Tag Archives: BBC

How I got over myself and learned to love River Song

River Song is coming back to Doctor Who for the Christmas special this month and I’m over-the-moon ecstatic to see her again! I’ll admit, however, that I hated her when she first showed up in the Library and claimed to be married to the Tenth Doctor.

Nuh uh. If anyone’s gonna marry the Doctor (especially David Tennant), it’s gonna be me! (Yes, I’m in my fifties, but I can still squee like a fangirl).

river i hate you

So, yeah, it took me a while to warm up to her. I think the first time I felt a glimmer of respect was when she marched down the corridor of a space ship in those incredible shoes, the kind in which I’d surely break an ankle.

river shoes

Even so, I still resented her. I mean, she was not a standard beauty. She was older and didn’t fit into the normal mold of leading ladies. And she was kind of pushy. Who did she think she was?

And that’s when I had my “Aha!” moment.

I hated her because she represented everything that the patriarchal aspects of society had trained me to loathe about myself, as a woman. And here she was, spitting in the face of convention!

Think about it. River Song was the ultimate bad ass witch. She was:

river regen

  • Insanely sure of herself
  • Full bodied and rippling with power
  • Beyond intelligent—as clever as the Doctor
  • Fiercely loving and compassionate
  • Courageous
  • Oozing with sexuality
  • The Doctor’s equal

So why on earth did I hate her? Because she reminded me of everything that I could have been but chose, out of fear, not to be.

Now, why do I love her? Because she reminds me that it’s never too late to choose again.

river kiss


lisa author shotLisa Bonnice is an award-winning, best-selling author and editor/manuscript doctor (and former stand-up comedienne—is there anything she can’t do???). Her current passion-project is a series of metaphysical comedy novels. The first in the series is Be Careful What You Witch For!, a modern-day fairy tale about Lola Garnett, a bored housewife, mom and office drone who wakes up with unexpected psychic abilities, and no instruction manual, and Twink, the reluctant, sarcastic faery assigned to assist and educate her.

First responder: “Blackpool” actress, Sarah Parish!

Part of our planned travel-blog trip to the UK next summer is to interview as many of my favorite actors from BBC America as I can. British television is so different from TV in the US (it’s not all just Doctor Who over there!), and I look forward to helping to introduce sarah parishthe American audience to some of these people. As the BBC series Blackpool is the original impetus for our trip, I started first by contacting those actors. And Sarah Parish, the actress who artfully played the female lead, Natalie Holden, has said yes!

Readers in the States may not know who she is. I didn’t, until I saw Blackpool. But she’s been a working actress for about twenty years, and played Hannah in the Cameron Diaz/Jude Law/Kate Winslett film The Holiday. She also played alongside Kevin Costner in the Golden Globe winning mini-series, Hatfields & McCoys.

Doctor Who fans will know Ms. Parish as the Empress of the Racnoss (in Donna Noble’s first episode, The Runaway Bride). I had no racnoss toy2idea they were the same actress until I looked her up on imdb.com and saw that role listed among her extensive acting credits. But better yet, she even has an action figure! Now that is impressive. 😉

Because a lot of British programming isn’t available in the US, it’s difficult to find video of many of her roles, except on YouTube. But what I’ve seen shows exceptional acting ability, and I’m really impressed with the way she throws herself into whatever role she’s playing, even if it’s a spider queen, a troll (as Lady Catrina on Merlin) or the queen of Atlantis.

Sarah Parish with her two love interests in Blackpool, David Morrissey and David Tennant

Sarah Parish with her two love interests in Blackpool, David Morrissey and David Tennant

Atlantis premieres on BBC America on November 23, right after the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor. I’ll be watching both!

I’ll keep you posted as any other British thespians agree to meet with me. I’m thrilled to be able to say that my first to say yes is one that I respect so highly.

Plus, who wouldn’t want to talk to a woman who got to make out with David Morrissey AND David Tennant, even if it was just on film! Even at my age, I can’t help squeeing with envy, like a fangirl.

