You must've been "abused" by me as you're doing quite well with your mod_rewrite responses! :tup:
I believe that your problem (aside from the obvious (.*))was with the redirection. I must assume that your .htaccess is in your DocumentRoot so the redirection will be relative to that. The problem is that you do not need to specify the current directory with the ./, all you need is author.php.
Tip: I try to put all my mod_rewrite code in the DocumentRoot's .htaccess so I don't have to consider directory levels (except relative to the DocumentRoot, of course). A second tip (a twofer, how about that!) is to use the R=301 flag (along with the Last flag) so you can see the redirection you've made. At least that would have shown you something really weird and would have forced you to look at the redirection again and you may have noticed the level change.
WARNING: When you change the directory level, you will create a directory offset for any embedded relative links resulting in the loss of css, js and image links (relative to author.php's location in the DocumentRoot). I'll let you read my signature's tutorial to discover the two options to resolve this problem.