If you love to read, and I know you do, please take up the opportunity to grab some fresh new stories for free. My own Set in Paris is available. I’ve just read Maggie and the Selkie by Heather Ewings . Here’s a taster to pull you in. It got me…

That morning the bodies were counted. Twelve in all, and one still missing.
When the families took the bodies home to prepare them for burial, Maggie sneaked down to the beach to walk the shoreline. Five miles north, and five miles south. Through her tears, every piece of driftwood and kelp was a human figure; an arm reaching for help, a crumpled body found too late. Maggie’s hope disappeared with the sun and a low, slow groaning emerged from her throat as she sank to the sand. The pain in her heart was so strong she didn’t notice the water rising around her, the cold seeping into her skin.

Maggie and the Selkie by Heather Ewings
Great new stories available free

Reading as a writer

I finished the new Suzanne Collins book prequel to the Hunger Games this morning. I really enjoyed it. I haven’t gone anywhere near the ‘reviews’ on Goodreads or Amazon because I am sure that for every person who loved it, there will be those who loathed it. For lovers of the Hunger Games trilogy, this is a must-read. This isn’t a stand-alone book; you must have read The Hunger Games trilogy to really understand and enjoy it in my opinion.

I read differently now, as a writer. For starters, this is the first trad.pub book I’ve read lately that had zero errors. Well done proof-readers! Or should I say, I picked up zero errors because I was engrossed in the story. It was a fun read. It wasn’t perfect but it was interesting. I loved the way she made the MC sympathetic even though, and no, I won’t spoil it…but even though we all know he wasn’t exactly…ahem… lovable in the later stories.

Reading as a writer changes the whole game, I look now for the elements of storytelling I have learned about in the last couple of years. I look for the little details the writer includes to carry the story along, Chekov’s Guns that you just know are going to ‘go off’ later. Sometimes I don’t notice these things, like when I read Less by Andrew Sean Greer. That book was just so beautiful I didn’t ‘see’ anything, the story just unfolded before me. No wonder it won the Pulitzer.

The main thing that struck me with the latest Hunger Games book was it felt like Ms Collins was ‘telling a story’. This book is pure storytelling, with showing popping up regularly enough to let us know how the characters felt or to set the scene. Tell in creative writing is often demonised. We all learn ‘Show don’t tell’ pretty early on but great, really readable prose is a fine balance of shows and tells. If it was all show we’d never get anywhere. Sometimes our characters just have to run for the bus without us describing every minute detail of the trip…unless that is, if the journey to the bus stop is pivotal to the plot!

My TBR list is getting smaller for the first time in my life! I am now onto The Book of Dreams by Nina George. I’m only on the third chapter but it has me, hook, line and sinker. It helps that I am a little obsessed with dreams myself at the moment. I adore George’s writing. It is melodic and it’s rhythms stay with me through the day. Once again, I am avoiding the reviews but because I found this copy in a $7 bookshop I am worried it might not have been as well received as her ‘little shop’ series set in France.

Feature Photo – Gum leaves and Wattle by Christine Betts

For Writers – Have you looked at BookFunnel? I have just signed up and I am just discovering its power.


  1. equinoxio21

    Very true. Once you have started writing you read differently. Goes for books, goes for series or movies. One catches a flaw here. A good twist there. Not sure we read the same books, but it’s ok. Just read Le Carré’s “The spy who came in form the cold”. Strangely enough, a big Le Carré fan I hadn’t read it. Took me back to the 60’s and the Cold war. After the fall of Berlin war which I watched on the “telly”, living in Europe, I thought we had left all that nonsense behind, but I’m not so sure anymore. Stay safe.

    1. Christine Betts

      I’m sure if you had read it years ago you would have read it differently too. I’m nearly 50 and I too thought things would get better not decidedly worse.

      1. equinoxio21

        Very true. But then I suspect bad sh.. (Karma) has accumulated for many years now. Possibly since 9/11. It’s time to reorganize things. Hopefully without violence… The concern is for our children and grandchildren… (Nearly 50? My, my, you’re so young! Enjoy) 🙏🏻

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