Added to the itinerary: “Broadchurch”

I just watched the final episode of Broadchurch on BBC America. Even though Broadchurch is a fictional town, the shooting location is now on the list of “things to see” that BBC America has shown to us because of this:

West Bay Beach and East Cliff (photo from the Daily Mail)

The show was mostly shot in West Bay on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. That’s where these cliffs are. Here is an article from the Daily Mail, telling how the filming of this show has brought in a bunch of tourists:


Olivia Colman and David Tennant
in Broadchurch
(photo from the Mirror Online)

It looks like we’re going to be some of those tourists! We wouldn’t have seen these gorgeous cliffs if not for programming on BBC America.

I watched Broadchurch because it stars David Tennant, who I think is a terrific actor, Arthur Darvill (who was such fun as Rory Williams, Amy Pond’s husband, on Doctor Who) and Olivia Colman. Also in the cast is David Bradley, who was in Blackpool, Doctor Who and the Harry Potter movies.

Ms. Colman was also on an episode of Doctor Who–Matt Smith’s first. If you haven’t seen Broadchurch yet, be prepared for a tour de force performance on her part, especially in the final episode. WOW! That woman is an incredible actress.

Anyway, we may make the Jurassic Coast our first stop, after landing in London and spending a few days there. Then we’re thinking about heading north toward Cardiff, stopping a few places on the way. After finding some ancestral spots in Wales, we’ll buzz up to Liverpool to see the standard Beatles sites, then head up to Scotland for more ancestral spots. We’re saving Blackpool for last.

This itinerary isn’t set in stone, but it’s a start. I’ll be tweaking the details as the plan evolves. Meantime, I’m researching the best travel sites/apps and the best mobile phone service providers for our purposes. I have a lot to do before next summer to make something of this magnitude happen!

Wish me luck.

Here’s you a dog. (This little fella did NOT like me walking past his yard this morning!)

Okay, this is getting weird

Ever since Jeff and I have decided to make this trip to the UK actually happen, things have been falling into place in fun and bizarre ways. Here is the latest:

In a scene from the BBC mini-series Blackpool, David Tennant‘s character, DI Peter Carlisle, interviews Hailey, the prostitute, (played beautifully by Lisa Millet) about the murder of Mike Hooley. The interview takes place, I’m assuming, in the famous Blackpool Ballroom, with the also famous Wurlitzer organ being played in the background. Carlisle is interviewing all of the local hookers, and has invited them to neutral ground and supplied a nice tea.

Lisa Millet, as Hailey, and David Tennant as detective Peter Carlisle, having tea and questions in the Blackpool Ballrom

Lisa Millet, as Hailey, and David Tennant as DI Peter Carlisle, having tea and questions about sex and death in the Blackpool Ballroom.

One of the things we (well, I … Jeff doesn’t know it yet) intend to do while in Blackpool is have tea and pastries, like Hailey and Carlisle, at the Blackpool Ballroom, hopefully sitting in the same spot and getting a picture or two.

Because having tea in England is not like it is here (usually at a McDonald’s drive-thru) I have no idea of the proper etiquette and I’ve been doing some research so that I’ll know how to behave. 😉

Here comes the amazing synchronicity. Last week, a friend asked me to meet her for lunch somewhere in Mesa, a city about 45 minutes away from here. Because it’s a long drive, I plugged my iPod into the car speakers and listened to a playlist. Yep, I played the Blackpool soundtrack (obsess much? you betcha!). One of the songs is “I Second that Emotion”:

Imagine my surprise when I walked into the place we were meeting, and that song–which I haven’t heard, aside from the soundtrack, in many years–was playing on the radio.

But wait! There’s more!

My friend, who has no idea that I’m planning this trip, had a surprise for me. It was an English-style tea party, complete with manners and etiquette lessons. Let me reiterate that she had no idea that I was wanting to learn this very specific and unusual thing.

Boom. Out of the blue. Just like that. I now know how to not embarrass myself once we hit the shores of a country where drinking tea is like breathing.

