Betancourt was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Philip Betancourt, a notable archeologist, and expert on Bronze Age Greece. His younger brother, Michael, is a well-known critical theorist and cultural historian. As a child, Betancourt was taken on digs in Greece by his father. His first story was published at age sixteen.
His wife Kim Betancourt is also a speculative fiction author, and they run their own publishing company, Wildside Press together.
Betancourt is also co-author of The Sci-Fi Channel Encyclopedia of TV Science Fiction (1998). He has written over thirty novels. He has described writing his Star Trek tie-ins as “business mingled with pleasure”.