...that I don't really have much in the way of female authors on my bookshelf. Margeret Weiss is up there with the Dragonlance stuf but she's paired up with Tracy Hickman anyway, and there's really no one else. So my first thought was a name I swear I'd heard on a podcast, but who turned out to be a researcher for something post-Holocaust non-fiction. Nope.
So I made a trip to the bookstore and finding something suitable proved in fact much more difficult than I anticipated. Most everything I saw from female authors was either a) romance, or heavily leaning that way, or the sort of throwaway novels I try to stay away from. My immediate thought was Ann McCaffrey, or possibly Mercedes Lackey. McCaffrey's old Pern novels would probably fit the bill fine amd Mercedes Lackey is a good standby as well. But after some thought I realized who fits the bill better than anyone else: the matriarchal, reigning queen of fantasy Ursala Leguin.
So that said I picked up A Wizard of Earthsea. I considered The Left Hand of Darkness, but it was tradepaper and I don't want to spend the extra bit of money. Also, I have the third book in the Earthsea series already and I'm looking to eventually read the rest.