And I learned that I love Earl Grey tea!

Added to Bucket List: Paolo Nutini concert

The trip that Jeff and I are planning for next summer is based pretty much on things we’ve learned about the UK from the BBC and BBC America. We are focusing, primarily, on the better known British offerings to the entertainment world, like Doctor Who and the Beatles, but we’re wavering off the path to see some that are lesser known here in the States like the seaside town of Blackpool. One of those I’m adding today is to see a Paolo Nutini concert, if he’s performing in the UK next summer.

We saw him perform Pencil Full of Lead on the Graham Norton Show and were completely blown away by the voice that came out of this boy (we’re in our fifties–to us, he’s a boy). Watch him wail and tell me that you wouldn’t go see him live, if you were in the vicinity:

Psychic Dreams

My most recent blog, about our planned trip to Blackpool, England, has indirectly caused me to realize that this trip will be the fulfillment of a longtime series of very specific recurring dreams. I’ve been dreaming about Blackpool for years, but didn’t recognize it!

I used to dream about Florida, long before Jeff and I ever thought of moving there, and once we arrived I was able to recognize scenes from various dreams as they were happening in real life. It’s so weird to have them come true like that, when I didn’t even know what they are showing me. I remember a Florida dream about a garden near a swimming pool, with statues and spiritual symbols in it. It turned out to be a serenity garden in which Jeff and I got married.

laserium control console

The control panel in my dream looked a lot like this one. Image Source: http://www.patrickmccray.com/2015/01/

The first psychic dream that I can remember coming true took place in approximately 1989. I had a bizarre dream that took place in a darkened room, where there was a big, black control panel and weird geometrical shapes of light in the air. Because I had never seen anything like it before, it was kind of scary and I thought I was nuts. Why on earth would I be dreaming about something so alien?

Then in the mid 90s I started working for Laserium and my boss was Ivan Dryer, the pioneer in the laser concert industry, who performed the very first laser show at Griffith Observatory in the 70s (you can read all about it by clicking the link under the photo of the control panel). Ivan asked the laserist in the studio to give me a demonstration of what they do. It didn’t take long for me to  recognized the laserist’s control panel and the geometrical light shapes in the air!

I’ve also dreamed a lot about New York City and somewhere in Great Britain. The New York dreams are coming much more frequently lately, and I have a feeling I’ll be there before the end of the year. For what reason, I do not know.

The exciting thing to me, now, is the dreams of the UK because a puzzle piece has just fallen into place. The dreams never told me exactly where they occurred. I have just been shown that someday I’d be there, near the water, and Ireland entered into it somehow.

But get this. In most of the dreams about the UK, I always saw something unrecognizable embedded into the ground, like tiles or patterns in concrete. Weird dreams. These tiles were set into a circular pad of cement. I could always sense waves nearby and I knew that Ireland was related somehow. I’ve never been able to pinpoint what the dreams were about, but they definitely included this water’s-edge, weird-patterned tilework.

Comedy Carpet viewed from the top of the tower - Picture of Comedy Carpet, Blackpool

This photo of Comedy Carpet is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Well, I’ve just discovered where in England those seaside tiles are–in a town I’ve only recently heard of, Blackpool. In my research about the town, in an effort to manifest this trip, I just happened to stumble upon this photo.

The tiles (which aren’t really tiles, it is a concrete and granite installation which features catchphrases and jokes by more than 1,000 comedians and writers)  are called the Comedy Carpet.  (More irony: Jeff and I met when we were both professional standup comedians.) You can see the circular cement pad, and the waves crashing onto the shore. And, Blackpool is on the Irish Sea.

I am blown away to finally learn where in England I’ve been dreaming about for so very many years, and that I was unintentionally planning a trip there! Wow!!!

Oddly, the Comedy Carpet wasn’t installed yet when the movie Blackpool (the inspiration for this trip, starring David Tennant–the Tenth Doctor in Doctor Who, Sarah Parish and David Morrissey) was filmed, so I wasn’t aware that there was a connection to my dream tiles when I saw the movie and began to plan this trip. In fact, I’d been having dreams about the “tiles” for many years before they existed.

