Eric Staggs, Chief Executive Officer | Co-founder
Eric Staggs is a Wisconsin-based writer of short stories, screenplays and games. As a graduate of the Creative Writing program of Columbia College Chicago, Eric uses his skills to create thought-provoking and bone-jarring short stories and flash fiction pieces.
With more than 15 years experience in media creation and publication, Eric leads the Spectacle Publishing team as CEO and Creative Consultant. His latest project, The Darkest Age is an alternate history horror role-playing game based on the OGL d20 system.
Eric received his MFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University in 2011, where he received the course Director’s Award for Visual Story Telling and Writing for Games. Publications include Volume One Arts & Entertainment Magazine, Twlight Tales, Tales of the Talisman, Nevermet Press and The Aviator. Eric a member of the Wisconsin Screen Writer’s Forum and the Council for Wisconsin Writers.
His hobbies include philosophy, anthropology, archaeology, astronomy, classical history, gaming, strategy, literature, cinema, cultural trends, technology, Buddhism and of course, zombies.
Nichole Canniff, Chief Operation Officer | Co-Founder
Nichole has always had a passion for learning. As a young child she loved playing school and teaching others. Her favorite lesson was always story time. Even at an early age, well before having any thoughts of dating, she fell in love with the romance genre. Her books were a way for her to escape the normal teenage dramas.
While always a dream to become a writer, Nichole did not originally pursue this dream until enrolling in a graduate creative writing program. She spent her undergraduate years pursuing a career in business but the she always knew one day she would become a romance writer.
Over the last 10 years, Nichole has developed a great understanding of business startups, billing and accounting, entrepreneurship, human resources and business development, creative writing and editing.
Nichole received her Bachelor of Science in Business from Excelsior College and later earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree from Full Sail University. Additionally, she holds a master’s certificate in accounting from the University of Phoenix.
Shirley J. Knowles, Director of Public Relations
Shirley oversees the public relations and social media aspects of the company, ensuring the brand and interactions with the community remains positive. Additionally, she collaborates with Spectacle’s executive management team to create innovative and effective ways to attract new writers to the publishing group.
With a background in sports photojournalism and media relations, Shirley believed she’d become the sports version of the great Gordon Parks, following teams from city to city taking breaktaking photos of game-winning goals and buzzer beaters. However, life took her down another path and led her to the world of public relations and communications management, two fields she oversees well.
Shirley graduated from Marquette University with a degree in journalism. She later graduated top of her program with a Master of Leadership Studies degree and a certificate in multicultural leadership from North Central College in Naperville, IL. Additionally, she holds a Master of Science in Communications Management and a Master of Arts in Gender & Cultural Studies from Simmons College in Boston, MA.
Her hobbies include traveling, watching collegiate and professional sporting events, motivational speaking, attending live musical events, and contemporary cinema.
Rob Gee, Executive Creative Director
Rob is a key writer, designer and artist of the Darkest Age d20 role playing game at Spectacle PMG. Additionally, he has provided illustrations for traditional RPG gaming publications, including Dungeon and Polyhedron magazines.
He has worked more than 13 years in the computer gaming industry, serving as a 2D and 3D content creator, designer, manager and project leader on over a dozen triple-A titles for the PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, Nintendo GameCube, Sony Playstation2 and 3 gaming console platforms.
Specializing in design development and managing the creative process, Rob also has extensive experience in concept illustration, character animation, interactive storytelling, and developing intellectual properties. Rob has contributed to multiple Raven Software and Activision games including X-Men Legends, Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, Star Wars: Jedi Outcast, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Quake 4, Singularity, Soldier of Fortune, and Call of Duty Black Ops.
He is a faculty member of Madison Media Institute’s Game Art and Animation program where he loves helping students earn the skills and principles necessary to succeed in their chosen career paths; how to identify and master the creative process, how to be an effective team member and leader, and how esoteric perspectives result in a more insightful educational and storytelling experience.
Rob has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.
Jared Saathoff, Executive Editor
Born in an undisclosed location during a tense time of the Cold War, Jared kept on the move for over ten years before his family settled in the Chicago area close to a particle accelerator. A nomad by nature, Jared was off and wandering again after receiving a stern warning from the folks at Fermi Lab and a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from DePaul University. He is a photographer and a writer of speculative fiction and poetry. His hobbies include: breakfast, ice skating, bicycles, video games, plants, laser-tag, reading, and Oxford commas. He doesn’t have a dog. And, he doesn’t like jogging. He currently lives in Madison with his young apprentice.