Big thanks to Phoenix Cayote! Your detailed instructions were just what I needed.
Downloaded Nero 8 (it would not work on my old win2k pc, but it was okay on the new Vista after I changed the display - screen resolution - to meet its needs). Then used Nero Vision and it was easy to combine my eight .m2ts files (from a Sony Handycam, transferred to pc, totalling five minutes and 300 Mb), and even put in two audio tracks, and moderate the volume of each (the original video's corresponding audio and each of the two additional tracks). I failed to figure out how to speed up or slow down segments of video, or do other sophisticated AV editting tricks I have seen performed, if that is possible with Nero 8. Compression took a while (45 min?) with low resolution output, and a long while (3.5 hours) with high resolution output. Thanks again.