John Gregory Betancourt (born October 25, 1963 in Missouri) is a writer of science fiction, fantasy and mystery novels as well as short stories, who wrote And the Band Played On: The Band's Tale from the Tales from Jabba's Palace anthology. He is also the writer of four Star Trek novels and the new Chronicles of Amber prequel series, as well as a dozen original novels. He has worked as an assistant editor at Amazing Stories and editor of Horror: The Newsmagazine of the Horror Field, the revived Weird Tales magazine, the first issue of H. P. Lovecraft's Magazine of Horror, Cat Tales magazine, and Adventure Tales magazine. His essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in such diverse publications as Writer's Digest and Amazing Stories.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Childhood[edit | edit source]
Betancourt's father is archaeologist Philip P. Betancourt. John Betancourt spent his childhood summers in remote parts of Greece, especially Crete, where his father worked on the excavation at Pseira. There, in his early years, he developed a love for reading and discovered such diverse writers as Clark Ashton Smith, Michael Moorcock, and Jack Vance through books imported from the United Kingdom. When he ran out of books to read, he began making up his own stories to entertain himself.
First published work[edit | edit source]
His first published work was a poem, "The Argia," in Space & Time magazine at age 15. At age 16, he made his first professional sale, "Vernon's Dragon," to the anthology 100 Great Fantasy Short-Short Stories, edited by Isaac Asimov, John F. Carr, and Martin H. Greenberg. He began his first-published novel, The Blind Archer, at age 17, finished it at age 18, and sold it to Avon Books at age 19.
Betancourt has alternated between writing and editing throughout his career. In college, he worked for Amazing Stories as an assistant editor. When the Philadelphia office shut down, he co-founded a literary agency with George Scithers and Darrell Schweitzer. A year later, Betancourt, Scithers, and Schweitzer licensed the name Weird Tales from Weird Tales, Ltd. and revived the magazine.
In 1989, Betancourt married Kim Hermo - married name Kim Betancourt - and moved from Philadelphia to Newark, New Jersey. They founded Wildside Press in 1989 to publish a collection of essays by Fritz Leiber designed to commemorate Leiber's appearance as Principle Speaker at Philcon that year. The book, Fafhrd & Me sold out quickly, and Betancourt decided to publish additional titles as a hobby.
Betancourt was named science fiction editor for Byron Preiss Visual Publications in 1990. He worked for Byron Preiss for 7 years, rising to Senior Editor, before leaving to write full-time and take care of his and Kim Betancourt's first child. This marked the beginning of his most prolific period as an author.
Print on demand[edit | edit source]
In 1998, Betancourt discovered print on demand technology, which produces one book at a time. He became a pioneer in the field, bringing hundreds (eventually thousands) of books into print through PoD. Betancourt incorporated Wildside Press in 2004 and continued to expand the company, as gross annual sales continued to grow. As of May, 2008, Wildside Press had more than 4,500 books in print, ranging from classic literature to genre titles by H. Beam Piper, John W. Campbell, Jr., Andre Norton, and too many others to count.
Wildside Press took up an increasing amount of his time, though Betancourt still managed to produce one novel and several short stories most years. He brought in genre writers and editors to work on Wildside Press projects. Employees in the 2000-2007 period included such authors and editors as P.D. Cace], Darrell Schweitzer, George H. Scithers, Vera Nazarian, Stephen H. Segal, and Sean Wallace.
In 2006, Betancourt partnered with AudioRealms to release new and classic science fiction, fantasy, and horror in Audiobook format. Initial releases included H. Beam Piper's Little Fuzzy and Andre Norton's The Time Traders, as well as works by Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft.
In 2007, Betancourt received the Black Orchid Novella Award from the Nero Wolfe Society and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine for his novella "Horse Pit." The award, which consisted of a certificate, a prize of $1,000.00, and publication in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, was presented at the Wolfe Pack's annual Black Orchid Banquet on December 1, 2007.
With Kevin J. Anderson as his co-author he wrote the original young adult fantasy novel Born of Elven Blood. He has solo written other original novels, which include The Blind Archer, Johnny Zed, and Rememory. He currently lives in Maryland with his wife, Kim and two sons, Ian and David.