...I generally do what the "Lighting for Interiors" guy does and it has taken a long time for me to even begin to get comfortable withe technique - a long learning curve as you put it.
I had been mounting the camera and my main flash on an L bracket and then mounting the bracket to the tripod. An electronic trigger is on the cameras hot shoe and it controls all the flashes including the one on the bracket. The bracket made by Quantum has a detachable handle to which the flash is mounted. This allows me to hold the light in different positions if required. But most of the time the light stays on the bracket. This bracket is just worn out from continuous use and quantum doesn't make them any more. I've been looking for another bracket which is sturdy enough hold the light and be steady on the tripod or lightstand. ... I wonder if you might have any recommendations. At this point I don't care if the flash is easily detachable, I just want it to be off-camera and steady on the tripod.
What I would suggest is that you use a light stand rather than a tripod for holding your small flashes because there more handy clamps for mounting flashes on light stands than on tripods. Here are a couple of my favorites:
What is your favorite?