I'm new here and a new writer in general. I'm trying to get a handle on action tags and punctuation and I'm wondering about these two examples:
Claire huffs out a heavy breath, then speaks. ”I think you’re really good for her, you know.” She nods at Helen in the rain. "Maybe the best thing that’s happened to her since," she angles her eyes down and shrugs, "me.” Her hands swing round to clasp loosely behind her back as she looks up at Mary, mouth forming a smug grin.
Also should there be ellipses after the "but" in this sentence? Or is a comma ok?
“I'd understand if it's too soon, but,” Helen twists her head toward Claire, then back to Mary, “if Claire agrees to mind Chrissy on Tuesday, would you join me for dinner?"
Or, now that I'm looking at it, should the "but" be somewhere else?
Thank you for any help.