Authors who have and are still influencing my life and my writing, namely Rod McKuen, Leonard Cohen, Jimmy Buffett, even Erich Fromme. I favor the music of singer-songwriters for the same reason I read books. It's their voice and the words ring so much truer coming from a place of genuine emotion. I consider them authors as well. In fact, I prefer to read Bob Dylan's lyrics as poems, essays and short stories rather than hearing them as song.
My favorite books are those that have unexpected characters or stories that take you places you didn't expect to go. I like mysteries, fiction and autobiographies as well as poetry.
For my next trick, I haven't quite decided yet what it will be though I do have a few pieces in the works and I'm working towards a book of factually-laced fiction.