I wasn’t even thinking about these dreams when I started to plan our trip to Blackpool recently. In fact, I had completely forgotten about the dreams until I saw photos of the Comedy Carpet. I can’t help thinking that there is a much bigger purpose behind this trip than Jeff and I just having a fun lark-about abroad. I can’t wait to find out what it is!

Next on my Bucket List: Blackpool, England

In which author Lisa Bonnice sets her intention for her next goal: a lengthy visit to the UK, with the pinnacle of the trip being a photo of the sunset over the Irish Sea from the “Eye” of the Blackpool Tower.

Sunset over the Irish Sea, and the Blackpool Tower. (from the Blackpool Tower facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/TheBlackpoolTower)

I just completed the first major item on my lifetime Bucket List. I have officially become a best-selling author. Boom. Done.

So now what? I didn’t really make any big plans beyond that, because it’s taken 52 years to accomplish this one. It’s sort of been an obsession, so I didn’t make a bucket list beyond that one thing. But now that I’ve achieved that goal, I want to make the next one fun and easy.

Our plan (my husband Jeff and I) is to indulge some of our curiosity about the UK from what we’ve seen on BBC America and our love of the Beatles. We’re going to visit some of the Doctor Who sites and museums (including Cardiff), then go to Liverpool to visit the Cavern Club and do whatever Beatles site-seeing is available, and finally head to Blackpool.

Why Blackpool? A British friend of mine asked that very question. “Why Blackpool!? It’s the Coney Island of the UK!”

I responded, “That’s exactly why. I love kitsch.”

But there’s more to it than that. The BBC aired a mini-series a few years ago filmed in and entitled Blackpool. Through a long and winding trail of links about David Tennant (the Tenth Doctor) I found a bunch of YouTube videos that allowed me to watch the whole thing (all six hours, ten minutes at a time).

Watch Blackpool

Your mileage may vary, but I found this miniseries to be one of the most well-written, well-acted and well-executed productions I’ve ever seen. And it made me fall head over heels in love with the town of Blackpool! I simply MUST BE THERE!

I must step foot inside the arcade where Ripley Holden’s life began to unravel. I have to walk along the Promenade where DI Peter Carlisle wooed Natalie Holden. And (he doesn’t know this yet) Jeff and I will have tea, and then dance in the famous Blackpool Ballroom!

The Blackpool Ballroom, with its famous Wurlitzer Organ. (from the Blackpool Tower facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/TheBlackpoolTower)

We’re shooting for summer of next year, 2014. We’re intending to align our visit to Blackpool with their annual Illuminations festival. We have a year to make this happen, and I’ve already started the process.

And … go!

Why “Fear of Our Father” was originally titled “Sink or Swim”

Fear of Our Father, the book I co-authored with Stacey M. Kananen, is doing extremely well in sales! We’re way up there on the Amazon Best Seller lists (at this moment we’re #10 on the Hot New Releases page) and we’re getting lots of great feedback and reviews from readers.

In fact, we even received this impressive blurb from Marti Rulli, author of Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour: “A gut-wrenching story…Brace yourself…Fear of Our Father reveals one complication after another. If ever a story existed to change your conviction that there’s no such thing as justifiable murder, Fear of Our Father is it.”

Stacey Kananen in third gradeAll of that is very exciting, but I want to take a moment today to talk about the book’s original title. When we first pitched it to Berkley Publishing, the book was entitled Sink or Swim. We were basing the theme around an incident that happened when Stacey was a child. She was in second grade when her abusive father took her by boat to a floating deck at a local lake and left her there—for his own amusement—to swim ashore or drown. He really would have let her die. Of that, there was no doubt.

More than survival instinct was at play here. There was deliberate choice: sink or swim. Six-year-old Stacey defiantly chose to take a chance and swim for shore. She decided, then and there, that he couldn’t kill her, no matter what. This survivor’s spirit is what helped Stacey to carry on through the most amazing true story you’ll read this year.

