What’s in a name?

The Differences Between Real Nucky Johnson and HBO’s Nucky Thompson Go Beyond the Fictionalized Name

Author Nelson Johnson, who literally wrote the book on the real Enoch “Nucky” Johnson, says HBO’s Terence Winter has said the fictionalized character created for the TV version of Boardwalk Empire is 70 percent drawn from Johnson’s 2002 book of the same name.

When I told Johnson, a state Superior Court judge whom I’ve known for more than two decades, that it strikes me that the percentages are more like 60 percent fiction and 40 percent fact in the HBO series, he laughed and quickly said, “You’re not wrong.”

Read the full article at Holmdel-Hazlet, NJ Patch

Congrats to Mark Di Ionno and The Last Newspaperman

USABookNews.com, the premier online magazine and review website for mainstream and independent publishing houses, announced the winners and finalists of THE 2012 USA BEST BOOK AWARDS on November 16, 2012. Over 400 winners and finalists were announced in over 100 categories covering print, e-books and audio books. Awards were presented for titles published in 2011 and 2012.

The Last Newspaper ManJeffrey Keen, President and CEO of USA Book News, said this year’s contest yielded over 1500 entries from mainstream and independent publishers, which were then narrowed down to over 400 winners and finalists.

The Last Newspaperman by Mark Di Ionno was one of the six finalists in the General Fiction category this year.

Mark Di Ionno is a columnist at The Star-Ledger, New Jersey’s largest newspaper. He has won the New Jersey Press Association’s first-place award for column writing four of the last five years. Di Ionno got his start in newspapers as a Navy journalist and has been a reporter, editor, and columnist his entire adult life.

Prior to writing for The Star-Ledger, he was a sports columnist at the New York Post. He is an adjunct professor of journalism at Rutgers–Newark, his alma mater, and has written three award-winning books on New Jersey history and culture. 

The Last Newspaperman is his first novel.

For an excursion to a time when newspapers were king, travel the newsprint trail mapped by Mark Di Ionno in his engaging novel The Last Newspaperman. Di Ionno has created characters who are not simply black-and-white, as they provide an inside look at the biggest headline-grabbing events in New Jersey history." — Jim Waltzer, author Tales of South Jersey

Jacket: An Insider’s look at New Jersey Criminal Court System

MEDFORD—A new book from Medford-based Plexus Publishing promises to deliver what the publisher calls a “warts-and-all portrayal of the Garden State’s fractious criminal justice system.”

Jacket: The Trials of a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney is a memoir by Trenton attorney and former New Jersey state assemblyman John W. Hartmann.

"In writing Jacket I wanted to provide a ‘”from the trenches” view of the criminal justice system in New Jersey—from the street to the courtroom to the verdict," Hartmann said in a press release. "The system is never pretty, it’s not always fair, and after reading Jacket, it’s up to the reader to draw his own conclusion as to whether or not it works."

Read the full article at Book promises insider’s look at New Jersey criminal court system - South Jersey Local News

An Evening with Judge Nelson Johnson - October 23, 2012

Join the Cherry Hill Historical Commission for…  Boardwalk Empire: An Evening with Judge Nelson Johnson on Tuesday, October 23, at 7:00 PM.  The event will take place at the Cherry Hill Public Library Conference Center (Lower Level) and is free and open to the Public.

Boardwalk EmpireIn celebration of National Humanities Month, the CHHC is delighted to have Judge Nelson Johnson speak about his book, Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City at the Cherry Hill Public Library on October 23rd.

The basis for the hit HBO series, Boardwalk Empire is the first book to make sense of Atlantic City. A bustling little city by the seashore, totally dependent upon money spent by tourists, Atlantic City’s popularity rose in the early 20th century and peaked during Prohibition. The resort’s singular purpose of providing a good time to its visitors - whether lawful or not -demanded a single mentality to rule the town. In Boardwalk Empire, Nucky Johnson, Louis “the Commodore” Kuehnle, Frank “Hap” Farley, and Atlantic City itself spring to life in all their splendor.

Author Nelson Johnson traces “AC” from its birth as a quiet seaside health resort, through the notorious backroom politics and power struggles, to the city’s astonishing rebirth.

