But when I use them, I prefer to stay simple. "Said" and "asked" are my bread-and-butter; once in a while I'll throw in a "whispered" or "replied." Of course, there's no right answer in this on-going debate--many writers use all sorts of more varied (and colorful) dialogue tags.
I guess it boils down to a personal preference. For me, I don't want the dialogue tag to overshadow the words being spoken.
I decided to do a little back-of-the-envelope analysis on the dialogue tags I used in DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD. Here are the tallies (tag, followed by the number of times used as a tag):
Called (out) 5
Mumbled, questioned, hissed, joked, answered, continued, responded, yelled, screamed, uttered 0
What say you about dialogue tags?