Using your hotshoe flash in your camera hotshoe is about the worst way of using it. Getting off camera is the best way, but how to do that. Well if you happen to have a light-stand you can use the method I use.
I recently purchased a Lastolite Tilthead with hotshoe. Its a way of getting studio quality light thats easy and portable.
This on top of a light-stand enables you to attach a normal camera flash gun. It also allows you to attach a standard brolly. With this simple setup you can get studio quality light with very little cost. It certainly does not have the power of studio flash but can produce great results.