While Fear of Our Father is an incredible “True Crime” story—really, it’s a stunning page-turner that you won’t be able to put down—our purpose for writing it was to be an inspiration for pretty much everyone who is living through hard times. But, specifically, it’s a story of survival of the most difficult kind—unrelenting domestic violence and abuse, which eventually results in murder and betrayal. It’s because of the story’s readability in the “True Crime” genre that the publisher retitled it.

CassadagaWhile doing research for the book, Stacey and I took a trip to a “spiritualist camp” in Cassadaga, Florida, where her father used to drag her so he could get psychic readings regarding hallucinations he was experiencing. He had been burning a charcoal grill in the house, for heat, and the noxious fumes caused him to feel that he was getting messages about a phoenix bird, rising from the ashes. The psychic told him that he needed to go to Arizona, “to find his people.” That advice, unfortunately, was the cause of one of the most horrific weeks of Stacey’s entire life.

I wanted to see what Cassadaga looks like, so she and her partner Susan and I went for a visit. It’s a quaint little town with a lovely hotel and a cute gift shop or two. Stacey bought me a souvenir in the form of a little tile that says, on one side, “You can change the world,” and on the other, “Your imagination is limitless.” I have it on my desk to this day because that really is the spirit in which we wrote this book. We want to change the world. We want to help people who are still swimming for shore. We have big plans, and our imagination is limitless. Check out the Spectrum of Light Transformation Center’s website to see what I mean.

So please, by all means, pick up a copy of Fear of Our Father. It’s an incredible story. If you want, post a picture of yourself with your copy on our Facebook page, where we’re gathering photos of readers. And be sure to leave a great review on Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, Goodreads, or any other place you prefer. Help us get the word out, because “You can change the world.”

Fear of Our Father: http://www.fearofourfather.com
Stacey Kananen’s father violently and sexually abused his entire family. He vanished in 1988 and 15 years later his wife went missing. Stacey’s brother had killed both parents. Stacey cooperated as a witness until he told police that she helped him with the crimes. She was arrested and her trial, which aired on CNN’s In Session, ended with a not guilty verdict after her attorney proved that she had been railroaded. And this paragraph doesn’t even scratch the surface of the whole story.

Spectrum of Light Transformation Center: http://spectrumoflightcenter.com

Emmy nominated BBC Documentary
(featuring an interview with Stacey M. Kananen):
America’s Child Death Shame

Investigation Discovery series Catch My Killer
(an exploration of the Kananen family’s story)
Episode title “The Dearly Departed”

Tampa Bay Times article:
Hudson woman finds new life after years of abuse, allegations of murder

“Fear of our Father” on Investigation Discovery

Last September, my co-author Stacey M. Kananen and I traveled to Orlando to participate in our very first (and hopefully not our last) national television show based on Stacey’s incredible life story and our upcoming book, Fear of our Father.

orlando et al 017

Stacey being hooked up to her wireless microphone.

We’ve had to keep quiet about it until an official airdate was scheduled, and you better believe that was hard to do! The show, which will air March 3, 2013 on the Investigation Discovery channel (also known as ID), is called Catch My Killer.

The show is about cold cases, and they were interested in featuring the Kananen family’s saga because her father was “missing”– buried under the garage floor of the family home–for fifteen years before police discovered that he was dead, killed with a single bullet to the head.

While the reason for  the book’s existence is sad and horrifying, participating in the taping of this show was an incredible experience. In case you’re not familiar with Stacey’s story, here is a synopsis (from the book cover):

Even after a childhood of abuse and fear, Stacey M. Kananen was shocked when her brother, Rickie, admitted his guilt in the cold-blooded murder of their terrifying father, and years later, their helpless mother. But the greatest shock was to come—when he claimed that Stacey had helped him.

