I could not have written Swords of Talera without Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, and Kenneth Bulmer (aka, Alan Burt Akers). I couldn't have written Cold in the Light without Ray Bradbury and Dean Koontz. There are other influences, of course: Andre Norton, Poul Anderson, Louis L'Amour, John D. MacDonald, Peter Straub, a hundred others.
Someone labelled "Swords" as "in the grand tradition." But that's true of all writers. Whether we are writing in the tradition of Moby Dick and Don Quixote, or Dashielle Hammett and Raymond Chandler, or Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour, we are all following traditions established for us by those great writers who have gone before. Even if our work is mixed in genre and approach, it is mixed out of the traditions established by others.
It seems to me the height of egotism for any writer to assume that his or her work stands free of influence, newly born into the world. None of us wants to do exactly what has been done before. All of us want to bring our own personality into the writings that we produce. But all of us have our debts to pay, and all of us should realize that there have been many good storytellers in the past and we of today can learn from them.
Today I celebrate my debts. They'll never be paid off. And that's the way it should be.