For more information, contact 856-488-7886 or chhc@chtownship.com

Collingswood Book Festival - 10 years and still growing!

This autumn, the thrill of reading will bloom when bibliophiles converge in this historic South Jersey town. The Collingswood Book Festival is a big literary event that exudes small-town, friendly ambience.

COLLINGSWOOD - For the little ones in his audience at the 10th Annual Collingswood Book Festival Saturday, Ernie Jewell’s melding of Aerosmith with macaroni and cheese — “the fifth food group” — had a good beat and you could dance to it.

On a warm fall day, the book festival stretched for blocks along Haddon Avenue and included about 200 authors and vendors.

Journalism also was represented by Amy Waldman, a former New York Times reporter and author of a 9/11-themed novel, “The Submission,” and Mark Di Ionno, a columnist for the The Star-Ledger in Newark whose fictional book, “The Last Newspaperman,” tells the story of a 1930s tabloid reporter.

Read more about the event at Volumes of fun: Entertainment, authors abound at Collingswood festival.

Jacket: The Trials of a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney

Memoir by John W. Hartmann—Criminal Defense Attorney and the Youngest Republican Ever Elected to the State Assembly—Provides a Candid and Humorous Look Inside the NJ Criminal Justice System and Trenton Politics

JacketThe Jacket will debuts Nov. 5, 2012. Plexus Publishing, Inc. announced a November 5 release date for Jacket: The Trials of a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney. This “provocative and bitingly funny memoir,” by Trenton attorney and former state assemblyman John W. Hartmann offers a warts-and-all portrayal of New Jersey’s fractious criminal justice system.

“John Hartmann paints a vivid picture of the ‘New Jersey Way’ of prosecuting and defending persons accused of crimes,” according to Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University. George called Jacket “a raucous ride through the New Jersey criminal court system.”

Central to Jacket is the case of a man who has spent three years behind bars for a robbery he obviously didn’t commit. As Hartmann recounts his effort to free the client on appeal, he dishes out amusing anecdotes from his life in law and politics, shares Garden State trivia, and offers advice on how to start a legal practice, prepare clients for trial, cross-examine witnesses, pick juries, and make prison hooch.

“In writing Jacket I wanted to provide a ‘from the trenches’ view of the criminal justice system in New Jersey—from the street to the courtroom to the verdict,” Hartmann explained. “The system is never pretty, it’s not always fair, and after reading Jacket, it’s up to the reader to draw his own conclusion as to whether or not it works.”

Several prominent attorneys have praised Jacket. Thomas Mesereau, the lawyer who acquitted Michael Jackson of child sexual abuse charges in 2005, called the book “a candid, colorful, and penetrating exposé of the gritty realities in our criminal justice system,” while Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi’s attorney Raymond Raya said, “This book will change your life—especially if you’re charged with knocking over a liquor store in the Garden State.” According to Raya, “Hartmann hits the perfect combination of trial strategy and personal anecdotes that makes for a great read.”

“I was drawn to the honesty and humor in Jacket,” said John B. Bryans, Hartmann’s editor at Plexus. “John Hartmann invites controversy and clearly enjoys skewering sacred cows, but he’s also charmingly self-deprecating and passionate about his work defending the accused. His colorful descriptions of people he’s met in and around Trenton’s streets, courts, and prisons can’t help but make you laugh out loud.”

John W. Hartmann is an attorney with a private practice near Princeton, in Mercer County, New Jersey, where he lives with his wife and two children. He has written one other nonfiction book, The American Partisan: Henry Lee and the Struggle for Independence, 1776–1780 (Burd Street Press, 2000), and is currently at work on his first novel.

Jacket: The Trials of a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney is can be preordered now.

A Look at the Gritty Era of Tabloid Journalism

By Phil Garber - MOUNTAIN LAKES - “The Last Newspaper Man,” Mountain Lakes resident Mark DiIonno’s first work of fiction, is a must read for any reporter who hopes to understand why the field has too often devolved to largely, surface, sensational, often irrelevant and even fictional news coverage.

