Found an interesting (and useful) page for novices to look for when creating SSL certificates for HTTPS sites.
It worked like a charm right from creating a CA root certificate to generating the server certificate. The HOWTO setup openSSL for signing certificates is at http://www.flatmtn.com/computer/Linux-SSLCertificates.html. And the HOWTO setup certificates in your Apache HTTPD server is at http://www.flatmtn.com/computer/Linux-SSLCertificatesApache.html.
Also saw a good explanation of SSL working at http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/SSL-RedHat-HOWTO.html.
Hope this helps someone who is trying something similar 🙂