Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I’m a list-maker, and so is my character, Presley Parker. In HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY, she not only makes to-do lists for her party planning business, KILLER PARTIES, but she also makes lists of suspects whenever a dead body appears uninvited at one of her parties.

As for me, I write lists for everything—places to go, people to see, things to do. If I didn’t, I’d surely forget to go to my writing group meetings, talk with sources for my research, and, no doubt, write my book.

I especially love Top Ten lists. So for today’s topic, I’ve got two lists to share. The first one was created by another writer, Andrea Campbell, who sent me a wonderful list of things that help drive people to visit a website. Here are her top ten tips:

1. Leave comments
2. Cross-link
3. Subscribe
4. Take an RSS feed
5. Use the "Share" box (under the article for distribution)
6. Select: ie., add Andrea as your favorite Examiner (above by bio)
7. Visit a lot
8. Promote the heck out of it
9. Give it a tweet, a dig, a rave, a prop, a blink...
10. Post the URL to a search engine

By the way, you can subscribe to Andrea’s twitter site for more great tips--

The second list I found on a great site called The site lists all kinds of lists, such as Top Ten Heists and Robberies, Top Ten Shocking Deaths, Top Ten Botched Bank Robberies, Top Ten Fugitives Still on the Run, Top Ten Deadliest Prisons, Top Ten Popular Poisons, Top Ten Con Games Explained, Top Ten Prison Escapes, and Top Ten Deadliest Female Killers.

These are all great lists for mystery writers, but my favorite is the Top Ten Literary Detectives. See how they compare to your top ten list.

10. V.I. Warshawski, Sara Parestsky’s tough female detective from Chicago—one of the first of her kind.

9. Nick and Nora Charles, the married couple played by William Powell and Myrna Loy in the movies, who engage in witty banter as much as solve mysteries.

8. Sam Spade, the hard-boiled dick created by Dashiell Hammett and starring Humphrey Bogart in the much-loved classic 1941 film, The Maltese Falcon.

7. Mike Hammer, created by Mickey Spillane. Hammer wasn’t above breaking the law—or a leg—to get his man.

6. Miss Marple, Agatha Christie’s cozy series featuring a sweet, old lady sleuth with a sharp and suspicious mind.

5. Hercule Poirot, another of Christie’s creations, whose odd speech and finicky ways either enchanted or irritated readers.

4. The Hardy Boys, one of Edward Stratemeyer’s many syndicated series, starring Frank and Joe Hardy. Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy played the heartthrobs in the TV series.

3. Nancy Drew, another of the Stratemeyer creations, who solved mysteries with the help of her two chums, Bess and George. Her first case came out 80 years ago.

2. Philip Marlowe, “world weary, heavy drinking gumshoe,” that Raymond Chandler brought to life to right the world’s wrongs.

1. Sherlock Holmes, arguably the greatest detective in fiction still today, thanks to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his own powers of “deductive reasoning.”

So who’s on your Top Ten list of fictional detectives? Kinsey Milhone? Stephanie Plum? Scooby Doo?


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