her father, who was busy painting on a tall canvas near a window that let in an enormous amount of light and fresh ocean air.

  

About six lines in, her father looked up as he tucked a small paintbrush by his ear and said, “You’ll need to work on that some more,” after which he swished various brushes in turpentine and turned his head back towards his painting of a robust nude woman lounging on a silk kimono flocked with orange-fired flying cranes.

This was the only childhood she knew; one that was strange and interesting- and impossibly filled with cultural richness and an inspiring wonder of creative chaos. As the mixed-race daughter of a Japanese-American mother from Hawaii who designed clothing for stylish-bohemian types and celebrities in Hollywood, and a Russian-Jewish, Irish and Welsh father who was a writer, painter and professor, Biller assumed that everyone grew up as she did.

This assumption indeed both protected and inspired her, as she grew up with the belief that anything in life was possible, and that no experience was too difficult, so long as she could create authentic and meaningful works of art in the process. In a sense, she grew up believing in the optimistic philosophy that “creativity is indeed akin to the pursuit of happiness”, a subject that has inspired much of her work.

Biller spent her early years as a singer, ballet dancer, artist and writer, as her family encouraged each creative pursuit, as long as it was honest and heartfelt. But somewhere in her empowering years as a young adult, she discovered that writing poetry and stories about her own exotic and adventurous life, as well as people she met along the way was what most inspired her.

Writing is what has inspired her to get through difficult experiences she has endured, and her calling, so to speak is now to inspire other people who face similar challenges and obstacles that seem impossible to get through. “It is through the act of writing when we often discover what we believe about ourselves and who we wish to become,” she said.

She also gives credit to having a consistent sense of humor with the ability to see the ironic and funny side of circumstances as her greatest gift insofar as being able to sustain an interesting and bearable life, in addition to comedy as a force in her writing. A great admirer of Jewish Borsht-Belt comedians, she has flirted with being a stand-up comedian and is influenced by comics and humorists including Mark Twain, Art Buchwald, The Marx Brothers, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks and the writing and performances of the English group Monty Python.

Biller has enjoyed nearly 20 years as an investigative award-winning journalist, reporter and columnist in Los Angeles and San Francisco for print, radio, television and the web, including special reporting for The Huffington Post, The Chicago Sun Times, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, CBS, KCSN News, numerous magazines, newspapers and journals.

In recent years, she has happily shifted her career to writing thoughtful, humorous and inspirational articles and short stories, as well as poetry. Some of her work is based upon her more than lively and exotic autobiographical stories and adventures as a woman of mixed-race Hapa identity and a product of enthusiastic artists and colorful characters on both sides of her family.

Recent essays, short stories and poetry have been published for The Japanese American National Museum, including for a historic Exhibition for the museum called “Hapa-Japan, Visible and Invisible” which explored and celebrated the identity of people who are of mixed heritage of Japanese and other ethnicities and cultures.

Other personal and narrative work has been showcased in The Jewish News Weekly of San Francisco, Elephant Journal.com, Open Salon, My Jewish Learning, The Lakeview House International Journal, Discover Nikkei, Be’chol Lashon, Shalom Life, Empowering Parents, Senses Magazine, Colors Magazine, USA on Race, and others.

Biller is also part of a growing community of writers who are passionate about telling their stories of ethnic and cultural truths, authentic and sometimes as raw and politically incorrect as this may be, but never assaultive or angry in nature. With one of her great inspirations in the late great Maya Angelou, she writes also about the struggles and often-confusing beauty of being a mixed-race woman that can be described as intricately diverse and harrowing at times.

She is also beginning her career as an inspirational speaker, with her first engagement at the “Mixed-Remixed Festival” to be held at the Japanese American National Museum for a Panel Discussion “Global v. Universal: Otherness & Writing the Female Writer of Color” in which she will explore the provocative experiences as a female writer who writes about her stories in an authentic and unapologetic way.