In 1988, when Rickie and Stacey’s father, Richard Kananen Sr., apparently left their home in Orlando, Florida, the family was so relieved that they never reported him missing. Fifteen years later to the day, their mother disappeared. When police became suspicious, Rickie admitted to Stacey that their father’s body was under the cement floor of their mother’s garage, and their mother was buried in Stacey’s own backyard.

Overwhelmed by grief and horror, Stacey’s brother convinced her that they should commit suicide. After a failed attempt, she woke to discover her brother arrested—along with the realization that he had probably never intended to kill himself at all. But his betrayals were not yet over: On the eve of his trial in 2007, he suddenly claimed Stacey had been in on it, and she found herself charged with murder with a gung ho rookie detective who was convinced she was involved.

This is the tragic and triumphant account of one woman’s struggle to overcome her past, clear her name in what would become a dramatic public spectacle of a trial, and finally escape the nightmares that had haunted her entire life.

Susan Cowan, during her interview.

Susan Cowan’s interview.

I haven’t seen the show yet, but the production crew was so professional and easy to work with that I’m sure they did an incredible job piecing together all of the interviews with the dramatization of the crimes and Stacey’s trial.

They asked Stacey the hard questions, the same questions that you would want to ask, and she was forthcoming with her responses. It was difficult for her to, once again, relive the abuse, the murders and the trial but she came through like a champ.

The crew gets some "B-roll" footage of Stacey and Susan looking at family photos.

The crew gets some “B-roll” footage of Stacey and Susan looking at family photos.

We’re hoping for some big things as a result of this book. Stacey has already been featured on an Emmy-nominated BBC documentary, America’s Child Death Shame, and our fledgling advocacy program, currently called Amnesty From Abuse (that could change, as the program evolves) is an exciting new and holistic way of working with dysfunctional and abusive families.

Stacey’s reasons for writing a book are sort of contradicted by the fact that it’s being published in the “true crime” genre, but the story is so compelling that it’s so much more than just an autobiography. Our intent is that the book will bring attention to the fact that we, as a society, still have not come up with a workable solution to the overwhelming amount of domestic violence that still takes place in our country, where we like to think of ourselves as enlightened and evolved. In some ways, we still have a lot of work to do. I, for one, am thankful that Stacey is willing to set aside her desire to live a private life and step into the public arena in this way.

Fear of Our Father is available for pre-order now. The official publication date is June 4, 2013.

Fear of Our Father update

It’s been a while since I posted an update on my newest book, Fear of Our Father—a true story of abuse, murder, and family ties, co-written with Stacey M. Kananen to be published by Berkley Books, April 2013. Maybe it’s time to do that.

Stacey is the survivor of years of heinous abuse at the hands of her father. When her older brother confessed to murdering both parents, he decided to take her down with him and she was arrested and tried for murder. Fear of Our Father tells the harrowing story of how she survived.

The original title was Sink or Swim, but Berkley suggested Fear of Our Father and we saw the wisdom in that title change. It’s a little more gruesome than we had in mind, but it certainly tells the story better than our working title.

Right now, we’re working on rewrites with our editor, gathering author photos and approving the cover design. Once the manuscript has been completely edited, Berkley’s legal team will give it a thorough once-over and then we’re on our way to the actual publishing process.

I never thought of myself as a “true-crime” author, and that’s not how we envisioned the book being published, but that’s the genre that Berkley has chosen for us, and so it is what it is. Many people still think Stacey got away with murder. I know that she is innocent. This book is intended to tell her side of this incredible, mind-bending story.

It seems that the Universe is on her side, because things are going very well for the book. We have a foreword written by Stacey Lannert, and two famous best-selling authors have agreed to write promotional blurbs for us. (I don’t want to name them until that’s a fait accompli.) In addition, the BBC documentary that featured Stacey’s story, America’s Child Death Shame, has been nominated for an Emmy award!

Other huge news is brewing, but we’re not at liberty to discuss it yet, so watch this blog for the big reveal in the next couple months! In the meantime, you can pre-order your copy of the book today, on Amazon.com.