Primarily Anne Rice, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Brian Lumley, and to some lesser extent some others, Robert E. Howard for other reasons, in addition to his fantasy, Robert W. Chambers and Stephen King for some of his works, less than the others.
I like the writing of Ms. Rice more than her subject matter. Her use of locale and the quality characterizations make her a favorite for me. She writes horror mostly, but, I've enjoyed her non-horror work as well.
The extent that I appreciate Brian Lumley's writing is very great. But, I should say, I prefer his works in the world of the Cthulhu Mythos. His own world of Necroscope is well written, but, I am especially fond of his works that show the same arcane horror that Lovecraft created, looked at through the eyes of a different actor. Lumley is creative with the worlds he has us visit, and the themes are quite powerful. On more than one occasion I placed the book down for the night due to an unsettling feeling from his words.
EDGAR ALLAN POE
Since grade school I've been in the spell of Edgar Allan Poe. Amongst other reasons, he wrote about worlds that were askew from the world he knew, and treated them with honor and care. His poetry is great, although some denigrate it. And I love his short stories, so new to the conscious of the readers, at the time, he was not nearly as successful as one might have expected. The City in the Sea, which combines science fiction, gothic horror and poetry together is my favorite work, yes, more so than The Raven.
I think of the authors who work primarily in horror, Lovecraft is my favorite, for his writing alone. While I've written in previous articles that I believe HPL to be a racist, his writing and subject matter were very much right in my taste range. I am uncomfortable about the man's beliefs, but his work is why I am willing to read it and overlook those beliefs. And, with his marriage of the existence of beings from distant universes and the human response to massive power by forming cults and worshipers of the beings, but as deities, I think he created a modern work that is particularly powerful even today.
ROBERT W. CHAMBERS
This is a short entry because I do not know much about the author. What I do know is that he was able to scare the crap out of me, and his work seems to hold promise for more.
ROBERT E. HOWARD
Robert E. Howard is and will always be my favorite author. In terms of writing horror stories his style worked well, and combined action and fear for the reader. He mostly wrote sword and sorcery, which can be considered an off-shoot of fantasy, itself being a part of the world of speculative fiction. I am fortunate to have read most of his published works, and I'd go to lengths to read more.
I respect the writing of Stephen King but his work isn't my favorite. So I have to say when his work is given special illustrations, such as in Cycle of the Werewolf with illustrations by Bernie Wrightson I am far more interested. However, it isn't a case of not having tried, nor is it that I definitely dislike his work. I like it. I just probably don't love it.