Writing awards include the Edward R. Murrow Award, two Golden Mike awards, four Society of Professional Journalists’ First Place Mark of Excellence awards, and the Los Angeles Press Club award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism, Hard News Series Reporting and Documentaries.

Biller is currently working on two books that will be published by Zorba Press. The first is a compilation of short stories and inspirational-themed essays that will be based upon her often humorous and colorful experiences as a multi-racial daughter, artist and mother. The second will be a collection of poems and verse.

Biller’s most important “works-in-progress” are her talented and creative daughters, who she is raising to be as passionate as she is about the arts. She delights in watching them flourish as responsible and integral young women who believe that anything is indeed possible, with enough imagination and strength of spirit.


 

My work has been published for The Chicago Sun Times, The Huffington Post, Empowering Parents.com, Elephant Journal.com, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, Open Salon, USA Riseup, The Jewish News Weekly of San Francisco, Discover Nikkei.org, Senses magazine, The Benicia Herald, The Daily Buzz, Interfaithfamily, Babyzone, The Syndicated News, and for many other esteemed newspapers, magazines and websites.

The Huffington Post ---  The Chicago Sun Times ---  The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles

The Japanese American National Museum ---   USA on Race.com  --  Interfaith Family.com

My Jewish Learning.com ---  Shalom Life.com ---  Be-schol Lashon.com  ---  Elephant Journal.com

Empowering Parents.com ---  Open Salon.com ---  Colors Magazine --- Senses Magazine 

Discover Nikkei --- Lakeview House International Journal ---  The Syndicated News 

BabyZone.com --  The Jewish News Weekly of San Francisco ---  KCSN Radio ---   CBS Radio

Syrius Radio --- The Daily Buzz --  Artist Direct.com  -- Living Healthy.com  -- Op Ed News --  

BlogHer  -- World Issues 360.com -- Parenthood360.com   --- Black Christian News ---  Beyond Prose - 

Times Herald --  The Printed Blog --  AntiSemetisim.net  -- Japanese Jew for The Soul.com


The Huffington Post ---  The Chicago Sun Times ---  The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles

The Japanese American National Museum ---   USA on Race.com  --  Interfaith Family.com

My Jewish Learning.com ---  Shalom Life.com ---  Be-schol Lashon.com  ---  Elephant Journal.com

Empowering Parents.com ---  Open Salon.com ---  Colors Magazine --- Senses Magazine 

Discover Nikkei --- Lakeview House International Journal ---  The Syndicated News 

BabyZone.com --  The Jewish News Weekly of San Francisco ---  KCSN Radio ---   CBS Radio

Syrius Radio --- The Daily Buzz --  Artist Direct.com  -- Living Healthy.com  -- Op Ed News --  

BlogHer  -- World Issues 360.com -- Parenthood360.com   --- Black Christian News ---  Beyond Prose - 

Times Herald --  The Printed Blog --  AntiSemetisim.net  -- Japanese Jew for The Soul.com


The Huffington Post ---  The Chicago Sun Times ---  The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles

The Japanese American National Museum ---   USA on Race.com  --  Interfaith Family.com

My Jewish Learning.com ---  Shalom Life.com ---  Be-schol Lashon.com  ---  Elephant Journal.com

Empowering Parents.com ---  Open Salon.com ---  Colors Magazine --- Senses Magazine 

Discover Nikkei --- Lakeview House International Journal ---  The Syndicated News 

BabyZone.com --  The Jewish News Weekly of San Francisco ---  KCSN Radio ---   CBS Radio

Syrius Radio --- The Daily Buzz --  Artist Direct.com  -- Living Healthy.com  -- Op Ed News --  

BlogHer  -- World Issues 360.com -- Parenthood360.com   --- Black Christian News ---  Beyond Prose - 

Times Herald --  The Printed Blog --  AntiSemetisim.net  -- Japanese Jew for The Soul.com