Usually, after a reporting verb, there is bound to be a comma, but what if the constructions are as follow:
As if waiting for me to say that one sentence, Cornelia followed up with a request, “Welp, there’s one thing you can help me with.”
In this example, there is no reporting verb, but with "followed up with a request" it sounds more correct to my ears to add a comma.
“Ah, um, how do I say this?” Scratching the back of my head, I blurted out the content of my mind: “You sure are pretty today.”
Looking at this example, "blurted out" is a reporting verb, and therefore, is accompanied with a comma, but because there's an additional "the content of my mind," I think that colon is better.
Still, are these two constructions even grammatically correct?