Mark Di IonnoIt also will open the eyes of those non-journalists who want to learn why reporting has taken the turn it has over the last 100-plus years. And, according to DiIonno, it has been a wrong, left turn.

The book is told from the perspective of a young reporter working for a fictional, dying publication in a dying field. The reporter meets up with Frederick Haines, an old-time, hard-headed, jaded, newsman with the New York Daily Mirror, the fictional major tabloid of the day, who talks about his experiences and regrets covering the major events of his day, including the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the Hindenburg disaster, the blaze aboard the Morro Castle luxury liner and the 1938 radio broadcast, “War of the Worlds,” that “reported” the invasion by aliens of a small, New Jersey town.

Read Phil Garber’s full article at Book paints dismal picture of tabloid journalism

Star-Ledger Columnist Looks at both Old and New Journalism

The Last NewspapermanPlexus Publishing released Mark Di Ionno’s first novel, “The Last Newspaperman,” Sept. 17.

The Last Newspaperman” is a story about tabloid journalism in the 1920s and 30s, and how it created the crime-saturated and celebrity-obsessed media we have today. Di Ionno, an award-winning columnist for the Star-Ledger, will make numerous personal appearances in support of the novel’s national launch this fall.

“While much of the action is set in New Jersey in the 1930s, ‘The Last Newspaperman’ is not strictly a historical novel,” Di Ionno said. “My goal was to connect the past with the contemporary, sensationalist media that dominates the airwaves, newsstands and Internet.”

The novel’s fictional protagonist is Frederick Haines, a one-time star tabloid reporter for the New York Daily Mirror now nearing the end of his life.

A young reporter on assignment listens with rapt attention as Haines gives him the back stories on the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the Hindenburg disaster, the deadly Morro Castle cruise ship fire, and the hysteria that followed Orson Welles’s “War of the Worlds” broadcast.

By his own admission, Haines is reckless with the facts, with little regard for the truth or the feelings of the people directly impacted by the stories he covers.

Read more at South Jersey Local News

Boardwalk Empire and The Northside Author Named Hammonton awards ‘Artist of the Year’

Hammonton awards Nelson Johnson Artist of the YearEach year, an outstanding practitioner in an arts-related field is conferred the honor of being named Hammonton’s Artist of the Year. This year the Hammonton Art District Steering Committee awarded this title to Mr. Nelson Johnson, a Hammonton resident and author of Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City, which inspired the acclaimed HBO series, as well asThe Northside: African Americans and the Creation of Atlantic City.

Nelson’s professional background is primarily in legal affairs. For the 30 years that Nelson practiced law, he was very active in both Atlantic County and City politics. He was attorney for the Atlantic City Planning Board at the time of the approvals for many of the casinos, and it was during those years that he became interested in trying to “make sense of” Atlantic City.  The interviews and research involved in preparing Boardwalk Empire, which inspired the HBO series of the same name, and its sequel spanned nearly two decades.  Boardwalk Empire was named “Best Regional Non-Fiction” for the Mid-Atlantic region by the Independent Publishers Association.

'Boardwalk Empire' author to speak at Camden County College

GLOUCESTER TWP.  — The author of the book behind the popular HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” will compare the real Nucky Johnson of Atlantic City history to the fictional Nucky Thompson as portrayed in the series during his second appearance at Camden County College this year.

Two Nucky Nelson Johnson will present “Boardwalk Empire, Part II: Nucky Johnson is Back in Town and He Means Business” at 7 p.m. Nov. 29 in Civic Hall, which is inside the Connector Building on the College’s Blackwood Campus. CCC’s Center for Civic Leadership and Responsibility is presenting the event, which will include a question-and-answer session and a book signing.

“The award-winning HBO series ‘Boardwalk Empire’ attracts millions of viewers to a fictional version of Atlantic City fraught with violence and sex, which often embellishes the historical truth,” noted Center for Civic Leadership and Responsibility director John Pesda. “Nelson Johnson, a gifted writer and speaker, will return to Camden County College to set the record straight with a fact-based account of the city and Nucky Johnson’s role.”

Learn more at 'Boardwalk Empire' author to speak at Camden County College at NJ.com.