Hi there, I'm writing a children's book and have a question about a particular construction. Here's the sentence in question:
Mr. Owl spoke again, “I know that the Night seems very dark to your eyes, but you have to trust my words more than you trust your eyes. Day will come again. Do you believe that?”
Note that the comma before the quotation is essentially filling in for the word "saying," as in "Mr. Owl spoke again, saying, "......".
My question is this: can I write this as I have above, or do I need either a period after "again" or a colon or something other than a comma?
Thanks for any help!