I too enjoy a good well lit photo. This week I went to the Charlotte Photo Meetup group's Coffee and Strobes meetup. There we got to practice with our equipment (ok they did, I mostly helped out, lol). This reminded me I need to practice with my gear more. I use very expensive equipment, but it doesn't help me take better photos than those that use cheaper equipment. That is, unless I know how to maximize their use.
The other thing to remember about flash is that it is very important to never use on camera flash if you have any other options. Get it off the camera. There are some very cheap ways of doing it, whether by cord or radio. Some cameras even have it built in.
So, I will leave you with the following thoughts. Practice with your gear so you know it inside and out.
And get the flash off your hotshoe.